Is Your Wife Your Doormat or Your Beloved?

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  1. “I would even wager to say that men who behave like Kevin are not even saved.”

    I would argue with you on the wagering part. 🙂

    A good read, thank you.

  2. Timothy van Beek says:

    Thanks for the post 🙂

    Your point on the self-sacrifice is well made; I do agree that the relationship between Christ and his church serves as our highest example of self-sacrificing love.

    Unfortunately, I’m having a difficult time understanding young straw Kevin. In fact, he’s completely unrelatable. Perhaps that’s just a reflection of how good I am :P, although, as you say; it’s true that Ephesians 5 applies to me as much as does to him (we all fall short).

    I found your statement concerning the salvation of our brothers-in-Christ-like-those-who-behave-like-our-straw-Kevin perplexing; I’m not sure how valuable it is to this discussion; unbidden, uncomfortable – surely unintended – thoughts of causality arise. The secret things belong to the Lord.

    One small nuance; the responsibility of headship IS God-given. Is IS therefore correct to say that the husband has a God-given right to carry out his will and force his wishes on everyone else in the family (technically correct, although I wouldn’t express it in that way. Indeed, if he must ‘force’ then there must be terrible discord in the family). It is Paul’s desire here that his will, and those wishes, are motivated by Christian love. In this sense, I’ve always understood Ephesians 5:25 to be a picture of what authority – in all it’s various forms – should be like.

    Also! You might find this interesting; C.S Lewis (in “The Four Loves” pp 128) presents this verse in slightly different manner. Perhaps he takes the comparison (Christ/Church to husband/wife) a little too far (?), but he draws attention to the tragic nature of any relationship that requires such profound sacrifice:

    “Christian writers (notably Milton) have sometimes spoken of the husband’s headship with a complacency to make the blood run cold. We must go back to our Bibles. The husband is the head of the wife just as in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the Church – read on – and gave his life for her (Ephesians 5:25). This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is – in her own mere nature – least loveable. For the Church has no beauty but what the Bridegroom gives her, he does not find, but makes her, lovely. The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man’s marriage but in its sorrows, in the sicknesses and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence. As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labours to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs.”

  3. Heather Aasman says:

    Timothy Van Beek, I beg to differ, it never says anywhere man can force his will, but rather it is a God-given right to act as leader and promote GOD’S will. Man’s will is inherently sinful, born and concieved in sin. It is GOD’S WILL that man serves others as Christ was a servant. So actually it is NOT therefore correct to say that the husband has a God-given right to carry out his will and force his wishes on everyone else in the family. Change his to GOD’S WILL and you might have a point.

    • Timothy van Beek says:

      Hi Heather,

      We do, in fact, agree 🙂

      My meaning is that it’s difficult to separate a man from his will. It’s his. His very own. Corrupt indeed, but by the grace of God, redeemed, and, in the wonderful process of sanctification, continually transformed so as to bring him closer to God. In this sense I think it’s correct to say that the wife, as subject to the husband, is also then subject to his will.

      For clarification, as I mentioned previously, I wouldn’t express it in the way that it was given, and in that sense, I agree with Ryan. Two things, I guess; first, to speak of ‘rights’ in the context of conferred authority may leave us in a wrong frame of mind (and quite honestly, can disparage the very concept of authority); far better to speak of ‘responsibility’. And second, the use of the word ‘force’ is rather harsh. It implies that discord already exists, and hence, authority is not respected (no man has ever been compelled to force his wishes on any except on those who have already refused to accept them). An interesting conversation would be on whether the use of ‘force’ can ever be justified (… for the sake of peace, as in; discord = bad and peace = good. I suppose it would be awfully situational, and it seems unlikely that any circumstance requiring ‘force’ can ever result in lasting peace, umm, so… ).

      So then, I would rather say this: The husband has a God-given responsibility to purposefully direct his family in accordance with the renewing of his mind; insofar as he is able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.

      Which is basically what you said, I think. So we agree? 🙂

      (Sorry if I’m splitting hairs – I like working this stuff out. It’s a thought-provoking subject 🙂 btw! how’s James? Are you his Heather Asaman?)

  4. Jo says:

    Great post, Ryan!
    We just finished (ok, about a month ago) watching Voddie Baucham’s series on love & marriage on youtube & this reminded me of his last speech- “the better half.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVt74HfNK7I
    Thanks for posting!