For whatever reason, as of late I have been hearing and talking a lot about gender roles, especially within marriage. Along the same subject, I've been hearing a lot about gender conflicts within marriage. I have noticed that there is a lot of conflict on the truth of the subject and a lot of disagreement about the properties and foundations of gender in general.
I will say straight out that unless you are a theist, or at least are open to the authority of scripture, you probably won't like what I have to say because the culture we live in has twisted the very nature of gender roles and those two words used in the same sentence are usually considered blasphemy by today's 'progressive' standard.
The Bible is quite clear on the roles of men and women in today's world. It is clear we were built for different things and Scripture affirms that. Unfortunately, society has twisted and obscured the words of scripture both those who subscribe to it and those who don't. Here is a passage from Ephesians 5 that is commonly used (by men) to describe gender roles in marriage:
"22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."
Many men for many years have been using passages like this as an excuse to exert some sort of dominance over women. The first reaction I have to that line of thinking is that when I look at Christ's relationship to the Church, I don't see a relationship of dominance and slavery. We have free will and Christ loves us no matter what sin we fall into. Jesus does not come down from heaven and beat us when we mess up. Just as a husband should not beat his wife when she doesn't subscribe to his will as he sees fit. The second reaction I have to this absurd logic is the context of scripture that is often overlooked. Here is the next passage:
"25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."
No, this does not mean tough, punishing love. It means when you beat your wife, you beat yourself spiritually. "...just as Christ...gave himself up for her..." is a profound and beautiful image. Christ died for us and Paul is telling husbands to love their wives in the same way.
But we see more than just beating women in the context of gender conflict. We see constant dominion from men and rebellion from women. The word 'submit' has been turned into a curse word by today's culture and monogamous sex is a form of slavery now.
I remember vividly the first time I saw the Vagina Monologues and I got my first insight into what women in this culture are being told. Its pretty obvious why, but women find submission and the sex that goes along with it to be a sort of slavery. Its not surprising when men treat them like slaves. But what I see now, as an absolutely wrong reaction, is women now degrading men. Complaining about the lack of orgasms during sex, how ignorant and stupid men are, they can only think with their penises, and, in other words, building a mindset that is interested in self satisfaction above all else and until you find a guy that meets the standard of pleasure you want, you are going to find pleasure wherever else you can.
I was told once during a lecture by Mrs. Debbie Brezina, a renowned speaker, that "Feminists believe that the family is a tool of oppression." And, as follows, chauvinists believe its a tool of oppression as well. I would say that many men subscribe to the latter, but there is no doubt that the dominant 'truth' that the culture currently heralds is the former.
Mrs. Brezina also said "The feminists push for divorce forcefully to force women into the workplace." This is obviously reactionary to mans abuse of women as a result of misconstruing scripture for their own benefit, but nonetheless, we now see the attempted destruction of gender roles and family not through enlightenment, but rather through conflict that has entered a stalemate. We see in this culture that man's abuse of his position and woman's abuse of hers has started a long conflict that seems to be approaching a point where man has decided to abandon his position and woman has decided to take one of self-preservation and self-interest.
We have exchanged a model where women love their husbands and submit to them above themselves and where husbands love their wives so that they would die for them for a model where men use their wives and where women don't submit to their husbands, or anyone for that matter.
Having touched on the roles of gender within marriage and family (and its corruption), I will be publishing two more notes on the roles of man and woman specifically as individuals in order to further explore and build the topic. I am writing the note on masculinity and I will be working with my first ever guest writer, Ms. Emma McVey, who will be writing on femininity.