If I didn’t need an occasional reminder of the following simple points for my own marriage, I would assume you wouldn’t either. But I do, and if you do, here they are:
1. THE FIRST REMINDER is about expressing APPRECIATION. Show enough active interest in your wife to NOTICE things. When she makes your favorite meal, don’t just grunt twice and nod your head. Be explicit in your appreciation. Put as much energy into daily thoughtfulness as you do in other important areas of your life. The rewards of sincere appreciation are great. You knock yourself out five or six days a week just to supply your wife with food, shelter, and clothing, so she ought to KNOW you appreciate her, RIGHT? Don’t be too proud. If that’s ALL YOU DO, you could be replaced by a welfare check. One man said the talk at his office was about how great it was to have wives that stayed home to look after the house, meals and kids. That’s fine. But the person who stayed home to do all that is the one who needs to hear it.
2. THE SECOND THING to remember is AFFECTION. Our hands are quite useful for hugging and holding our wives, that is. Some of us need to learn to touch more freely in tenderness and affection. Children develop a special sense of security in knowing their parents love each other so don’t be afraid to show it openly in front of them. Don’t do it for their sake, but do it to show your real affection for your dear wife. Some women envy the wives who get outward affection from their husbands. Is your wife one of the envious ones? Or does she know you’re anxious to get back to her in the evening? Do you ever take her out to eat just to get her out of the kitchen? Do you ever tuck her in at night? Sound ridiculous? Try it. Do you ever open the car door for her or do you feel she’s tall enough now to do it herself? Well, don’t wait until she’s in a wheel chair. When business takes you away for awhile, write her a love letter. Maybe some of these things are too sentimental for a sophisticate like you. Fine. BUT DO SOMETHING. ADD A LITTLE JOY TO LOVE BY BRINGING HER HAPPINESS.
3. COMMUNICATION IS NEXT. Is there really nothing left to talk about? Actually, there should be more. But most of us don’t take an hour two or three times a week to sit down with our wives JUST TO TALK. WE HAVEN’T GOT THE TIME. NO TIME for the most important person in our life? If we fail to do so we will build little walls between us, very gradually and quite unconsciously. You as the MAN OF THE HOUSE, should be the one to start reversing the trend. Begin by communicating appreciation and affection so that you’ll have a basis for talking about other areas of your lives. Many wives would cry tears of joy just knowing their husbands are really concerned about seeing progress in their marriage. Too often things are allowed to drift indefinitely until the wives reach a breaking point. Don’t let that happen. Talk about the big issues. Talk about the little details. Pray together about your fears and anxieties. And laugh together too.
4. OUR FINAL REMINDER: God wants you to be the leader in your home, recognizing your own subjection to Jesus Christ. One lady says she grows spiritually just trying to keep up with her husband. Too many of us don’t put forth the personal daily effort in spiritual development to be able to lead in our homes, let alone in our assemblies.
A WOMAN NEEDS A MAN HONEST AND TRUE AND BRAVE.
A MAN WHO HATES THE WRONG AND LOVES THE RIGHT.
A MAN WHO SCORNS ALL COMPROMISE WITH SIN.
WHO FOR THE TRUTH COURAGEOUSLY WILL FIGHT.
A WOMAN NEEDS A MAN OF ACTION AND OF FAITH.
WHOSE LIFE IS SOMETHING MORE THAN BRAG AND TALK.
WHOSE WORD SHE TRUSTS BECAUSE HE DARES TO TELL THE TRUTH.
AND PROVES HIS FAITH BY A CONSISTENT WALK.
A CHRISTIAN VIEW OF WOMEN’S LIBERATION by Elizabeth Elliot Leitsh
ON A CLEAR & BEAUTIFUL MORNING ABOUT FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, I was traveling a jungle trail with an Indian man named Monga and a woman named Buika. Buika carried a seventy pound load on her back, a baby in front of her in a barkcloth sling, a package of chicha drink in one hand and a machete in the other. Monga carried his blowgun. When we had walked for perhaps three hours, Buika paused to adjust the tumline across her forehead which bore the weight of the basket on her back. “Why don’t you let Monga carry that basket for awhile?” I asked her. She looked at me startled. Then her face broke into amusement and something like scorn. “Monga?” He couldn’t carry this. He’s a man.” Monga’s face showed silent assent.
ON ANOTHER OCCASION IN THE SAME PART OF THE JUNGLE, I picked up a barbed spear about eight feet long, lifted it above my shoulder as I had seen the men do, and attempted to aim it. “Everybody look at this”, someone shouted. “Woman with a spear!” Sexuality was of enormous interest and importance to the Indians. The lines were drawn DIFFERENTLY than in our society, but they were drawn, and drawn boldly and unequivocally.
THESE INCIDENTS provide some clues to the perspective from which I view the subjects of women and of liberation. Forced to learn the ways of a people far different from myself, I can never again look at any issue of universal importance without reference to those lessons.
THERE ARE OTHER THINGS: I am FIRST OF ALL a CHRISTIAN, which means that EVERYTHING in this world is viewed with REFERENCE TO ANOTHER WORLD. Faith is a two world thing. The working out of that faith brings me into conflict with ideologies which operate only on the secular level. Ideas such as “equality”, “social justice”, and “human rights”, regarded in our times as unarguable imperatives, may in the end prove to be NON CHRISTIAN in their definition. We prostrate ourselves before these idols, uttering the required mumbo jumbo of the sociologists, without ever suspecting that we have surrendered to secularism.
MY PERSPECTIVE is determined not only by my having experienced a radically alien culture, and by my being a Christian, but by a third factor. I have been, in a very narrow sense, “liberated” as I would never have chosen to be liberated. I am twice a widow. In fact, I have been single for more than forty one of my forty eight years.
I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THREE THINGS:
FIRST, A CHRISTIAN VIEW OF WOMEN. We start with our belief in one God, the MAKER of ALL THINGS visible & invisible. There IS an INTELLIGENT CREATOR, A CREATED ORDER, A DESIGN. This design includes a hierarchy of beings including cherubim, seraphim, archangels, angels, man (a little lower than the angels), animals, insects, things like paramecia and microbes. Each creature is assigned its proper position in this scale and glorifies God by being WHAT IT IS. There is NO REASON to believe that a fox glorifies God by wanting to be an archangel. I understand that women, by creation, have been given a place within the human level which is ancillary to that of men, and I am glad of this. The Genesis account calls woman a “help meet” for man. I do not hold all men to be so strong, so intelligent, so competent, and so virtuous or holy that they deserve a superior position. I simply see that their place is not by merit, but by appointment.
The response of the creature to the Creator is OBEDIENCE. Each of us, man or woman, ought to RECOGNIZE HIS POSITION IN THE UNIVERSE. “When I consider thy (creation) what is man that thou art mindful of him?,” wrote the psalmist. The contemplation of all other created things is a great help to the recognition of our own proper significance. WOMAN’S RECOGNITION OF MAN, OR MAN’S OF WOMAN, IS PROFOUNDLY IMPORTANT. We ARE masculine or feminine by creation. We bear the image of God, and are affected in our very identity and in the deepest mystery of our being. True masculinity and true femininity, I believe, are qualities that spring from a consciousness of the place and the power granted us by God the Creator. It is a place which cannot be elevated or lowered, or exchanged with any other creature . The power that belongs to women is a power given, not fought for.
THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF WOMEN. There are slaves, harlots, wives, concubines, mothers, prophetesses, seamstresses, queens, princesses, shepherdesses, and business women. The woman of Proverbs 31 is represented as a woman of great competence, industry, and managerial proficiency. Deborah was a judge and Esther a heathen king’s queen. And of course, at the apex of human history, when the fullness of time was come, a Jewish peasant girl in a Nowheresville called Nazareth was selected to do a job no one but a woman could do. Mary became the bearer of the Saviour of the World. Joseph and Gabriel had their part in the great drama but so far as we know neither protested for equal opportunity. It was Mary’s word, “BEHOLD THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD.” that epitomizes what the attitude should be of ALL the Christian women of the world a voluntary & joyful acceptance of the responsibilities and privileges laid upon us. For the greatest secret of Christianity, the one hidden for centuries but finally revealed, is that every Christian is allowed to be a God bearer CHRIST IN YOU!
EQUALITY IS NOT A CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLE, except insofar as we are objects of grace. There is “neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female”. But these distinctions are not meant to be forgotten altogether. Politically we have to regard people as equals, but it is what C.S.Lewis calls a “legal fiction”. It is always hard to get at just what we mean by equality. It certainly cannot mean that all human beings are equally intelligent or wealthy or polite or interesting or thin. So equality between men & women is a pretty imprecise term.
God created man, and God created woman, and He has endowed each with peculiar functions and gifts. Within each sex He has allowed diversities of operations, that is, diversities of personality, temperament, ability, intelligence, and shape. We all know that some women are more skilled as carpenters or administrators or tire changers than some men, and we know men who are better dishwashers or kindergarten teachers or diaper changers than some women. I can’t see that there’s anything very bad about thinking of women generally as better diaper changers or men generally as better tire changers, so long as we keep in mind that sex is quite irrelevant to certain jobs; and what is TRADITIONALLY KNOWN as jobs for a certain sex MAY NOT BE GOD’S PARTICULAR JOB FOR THAT SEX. Accepting our places means making it our business FIRST to understand the ASSIGNMENT OF GOD, and then, here and now to find out what we’re good at, and if it is NOT AGAINST God’s order to do it.
TO SUMMARIZE; A CHRISTIAN BELIEVES IN A CREATOR WHO MADE EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO A DESIGN. WITHIN HIS DESIGN HE SET A HIERARCHY OF CREATED BEINGS, EACH WITH ITS GIVEN RANK. WOMEN ARE COMPLEMENTARY, NOT COMPETITIVE, TO MEN. WE, TOO, ARE ALLOWED TO GLORIFY GOD AND WE GLORIFY HIM BY BEING WOMEN. THE MORE WOMANLY WE ARE THE MORE PERFECTLY GOD IS PRAISED. BUT WE ARE NOT TO JUDGE “being womanly” by man’s judgment only by God’s Word.
A CHRISTIAN VIEW OF LIBERATION: We are fond of quoting “THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE”, BUT THE ALL IMPORTANT CONDITION IS GENERALLY OMITTED: JESUS’ ACTUAL STATEMENT WAS: “IF YE CONTINUE IN MY WORD, THEN are ye my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (Jn.8:32)
THE FOUNDATION IS THE WORD. It is day by day adherence to that written Word what Jesus called CONTINUANCE, or what we shall call discipline that is the price of freedom. It is not bought cheaply. Liberty depends wholly on obedience. And obedience, of course, is the fruit of LOVE. “If you LOVE ME”, Jesus said, “keep my commandments.” So we can’t talk about liberation unless we talk about love which keeps his commandments. First we must KNOW WHAT THIS TRUTH IS that makes us free. Christianity provides a way of apprehending reality. THE ONLY ROAD TO FULFILMENT, that is to freedom, for human beings, male or female, is an apprehension of what He created us for. I speak of course, as a Christian, which means I believe I was made, and THAT I WAS MADE FOR SOMETHING.
SECOND, we must recognize that freedom, ACCORDING TO CHRISTIANITY, lies always on the far side of discipline. Freedom is often defined as “doing what you want”. Most people imply that doing what they want would entail no restrictions or disciplines. When I have shown pictures of the Auca Indians, people are often impressed by their happiness, their simplicity, and WHAT LOOKS LIKE an idyllic “freedom”. But their survival as jungle Indians is ENTIRELY dependent on their RIGID OBEDIENCE to the laws of the jungle.
A FREE WOMAN IS A WOMAN WHO KNOWS THE RULES AND ABIDES BY THEM. LIBERATION COMES NOT BY BREAKING THE RULES, BUT BY KEEPING THEM. The Christian’s TRUE FREEDOM involves a kind of pride. Pride can be a dirty word, but it can mean faith in God and what He wants to do through you. You can have pride in yourself without faith in God, and this is abomination to God. But you can have pride in what God made you to be, and in your joy in seeing Him carry it out to perfection. This is a very far cry from the sort of pride which says, “We women are as good as you men,” and sets out to demonstrate this in a bogus masculinity. This sort of pride is abomination not only to the Lord, but let’s admit it the most of the rest of us.
MY ACCEPTANCE OF GOD’S ESTIMATE OF ME IS MY OFFERING OF LOVE. He that would be greatest among you, Jesus said, let him be the servant of all. A CHRISTIAN’S VIEW OF LIBERATION is a paradox, contradicting all popular definitions, releasing us to be not just ourselves but far more than ourselves; enabling us to enter into a fullness of life unimaginable to those who do nothing more than their own thing.
AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION: The important distinction that CHRISTIANS MUST MAKE is that in church and home, as opposed to the secular world, WOMEN ARE ASSIGNED A SPECIAL PLACE. In these two domains we return to Reality. Women are treated as women, men as men, both as whole persons, divinely created and divinely gifted, all of us complementary members of a single family and a single body, a mystical body, the Church. This is what Paul calls a great mystery. It is the earthly image of an eternal spiritual reality, enacted on a day to day basis in the individual home, and continually throughout the universal church.
IN THESE TWO SPHERES, church and home, in a degree possible nowhere else, the principle of love is in operation. Here we acknowledge gladly our inequalities. We forget about a power struggle or competition or aggression or even our so called “rights”. WE ACCEPT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER FOR WHAT GOD HAS MADE US.
As in a human body, each member contributes to the good of the whole the hand performs its peculiar function without despising the work of the foot or envying the ability of the eye. One woman may be a corporation lawyer in the world, a devoted wife at home, and a humble communicant at church without violating the design of her Maker. But if IN THOSE PLACES she ignores the revealed design which gives authority to men, she is like people who make you doubt that God had any idea at all in the making of them, or any purpose whatever in the ancient imagery of God as Father, Christ as Bridegroom, the Church as Bride, and the relation of men and women as symbols of tremendous heavenly secrets.
FINALLY: Women are CALLED, as men are CALLED, to DISCIPLESHIP which means obedience, which springs from LOVE. We are given the most perfect freedom, the most glorious fulfillment, in the recognition of God’s will for our lives. “THY WILL BE DONE”, we pray, “on EARTH” (in MY corner of it, in MY life, in doing what you have appointed ME to do, and be what you have chosen ME to be) “THY WILL BE DONE AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.” As He is glorified there, so let us glorify Him here.