My last post was on politely challenging church leaders in marriage. In that post I discussed some of the comparison wording and why it is spiritually corrupt. However, I need to expand on why this is the case.
The correct understanding of authority, headship, and other power structures is that they are inherently good as they are created by God. However, being placed within a particular structure is neither good or bad. They have their own value and cannot be compared to each. Thus, positions are intrinsically good and their extrinsic value is incompatible with comparison.
Even the hint of thought about “comparison” of positions within such a structure is sinful in respect because they all lead in evil thoughts and expectations such as covetousness or favoritism. Those under authority want the authority for themselves because they believe that the position above them is “better” or “superior.” Those in “higher positions” are looked upon more favorably than those in “lower positions.” The Scriptures condemn both of these.
Women, in general, I think tend to fall more prey to this because their sin tendency is hypergamous. They want the fame, power, status, or monetary value associated with such “positions.” Hence, they place a “superior” value on being in a position or claiming it for themselves. Obviously, men are not exempt but this is where women tend to struggle more.
The reason why I have been denoting specific words with quotation is that language matters a lot. We use certain words to convey the value that we place on certain positions. Namely, in the above paragraphs the value words that denote our thoughts on what is “better” and what is “worse” are the ubiquitous terms such as “higher” and “lower” and “inferior” and superior.” We also denote things according to our belief of intrinsic value such as “good” and “bad” which is similarly an incorrect value judgment.
One of the more insidious terms that I didn’t discuss in the previous article is equality. Equality, like any of the comparison terms above, is corrupt when comparing both intrinsic and extrinsic value. Let me explain.
Intrinsic value is the value that God has placed on us as human beings.
There’s various Scriptures denoting the value that we have as God’s creations. For example, God knew us before He created us in our mother’s womb. All of these verses show that as His creation there is an inherent value that He has placed on us. This is why He desires that all men would be saved through Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9). Likewise, husbands and wives are “coheirs” in Christ (1 Peter 3).
Does intrinsic value mean equality?
No. It is important to understand that “equality” denotes a comparitive example of one’s own intrinsic value. Just as it is a foolish question to ask if God loves someone more than another person it is likewise a foolish question to ask does God love us all equally.
God loves us precisely because we are His creations. Does a father love each of His children equally like an earthly father? No, He loves us precisely because we are unique and different. An equality comparison is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of God’s love twisted in a manner of covetousness or favoritism.
I get that some may not understand the meaning that I am trying to impart. Thus, I would like to clarify an equality statement with another question:
Why do I need to be compared to be equal to someone else?
In fact, why do you need to be compared to someone else? God loves you. God loves others. That’s all that matters. Why strive for a comparison of God’s love of you and God’s love of someone else unless you steeped in pride.
Extrinsic value is a bit more clear cut. Extrinsic value is not derived by our status, our money, what we look like, or other early things. Extrinsic value is instead derived from what we do. However, extrinsic value is not derived from a works based mentality rather it is derived through roles and responsibilities.
Indeed, I discussed this extensively in the previous post on roles and responsibilities in marriage.
The very fact that wives become dissatisfied with their place in a marriage means they invariably have become deceived or deluded in their understand of the value of the role of the wife. God created wives to be helpmeets, and God created humans to be very good. Thus, the roles he created for us are also very good. It follows naturally that wives who are dissatisfied with their roles or usurping the role of the husband clearly do not understand the inherent value to which God has assigned to their role in the family.
This is not unlike many other modern Christian women who want families but decide to put them off for the careers, for travel, for missionary work, and the like. It is clear that either misunderstanding, deception, or delusion that the do not place a high value on the family. Obviously, that is their choice, but from what I have seen many often regret their choices for not actively attempting to find a husband when they were younger as they remain single into their 30s and 40s.
It is very easy for those under authority to believe that their role and responsibility has less comparitive value than of the authority themselves. Many want power without the responsibility that comes with it. This is not just as issue with the rebellion of wives against husbands. For example, employees and their bosses can experience the same thing. Students and teachers can experience this. Churches and pastors. The list go on.
If we accept that God is our Creator then we understand that it is God who imparts extrinsic value. Therefore, extrinsic value is directly tied to our roles and responsibilities that we have been given in the Scriptures.
This is the importance of understanding the Parable of the Talents. Each of the servants are given much or little. The fact that they are all servants doesn’t determine their extrinsic value even though they are all the same. How they were responsible with their talents determines their extrinsic value and thus reward that God gives them. Those that were responsible were given more according to their ability. Those that were irresponsible had all that they were given taken away.
So too all extrinsic value is measured solely through stewardship of what we have been given. A wife’s stewardship is measured through her role and responsibility as a wife. A husband’s stewardship is measured through his role and responsibilities as a husband. Each of these are different in the Scriptures.
A wife gains nothing through usurping her husband’s roles and responsibility. Indeed, it can be said that by usurping her husband’s roles and responsibilities she neglects her own. Thus, she is being irresponsible with what she has been given in addition to being rebellious.
This is why it is extremely important for husbands and wives to know their own roles and responsibilities within a marriage.
- A wife gains nothing for loving her husband. However, she will gain much from respecting her husband.
- A husband gains nothing by respecting his wife. Rather, he gains much by loving his wife. A wife gains
- A wife gains nothing by allowing her husband to lead. However, she gains much from following his lead and submitting to him.
- A husband gains nothing by letting his wife by the head or being passive. Yet, he gains much by being the head of his wife and his family.
Emphasizing true value
This cannot be repeated enough. You don’t gain extra credit for doing more work. Your extrinsic value and reward is determined by fulfilled the role and responsibility for which you have been given. This is important to understand because it is very easy for people to step outside of their own roles and responsibilities to “make up” for what they perceive to be deficiencies in the character or discipline of the other spouse.
However, this misunderstanding is born out of pride through covetous and favoritism as previously discussed. Sometimes we truly think we can “work more” to earn God’s earthly favor, status, or power. Alternatively, sometimes we truly believe that we need to pick up the slack of others because “otherwise it won’t get done” and it is a bad reflection on “ourselves and not them.” This is far from the case.
One of the big examples is a misunderstanding of wives to truly follow 1 Peter 3.
If a wife recognizes that she is being shrewish and controlling she will naturally want to step back mainly because it leaves her stressed out, discontent, and unhappy all of the time. Yet, when she steps back she doesn’t understand why her husband suddenly won’t lead. Most often it is the case that even though her actions have changed her attitude has not. Although she is “submitting” she is not being “respectful,” and a husband can see and feel that and does not want to step into his rightful role for fear of backlash.
This is often compounded by the fact that such a wife is merely letting her husband lead rather than following his lead. If the husband does something that his wife doesn’t like she will still nag him or express her discontent with her body language or demeanor. Rolling the eyes, not wanting intimacy, gruff or abrupt behavior, pouting, and other non-communicative destructive behavior.
A change of behavior is not necessarily a change of heart and attitude. Often times wives attempt to do this under their own power. They “submit” according to their own definition of submission. Sometimes they try to become doormats. Sometimes they try to bottle everything up inside. Sometimes they only do things in a certain area.
In reality, only God can change hearts. A wife must ask God to change her heart and attitude toward her husband first. Then she must be willing to walk it out in life.
Now, as a Christian man striving toward God it is extremely important to understand your specific roles and responsibilities. This is why it was #1 in my My 5 step process to maturity in relationships. You need to determine what your roles and responsibilities are in context of God and marriage if you are pursuing that.
This should be done before any semblance of a relationship so you know what you want. Then follows developing and growing a relationship. A detailed timeline and how-to guide on the process of finding a wife.
Obviously, this is not something that you can learn to do in a day. You don’t instantly find out who you are and your roles and responsibilities and do them. However, knowing what they are and continually reading the Scriptures and walking them out trying to understand them will help bring you closer and closer to what you are supposed to be doing. Knowing that and being confident in it is one of the primary steps to fulfilling your roles and responsibilities, especially if you want to get married. Then you just have to learn and grow as you become more attractive and seek and find a wife.