For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”
When we look at our country and see the different chaos that exists, one cannot help but shake their head. This is particularly true within our homes which is where everything good, or bad, begins and in many situations, where much of the chaos and drama stems from. One of the best places to look to begin to understand why things are so shaken is at marriage which has completely gone an overhaul in the last few decades.
One thing that we have learned is that half of all marriages end in divorce. This trend began in the late 1970s when the United States census bureau showed that half of the couples married between 1976 and 1977 would end up divorced but the numbers only grew from there. This article is not one about divorce but divorce is one factor of divorce, unfortunately. One reason for this has to do with the acceptance of alternative lifestyles while another reason is that many people have forgotten what it means to be married.
Marriage is not some type of adventure that you go into but when it’s no longer fun, you abandon ship. At least, it’s not supposed to be as it is a union between one man and one woman who are committed to one another and nobody else. Commitment does not mean that when things get rough, you stop. Rather, when things get tough, you try harder but this concept had nearly evaporated from many marriages.
Another aspect of marriage that has been forgotten is the role each partner plays. Yes, there are certain roles that each person plays but this does not mean that one person is above the other. Men is not superior to the woman and woman is not superior to the man and God made it like this when He created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs (Genesis 2:18-24). God made Adam a partner to help him in all things but unlike Adam who was made from dust, Eve was created from Adam’s rib which means, she was created from Adam. Therefore, she was equal to Adam but she served a specific purpose.
There have been too many men who felt they were above their wives and placed them beneath them. This is never a good start for a healthy marriage or for someone’s self-esteem. The Bible says that Eve was to be called woman because she was made from man (Genesis 2:23). This is why, from a Biblical perspective and my personal point of view, being married multiple times to multiple partners is difficult to justify. Of course, under certain circumstances this is justifiable but if you are jumping from one spouse to the next, how can you ever find the person that you were divinely made to be with?
A woman’s role inside her marriage may sound easy but just like marriage itself, it is anything but easy as life does not come with a manual. One of the most important roles that a wife serves to her husband is to be a helper. While conducting research for this topic, it was discovered that the Hebrew word for helper in Genesis 2:18 applies to God as He goes forth to help us. Therefore, I cannot help but think that God gave tremendous power to women especially as it relates to her marriage with her husband.
Although many men make themselves out to be solid as a rock and unable to be hurt, such presentations are just that: a show. No man is unbreakable, as I can attest to this, and we all have our flaws. One such is that while we may be independent in our thoughts and how we live our lives, we have desires and needs and God understood this. We need to be reassured that there is no one else and to be listened to and yes, needed. Maybe only a few would admit to this but it’s true and a husband’s wife plays a large part in the image that a man sees himself.
One mistake that many women make is that they have this idea that their marriage is going to be like some fairy tale. That is, everything will be perfect but nothing on Earth is perfect. No person, no situation, no circumstance, no institution. Therefore, when a woman sets out to find the perfect man and marries the individual, she is setting herself up for disaster. While it is great to view your union, your marriage, as wonderful and joyous, to be naïve enough and expect a perfect spouse and relationship is unrealistic and the Bible explains this in Titus 2:4 as it instructs women, particularly younger women, to love their husbands and children.
Of course, love is expected to be a part of a marriage but God does not expect just any type of love but unconditional love and support. Ephesians 5:22 commands wives to submit themselves to their husbands just as they do to God. Just two verses later in Ephesians 5:24, wives are instructed to submit to their husbands everything so there should be no secrets whether it is about money or anything else. Again, think back to Adam and his rib as the female is equal to the male and we are given another example of this in Ephesians 5:25 as husbands are instructed to love their wives just as Christ loved the church.
When the Bible mentions submission to the husband, this does not mean that a wife is beneath their husband and should never speak up. We are told that wives are to submit to their husbands but “as is fitting to the Lord” (Colossians 3:18) but within a family setting, everyone is to submit to submit in one form or another. The husband is to give himself to the wife in the same way she gives herself to him which makes for a holy union. This does not mean that either side, particularly women, are property but rather, they are committed and consent to this union. Therefore, we are able to conclude that Ephesians 5:22 does not mean that women are property or at the hands of men but rather, how women are to submit themselves or how they demonstrate such submission.
For centuries, there has been this mindset that men hunt and work while women only care for the family. For a long time, this worked but things changed. Yes, in many homes across the world, this is still the case but many women, today, work and it has been this way for a long while especially over the last century. While women are mothers and caregivers and protectors, does this mean they are unable to work? This is a matter of opinion, I suppose, but as we study scripture, we understand that God made both men and women to work and we see this from the very beginning with Adam and Eve as they were placed inside the Garden of Eden to work.
Eve was Adam’s helper as God knew Adam would need help with his responsibilities. Women have had a large part in society since the beginning of time but many have been met with opposition. The truth is, women are called by God to do certain things, just like men, but if people are slowed down and marred by what society says, they may miss their calling. Again, submission to their husband does not mean they do whatever is said as many times, what is expected can be dangerous. One example of defying customs is the story of Joan of Arc who was given a sentence for claiming God contacted her personally.
While a lot of this may sound controversy, it’s all within scripture but I imagine that many Christians will find some type of beef with this writing as they have always been taught or believed in something different. The truth is, God has a purpose for each person and a structure for marriage but this structure is not often lived by. The structure was put in place by God not to show favor for one gender or superiority for one spouse but rather, to give direction and guidance for His followers. Just like in the Garden of Eden, everyone needs help and guidance regardless of our status or intelligence.
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”