One of my favourite parts of A level sociology was learning of the changing attitudes of women from the 60’s to present day and the affect this had on every aspect of society. With a movement that promoted equality of opportunity, women started to believe there was a career after childbearing and slowly began to see themselves in roles previously reserved for their male counterparts. Before you knew it women were running countries (Margaret Thatcher) running unions (Angela Merkel) and setting world records (Dame Kelly Holmes). You look at a world in which women’s aspirations are not curbed by their gender, well at least not to the extent that existed in the time of our grandmothers and mothers, and you can’t deny that there have been huge change. What hasn’t changed is the representation of women in the Bible and the roles that God’s word promotes we adopt.
The bible states some brow-raising statements that feminists would shun and many Christians struggle to find a modern day interpretation that fits into their understanding of equality between genders.
To list but a few…
‘Women submit to your husbands as you submit to God’
‘A man is the head of his wife’
‘Women are bound to their husbands as long as he lives’
So what is a women to do? You’re Christian and want your marriage to exemplify the teachings of the Bible, but have been brought up believing that women can do just what men can(and sometimes better). How are we supposed to look at our husbands like our bosses and still love them?
Going to marriage counselling caused the inner feminist in me to explode and I had to revisit what I understood God’s overall message to be and the kind of wife I wanted to be. Here are the two conclusions I came to…
Submission doesn’t mean slavery
In God telling us women to submit, he isn’t sentencing us to a life slavery. God is letting us know whilst all opinions are important, when push comes to shove, someone has to have the deciding vote. I know that has made every mild feminist squirm.
Why does that vote have to lay with the husband?
Why not a mutual vote?
I want to give you an answer palatable with modern day feminism but the truth of the matter is that, that is the way God intended it to be. And besides, a good leader never assumes their own opinion to be superior to that of others, marrying a man that understands this should mean in essence a mutual vote or a vote that takes into consideration both opinions.
Men have an unequally difficult responsibility
We read scriptures on submission and fail to consider the mother of all tasks that husbands have been given:
‘Husbands love your wife as Christ loves the church’
Reading that scripture made every seemingly sexist statement click and quietened my inner frustrations. Husbands have to love their wives unconditionally, following the example that Christ sets. God is trying to use marriage as a microcosm of his relationship with us his children. If anyone has had even the shortest of flings with Christ, you will know that we as God’s children have definitely not pulled the short straw, despite the seemingly unbalanced nature of the relationship we have with God which means we live a life not according to our own desires but God’s.
When I think of my own relationship with God, the infrequent effort I put into it, the times I’ve neglected him completely and when I’ve kept committing the same sins because I knew God would forgive me, I can’t believe that God would ever want a relationship with me, let alone tell my husband to stick it out. Loving someone unconditionally is a mammoth task that husbands are burdened with.
So to all my ladies reading
God isn’t subjecting you to a marriage of inequality.
Marriage is a sacrifice, that women and men have to keep making
If you’re going to have to submit, it doesn’t make sense to marry someone that isn’t submitted to your God- (this deserves a whole other blog post which will land soon)
God loves you unconditionally and doesn’t view you as a second class citizen
The word husband cannot be exchanged for all men- in the workplace, in your dreams and ambitions, in your friendships, God is your only master
Would love to hear any thoughts you have about gender equality in the Bible
Love you all lots and lots,