Thursday, July 24, 2014

real talk // embracing the other

this is an installment of my series on The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller.

catch up on past posts here: 
  the secret of marriage | the power for marriage | the essence of marriage
the mission of marriage | loving the stranger

everyone enters marriage with expectations of some kind. whether you expect certain gender roles for household chores, or you expect your husband to behave a certain way towards you. 

Kathy, Tim's wife wrote this chapter. she uses the analogy that a marriage is a great dance. the husband & the wife are gifted for different steps of that dance. and together, it is whole and beautiful! Jesus voluntarily submitted Himself to His Father when He died for our salvation. He assumed the role of a servant and we are asked to do the same. when we die to ourselves, we are able to love and serve the other.

in marriage, the differences between men and women become apparent in a way that they may never have been before. we must accept and fully embrace the other sex, but we will still struggle with the differences at times. through these struggles, however, we grow in ways that we never would have otherwise. 

it is natural to despise someone who is different than us, someone we don't understand. but when our identity is found in Christ, and we know who we are in Him, that frees us from this impulse. 

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.
Ephesians 5:22-29

we were created for certain roles. the husband was created for headship and the wife was created for submission. but both are called to be like Jesus. that's why the husband's authority is ultimately servant leadership and the wife's submission is ultimately a strong helper to the husband. this works when both spouses submit to Christ first - which is why Ephesians 5:21 is before the famous husband & wife passage. 

submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21 

submission is a sign of greatness, not weakness. and while the general roles are what we were created for - leader and helper - the particulars, as Kathy points out, such as household duties are not discussed in the Bible. these can be different for each marriage, but the important thing is that our differences are honored. 

the thing i love about our marriage, is that we both split up the work. if something needs to be done, we generally work as a team to do it. we don't expect one person to always do laundry and one person to always vacuum, etc. instead we go by *a need known is an assignment given and do what needs to be done. some weeks i work a lot of overtime & Thomas keeps up with the house work. it's been such a help to me & something that i appreciate a lot! 

*our pastor told us this quote during marriage counseling & i've remembered it since

how do you view gender roles in your marriage?


  1. We definitely have more of the traditional gender roles going on here. Early on in our marriage, we decided that one of us would be home with our children once they came along. Since I had two part-time jobs at the time and my husband carried the insurance, it made more sense for me to pull back from working outside the home. At this time I work about 20 hours a week. I'm the one who deals with the inside stuff--cooking, laundry, etc.; my husband takes care of the yard and cars.
    It's a financial sacrifice to be home, and we budget pretty carefully to make it work. I'm so thankful we can make this happen for our kids while they are young.

  2. I love the point you make about our identify found IN CHRIST! That despite the differences we can come together because of that common bond! Great word Robyn!

  3. Great points! I feel like gender roles in our marriage are mostly nonexistent... except I normally do most the cooking. But since I've been pregnant my husband does everything and I am pretty worthless around the house. :)

  4. that is awesome that you can be home with your kids! :) i know it's definitely a sacrifice & one day your kids will look back & so appreciate that!!

  5. yes! that is so awesome! that even though we are made SO differently, Christ still unites us! :) thanks Caroline!

  6. that is how we are too! it's not really a gender thing, it's more of a "we gotta get this done" thing! :) haha well being pregnant is a lot of work (i've heard) so you deserve the rest! & what a sweet gift to have a husband who will help out!! :)

  7. Despite the fact that both my husband and I were raised SUPER traditionally, we somehow settled into roles that are pretty gender neutral. I think because neither of us have ever wanted children and just don't have that parenting mentality, everything sort of naturally split down the middle. And you are right -- it varies from couple to couple, and what works for us won't work for everybody!

  8. that is true! we don't have kids either so it is definitely down the middle with us too! :)