Marriage and Family | CBE International

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Marriage and Family

Life doesn’t come with a manual, and neither does marriage. Whether we’re making difficult decisions, entering new seasons, or dealing with unexpected changes, most of us married folks are just figuring it out as we go. Doing life with your spouse can be tricky, especially in a culture that places unnecessary and unbiblical burdens on women. Thankfully, we can look to Scripture for tips on what a healthy, equal partnership Christian marriage looks like. Here are three reminders for egalitarian couples that have been extremely helpful to me on my own marriage journey. 1. Submit to Christ Many Christians quote Ephesians 5:22-23 out of context, focusing only on the command for wives to submit to their husbands. First of all, this passage is already radical because it speaks... Read more
If you’ve spent any time in church (or studying the New Testament text), you’ve heard of the famous couple, Priscilla and Aquila. Biblical narratives centered on co-laboring couples like Priscilla and Aquila have always excited me. Long before I met my husband, I envisioned a marriage of mutuality and shared ministry. Most of the marriages around me didn’t function that way. I was used to the Pinterest standard for ministry wives—dresses cute; does arts-and-crafts; bakes cookies from scratch; makes parenting look easy; and has dinner ready when the husband comes home hungry and tired from a day of ministry. While I genuinely think that’s a beautiful reality for women who feel fulfilled by it, it just isn’t me or my reality. I’ve never done a seri... Read more
Growing up in a complementarian, Baptist church environment, I thought I knew exactly what God expected a Christian wife to be. I was confident that a good Christian wife keeps her house clean and orderly; it is to be her hard-working husband’s haven. She ensures that her husband comes home to a homemade meal every evening. She stays out of the financial affairs of the home because her husband is the breadwinner. She obeys him without question. She supports him no matter what. She does not complain. She does not rebel. She is her husband’s faithful (albeit often silent and invisible) helper. I am an introverted people-pleaser and a rule-following perfectionist. From a very early age, I eagerly awaited the day when submissive and total obedience to my husband would become my jo... Read more
This article was contributed on behalf of the CBE Voices of Color chapter, a CBE chapter specifically devoted to amplifying the voices of people of color in the egalitarian conversation. We’re grateful for their work. The church has long overemphasized male sexuality in marriage. In prioritizing the male sexual experience at the expense of the female sexual experience, the church has contributed significantly to gender inequality. Pastors seldom preach specifically about marital sex. But when they do, few offer a balanced perspective that equally considers men’s and women’s experiences. Instead, most choose a one-sided, male perspective on marital sexuality, or they fail to ask actual women about their experiences. I’ve observed many male pastors preach about the... Read more
When my brother and his wife announced their unexpected pregnancy, my family was shocked. My brother and his now wife have been together for fourteen years, got engaged in January, and married in June. A whole two months later, the couple announced that they were expecting a baby. Timing is a strange thing in their world, and given that they are both almost forty years old, we were rightly shocked. But after the shock wore off, excitement settled in. I immediately felt a strong protectiveness over this new life. I began to think about the sex of the baby and how that might affect the baby's life and experiences. A month later, I received a phone call from my parents, brother, and sister-in-law, all screaming into the telephone, "it's a girl!" I was convinced that... Read more
Recently, Pastor Peter Jones wrote the following tweet: “Conservative mothers whether biological or ‘mothers’ in the church are often a great hindrance to the cultivation of true masculinity.” He then decided to clarify the tweet with this blog post, which I find incredibly insulting to both men and women. His argument should signal a red flag to anyone who follows church leaders who hold these opinions.  In it, he claims that conservative women, while appearing to do everything “right,” are primarily responsible for the stunted masculinity of their sons. In his view, the submission of wives and their seeming respect for their husbands is simply a show for outsiders. Their husbands go along with this charade, knowing they are being manipulated by... Read more
“He’s kicking.” Few words can elicit as much excitement from me these days. A few times a day, my sister rests her hand on her stomach and proclaims my new favorite phrase, “He’s kicking.” I try to wait patiently, hoping she’ll grab my hand and place it over the offending limb. Sure enough, when she does, the baby is kicking away. Or dancing. Or boxing. Or finishing up a tough session of power yoga. It’s a strong kick, sure and steady. To me, it feels a bit like a warning. It’s like the siren before a tornado. Here I come, people. I’m a force of nature. It’s going to be beautiful, and a little bit scary, and you can be sure that I’m going to make a mess. Can’t wait, little one. My sister usually says,... Read more
Before I met my husband, I was adamantly opposed to marriage. Much of my aversion to marriage stemmed from the lack of positive earthly examples of it. Because of the brokenness around me, marriage simply did not appeal to me. As a college student, I was indoctrinated with complementarian theology and surrounded by relationships that reflected it. In my Christian community, men were eager to enforce their so-called God-ordained leadership, and women filled their patriarchal (but ambiguously defined) “biblical role.” I saw power struggles, manipulation, passive-aggressiveness, gender jokes, and abuse in the relationships around me and that skewed my perception of marriage. I thought to myself—if what I have been taught is true, and if this is what marriage is suppose... Read more
There we were. My friend and I were drinking coffee, talking about our days, enjoying each other’s company—and then she used a phrase that makes me cringe. My friend, a bright, assertive, and strong leader in our church, referred to her husband as the "priest of the home." In the Old Testament, the Levites served as priests, and their job was threefold—to carry the presence of God with them, to worship God, and to pronounce blessing on their people. They were the spiritual elite. They went into the presence of God on behalf of those deemed unworthy. But Jesus turned the system upside down with his death on the cross. When he breathed his last, the veil separating common man and God’s presence tore from top to bottom, giving everyone equal access and... Read more
Complementarians confidently assert that husbands are the God-ordained leaders of their families. As leaders, they have the right and responsibility to make final decisions in the home. I will refer to this husbandly right as the "last word clause." The "last word clause" is usually derived from verses naming the husband as the head of the wife or verses that command the wife to submit to her husband. But interpreting these passages as granting husbands greater authority in marriage than wives undermines the basic equality of all believers found in Scripture. In the New Testament, husbands are clearly told to love their wives. By contrast, they are never told to lead their wives. With this in mind, let’s consider what 1 Corinthians 13, perhaps the most speci... Read more

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