Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wifely Submission, Part IV: What God has Joined Together

What does Jesus teach about Godly marriage?  As with many other topics, He was succinct.
Jesus answered, "Haven't you read that he who created in the beginning made people male and female and said, 'for this reason a person will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and the two will become a single body?  Thus they are no longer two but a single body.  So then what God has united, no one is to break apart!" ~ Mt. 19:4-6 The Source

Jesus was reinforcing God's original design.  Unity.  Echad.  Plural oneness.  There is no tearing asunder into a strict hierarchy here: for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and become the spiritual leader of his family, and his wife shall joyfully obey.  Nope.  Jesus' focus was on two becoming one.

ashley & adam engagement
Holding hands, shared vision.  <3
Joining together brings a picture of both partners moving in the same direction at the same time, a mutual coming together.  Not a picture of one partner dragging a lesser partner.  Not even a picture of one partner leading a willing follower.  What I see in a Godly marriage is both partners joining together in seeking after God.

It is also interesting to note that every time the disciples looked for hierarchy and recognition of their position over someone else, Jesus blasted that notion to smithereens.  He told them over and over with words and actions that trying to decide who was over another person was missing the point entirely.  Instead of trying to dominate, they should serve each other with humility. 

I know a lot of people want to establish hierarchy in marriage.  They want to insist that men be over women.  I suspect that they, too, are grasping at a worldly model.  There is nothing in the Gospels to indicate that Jesus wanted marriage to be a hierarchy.  His goal was oneness.  Joining together.

What about different roles?  I have heard some argue that while both man and wife are equal in value, they have different roles.  The problem is that they then go on to define those roles for all men and women.  And somehow it turns out that the role for men is always over the woman. That whole separate but equal thing?  In my experience, it is pretty much the same as it was for racists fighting the Civil Rights movement--an empty platitude for maintaining the rights of one group over another while claiming not to.  If one has power and the other doesn't, it isn't equal.

The bottom line to me is that from Creation through the Gospels, God's design is for shared vision and unity.  There is no indication whatsoever that His plan involves a hierarchy--everything that we have looked at so far would indicate that the idea of only the wife submitting is a distortion of God's image.  But wait!  What about Ephesians?  Other passages in the New Testament?  We will tackle those soon.  ;)  In the meantime, let's focus on what true unity means, and rejoice in being joined together.

Image credit: nessa k on Flickr

Read the whole series :)


Carrie said...

I'm enjoying this series.

It's a shame that I find many times I'm disadvantaged because I wasn't born with a penis. My thoughts, experiences, expertise, etc. matter not because I'm a woman. I can't wrap my mind around that one...

dulce de leche said...

((((Hug)))) It really makes me angry that so many who claim to follow Jesus completely ignore His example of how to treat women. BTW, I have been following along with the thread about your project and praying. You are a beautiful daughter of God, and I believe that He is very proud of you, just for who you are. <3

Leslie said...

Well said! I love your thoughts on this ~ flies right in the face of what is typically taught.

Megan said...

I am loving this series... cannot wait for you to tackle Ephesians :)

dulce de leche said...

Thanks so much! I am excited about the rest of it. Gods plan is so much better than most people believe. :)