I have ended up in several similar conversations lately that came to a head when one person called me a chauvinist. Just to make sure, I went and looked it up again. It means a person displaying aggressive or exaggerated prejudice toward one group or gender. In this case I am sure they meant I was a “male” chauvinist. By exact definition, I’m not sure if I can say that I am or am not. It is a fine line. I am positive that I am not one in the sense that they meant it. But allow me to share what I was attempting to explain to the different people involved.
American society is in quite disarray. I submit that few would disagree. There should be an attempt to “fix” as much of it as possible. Many are trying in their own unique ways to do just that. But if you have ever tried to fix a car, computer, plumbing system, etc. One thing is true. It is very difficult to fix anything until you understand how it works. So, how does our society work? If you believe in God and the Holy Bible such as I do, you know that God created society by creating a man, then a marriage, then a family and then a society with culture, habits and so forth.
So if we look at God’s design “backwards” we see this. The society is a reflection of all of the families within it, the families are reflections of the marriages that make them up and the marriages are reflections of how each individual woman relates to each individual man and vice versa. And of course the church is a reciprocal reflection of them all. This all being said, you cannot fix the society without fixing the families and you will not fix the families without fixing the marriages and the marriages cannot be fixed until the woman and the man understand and perform their appropriate parts of the relationship.
So rather than always trying to start from the top and work our way down, (passing laws to try to legislate morality, etc), why don’t we start at the bottom and work our way up with a strong enough foundation that can sustain the change? With all of this in mind, I have counseled a lot of couples. Young couples, middle age couples, couples raised in church, couples out of church. Some definite issues that I have noticed about them are large deficiencies in the Biblical concepts of respect, protection and chain of command. One at a time.
Respect. When one spouse disrespects the other by arguing with them in public or in front of their children it leaves a tremendous negative mark on both of them. Neither of you should be correcting the other in front of other people, especially your children or HIS peers. The woman should especially not be seen as an arguer, debater or corrector of her husband. Regardless of what current culture dictates, the Bible is extremely plain about who is the leader of the family and the head of the household. As soon as that premise begins to erode, the rest of society erodes with it. Ladies, if you have a man that provides a decent living, is willing to work, on the job, around the house, etc, does not abuse you verbally, mentally or emotionally and is not an addict of such things as drugs, alcohol, pornography or gambling…you have a man that 75% of all of your peers wish they had. You should respect him openly.
Protection. Men, you were given very clear objectives as to your role in a marital relationship. You are the lover and protector of your wife. Notice in scripture she is not commanded to “love” you. She is commanded to “submit” to you. You, on the other hand, are commanded to LOVE her. This perfect balance is ideal when done correctly. A good woman will generally submit with ease to a man that truly loves and protects her and a good man will generally, with ease, love and protect a woman that is submitted unto him. If you do not think so it might be because you don’t understand the depth of what is being asked.
Submission in all areas of life. Two cannot become one without an agreement to follow one path. The path has to be determined and instead of flipping a coin or leaving it to chance, God chose for us. The path is the path of the man. If this is not understood in advance then there will likely by trouble. The wife is to submit to the general direction of where to live, what types of activities to grow the family around, who will be involved in the family fellowship, and even submit to specifics. As specific as what he likes you to wear, when intimacy occurs, how many children you will have and what types of foods are to be eaten. This probably sounds VERY EXTREME to a lot of you but it is because you don’t realize how it is all supposed to work together. Stay with me.
Love and PROTECT. When you add protection to love it emphasizes a particular quadrant of love. The overseeing responsibility of preserving. This is far, far more than just beating someone up if they hurt her or the like. Yes, you are to physically protect or “preserve” her by giving her a home to live in, providing for heat, health, etc. But you are to preserve HER. Everything about her. You are to protect and preserve her ideas, her desires, her honor, her integrity, her womanhood, her reputation. Ahhhhh, now we are getting somewhere. A man that merely bosses his wife around and makes a paycheck and expects dinner on the table, blah, blah, blah, degrades her in public, corrects her in front of her children, does not provide for her to chase her goals and dreams….is not a good protector. You are leaving her reputation unprotected, her heart unprotected, her motherhood unprotected. Now someone is going to say, “Wait a minute! What dreams? What goals? She gave those up to become one with him, didn’t she?” YES. This is what I meant by “how it is supposed to all work together”. She can easily surrender her need to forcefully push wholly for his, if he is at the same time “preserving and protecting” hers.
Let’s take an easy example. He likes steak. He eats red meat. A dead cow man! She prefers fish. If you have a shallow, carnal couple that will probably end up in trouble, it will look something like this. He will want steak, she will try to assert to cook fish, he will scold her and belittle her, mocking her for not eating “real meat”. Do you see this turning out very well? Me neither. She is trying to assert her ways, he is giving no concern what so ever to her ways. Now, “pretend Biblical followers” at this point just say, “She is supposed to submit and obey him, period. She is out of line.” But watch what happens when you have a true Biblical relationship. He likes steak and she submits to that and learns how to make it just the way he likes it and cooks it for him 2 or 3 times a week, as much as they can afford it. Period, end of story on her part. He in turn, loving and protecting her, thus her desires and tastes, takes it upon himself to make plans to get off a little early and call ahead for reservations to a nice seafood restaurant every so many days as he can afford it.
Her only response to him was to submit and obey. His response to her was to love and preserve. You Christians will realize the basic doctrine of how we as humans must die out to self in Christ but in turn we end up receiving new life in Christ. This doctrine is alive and well in the marriage relationship. The wife is to surrender herself to her husband, in turn the husband is to preserve the individuality of the wife in response to her willingness to become one with him. It’s beautiful.
Men, if you have a woman that surrenders to you and you goals and dreams, listens to you, takes care of you and meets your needs, physically, mentally and emotionally to the best of her ability…you have something that 80-90% of your peers long to have. You should cherish and PRESERVE her. Biblically speaking, she is not supposed to strive to have her own identity, but that is because you are supposed to strive to let her have her own identity. Her reputation should be lovely because you spread it that way. She should be known to be a good cook and a beautiful person and talented at her hobbies, etc…..Because you let it be known that it is so.
Chain of command. A business, a ministry, a social event, any group of humans functions at it’s peak when there is a chain of command. In marriage, NOBODY chose the chain of command but God! If you have been involved in cultures of corruption, dictatorships, dysfunctional groups full of politics and gossip, then you will not have a frame of reference for this. A good leader, surrounded by good followers, are some of the greatest people to be around. The top of the chain realizes how much he needs those working for him, the next level under him understand that it is their job to work for the goal of their leader and they are appreciative of how the leader understands his need for them, etc. It is comforting and accomplishing for everyone to have a part and a secure setting. To know what is expected, where the boundaries are and that there is an open line of communication.
One of the regularly overlooked benefits of such a Biblical union is the meeting of the psychological needs of the children. When children know that their father loves and adores their mother and that their mother trusts and believes in their father. When they see true compassion from dad to mom, true allegiance from mom to dad. When they believe that mom wouldn’t undermine dad and dad won’t let you disrespect mom and they have an intimacy that is beyond our grasp at this age….It raises children into adults that are less anxious, less nervous, less prone to try the wrong things and rebel and have fears and doubts. Why? Because they see a living example right before their faces every single day of unity, leadership, submission, respect, love, tenderness, trust and peace. They now have something to strive for. But if dad will tell the kids about mom’s weaknesses to get a laugh out of them and dad makes a plan but mom says it’s all wrong in front of them, then it becomes up to them to experiment on “something better”.
So wives, do not boss. Accept or suggest. Do not argue. Wait and discuss. If you are so smart that you have a better plan then you should be smart enough to convince your husband to take it on without over stepping your bounds. Your husband will seldom be any more admired, respected or followed by anyone else than he is by you. You have the power to make him or break him. Men, you should be your wife’s greatest fan. People that know you should know of her beauty, her ability and her strengths, because you let them know.
My last point is this. Most people that I have counseled have a general understanding and at least a percentage of agreement with what I have here to fore described. But as humans we are always amateurs at finding our own faults and professionals at discovering those of others. The simplest way to make your relationship better with your spouse, REGARDLESS OF WHO IS WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE PROBLEM, is for you to do your part better. This works because it is also human nature that a woman would struggle less to submit to a man that is loving and protecting her and her attributes and a man would struggle less to love and preserve a woman that is busy being on his side and helping accomplish his goals.
If this makes me a chauvinist…so be it. God bless.
Your humble servant,
Rev. D. Todd Slogett