Head and Heart

5 Apr

74

Rather than simply rail on what marriage isn’t, I want to take some time discussing what I feel it should be. Because, let’s face it, this is going to be a discussion of ideals, I’m going to describe the “should be” as “is.”

I’ve talked to people whose biggest issue with the Bible is that it seems to imply that women are inferior to men. I disagree. That interpretation comes primarily from men who misunderstand and misuse Scripture’s charge for, among other things, wives to obey husbands. They reach that point and stop. They don’t read on to the part where Paul urges, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” If a husband is actively giving of himself to his wife, cherishing, nourishing, loving (as the rest of the passage goes on to state), then that is the correct time for a wife to “obey” or “submit.” An abusive or greedy husband has no right to expect loyalty from his wife.

Marriage is primarily a partnership, a meeting of equals in which each party plays a specific role. The role of the husband is basically that of a facsimile Christ. His duty is to be the provider, the redeemer, the servant. The servant. That’s where a lot of men fall short (myself included). Our part is not to make demands on our wives, but to ease their own burdens. I don’t mean that women should expect to be waited on hand and foot by their husbands all the time – that’s a one-way relationship. But once in a while? Sure. Guys, pick up after yourselves. Rub your wife’s shoulders. Put in the long hours at work so she can follow her own dreams, be that raising children, growing a garden, or selling Mary Kay.

So what is the wife’s role? Well, one of the first things God said is that a man should not be alone. He then sent a helper. This is another one of those sticky points for certain people. “Helper” implies an inferiority. But the payoff for this reference comes much later, when Christ refers to the Holy Spirit as a Helper. No one in their right theological mind would argue that the Spirit is inferior to God. Indeed, how could a thing be inferior to itself? And if “two have become one flesh,” how could one part of that flesh be inferior to another? The Spirit is, however, subordinate to the other two Persons (if my theology is correct. Let me know if it’s not). Subordination does not mean inferiority.

Think of your own body. You have a head (the husband is “the head of his household”). You make most decisions with your head. But you also have other influences in your body. Your heart leads you to make many decisions as well. This is, I believe, a very good picture of a marriage relationship. The head (husband) and heart (wife) are dependent on the other, cannot exist without the other, but in the end, the heart is subordinate to the head. When my emotions are keyed up, I can choose to follow my instincts. That would generally lead to unpleasantness, so I let my head work through the consequences of my actions and tell my heart to back off a little. Other times, my head might be telling me that a thing is logically unsound but my heart tells me it’s morally right. In that case, I need to (and I hate myself for using these exact words) follow my heart.

In my picture of marriage here, I see two figures represented: Christ and the Spirit. That leaves the Father. I believe that the Father Himself is the Father figure in this relationship, made accessible by the Son and made comprehensible by the Spirit. Without His direction and guidance, our marriages are mere legal formalities.

-Forrest Johnson

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Forrest Roy Johnson is a Minnesotan exiled to Iowa. His fiction has been featured in The Whole Mitten, Miracle Ezine, and Fiction365. Other fiction is upcoming in Kzine and HelloHorror. Visit uncomfortableopinions.blogspot.com to read thoughts on culture, religion, and other things thathe might have on his mind. Visit wild-and-sweet.blogspot.com to see what he’s working on in terms of living a sustainable lifestyle.
Image via Tyler Hoehne

4 Responses to “Head and Heart”

  1. For the Love of God April 5, 2013 at 18:47 #

    I think of of the issues many men have is that they dont know how to be the head of the household. Ive been walking with Christ for 13 years and the first time I heard of it put in the correct context of my authority was 3 years ago. Great post though!

  2. oliviaenglish111 April 5, 2013 at 18:53 #

    This is a really good post on marriage.
    I’m not married yet but when I do, I pray
    my husband will be the head of our home
    and I’ll be submissive and that both of us
    will follow what God intended marriage to be. I’m really glad they are still men out there
    who believe and obey God’s plan on marriage.

  3. Don Johnson April 11, 2013 at 12:48 #

    I am egalitarian. You make several assertions based on a flawed understanding of what the Bible actually teaches. If you want to discuss, just ask.

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