Being and Becoming Christian
To say that Randy and I are different in how we think, how we approach a difficult task, solve a problem or just buy groceries is an understatement. After almost 45 years of marriage, we quickly realized these differences and used them to our advantage over they years, avoiding the destruction of our holy marriage and of the unconditional love and respect we have of each other’s gifts and abilities.
A relationship between man and wife sometimes becomes a battlefield of who is more important in what “God has joined together in holy matrimony”, as the vows read. The legalistic notion of some church-going believers is that man rules the roost supremely and lords over his wife in his “manly” way of keeping her “in her place” of submission to him. Whatever the husband says, goes. He has the final answer in every decision. This is what most of us grew up being taught, but Paul reminds us that we are to honor Christ, by honoring each other…equally. We are both in submission to each other as we are to Christ. Mm, game changer.
What a huge burden it is to place all decision making and “ruling” on the male of this holy union. What a burden it is if all decisions were placed on the female, too! Eve was created to help Adam in the work God gave him to accomplish. He created her with abilities Adam didn’t have. Men and women were created differently with unique gifts, strengths and abilities but are both equally precious to God, our Creator. We were, in other words, created as two who become one with the Father in Heaven who created us, bringing all the abilities of both man and woman together, to adore and respect each other as we do Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Paul teaches the Corinthians, and us, what God really intended in the marriage of man and woman. It’s more about giving honor and respect to each other as we would with Jesus Christ. It’s not so much about the customs of how we dress or look, it’s what is in our hearts. It always comes back to our heart condition, doesn’t it?
Who’s first? God. Only God. Both husband and wife are second with unconditional love, adoration and respect for God first, then each other. This is what is meant by HOLY matrimony, blessed by God, with Christ as the head of our home, both deciding God’s will in prayer, in Jesus Name, each day of their married lives. Both man and woman in relationship with God first, then with each other never fails. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 11, The Message
To Honor God
11 1-2 It pleases me that you continue to remember and honor me by keeping up the traditions of the faith I taught you. All actual authority stems from Christ.
3-9 In a marriage relationship, there is authority from Christ to husband, and from husband to wife. The authority of Christ is the authority of God. Any man who speaks with God or about God in a way that shows a lack of respect for the authority of Christ, dishonors Christ. In the same way, a wife who speaks with God in a way that shows a lack of respect for the authority of her husband, dishonors her husband. Worse, she dishonors herself—an ugly sight, like a woman with her head shaved. This is basically the origin of these customs we have of women wearing head coverings in worship, while men take their hats off. By these symbolic acts, men and women, who far too often butt heads with each other, submit their “heads” to the Head: God.
10-12 Don’t, by the way, read too much into the differences here between men and women. Neither man nor woman can go it alone or claim priority. Man was created first, as a beautiful shining reflection of God—that is true. But the head on a woman’s body clearly outshines in beauty the head of her “head,” her husband. The first woman came from man, true—but ever since then, every man comes from a woman! And since virtually everything comes from God anyway, let’s quit going through these “who’s first” routines.
13-16 Don’t you agree there is something naturally powerful in the symbolism—a woman, her beautiful hair reminiscent of angels, praying in adoration; a man, his head bared in reverence, praying in submission? I hope you’re not going to be argumentative about this. All God’s churches see it this way; I don’t want you standing out as an exception.
What do we learn?
–“…let’s quit going through these “who’s first” routines.”
Dear Heavenly Father, Sometimes our differences with our mates frustrate us but then You remind us how much we are loved and forgiven by You, warts and all, and then we love each other more. We honor You. We honor each other. YOU are first. We are second. Together, in You. Continue to grow us closer to You and to each other. May Your glory be reflected in our holy relationship. In Jesus Name, Amen