Submission in Christian Marriage

Submission in Christian Marriage

Hear the word “submission” and “marriage” in the same sentence and you probably feel something visceral rising up inside your soul. Your heart may explode with anger, terror, or guilt, or collapse in hopelessness and resignation. Surely that’s not what God meant when He used those words together in the New Testament. So what should submission in Christian marriage look like?

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When Your Past Complicates Intimacy

When Your Past Complicates Intimacy

People who research such things say that somewhere around 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have been sexually abused in some way. And then there are many who received distorted messages about intimacy as they were growing up, or who became caught up in unhealthy sexual relationships. Those experiences have long-lasting consequences. When so much of your past complicates intimacy it seems a miracle for any marriage to be sexually functional.

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Responding to #MeToo with More than a Hashtag

Responding to #MeToo with More than a Hashtag

Gretchen Carlson. Alyssa Milano. Angelina Jolie. Katie Couric. Lady Gaga. Beth Moore. Kay Warren. Thousands of women from every walk of life have responded #MeToo, identifying their sad and painful history of sexual harassment, sexual trauma, sexual violation. The use and abuse of women is not a new problem, and being a Christian is no protection. #MeToo is more than a hashtag; it’s about real people.

Women have in many ways born more than their fair share of trauma and violation ever since Eve listened to the serpent. Perhaps that’s because the enemy knew then, and knows now, that it was through a woman that the Savior would come. And it is through women today that God is bringing and nurturing new life in every corner of God’s world. We’re not talking about simply babies, but life in every sense of the word. Life in the Spirit. Fully Alive.

The current groundswell of #MeToo raises questions about healthy marriage, or any healthy relationships between men and women. Are there any? Are men just raw brutes, and women’s only recourse is to get nasty? Can godly marriages function where so much trauma, violation, and depravity thrive? Are the millions of #MeToo women ever to be free from the wounds caused by such violation?

Yes, it is possible. But only by the grace of God.

Jesus offers redemption to all – to the woman wounded and violated and feeling unprotected, to the man immobilized by fear as a result of #MeToo culture, to the woman locked inside a hard shell of violent feminism as a response, to the man broken and ashamed after being a vehicle of intimidation or violation.

Here are a few things to understand and ways to respond as Christians who believe in redemption and marriage even in a #MeToo culture.

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When Is It Abuse?

When Is It Abuse?

God designed marriage to be a transformative, healing, growth-producing, fulfilling relationship full of intimacy and love. In our sinful messed-up world that doesn’t always happen. Some would say marriages fulfilling God’s design this way are a true exception. But how bad is bad enough? Your marriage may be troubled, but when is it abuse?

More marriages end because of neglect than trauma. Simply because you are unhappy or your spouse is not meeting your needs does not equal abuse. Yet the reality remains that some marriages do involve serious and damaging abuse even among Christians. What then?

The troubled spouses I talk with tend to fall into two categories. There are those who are unhappily married and are consciously or unconsciously maximizing their spouse’s bad behavior almost hoping it qualifies as abuse so they can feel less guilty about leaving. If you’re in a marriage like this you have certainly suffered wounds from your spouse, and your misery is real.

Another category are those spouses, usually wives, who are struggling in a destructive marriage that is truly abusive. They feel powerless to leave because of physical threats, extreme psychological control, and/or toxic religious pronouncements around submission. “God hates divorce” has been forged into a chain and used as a weapon of control and destruction.

As Leo Tolstoy’s Ana Kerenina begins, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Your marriage is unique, and only you and God know the realities you are living with. But these ideas can help you understand whether or not your own marriage is abusive. Looking at the truth may be difficult, but it can also be liberating.

Here are some things to consider in asking, when is it abuse?

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5 Things Your Husband Needs From You

5 Things Your Husband Needs From You

So many people look at marriage as a way to get their own needs met. In a godly healthy marriage you will have many needs met. But as an adult, as a believer, and as a wife, you will be much happier, more satisfied, and find more success in your marriage if you focus more of your efforts on what your husband needs from you rather than first seeking to get your own needs met.

Your husband is responsible for his own behavior. Always. But as his wife you have much more influence and “power” in your relationship than you probably realize. You are fully equal to your husband in the sight of God, but He has given you a role and responsibility in your husband’s life that is unique.

For your own sake, pay attention to these 5 things your husband needs from you. These are needs that no one else can meet to the degree that you as his wife can. Meeting some of these needs may feel unnatural to you, but just do it. Don’t worry about doing it perfectly. But if you proactively seek to understand and meet these needs in your husband you can be the catalyst God uses support him in becoming the man God created him to be.

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