- What is your definition of a traditional marriage? Do you consider yours to be traditional or contemporary?
- What scriptures do you turn to (if any) when determining your role in your marriage?
- In the sharing of duties in your home (childcare, work, house cleaning), are you and your husband satisfied with the way things get done? If not, how would you or he like it to change?
My parents have a traditional marriage. They do not have a Christian marriage, so the two are not inseparable characteristics. I know of Christian marriages that are nontraditional as well. For me, a traditional marriage means that the wife primarily cares for the family and the home, and the husband is the primary provider for the family. For me a biblical traditional marriage means that there is a distinction in the hierarchy of the family relationships. The husband takes on a servant-leadership role as the head of the family and the wife joyfully and willfully supports that leadership. This is not necessarily a popular marital relationship in today’s society, though in Christian circles it is certainly more common.
I consider our marriage to be a traditional one and Jason and I both like it that way. Neither of us make big decisions without the other’s consent, but if we are at odds about something I usually accept Jason’s decision. If I still strongly disagree, we will talk about it in private and see if we can compromise so that we both are satisfied with the final decision. We try not to argue in front of the children, though occasionally we “forget” this rule. I consider my main jobs to be those of wife and mom. It is important for me to be able to cook meals, care for our home (though housecleaning is farther down on the priority list than family or homeschooling, so it often takes a backseat, hey, I’m not a deluxemaid robot! ) , organize the family’s activities, and teach our children. At this point I also work part time. I hope someday to be able to stay home full time, but working at a church allows me to work from home, take the kids with me, and have a flexible schedule, so I can easily put my family first. Jason works full time as a college professor and also part time at the church as organist and co-music and arts director. He also cares for the outside of the home, car issues and most big financial issues, though I do the monthly bills. Jason helps out a lot with the kids in terms of bedtimes, taking them to and from activities, and playtime. He dislikes the baby stage, however. Once the kids turn 6 months, he’s much happier. He has yet to change Zachary’s diaper, and that doesn’t bother me a bit.
Many of these things are superficial and don’t make or break a traditional marriage arrangement. I think it is our attitude in marriage that counts the most. Do my kids see me as a servant to my family? Does my husband feel respected in our home? Is Christ being honored by our relationship?
A few of the scriptures I look to for my role in marriage are:
- Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the savior…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Eph. 5:22-3, 25, 33)
- Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:2-3)
- The Woman of Noble Character, Proverbs 31:10-31
Jason and I read Rocking the Roles together last year and the authors gave wonderful definitions of both old-style traditional and what he terms “roleless” marriages and then contrasted both of them against the biblical design for marriage. He states the problems with the traditional 50’s style marriage as:
- absentee/workaholic fathers
- devalued women- wives “were neither esteemed nor challenged”
- mutual tolerance- a disconnected marriage, completely different from the “one flesh” marriage of the bible
He then describes the flaws in the current trend toward “roleless” and “egalitarian” marriages.
“Marriage is an organization. And like any organization, large or small, it can succeed only by accepting the timeless principle that the partners carry out complementary [not ‘same’] functions. In other words, marriages work best when the partners have roles.”
“Is there any historical precedent for the roleless marriage? The answer is no…Every known society, past or present, assigns to the men a primary responsibility for the government of the larger groupings within a society, and assigns to the women a preimary responsibility for the daily maintenance of the household unit and the care of the younger children.”
The Bible is very clear about how marriage should be organized…the husband is responsible for a specific kind of leadership. Meanwhile the wife is responsible for a specific kind of support and nurture…Second, instead of diminishing gender distinctions, the Bible insists on them.” God created both man and woman to as a couple reflect His image.
I could go on, but this wasn’t meant to be a review of the book, though Jason and I both got a lot out of it and enjoyed reading it together.
Do I think all marriages need to follow the same exact blueprint? No. Do I believe that Christian marriages have more potential for intimacy and oneness with the biblical blueprint. Yes. Even in my marriage with two flawed people making daily mistakes, having this same ideal keeps us on one path.
How about you? How would you answer these questions? Post on your blog and link back here to share with others. Otherwise, leave your thoughts on the comments page.
And now for the Challenge!
Beginning June 18 I will be hosting the
Honor Your Husband 30-Day Challenge.
I hope you will prayerfully consider joining with me and other women as we place a day-to-day emphasis on choosing to honor and respect our husbands in our words and actions. Who knows, it might just become a habit!
Look for the exact guidelines on the 18th, spread the word and come back and link up. You will not have to post on the Marriage Monday topic each week to update us on your progress. At the end of the challenge I will randomly choose a participant to receive a gift from me to your marriage!