Warning: Extremely long post. Grab a cup of tea, put on some good music and make yourself comfortable if you dare to read all of this.
I’ll be honest, I enjoy a good love story. Though I come across fairly ‘tomboyish’ to most who know me, I have a weakness for chick-flicks and Hallmark movies (The secret’s out y’all!). I love books by Karen Kingsbury, pretty much any movie with Reese Witherspoon.
Furthermore, since marriage and family is likely to be a huge part of the lives of many Christians, I feel that it is very important topic to address within this series.
Admittedly, as a girl who has been single since birth, I’m coming at this from an “outside looking in” perspective. Nonetheless, I do not live in a bubble and I’ve had the opportunity to witness relationship dynamics in both real life and the movies. Plus, like many millennial girls, I have a fair amount of old Taylor Swift songs on my iTunes account.
Joking aside, I have taken the time to research this topic and have read passages in the Bible that relate to marriage. I’ve also searched reputable, outside-sources by people who know God’s word and have studied this topic much longer than I have.
I believe that our best starting place in studying this topic is asking what God intends marriage to look like. Because humans are fallen, we’ve likely witnessed, or even been in, an unhealthy relationship before. Look no further than television to find dysfunctional relationships abroad. Many TV shows portray blatant disrespect, borderline emotional-abuse, and lust as commonplace, something to be expected in dating or marital relationships. This should not be so. God takes this covenant so seriously that He uses the metaphor of marriage to describe Christ’s relationship with the church. Clearly, God has high standards for marriage.
God calls for love and respect on both ends of the relationship. Some people have tried to create a power imbalance between the husband and wife by misusing the word ‘submit’, but I do not believe that hierarchy in marriage is God’s intent. In the Garden of Eden, God gives Adam and Eve equal dominion over the earth, as co-stewards of creation (Genesis 1:28).
Furthermore, in the original Greek language, submit means to ‘voluntary yield in love‘. The word used to refer to husbands and wives is different than the word used for parent-child relationships. The wife is not called to absolute obedience, but rather to love and respect her husband, just as her husband is called to love and respect her. To quote an article from godswordtowomen.org Absolute obedience belongs to God alone (www.godswordtowomen.org/patriarchyriss.htm).
So what does it mean for both partners to love and respect each other? It would seem that the first step is to treat each other kindly.Colossians 3:19 instructs husbands not to be harsh to their wife and Proverbs 21:19 warns against wives being quarralsum with their husband. In short, it seems that the Golden Rule applies to both partners in marriage, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).
A second thing that I believe is highly important in a marriage is for both partners to encourage one and other. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I believe that both partners should do their best to encourage each other’s dreams, goals, careers, and callings. God has a unique plan for each person’s life, and it’s important that both the husband and the wife encourage each other to become all that God intended them to be.
It is also import for both spouses to provide emotional support when their partner is going through a difficult time. Oftentimes, people place the emphasis on financial support, but many gals believe emotional support is just as important. There is much more to marriage than “putting food on the table”. Taking the time to listen and understand your spouse is something that will likely stay in their mind much longer than a number on a paycheck.
Last but far from least, marry someone who shares your faith and values. I cannot stress this point enough. I have seen people marry someone from a drastically different faith background, or no faith at all, and it always causes a truckload of problems. Complications come in with raising children and the couple misses out on the bond of a common faith. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” This is not saying that unbelievers are bad people. All of us were unbelievers at one point (After all, even if we were raised in church, we weren’t born Christian). What it is saying, is that it’s important for our close friends, and especially our spouse, to share our faith and convictions.
. . . .
This post concludes my three-part series on Biblical gender-equality.
I hope you all have enjoyed reading this series as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I have received a lot of positive feedback and have been challenged in a very positive way as I’ve searched the Bible for answers to hard questions. If you pull nothing else away from this series, I want to leave you with one thing to think about; God loves us and wants to use us in the midst of countless of differences.
We’re all in slightly different pockets of life and come from a variety of backgrounds, but through Christ’s blood on the cross, we are one giant, amazing, beautiful, diverse family.
Called to emulate, follow, and share the love of our Savior, and shine as a light to a broken and dark world.
Published by Courtney Whitaker