For a long time I’ve wanted to tackle one of the principal problems of egalitarian marriages and that is the fact that someone has to be in charge or there will be chaos. (You know. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria.) SOMEONE must be in charge at all times or the marriage will fail.
So for the benefit of all mankind I’m going to break down this horrifically complex thing we call egalitarian marriage. I feel morally obligated to answer this question as I’ve dealt with it on a daily basis for almost twenty years. Truly the future of the church and civilization hangs in the balance. (I’ve read that so many times online that I know it has to be true.) So I’m going to pull apart this incredibly complicated relationship step by step in the hope that at least a few brave souls will do the hard work of understanding the terrible difficulty my husband and I labor under every day as we shoulder the burden of living in an egalitarian marriage.
Here it is.
Are you sure you are ready?
Are you sitting down?
There’s no going back. You cannot unsee this once you read it.
Are you sure?
Okay. Here it is.
I treat him with love, respect, empathy, and courtesy.
He treats me with love, respect, empathy, and courtesy.
There you go.
People, it is not complicated. In fact, so many times I’ve wanted to sit down and write about our egalitarian marriage and I couldn’t come up with anything to say because it’s just so simple and obvious.
Yet I somehow felt compelled that I had to come up with some intricate detailed description about how we do it.
But it’s not complicated and I can’t even come up with a complicated explanation to somehow convince you it is “more godly” or “more biblical” because, well, you know. Everything from the Bible has to be complicated with charts and diagrams and umbrellas and references to the rapture.
This is it.
Christ is the head of our home.
I submit to Christ.
He submits to Christ.
We submit to Christ together.
We treat each other like adults.
We trust each other.
We strive to be trustworthy.
We give each other the benefit of the doubt.
We ask for forgiveness.
We forgive each other.
The person with the best skills, most insights and/or most willingness takes the lead in each area as needed.
When we disagree about something we talk about it and pray about it until we come to a decision we are both completely on board with.
In twenty years together we’ve never had a decision where someone had to pull the trump card. Ever. Neither one of us has ever said, “I don’t care what you want. I’m doing this.” We simply don’t treat each other that way.
We’re best friends. Why would we want to treat our best friend with disrespect?
What makes any marriage complicated is selfishness. If a marriage is made up of people who want their own way, then you can call it whatever you want and it’s going to be unhealthy.
In an egalitarian marriage, though, the selfishness will be much more obvious because you’ve made a commitment to mutually submit to one another. There is no hiding behind roles. No way to subtly manipulate the other into thinking the “biblical” choice means doing this or acting like this.
So there you go. The horrific reality that David and I face every day in an egalitarian marriage. Loving each other. Respecting each other. Trying to be empathetic. Treating each other with courtesy as any emotionally healthy adults would do.
Now, you can’t unsee this. What will you do with it?
Understand What the Bible Really Says
What’s with Paul and Women?God’s Word to WomenWhat Paul Really Said About Women: The Apostle’s Liberating Views on Equality in Marriage, Leadership, and LoveI Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking I Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient EvidenceHow I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent EvangelicalsPartners in Christ: A Conservative Case for EgalitarianismMan and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters