Friday, March 10, 2017

Marriage is not An Airplane (Or a Football Game)

Some guy I never heard of wrote a blog post in response to the "Day Without a Woman" which was held across the country this week. Some women opted to miss work in hopes of showing their boss, patients, students, customers, etc., what it would be like if they were not there.

While I personally would not participate in something like that, others who choose to do so are certainly well within their legal rights. There might be other repercussions, however, like if their boss fires them for not showing up, etc. Anyway, this guy I never heard of who wrote the blog post has quite a few things wrong in his blog post.

In the context, he wrote about marriage. He said men should "man up" and "put their foot down," presenting an idea of a dictatorial boss who has the right, even obligation, to tell his wife what to do. He said (I paraphrase) that people rejoice when a woman "puts her foot down" but reject the same phrase/idea for men. He said people who "oppose male leadership in the home don't oppose it on egalitarian grounds despite what they claim." He said, "They don't actually think that husbands and wives should be leaders equally. They believe, rather, that the wife should be the leader." More on this in a minute.

He went on to compare marriage to piloting and airplane....then to a football game.

Trouble is, marriage is not an airplane, nor is it a football game. No wonder he's struggling so much with his perceived "leadership;" he has no understanding of marriage.

First of all, he does not and cannot speak for egalitarians. He tried to here, but he's dead wrong and clearly does not understand egalitarians. I suspect he's never studied the idea since it's an obvious threat to someone like him. Also, his clear misrepresentation of egalitarian relationships shows his ignorance.

I want to address just a few of his points.

The reason people cringe when a man says he's going to put his foot down but don't when a woman says the same is, women are usually "putting their foot down" to protect themselves from some form of abuse, or to protect their children, whereas men are "putting their foot down" to control someone else just so they have control. Women rarely "put their foot down" to control someone else unless that someone is abusing them and, in that, she's really controlling what happens to her. Men "put their foot down" to control the family. A wife is not a subordinate, but to suggest that a man can and should from time to time "put his foot down," assumes the wife is a subordinate as though she needs someone to tell her what to do.

Secondly, marriage can't be adequately compared to an airplane because we can't designate one person as the pilot and the other as the co-pilot in a marriage. Flying an airliner is not like marriage. Yes, the pilot and co-pilot of the plane have to have a mutual understanding of the plane, but a plane flies by extremely stringent rules and regulations. Both the pilot and co-pilot receive specific training, the exact same training, actually. Marriage is not filled with stringent rules and regulations; no one is telling a husband or wife where to sit.

Thirdly, marriage can't be adequately compared to a football game, either. Certainly a QB often does the job of a running back and scores touchdowns. No one stops him and tells him that's not his role. As a matter of fact, anyone at all who gets hold of the ball and makes a touchdown is praised. No one cares if making the touchdown is not in their job description.

Fourth, a man does not have to set the course for his marriage because God has already done so. They, together are to nuture their relationship, equally, with a common goal in mind. What is that common goal? To love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves. That is all.

He said there have to be some set ideas about who does what and why in a marriage. As someone who has been married for 37 years and raised 8 kids with my husband, I find this very confusing. Over the years, we never stuck to designated roles out of the need for inequality in our marriage. I do the cooking, but not because I am a woman and, therefore, belong in the kitchen. I do the cooking for 2 reasons: I like cooking and I'm better at it then he. However, he can get a meal for himself and makes his own lunch to take to work, etc. If I'm not home to cook, he won't starve and I'm not failing in my "role." He's a grown man, he can feed himself. Oh, and it's not my job to tell him what to eat, either. I put out healthy meals; the choice to eat it or not is his. If he wants to eat brownies and ice cream instead, he's free to do so.

He does major home repairs. Not because he's the man and only men should handle hammers; he does major home repairs because he knows how and is better at them than I. However, I do have my own toolbox and all my own tools so I can do things like hang pictures and assemble furniture, etc. Our roles may have been defined over the years, but they are not defined by any Biblical standard, they have been defined by need and ability. We are simply two people getting family life done, either one of us picking up the perceived role of the other at any given time and getting it done.

The points in this guy's blog post are contradictory to what he's suggesting as a practice. On the one hand, he advises husbands to "put their foot down," then tells them they are to die to themselves. Well, which is it? If we die to our own selfish desires, when would we ever put our foot down, and for what? If a man "puts his foot down" and "forbids" his wife from doing something like taking a day off to show solidarity to a cause he may not agree with, he is not dying to himself; he's forcing her to behave as he sees fit. Sharia Law, anyone?

If I really touched all the points I disagree with this man on, this blog post would be too long. It might already be too long. Need marriage advice? Here's the best marriage advice you will ever get:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; 
and love your neighbor as yourself. 

Forget about the "roles" that people like the blogger try to put you in. Successful marriages are made up of people who don't hesitate to pick up and do whatever it takes to keep the family running without keeping track of whose "role" they thought each task fell to.

Seriously, who does that? Who sets "roles" and lives their life to make sure those roles are fulfilled in the way they perceive they ought to be? Who keeps track of that? If a man is truly "manning up," he's realizing he is no more his wife's authority than she is his and they treat each other with mutual love, respect and submission. News flash, guys: Your wife is an adult; you're not her boss.


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