In 2015, a few months before my wedding, I wrote a blog for the Junia Project titled, 6 Things Egalitarian Marriage is Not. At that point, I had only a theological and biblical understanding of egalitarian marriage. Today, Ryan and I are just just shy of our 2 year anniversary, and I’ve got some egalitarian newlywed experience to offer as a sequel. Two different, individual people coming together to live as one flesh, come to find, is a process! It’s all too easy to live in the world of “me, myself, and I” when it comes to feelings, thoughts, opinions, and decisions. I continue to learn what it means to be “us”, and that what I do always has a direct effect on my husband. With that said, these are the relational dynamics that I’ve found to reveal whether or not an egalitarian marriage is underway.
So about a month ago a friend and I got into a debate on Twitter after he mentioned that a woman wanting to hyphenate her last name with her husband was a relationship deal-breaker for him.
Obviously I thought it was ridiculous, which was why we got into a debate over it. I couldn’t understand why something as frivolous as a name would cause him to throw out an entire relationship- especially if that relationship was a healthy one- all because she wanted to maintain an important aspect of her earlier identity.
We believe authority is at the heart of much marriage misunderstanding and debate. Over the years traditional-hierarchical-complementarian marriage-view proponents have described their perceived authority to us in different ways.
VARIATIONS ON A THEME
Some husbands have told us that as the leader they have a 51 percent role in making decisions and the wife has 49 percent. As we listen to these men explain their marriage, we can’t help but wonder, “How is a 51/49 functional authority any different from a husband who has 99 percent authority and a wife who has 1 percent?” Either way, the husband has final authority to make decisions.
Submission in marriage often comes with lots of negative baggage. In fact, many people refer to submission as the “S”-word. The reality is that there are only a few Bible texts that focus on submission in marriage.
Headship can often become a divisive issue in marriage discussions—especially in religious circles. Various “infallible” headship interpretations and accompanying dialogue could fill a library. Our experience is that people will endlessly argue the original Greek and Hebrew, lexicons, grammar roots, verb tenses, hermeneutical and eschatological anthropomorphisms, and endless jots and tittles until Jesus Christ returns.
It seems that in many Christian communities being a “biblical man” or a “biblical woman” is just as high of a priority, if not more so, than being a biblical person. How did we come to the conclusion that men and women are to imitate Christ in different ways? I’d like to know where people see Jesus mentioning or even emphasizing that a man’s highest calling is to be a leader and a decision-maker, and a woman’s highest calling is to be a nurturer and “advice-giver”. From what I know about the life of Jesus, he called us to love God and love others selflessly. That’s all Jesus seemed to really care about.
Patriarchy is an oppressive cultural norm with a history that predates Christianity.
Fortunately, it is fading from our global community. Unfortunately, it persists in some corners of the institutional church today, where some Christian leaders still teach that it is the God-given right of men everywhere to exercise authority over women at church and at home. From my vantage point as a male social worker, psychotherapist, and former department head at a multi-denominational Bible college, I’ve had many opportunities to observe how patriarchy impacts people every day on a very practical level.
When my babies were born, I fully intended to stay home full-time with them for a variety of reasons. However, a year after my first child was born, my husband accepted a job that involved a 25% pay cut, making it necessary for me to work just to pay the bills. It wasn’t exactly how […]
We were honored to host an event with Sarah Bessey on November 22 to celebrate the release of her book Jesus Feminist. Here are some highlights…
What he had always been told he deserved
What he expected from me, with nothing in return
But it was not mine to give, not in the way he asked for it
Because I had already given that kind to someone else
To the One who had died for me on a cross