We live in a topsy turvy world, and but one example of this is it is misogynistic one moment, feminist the next. The former treat women with disdain, the latter hail the glory of women at times to the derision of men. Both situations are overreactions, and I see them weekly if not daily.

Being prone to being more feminist than misogynist, I favour the closing of the gap in inequality between women and men, but not to the extent that men are significantly disadvantaged in the process – that itself is the inequality borne of overreaction.

Let’s extend the discussion and focus on marriage. Here is what I think is theologically true:

Christ died

so that we may live,

Without burdens put on us

He’d never give,

We bear our cross

But let’s be aware,

Of the devil’s plan

Because perfection’s his snare.

The apostle Paul instructed husbands to love their wives just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Remember though who Christ is – perfect and sinless in every way. Husbands are exhorted to strive for the standard, daily, but not to be beholden to it. It is too much for anyone to attain perfection. But certainly this is what repentance is for; when we fail to live up to biblical standards.

I know I have made the error in the past of suggesting that husbands in weak marriages do what is impossible even for husbands in strong marriages. No husband can attain to perfection, nor can any wife, so why would we hold either partner accountable for failing to reach an impossible standard.

No, it is for husbands to strive for the standard and simply repent when they inevitably fall short. That, there, is the glory of the relational gospel – that a husband might confess his wrong to his wife, so he may be forgiven, and that reconciliation might take place.

There is nothing of the gospel in a wife saying to her husband, ‘Hey, listen buddy, you are not exactly loving me as you should, as Christ loves His church.’ The husband would be well within his rights to say back to his wife, ‘So if I could love you as Christ loves His church, then Christ died for nothing.’

The way the gospel peace works is through individual revelation of sin, confession, and repentance. It is getting the log out of our own eye. The gospel of peace has nothing to do with pointing out others’ faults, but dealing with our own, in faith that the other person will do the same, but for which we really don’t have a say or a responsibility.

So, husbands and wives relax. Expect no level of perfection from one another. Expect to mutually submit in the ways of confession and repentance, that’s all, in holding only yourself to account. Then your partner is free to love you without fear of your judgment.

Christ died

so that we may live,

Without burdens put on us

He’d never give,

We bear our cross

But let’s be aware,

Of the devil’s plan

Because perfection’s his snare.

Christ’s call for both men and women in marriage is to bear their respective cross. It would only help marriage if we threw out all the complicated theologies about gender roles that only add the pressure of expectation. We only sustain these precious methodologies because human beings like designing systems. Don’t forget God has made it possible that we can achieve the same result in different ways.

Let’s not be held to a teaching that seems particularly difficult to achieve when mutual submission meets the gospel aim.

I think marriages are best blessed when husbands arrive at the balance between striving for and aspiring to love their wives as Christ loved the church. They strive for that standard, realising it is aspirational, knowing it is unattainable, accepting they are fallen, yet they are always trying, and always committed to reconciling their relational realities.



Source by Steve Wickham