Skip to main content

Modern Marriage Concerns

It would seem that my wife and I have come from a vastly different background to modern day egalitarians who have grown up in a more secular egalitarian culture. What I mean by that is that we arrived at a stance of Biblical equality after having been deeply enculturated in evangelical conservatism. While the church in general has been slow to come to terms with the acceptance of women in leadership positions and marriage equality this is generally accepted as a norm throughout the civilised world. It was not so when we began our journey. 

While it is understood that women in executive positions, who arrived there on the basis of merit, still struggle to overcome the entrenched male domination that exists in these corporate sectors, great advances are being made and the more commonly accepted rule of equal opportunity either prevails or can be called upon. In the secular world, equal opportunity at its worst, has given rise to the modern day cult of individualism. So much so that many modern marriages are affected by this trend as each partner opts for their own personal space, separate banking accounts, 'individual' hobby pursuits and circle of friends.

This poses a real problem for the 21st century christian world because people coming into the life of the church are so deeply influenced by the host culture. 

When my wife and I discovered Biblical equality it arose out of the recognition that we were spiritual equals who could express our equality through mutuality. By mutuality I mean shared responsibility and shared accountability. We could do marriage together, without one person being expected to take the lead. We could parent together, without one person being expected to be the one acting in the best interests of the family, both physically and spiritually. We could be considerate of one another, listening, sharing, caring. Putting the needs of the other before our own and thus benefitting together with this new found sense of interdependence. Equality gave rise to a greater expression of mutuality.

I'm concerned that this aspect of equality could be lost on our modern churchgoers and marriages. How so? Because I sense that people who have grown up in a secularised, 'me first', environment may have only perceived egalitarianism as an opportunity to claim their individual 'rights', not only in the workplace, but in the home and church as well. In this respect Christianity is a paradox. While advocating for the well being and rights of others Christians are expected to be following in the footsteps of their master Jesus and lay down their lives to benefit others. Philippians 2 is a classic passage of Scripture in this respect.

Is this only something that I am imagining might happen, or is it becoming a reality? Our present experience with couples in modern marriages has brought us to this conclusion. We are seeing firsthand christian marriages that are foundering as each marriage partner pursues an individualised spirituality without journeying patiently with their partner. We are seeing situations where one partner is acting inconsiderately and unkindly towards the other partner while believing that they are walking close with God. We are seeing young couples consumed by their busyness for God while neglecting the obvious needs of their marriage mate. At one time we might have said that only males could indulge this passion but in an age of equality women have far more freedoms to also neglect their partners. 

When we talk to some of these younger married couples about the need to listen to the felt needs and expressions of concern from their partners they often respond by saying that they are tired of being the person who must take the initiative. They want the other person to simply get with the program and shape up to their new found expectations without any sense of mutuality, kindness or gentleness. This is a very disturbing trend that manifests itself in the impatient way that we deal with others in both church life and leadership. 

I for one do not want to go back to gender hierarchy but I can readily understand it if my complementarian friends are quick to say that this 'individualism' is where egalitarianism takes us and is the very reason why they are so against it. Egalitarianism is not meant to manifest itself in rampant individualism. In fact it is meant to do the opposite, that is to work against individualism, especially as it related to a male privileged environment. It would be a tragedy if the empowering of women led to the neglect of the men in their lives. 

This is where mutuality comes in, each marriage partner working toward a oneness in their relationship. If we have failed thus far to have identified the benefits of mutuality within both our marriages and church life, or see it as a Biblical imperative, we will not strive to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into this kind of experience. This will do Biblical equality much harm.     

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Disappointment - AW Tozer

I was really excited when I got hold of one of the latest AW Tozer books that was compiled by James L. Snyder, "The Crucified Life". When I began pastoring some 40 years ago I had everything that Tozer had written and they were incredibly formative in my approach to ministry. So to come across fresh material of Tozer's reignited the passion and got me looking at some of the other classics, like "The Pursuit of God" and "Knowledge of the Holy." Not content with that I started hunting around for anything Tozer on the internet and discovered that there is a biography out written by Lyle Dorsett, titled, "A Passion for God: The Spiritual Journey of A.W. Tozer." Then I read some reviews, of which there were many, but I was struck by the recurring theme that Tozer was a loner who was not even close to his wife and 7 children. This spiritual giant of a man was as alone in his death as he was in life. One of his colleagues noted that one of the last…

NO MORE POSTS ...

We are sorry to have to say that we are not going to post any more blogs on this site. The last post has been deleted because we couldn't alter the text size and colour, no matter how often we edited it?

We understand that it is virtually impossible to remove a blogsite from blogger so the site will be dormant. Sorry if you have visited and found it disappointing. We may blog again at a future time.




Talkback Radio

It's simply amazing what you can learn on talkback radio, here in Australia anyway. I'm not often in the car alone but when I am I like to listen to a Radio National station that features guest speakers on various subjects and invites comment from listeners who can become involved in the conversation. One such guest, who was responsible for a phenomenon called the 'Flynn Effect' was most interesting. His hypothesis is that the IQ's of 21st century educated westerners are increasing at the rate of 3-5% over time because of the way that we are now being taught to process information. He said that the analytical process and abstract thinking methodology has increased our capacity to think in the way that the IQ tests have been designed and we are therefore able to process the test puzzles etc. more easily.

Apparently he sparked off some controversy when he suggested that dark skinned people, who usually don't perform as well in the current IQ test format (because …