Don't Bet on Your Roles
by mike poff
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Too many people inside and outside the church world, seem to view marriage as little more than a hopeful roll of the dice. If you miss your number this time, absorb the loss and try another toss. The esteemed Barna Group assures us that there is no difference in the divorce rate for “Born-Again” and “non Born-Again” people, 35% of both Groups have at least one divorce under their belt. I can only guarantee two things. It is a sure bet God is not getting any Glory in our performance. It is a bad bet if in the quest for a Godly mate and marriage you put your faith on the roles.
In the time my wife and I have spent working with individuals and couples I have encountered an oft repeated complaint; it goes a bit like this. “If he would just lead, be the Godly man of this house then I could…” and the flipside “She just won’t submit to me, if she would be a Godly submitted wife then I could…” In nearly all cases it is the one’s fault in not fulfilling their “role” that holds the other back from fulfilling their “role”. What we try to stress to these spit spatters is that there is probably little wrong with their mates just with the role someone convinced you they should be playing and how you are relating to each other because of it.
Much of this misunderstanding goes back to Ephesians 5:22-33. So go get a Bible because I am not reprinting all the coming references in this article! Yes, women are to submit to their husbands as unto Christ. What gets muddled is the next verse. The Husband is her head AS Christ is the head of the church and savior of the Body. Now guys, let look at this with out cultural or self serving bias shall we?
Christ ascended to the Father remember, John 20:17 and he is interceding before the Father, Romans 8:34, in joint effort with the indwelling Holy Spirit, Romans 8:26-28 to work things to our good as our high priest, Hebrews 4:14-16 to allows us mercy and grace in times of need to accomplish God’s purpose in us. Now chew on that awhile.
Christ is the spiritual head of the church. He is in the Third Heaven entering the Most Holy by his shed blood, petitioning the Father on our behalf. He is not handling budgets, attending leadership meetings, mapping out giving or growth strategies or being bogged down in the hands on stuff. Remember we are to be trained and equipped for all this? See my last article on the Holy Spirit for an update. He is in fact The Master delegator, empoweror, healthy environment creator and perfect example in this and all areas of life.
So our wives should submit to our spiritual leadership expressed in our Priestly faithfulness to seek God prayerfully and in cooperation with His will and purposes, jointly with her and the Holy Spirit in her. All towards fruitfulness as expressed in His word. Peace, Love, Joy…, Galatians 5:22-23. This is so much more demanding than just pretending to be a Jesus loving General Patton and an over all macho righteous ruler wanna-be.
What about the hands on stuff? God used no cookie cutters when he made us and knew us before the foundations of the world were laid. Every individual has God given gifts, talents and temperaments that are ours. They are given to meet those specific plans, purposes and Divine Appointments that have been set before us. To be a successful, dynamic Christian couple two people have to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and their mates. Then they must embrace and emphasis the strong points and understand and minimize the weak spots.
One tool I encountered in the six months of pre marital counseling my wife and I did some sixteen years ago was a personality assessment on a D.I.S.C. model. If you go to www.discinsights.com you will find an overwhelming list of resources. Go to the non-profit/small group section and you will find “The Biblical Profile”. This is an excellent tool to get a read on how God made your personality and how he used similar folks in the Bible to His Glory. There are free sights as well if you search DISC on any search engine. None of these are magic bullets, but they are helpful in better grasping who and what you and your mate are and are not as you work out the best blend. Seek Godly council if you need it though, self help can be self deceiving.
About the hands on stuff. In mutual consultation, if you are a detail or goal gifted person you should handle the planning and detailed stuff. If your mate is relationally and service motivated they should over see relating and serving also in mutual consultation. Use you giftings with wisdom. A “men must lead” mentality that is not grounded in love is a breeding ground for resentments, insecurities and abusive roles. Do not let preconceived notions or patterns that have failed in the past make your marriage unmanageable. Most roles are for actors. Married life is much better with few dramas and little tragedy. Though an occasional comedy can be refreshing as long as we are laughing at ourselves.
Come one step further with me if you will? Ephesians 5:25-33. Now this is our part guys. We are to love our wives as Christ loved the church. Boil it down and that means sacrificially! Matthew 20:28. We must love, cherish and serve our wives. We are in fact accountable for her spiritual growth. We must know her and place before her the recourses, and opportunities that will have her using what God put in her successfully to His Glory and our marriage and families best benefit as well.
By leading the charge towards blending two people into one flesh that maximizes strength, minimizes weakness and most glorifies our Lord. We can show the world what they are desperate to see. Loving, successful, functional families. Husbands and wives who work and serve best together and stay that way. If you must have a role, this is the one we as Christian couples are called to and Christian men as husbands are meant to be the leaders in.
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This is lovely and true. God established the institution of marriage to work and we must allow Him to help work it out and be successful.