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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Marriage, the Church, and the Pride of Women

With the rise of no fault divorce in this country, there has been a huge shift in how the Christian church has handled troubled marriages.  Because of no fault divorce laws, the divorce rate skyrocketed as a result, with many women initiating the divorce proceedings against their husbands.

In light of this simple fact, the Church (that is, the general collection of denominations that make up Christianity) shifted focus away from telling people that they must stay married and instead focused on how to keep married couples together.  This in conjunction with the rise of feminism created a new standard of marriage within the Church.

Unfortunately, this new standard, dubbed by many as Marriage 2.0, took away the husband's headship in favor of promoting the idea that a husband’s primary job is to keep his wife happy.  While the strategy didn’t specifically call for an end to the headship of husbands, as outlined in the Bible since before the Fall, it was the logical result of pushing for appeasing the wives.

Across the country, pastors and priests taught how husbands were worthless without their wives.  That men were the primary cause of strife in marriage and that men need to come to God and humble themselves before their wives.

Granted, men do tend to be more prone to aggression and violence as is in our nature.  And while women can be just as violent, they are physically weaker than men and thus refrain from it most of the time.  However, studies have shown that women are just as likely to engage in domestic physical abuse as men are and are even more likely to strike their own children.

So the Church took a more feminist approach to fixing the divorce problem.  Instead of condemning women for divorcing their husbands for any reason besides adultery, as the Bible clearly indicates is the only legitimate reason for divorce, it instead focused on the husbands not providing the support their wives need.

This was also coupled with more and more women needlessly entering the workforce.  When a married woman works in a career, she will wonder if she really needs her husband and will seriously consider leaving her husband.  This is because the sense of independence she feels can often outweigh the need for companionship.  Add to that the frustrations of dealing with domestic affairs at home and you have a serious and potentially volatile situation.

Currently, the divorce rate has not dropped in the several decades since men were first told they were the problem in the marriage by the Church.  Instead we receive a lot of spin and even more ridiculous advice like “vacuuming is foreplay” or other such nonsense which has no bearing on the central issue at hand.

The Apostle Paul welcomed women into the growing Church back in his time.  But he specifically forbid them from taking up positions of leadership.  While modern interpretations often declare that this is because of his traditional Jewish background and that our society has evolved beyond the need for such advice, I am not so sure myself.

Women are fickle in the sense that they are often times ruled by their own emotions.  This is not a weakness on its own, especially when used in the proper context.  But when applied to positions of leadership, you get into situations where common sense and rational thinking are overtaken by hysteria and compassion.  Compassion doesn’t get the house built or the food from the ground.  It requires the ability to ignore or suppress emotions in favor of pragmatic action, something that men are much better at doing than women on the whole.

Paul wrote that women should not be permitted to teach men in the Church.  At least he stated that he does not allow it.  He also stated that wives (and husbands) should not deny each other sexually.  That last part becomes vitally important in the context of marriage.

Biblical marriage is essentially the agreement to share romantic love with a person of the opposite sex for life.  It is a way to channel the romantic passions of individuals into another person without damning yourself to hedonism.

These days, we see Christian wives denying their husbands sexually and it is considered to be a normal, healthy thing in a marriage.  I even had one pastor tell his congregation about a woman who couldn’t stand having sex with her husband or, presumably, anyone else again and that this was all right.  What he failed to realize is that it was unbiblical, considering Paul’s own words I have paraphrased previously.

Marriage without sex is not marriage, baring any physical barriers that occurred after the vows were completed (paralysis, impotence, etc.).  If a person denies his or her spouse’s sexual advances, you are breaking the martial covenant.  You are breaking your oath that you swore before God on you wedding day.

A woman who denies her husband sexually is also openly rebelling against her husband and against God.  Wives are to submit to their husbands.  That is the agreement they entered into when they exchanged rings at the altar.  For a wife to deny her husband sexually is probably the ultimate act of asserting her headship over him and a grave sin.

The Church, by and large, has remained silent on this issue, instead encouraging men to keep their wives happy, citing Paul’s command to love your wives, while refusing to address the other half of the problem.  I don’t blame them for doing so as these days women make up the majority of congregates and to declare this to them would be seen as an attack on Team Women.  And thus their money would dry up.

But by remaining silent, by not convicting women to “woman up” and submit to their husbands, even if their husbands are a sore stain on humanity, they have effectively shut out men and, worse, maintain the atmosphere where divorces occur.

Laying the blame of divorce entirely on women is unfair of course, but that is not the point of this post.  The point is to highlight the Church’s response to the high divorce rate as being inadequate and unbiblical.

So what should the focus be instead?  The answer is quite simple: tell the good Christians to not even consider divorce as an option in resolving their marital problems.  Studies have shown that married couples who do not even consider divorce as an option are ultimately happier couples overall in comparison with those who do.  While correlation is not necessarily causation here, we can discern that this means that couples who think this also try and find a way to make things work.

The Church should flat out tell their congregation that divorce is adultery unless adultery has already been committed.  And that in doing so, they are sinning against their spouse and, more importantly, against God for breaking the oaths they swore at the altar as the pastor declared them to be husband and wife.  It should also encourage men to take up the leadership role in the marriage and that the wife should submit to him, no matter how ridiculous or stupid it seems to her.

For while it is the pride of men to rule over the Earth as gods, it is the pride of women to rule over men as their lords and masters.