Gender issues are a huge battle in the church today and a battle in most marriages even if the couple are not dealing with it openly. The problem is our varied ideas about “how women are” and “how they should be”. Many women feel they have been put in a box, and are expected to stay there. More and more women are questioning the validity of their box, which can cause all manner of turmoil.
I moved from one of the most “progressive” cities in the US to a conservative farming community, so I have seen a wide array of how folks live out gender issues in marriage. I have heard a variety of thoughts, from both men and women. Most folks have passionate opinions, and most have found a way to support their opinion with a bit of Bible. Fewer seem to have gone to the Bible to see what it actually says.
I have no desire to argue these issues here. I have found debates on these issues generate many comments, but never seem to change anyone’s mind.
What I really want is for you and your husband to agree on these issues. If you are both on the same page, your marriage will benefit. If not, you will struggle. As hard as it is for me to say, I have found agreeing is more important than what you think. As long as you both freely think what you agree on, being of one mind will be a good thing for both of you. Major disagreements about these things cripple and kill marriages. It starts out minor, and then gets worse and worse as the years go by. All too often things are beyond hope before the couple openly discusses their views on men and women.
If you have not hashed this out in your marriage, I urge you to start. Be as loving as possible and give huge amounts of grace. Your beliefs are deeply rooted, as are his. Much of what you each believe has never been subjected to thoughtful examination. These things are often more emotion based than logic based, and challenging them feels like a personal attack. Examining these things takes courage, and changing them takes time.
Odds are your husband is happy with things are they are now. At the very least, he is probably comfortable with things as they are. Your desire to rethink these issues is rocking the boat; there is no way around that. Sometimes rocking the boat is necessary, but even then, it is not enjoyable.
Neither you nor your husband have this all figured out. You both have wrong ideas and misunderstandings. If you can wrestle with these issues in a loving and grace-filled way, you will both learn and grow. You may both be surprised by what God shows you. It is not an easy journey, but the destination is a wonderful place to live.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and my views on women have change significantly over the years.