Monday, January 28, 2013

Not 50-50

Having grown up in church and attended numerous weddings, I've heard countless sermons on marriage and the marriage relationship. Most of them are based on the Ephesians 5 passage which says both "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" as well as "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord." This submission thing doesn't sit well with some women!

I've heard a lot of good explanations about it but the one I read this morning has to be one of the best. I very much liked what the author, Dave, had to say: submitting to the husband doesn't mean the husband is boss. God is boss. Submission has nothing to do with someone being in an inferior position or less worthy of respect. Instead, it means "voluntarily yielding to another in love". As for the husband, loving his wife "just as Christ loved the church" means "taking the initiative in sacrificial, loving, servant-leadership to protect and to provide". NOT lording it over her and roaring, "What I say goes!"

Dave used the imagery of a dance to bring this point home. In a dance, the man leads and the woman follows. This doesn't mean the woman is weaker, or not able to think for herself. It also doesn't mean the man is superior, or knows better. They simply have different, but complementary roles, and mutually help each other to move to the rhythm of the music, sharing a common goal.

But this is what really made a light bulb go off in my head:

    In His covenant with us, God says: “I will be your God and you will be my people. I will never leave you nor forsake you”. Marriage is also a covenant when we say to our spouse: “I will be your husband and you will be my wife. I will never leave you nor forsake you. All that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you.” It is something exclusive between a man and a woman and permanent for life. It is not a contract. In a contract, we say: “This is my part of the deal, I will do this and you will do that and if you do not do your part, the deal is off.” A contract is basically an agreement between two people for the purpose of protecting their rights and limiting their responsibilities. A covenant is an unconditional laying down of our rights, giving up our own agendas for the good of the other, for the happiness of the family before God.
    (emphasis mine)

My mother once told me that the best marriage advice she ever received was that marriage is not 50-50. You cannot think, "I'll put in 50% and he'll put in the other 50%." No, it's 100% all the way. After reading what Dave wrote, I have a clearer picture of what she meant. Because, if you think the 50-50 way, you'll get upset when you think he hasn't done his 50%. It's natural for a wife to think, "He doesn't do this, why should I do that?" But it's not a deal, as Dave says. Not a contract. It's a covenant to give all of yourself to another.

I do urge you to go to Dave's blog and read the whole thing, because there's some other great stuff there, particularly when he explains what it means to be united and becoming "one flesh". His example of Starcraft II made me laugh out loud!

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