The introduction of the word “submission” into a Christian conversation about adult human relations immediately strikes different responses. For some Christians, submission is a happy word describing the proper biblical relation of a wife to her husband or of a woman, whether married or single, to the males in the church congregation.
In the final panel discussion, each author reflected briefly on how the pain and suffering that many women feel when their gifts and callings are muzzled can legitimately lead to correcting our reading and/or application of Scripture.
As I wrote this article, I was en route to a conference for Air Force Reserve chaplains. Only three hours before, I received a call from my baby's pre-school. They informed me that my daughter was running a fever and needed to go home. I rushed to pick her up, take her to the pediatrician, and drop her and her antibiotics prescription off with my husband so I could get to the airport in time to catch my flight.
Although the issue of low self-esteem in women often headlines glossy magazines, we the church, and complementarian and egalitarian alike, are responsible for addressing it. But women’s low self-esteem is directly related to the church’s theology of gender as well as how we read Scripture.
We live in a world brimming with competition. This can be seen through the widely enjoyed form of sports, or in the competing (and not so enjoyable) cultural standards for beauty. Desire for success even leads to aggressively competitive relationships in the workplace. No matter where one turns today, the main message seems to be “Get to the top no matter the cost.”
A “husband trump card” can be an excuse to not do the important relational work of communicating with each other, compromising, and resolving conflict together. It can also foster a dangerous power imbalance in marriages, making husbands and wives opponents instead of partners.
Not all tradition is bad; honoring the past can be a beautiful thing. Each of us gets to decide what traditions we do and don’t incorporate in our day. Yet, I do think egalitarian couples have a unique chance to challenge the typical wedding narrative.
Try as we might, there is no way to equally share the joys and struggles of carrying a child, giving birth, and breastfeeding. When my husband and I were ready to grow our family, I wondered how we would be able to maintain our nontraditional gender roles and split work equally.