I have often referred to marriage as a partnership. After all, once you’re married you have to compromise, right? Give up part of what you want and your spouse should meet you half way- 50/50. I viewed relationships and marriage like that until I got married. Andrew, my husband, challenged me in this by showing me what he was being convicted of in his personal study of Scripture. As he read through Ephesians 5, a very explicit account in Scripture of what marriage is to look like, he saw nothing about compromise mentioned. Even more, he looked through other marriage passages and again-absolutely nothing about compromise. Instead, there was a much more difficult, more weighty call on those who call themselves Christians.
Before sharing the insight from Andrew, I have to mention a quick side note. I have always been an excited advocate of submission. Women cringe when they hear the word, and I think that is because our society has given it an incorrect and negative connotation. There is a great strength behind the word Biblically. It is a word that actually means “to come up under.” Wives are given the charge to be the foundation of their husband; strengthening them, pushing them and encouraging them towards where God has called them! What a calling! The word “ezer” is the word used in Genesis to describe Eve as Adam’s helper; the same word used to describe the Holy Spirit’s role in the trinity. There is great power behind the Biblical call of wife.
When Andrew came to me a couple of years ago having read through Ephesians 5; looking at both the call for women to submit and men to love. He said that yes, women are called to submit and there is great joy that comes with that call, but of course it can be extremely challenging (especially for a strong, extremely opinionated woman like myself—God knows what we need to be sanctified). “But Stace,” he said, “Do you realize that while women are called to submit, men are called to die?!”
“While women are called to submit, men are called to die”
I had no idea what he was talking about, so he took me to the passage. Men are called to give themselves up for their wives “just as” Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. How did Christ do this? He paid the ultimate Sacrifice; He gave His very life. Men are called to lay themselves down for their wives. God knows the beings He created-and that all creatures struggle with pride. Men’s call is to lay down their pride and sacrifice to the greatest degree for their wives-loving them-as they are also called to do in the same passage.
We will be held accountable for our personal faithfulness to our Biblical call.
You see, our Biblical call as spouses is not to wait for the other to meet us half way. We are to go the full way-regardless of if we are met or not.We will not get off the hook with God some day for having gone most of the way or for not doing what we are called to do because our spouse was so difficult to be married to. We will be held accountable for our personal faithfulness to our Biblical call.
SO. Is Marriage 50/50? I would say that Biblically it is actually 100/100. Let’s all strive after this difficult but high calling together. It is a continual struggle-and I believe always will be because we are sinful, selfish human beings-but struggle on, brothers and sisters.
Is Marriage 50/50? I would say that Biblically it is actually 100/100.
May we not settle for complacency in our marriages. After all, the very One who created marriage gave us a blueprint for how it is to work. Through obedience to this blueprint, we will find joy. Not necessarily ease, and definitely not always happiness, but the joy and peace of obedience to our Lord.