The Church in America has had some interesting ideas about what roles within the marriage ought to look like. Some good. Some bad. Some … are just weird. We looked at the wife’s responsibilities in the last article. Now, we turn to the husbands.
What the Apostle Paul actually says about this topic is not nearly as complicated as we’ve made it. Like so many things in the eternal struggle between Christianity, culture and tradition, Paul’s remarks here aren’t complicated at all – but they’ve become complicated by the baggage we each bring to the table.
Let’s see what Paul says. Again, the translation here is my own.
If you’re a Christian who wants to think the right way about marriage, you’ll have to decide whether God has anything to say about roles of men and women … and whether you care.
Are male and female distinctions just learned behavior? Are there no bedrock differences? Good differences? Wholesome differences? Complementary differences? Is all this just socialization?
One sociologist suggests1 men have deliberately combined together to create social structures to limit women’s power, to push them down, to squeeze them into a very particular mold. In fact, the theory goes, the only reason we think of “gender roles” the way we do is because we’ve internalized them, we’re immersed in them, they’re all around us, we drank these roles with our mother’s milk.2
So, there is no such thing as “masculine” or “feminine.” These are ideas we’ve imposed on ourselves! Or, more specifically, that men have imposed on women because they have the power.
So, we must break free of them! Create a new paradigm! We must imagine new rules about gender. One of those rules being there really is no such thing as gender—because that’s a social construct, too!3
Are we just sexually androgenous beings with no “maleness” or “womanness”? Are we generic Walmart USB charging cords—bland, interchangeable, anonymous?
"The amount of divorce and heartbreak and sexual confusion and even suicide in the lives of these individuals who have apparently attempted to prioritize friendship over marriage raises a question about causation: does prioritizing friendship over marriage actually doom healthy marriages? The cases presented in this article would seem to suggest so." - CBMW
"AEI’s Institute for Family Studies examined data from the Understanding America Study from 2015 and 2016, as well as the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, first conducted in 1997. They compiled their findings in a report titled 'The Protestant Family Ethic: What Do Protestant, Catholic, Private, and Public Schooling Have to Do with Marriage, Divorce, and Non-Marital Childbearing?'" - C.Post
"It probably is not coincidence that Americans got very serious about the spectacle of the wedding right around the same time they began giving up on the idea of marriage. 'Until death do us part' is tough, but a 'big day' we can still manage. All you need is bad taste and money." - Kevin Williamson