Originally posted in Rabyd Theologian 2.0 on June 6th, 2011.
Probably the most significant thing that Jesus and the Apostles do to the understanding of marriage is they very much elevate the status of women in it. The fact is that one Jesus starts talking about divorce in Matthew 19 and other places the fact is seen that the bride is not to be treated with contempt but respect. Paul’s Jesus/Church equals Bride/Groom also puts woman at a far higher level that much of the Old Testament does. By restoring the idea of spiritual covenant, Jesus and the other apostles actually put women back at equal levels with their husbands in most cases.
This has an impact on how men are to treat their wives. Namely looking at one’s wife like Adam first looked at Eve. Not as some thing attached to my life to help my ego, but as a fellow traveller on the road of life and bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh – part of himself. It means to love her no matter what. I know this can be frustrating at times but you have a good counselor. Jesus I am sure relates to husbands with difficult wives seeing His wife is the church and she can be difficult at times.
It also impacts how women should view themselves in there marriage. Viewing themselves as responsible to be images of what the church should be toward Christ is a great responsibility and equal to that of their husbands. In many ways this idea puts women on equal footing in ever area except one and it is the most significant – authority.
The one thing that neither Jesus nor the apostles change is the issue of authority in a marriage. Man is still the head of woman; The husband is still in authority over the wife. Paul’s explanation of this in First Timothy chapter 2 is basically that woman was created for the man, not the other way around. Man ultimately was created to fulfil God’s purpose and woman is there to help man achieve that purpose. Men thus have the final say in what happens. That being said, the one thing that is also clear is that submission cannot be forced. A woman must willfully and freely choose to be under her husbands authority. For a husband to force his authority on his wife would be an act without love. At the same time, for a woman not to submit to her husband would be a sin both against her husband and God. The choice is however the wife’s to make, just like it is a choice for a husband to be under the authority of God and love his wife.
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