We’re back with the guest post series. You can catch up with the genesis of the whole series by following this link Here. Over to Margaret now, the guest on the blog.
Greetings from Texas! Again, I want to thank you for opening your minds and hearing my perspective on this subject of feminism. A young man sent the following question and before I continue to answer the questions from the women, I thought I should answer this one. In answering this question, we still need to return to the starting point of what we each believe. For the women it gives some insight into how men are trying to navigate things in the world today as believers. In this case he is asking some practical things that are important to consider.
Where does a woman draws the line between being independent with a voice to be heard and submitting to her husband’s will? How does she know when she is rightfully on one side and when she is exploiting/being exploited the other?
In my opinion to answer the question, it isn’t either option. Both men and women are entitled to their opinion. Neither person should ever try to exploit the other. Exploitation is not part of God’s plan for marriage. It is counterproductive to the oneness God wants in marriage as a foundation for society. If husbands want to be respected and wives want to be loved, they will develop the skill of listening. They will also ask questions and verify what each other is saying before responding. If you don’t have all the information and make a snap response it may reveal a lack of trust.
Also, it can damage a person’s perceived discernment. Communication both ways is important, so you find unity in all your decisions. This requires commitment, research and digging deeper to know why there is a difference in perspective. When there is mutual accountability and submission to God’s Word, things that dishonor God are minimized. Sometimes one or the other of you are incorrect, disagrees with the timing, or has additional information. When sin of theft, deception or infidelity are involved it is obviously something that dishonors God.
To minimize conflicts, couples need to be open with each other…no secrets! If two people are believers in Jesus, they discuss their beliefs and starting points while they are courting so they determine whether they or like- minded or as the Bible says, “equally yoked.” The main thing is that you agree on the big things in life like the following:
- Do you both believe Jesus to be who He says He is as Lord?
- Do you both believe that the Bible is true and understand who God is and his perspective?
- Do you both believe in eternal life and God’s plan of restoration?
- Do you both believe He created everything and is in control of everything?
- Do you both understand faith in God and trusting God’s results even when it may not be what you thought you wanted?
- Do you both believe in honoring God in all your decisions?
- Do you understand what it means to be a child of God, created in His image?
- Do you understand God’s character and are you able to measure your decisions based on what He would want you to do?
Next there are the practical things that need to be thought about such as:
- Where do you want to live? In the city or village?
- How many children do you want to have?
- Are your thoughts about family planning in agreement?
- Will you both work and have careers?
- How do you feel about sharing household chores?
- Will you have house help?
- What are your dreams? Are they compatible and possible even if different?
- Are your families compatible?
- What are your expectations of each other? (church to attend, work, finances, chores, school, discipline of children, routines, sex)
- How will you handle the finances? Joint checking account? Budget created together?
These are just a few things to consider during the process of courting. The purpose of courting is to determine if you are compatible before you make a mistake and marry before you really know each other. This is the first step before marriage so your expectations of what is ahead are clear. There are other things that come up like politics, religion, tribes, race, and language that may need to be discussed so the history each person brings are (is) understood.
Once you really know someone in these areas you realize whether you want to spend your lives together. Life is full of ups and downs and we never know what is ahead but if you lay a firm foundation of mutual love, respect, a genuine commitment, and friendship you can weather the storms together.
When you research each other honestly early on you know how each other will respond to things. As I mentioned in the beginning, knowing your starting point and what you believe, and your expectations eliminates a lot of conflict and confusion.
If you do find yourself disagreeing on things it is important to ask yourself, “what is the reason behind the disagreement?” Is it pride, control or deception? Sometimes we just want our way. Other times we want to control everything. Often we haven’t verified the information we are hearing from our spouse and draw wrong conclusions. Sometimes you may have legitimate disagreements based on your understanding of Scripture.
When we inquire of the Lord about our decisions and pray together about the issues many times we can come to an agreement. Remember all of the things I am saying are in the context of both the man and woman being believers who want to treat each other in a Christ-like way. This is foundational to starting a great relationship. Both people exhibit the fruits of the spirit towards each other.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 New International Version (NIV)
Unfortunately, there are marriages and relationships that are not researched or based on a Biblical foundation of unconditional love and respect. This is where we see physical and emotional abuse at times and infidelity. Sin and deception are usually the root causes of breakups and pain. God is not in the picture and it is a spiritual issue that is impacted by the condition of the heart. The only way to change the heart is to seriously consider who Jesus is and why He died for us. It is important to realize we need a savior before we can come out of a deceived condition of the heart. Then freedom from guilt and pain goes away.
To get to the bottom-line answer, it depends on many variables and the causes of the conflicting views. God values each person and has a personal relationship with the man and the woman in the relationship. Both people in the relationship should hold each other accountable to godly standards of behavior so both honor God. Discernment of things by both people comes by understanding God’s character and perspective on things. God reveals these things in the Bible. Without knowing the specifics of a situation, it is hard to answer the question except in a broader way.
Margaret Noblin, The Rock Outreach-US 501c3/The Rock Kingdom LTD-Uganda NGO. Email me at email@example.com