Marriage and Family | CBE International

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Marriage and Family

Meredith Flory
The same year my husband was in the process of enlisting in the military, I was studying the Bible with a group of women on Wednesday evenings. I don’t remember the exact study, but at one point we were to read a passage in the New Testament about heroes of the faith, probably Hebrews 11. This is a long list of people from the Old Testament who made an impact on history by their faith in an unseen God. We were to choose one person that we admired, felt inspired by, or related to and write about them. I say people, but truth be told, this is primarily a list of men. When a woman is included, the language is passive and is focused on her reproductive power (for example, Sarah “was enabled to bear children,” Heb. 11:11, NIV). While reading, I was drawn to this verse: By fai... Read more
Editor's Note: This is a Top 15 CBE Writing Contest Winner. Imagine this scenario with me: A husband in his sixties hurls physical threats and curses at his wife daily. She walks a fine line to avoid aggravating him to the point of violence. The empathy and thoughtfulness that had long been natural between them evaporated. She celebrates important dates without his acknowledgment. He is demanding and seldom shows appreciation; he never says, “thank you,” nor considers the stress he creates. He regularly threatens divorce. He called 911 to have them “take care of her.” This situation escalates over ten years. Would you stay in this marriage? This is my story, but the man I describe is not the same man I married, even though he appears the same and recognizes t... Read more
Holly Fletcher
Editor's Note: This is one of the Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy! Here’s a hypothetical situation to consider: You and your spouse and family move to a new town. You find a church and decide to place membership there. A few years down the road, you learn you have a strong disagreement with the church’s position on women’s roles. Additionally, the church’s views on women’s roles are having a negative impact not only on you but also on your children—specifically your daughters. However, your spouse really likes this church, especially the senior minister’s preaching style. But you want to leave and find another church. Who decides whether you stay or go? During my growing up years, I spent many hours sitting in a church pew. In thos... Read more
Summer is over and school is (or is about to be) back in session! For many moms and dads around the US, the end of summer break is something to celebrate. It means a new routine for families and exciting experiences and opportunities for students, especially first-time students. Sending our kids to school should be a joyous thing. In school, children learn positive lessons about agency, pride, respect, loyalty, creativity, independence, and friendship. But school can also be a place where children learn or experience negative things—like sexism and body shame. It's important to let go and give kids space to learn and grow, but parents should also make sure they’ve prepared their children to be safe, healthy, and successful at school. All parents—and especially egali... Read more
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
Sarah Lindsay
In mid-December, an article was published on the Desiring God website titled “Husbands, Get Her Ready for Jesus.” Written by a Philadelphia pastor named Bryan Stoudt, this piece argues that husbands have a responsibility to challenge and correct their wives in order to keep them on course through the path of sanctification. For Stoudt, husbands have a unique responsibility for their wives’ sanctification, a responsibility that wives do not share for their husbands. He describes this responsibility as “the staggering privilege of getting our wives ready for Jesus, their true husband.” This is indeed a staggering responsibility to lay on the shoulders of husbands. Indeed, we might call it a staggering burden, much like the ones Jesus accuses the Pharisees of l... 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

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