Here’s an interesting article about marriage from the Sydney Morning Herald.
Where different promises are made, the man undertakes great responsibility and this is also the wording of the book, as it has always been. The biblical teaching is that the promise made voluntarily by the bride to submit to her husband is matched by the even more onerous obligation which the husband must undertake to act towards his wife as Christ has loved the church. The Bible says that this obligation is ultimately measured by the self-sacrifice of Christ in dying on the cross.
This is not an invitation to bossiness, let alone abuse. A husband who uses the wife’s promise in this way stands condemned for betraying his own sworn obligations. The husband is to take responsibility for his wife and family in a Christ-like way. Her ”submission” is her voluntary acceptance of this pattern of living together, her glad recognition that this is what he intends to bring to the marriage and that it is for her good, his good and the good of children born to them. She is going to accept him as a man who has chosen the self-discipline and commitment of marriage for her sake and for their children. At a time when women rightly complain that they cannot get men to commit, here is a pattern which demands real commitment all the way.
Secular views of marriage are driven by a destructive individualism and libertarianism. This philosophy is inconsistent with the reality of long-term relationships such as marriage and family life.
Referring to ”partners” rather than husband or wife gives no special challenge to the man to demonstrate the masculine qualities which he brings to a marriage.
Men have to accept the limitations imposed by a commitment to marry. Both husband and wife must exercise self-control and the acceptance of boundaries, although in ways which are somewhat distinctive. My greatest interest in the draft service the diocese has prepared is the high standard being proposed for men.
When a husband promises to love his wife as Christ loved the church and give himself up for her, he is declaring his intention to be a man of strength and self-control for her benefit and for the benefit of any children born to them. Such qualities, properly exercised in the spirit of self-sacrifice, enhance the feminine and personal qualities of his wife.
Each marriage and each era will work this out differently. It is in this context and this alone that the revised marriage service enables a woman to promise submission.
Her submission rises out of his submission to Christ.
It is a pity that the present discussion has been so overtly political. Instead of mocking or acting horrified, we should engage in a serious and respectful debate about marriage and about the responsibilities of the men and women who become husbands and wives. The Bible contains great wisdom on this fundamental relationship.
The rush to embrace libertarian and individualistic philosophy means that we miss some of the key relational elements of being human, elements which make for our wellbeing and happiness. It’s time to rethink marriage from first principles. It really matters.
I’m happy with only having to do my male roles and not having to worry too much about being fun, non-judgmental and passive. I am a male, and that means setting out a plan, protecting, providing and building people up on moral and spiritual things. I want a woman who takes seriously her obligations to me as a woman, too. To nurture, affirm and support me by doing the things that she is better at. I want her to listen to me and be willing to do the things I ask her to do, because I need her to help me. I wouldn’t want a marriage between “partners”. I want a husband-and-wife marriage.
I wonder if young men realize how small and insignificant physical beauty and premarital sex are compared to seeing a woman listening to you and then achieving your goals using tactics you had never imagined. What men should value is intelligence and submissiveness. Men are alone in the world, and sex with a girl who refuses to follow your lead and support you emotionally isn’t going to fix that loneliness. Men need to feel like leaders, and the more talented and intelligent the woman is in following her man, the happier that man will be. A man comes with very specific needs from a woman and marriage is set up in a way that those needs are met so that he can fulfill his roles and take responsibility for his family.
The real happiness from women comes from when they take you seriously as a man and care about the things that you care about enough to do something about it, even if it means having to study hard things and working to achieve your goals. That’s what really makes a woman good. A man needs a partner he can depend on to support him.
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