Monday, November 30, 2009

If Man is the Head of the Family

Woman is the Heart

Much is made in some Christian circles that man is the head of the wife, blah, blah, blah. Frankly, most of us have long since cut this scripture out of our mental bibles, if we have bibles at all. But here is the scripture from Ephesians Chapter 5:
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
23 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.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

It is less about lordship of the man over the woman, though it does have a historical context that bears some understanding, than it is about our relationship with Christ.

But, on a practical note, there are certain special characteristics of a marriage, that it has taken me many years to draw alongside of. I realised as I spoke with my dear wife ine recent morning over coffee, that I had oversimplified a meaningful concept about married life.

I have thought that man is a hunter gatherer, and that woman is a nester. There is some truth to that, but as I implied above, it oversimplifies a serious concept of a good marriage. A deeper concept is that man is the Head, where woman is the Heart of the home, more as a metaphor with deep roots.

As I watch the care and concern my dear wife has for our mutual children, and for me, I realise that she is very different from me. Not really rocket science to come to that conclusion. She feels more deeply, is more sensitive, and loves more gently than I do. She has a wisdom of one who carried children in her womb, and felt them growing and seeking to come out into the world, at great personal pain to her. The man, me in this case, does not participate in that same experience directly, but is equally important. He is the hunter, gatherer of my early metaphor, but more importantly has responsibility for the woman's safety and care, as well as that of their children.

How I wish that my wife and I had shared the raising of our 6 children, 3 hers, and 3 mine. I get it now, and so dealing with our adult children is a very mutual exercise, that relies on her Heart and my Head, with her Heart touching mine and my Head touching hers. There is a wonderful mutuality in that, a complementarity if you will.

My wife was able to stay at home with her children when they were being raised, and that was a wonderful gift to them. There are things that I see in her loving of them and caring for them in the home, that has blessed them into adulthood.

Feminism had important roots in getting women the vote, and recognizing that they were equal to men. But like all 'isms', it became a religion, and has resulted in great enmity between men and women, and really has women becoming more male than men, in many instances. The feminine characteristics that differentiated women from men, as much as the masculine has given way to an 'ism', that really ends up denying the feminine characteristics of grace, gentility, unconditional love, and caring for which women have deservedly been renowned.

It seems to me that equality for women, which might be a noble goal, is really looking more like sameness. Frankly, from a male perspective, I don't think we care too much one way or another. Those of us who have learned to love our spouses, and the women young and old in our lives treat them with the respect that we can, and over time with love, learn to treat them even more respectfully.

Just some thoughts.

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