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Thursday, February 18, 2010
If you missed part one of this series on The Audacity of the Bridal Paradigm, you might want to go back and read it now.

Beyond the fact that Ephesians 5 actually has nothing to do with the question of equality, I have several problems with even using equality as the measuring stick for marriage. It’s a benign and lofty goal, one that seems to ensure fairness to all. The problem is that the term is mostly distorted to connote androgyny, the ridiculous notion that there is absolutely no difference between men and women and therefore all roles in the relationship should be completely interchangeable. As much as militant feminism would like to promote this notion, common sense tells you androgyny is a dangerous myth. Ever heard of the book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?” It’s common knowledge that men and women are just two different creatures from the same creator (thank you God!).

My other issue with making equality the goal in marriage is that by its very nature it sets up a kind of negative, self-centered, score-keeping competition. It begs questions like, “Am I winning here?” “How much am I getting? Whatever it is, it better be as much as or more than you.” “You got X, so I get Y. It’s only fair.” The problem with such questions and statements is that they actually make no sense when you consider the “profound mystery” that the husband and wife actually one entity.

You see I’m a strong believer in the idea of being “one flesh,” and it’s an integral part of the bridal paradigm. And I don’t think the term just refers to sex, either. It’s a mysterious union that is part physical, part spiritual and part soul. If the two are really one, which is really the ideal goal, it is not possible for one to win and the other to lose. Whenever a wife increases in some aspect of her life, he benefits along with her. Likewise if a husband increases in some area of his life, she does as well. It’s not a zero-sum game. It’s an inextricable link that makes no sense to separate into competitive halves. (Part of this mystery is how the two can be one without losing either person’s individual identity – a topic for another post at some point.)

Now to be perfectly clear, by refuting the notion of equality I am absolutely not talking about equality of human value or the intrinsic worth of a person. In God’s eyes men and women are completely equal in those important relational aspects, and so it should be in our eyes as well.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about how equality does or doesn’t make sense in light of the bridal paradigm and a one-flesh mentality.

Next in Part 3: Why does the man have to be the leader? Can’t we be an equal partnership?


Anonymous said...

Great wording on an often difficult and misunderstood subject. What has helped me to clarity in this 'equality' debate is that there is a difference between who I am and what I do. All men (and women) are equal in the eyes of God - this is who I am. But what I do while I'm here on earth is not an equality issue - it is a "being chosen" issue. I'm a married woman - this is my "do." The fact that Jesus Christ's "do" was to be executed - did not change the fact that He was completely God.

Scott said...

Robyn, I like your distinction between who I am and what I do. Very helpful. Thanks.

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