This past year has seen an unprecedented attack against marriage. I could be despondent, but I’m not. I think we’re headed for a great revival. As the song says, “I feel it in my spirit, feel it in my bones.” Yet I don’t need to rely solely on my knee joints. Turn on the news, and you’ll see that support for traditional marriage is rising, at the same time as divorce is dropping.
To win this culture war, though, Christians need to shine. But statistics show that our divorce rate is almost the same as the general population’s.
According to post-divorce surveys, most divorces are instigated by women who feel “taken for granted.” If we’re going to fight to preserve our marriages, then, we need to address this feeling women often experience. Part of the problem, I think, is that many women misunderstand servanthood. Women have traditionally been the servants of the world, so serving is often instinctual. This does not mean, however, that we instinctively do it right!
We Serve in the Wrong Way
Too often women don’t just serve; we become subservient. If your 10-year-old son arrives home from school and drops his coat and backpack on the floor before retreating into his room, and then you pick them up, you’re teaching him to be unChristlike. Not only that, but he doesn’t even notice he’s being disrespectful because he never has to deal with the consequences. And if he doesn’t recognize his own failings, how can he come to a place of repentance? If we do the same for our husbands, our chance at having a marriage relationship characterized by mutual respect and admiration is severely limited, endangering not only our own family but our children’s future marriages as well.
Respect is Crucial to Model Christ
As Christians, is it okay to command respect? When I talked about this on a radio show recently, one caller challenged me that women should not want respect as they are to submit. But I think this misunderstands the purpose of both respect and submission. If people do not respect you, it will be very hard for you to model Christ to them, whether you’re male or female. If you teach them that you will always rescue them, you are teaching them that they do not need to be responsible for themselves. Without this insight, how can they grasp their need for salvation?
Point People to God
We submit out of love, but the greatest love is to point people to God. We should serve to bring people closer to Christ, not to drive them away. If our relationships aren’t doing that, it’s time for a relationship overhaul.