Why does my marriage seem to work so well? I seem to get this vibe a lot from my friends and those I am around. I mean, to an outside observer, I would guess that they would view my marriage as “perfect” or some closeness to that. Well, as I sit in church I understand that I have naturally gravitated towards the way the Bible describes the roles of husband and wife. It takes bit to really internalized what the bible is really saying about the jobs of the husband and wife. The problem is that the normal procedure with this topic is to pick and choose what verses gives one or the other more power and control in the scheme of marriage. What a death stroke to a marriage right off the bat when a couple takes this route. Context is the key here.
First of all, I cannot stress to you enough that diligent, proactive, and deliberate choice is essential to start a marriage. Know what you want and expect out of a marriage before you choose your wife (I will speak as the male perspective). It is the guy that needs to make the choice and to ask the girl to marry. It is the choice of the girl to accept (because she has been doing the same diligent and deliberate choosing too, you see). I cannot say this enough that the beginning of successful marriage begins with the choice and the knowledge of oneself before you need to add another self to the whole thing.
Probably the most used verse that is mutilated in meaning that is known to many is the whole “wives submit to your husband” and the “husband is the head of the wife.” That is only part of the story. If you read further down the passage, it says basically that husbands should treat their wives with the care and consideration as they would treat their own bodies. This I think is where the real lesson on the roles in marriage lie.
Men, be the head of your marriage. This is a very deep and meaningful statement. It holds quite a bit of responsibility. A man needs to be a leader in his marriage . . . NOT a dictator. We as husbands are commissioned to make the decisions and the choices that will affect our lives. Some may feel this is too old school but I think it is more out of protection for the wives we hold so dear to us. When the husband makes the decisions it saves the wife from the guilt and inner pain of making decisions that don’t work out. It also gives them comfort that someone is doing something. It is a way for husbands to show that they taking care of their wife and protecting them. It is a way for us to show our love. Leading a family is done out of love and not out of control over another.
By now it may seem that I feel wives have no part in a marriage other than to be bare foot and pregnant. Far from it! Men need to listen to their wives as they listen to their bodies. How can you carry on in life if you don’t understand how you feel and trust that your body is giving you information you need to carry on? Men need their wives to talk to. To bounce ideas off. To have a second view point and perspective. Wives need to be supportive and trusting but also they need to be honest and up front. They should not be silent if they have concerns and misgivings. They need to express their worries and insight with their own knowledge and experience. The husband would do well to not be put off by this and be defensive but to use the person they should trust most to guide those decisions. One of the thousands of reasons I chose my wife was because she has strengths where I am weak. That is a big asset to our marriage and an advantage to us working so well together. Besides, it just adds more for me to admire with her being able to do with such ease what I find so difficult.
As I reread the above couple of statements, it is a hard to come out and just say that each person in a marriage has a job because gender roles are an unpopular concept now days. It is vital though. It is absurd to say that men and women are the same. They are not - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. That is the point I am making. How can a marriage be strong if men and women were the same with no differences to meld and complement each other? I feel that when one person uses this idea to smother the other that it is what will kill a marriage or a person’s spirit. Reveling in the differences and adding them to ours is where the strength comes from and that is the secret. Do my wife and I have our roles in our marriage? You bet ya! And we respect and cherish these roles because we depend on each other to make sure we are always adding and never taking away our importance to our marriage.