Oh, the lovely chapter 5 of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. It causes feminists to bristle and men to stick out their chests, right? Well....not if you read the chapter.
Today Kirk led Hope farther into the text, to how the husbands should treat their wives. You can read the verses here.
Now, based on my earlier post on submission, y'all, (all 2 readers that I have and one of you is my husband), probably think that I would be hooting and cheering. Not really. What I thought was actually how odd that things seem so backwards in society.
Perhaps it is the feminist movement of the 70s that all my friends who are mothers and also work full time outside the house despise, or the self focused, self help generation of the 80s, or just the ancient, good old, sinful self-centeredness of the ages. Somewhere, we as women, have gotten so used to giving up all dreams for the good of the family that when women began to gain more rights in the culture, we decided that men needed to submit to our needs.
We give so much of ourselves away in pursuing our own interests, our own benefit, that we don't want to share what little we have left. We no longer need a man for security so he better put out, shut up, help out. No one can tell us that we can't do something. No one can tell us what to do with our bodies. No one can disrespect us by not loving us the way we want loved. No one can make us stay when we don't feel in love.
Genesis 3 describes the curses that resulted from sin. Women would want their husbands but the husband would rule over them and men would have to work very hard, not the work of the garden but the struggle of toil. Basically, God told both that there would be no rest, no security. So if that is the state of marriage after the fall, what about now?
What does Ephesians tell us about the redemption of marriage?
While I still dislike the submission word, I understand it. I understand it because I am a woman. I understand it because my life was no longer my own when I gave birth to my son. Because when his father chose to walk away, I still had my son to consider. Because when everyone is sick, mothers still care for the family. Because it is in our nature somehow. Because we are given baby dolls to care for and kitchen sets to cook in as little girls. We teach our girls to consider others before themselves.
Perhaps Paul went to more pains to be explicitly clear with the husband about what their role is because it is not one of being the superior to the wife, as their culture seemed to paint it. Men needed to see the picture of what "submit to one another" looks like. And it is painted in the blood of Jesus.
I don't hoot and cheer because I don't want my husband to struggle. I don't want him to be uncomfortable. Sure, sometimes I would rather he just put out, shut up and help out, but it isn't long until I remember that I love him, his strength, his tenderness, his wisdom, and everything gets set right again.
Dear Jesus, keep working on our hearts!