I read recently something I sort of knew, but didn’t fully understand. I still don’t understand it, but I’ll take what I read at face value and believe it.
A single mom who writes a blog I regularly read suggested that women are much more socially aggressive today, particularly those in their 30s and 40s. Sadly, I’ve seen the same thing in girls as young as 10 on the school playground. I’m not privy to the adult version of this since I don’t hang out in bars or other similar social settings.
The author of this blog writes that men, apparently in response to the overt advances of some women, respond in kind when they ask a woman out on a date, which then leads to ill feelings and a lot of complaining in social circles and social media when she doesn’t like his attitude.
Why is it we can seek advice in learning a new skill for our job; attend a college course if it will train us to achieve greater economic success, but we won’t seek advice when it comes to the human relationships we desire but seem to be miserably failing at?
Where are our churches in this matter? Not only are we not really “making disciples” as Jesus commanded in his last days on Earth, we’re not helping each other learn the fine art of interpersonal relationships, whether that be in the board room or the living room.
Kids probably aren’t being taught by their parents – if mom and dad actually live with and love each other; young adults are not wisely counseled in this as they go to college and certainly the rest of us don’t have many sage examples to follow.
How does one actively go about seeking the kind of advice that might lead to the necessary soul searching and learning needed to make a relationship – marital or otherwise – work well? It’s certainly not on the top-10 lists of things people can sign up for in church and its definitely not part of any other social process or program.
Meanwhile, single moms are crying for help; single guys have no clue how to approach her and offer help without looking like a buffoon or worse; and, everyone else seems to be losing their own battle to keep their heads above water.
I’ve heard some good sermons and talks that unpack the instructions given in Ephesians 5:21-31 as husbands are told to “love their wives as Christ loved the church” and as wives are told to “submit” to and “respect her husband.”
As I understand the Bible and have had this passage explained to me, if I’m to do as God commands, then I must be willing to sacrifice all that I am – as Christ did in his time on Earth – for her. There are parallels to dating in my opinion. But what does that look like?
I really like how love and respect have been explained from the Bible and how they compliment each other in our lives.
In short, a husband is to sacraficially love his wife in the same way Christ loved the church. How did Christ love the church? While we can agree that Christ ultimately died for the church, what does that mean in all practicality in a man’s life as he is married to his wife? Are we left to just figure it out on our own and just hope we get it right, or was God’s purpose for us to help each other as the Apostle Paul talks about and demonstrates in his letters to a young pastor named Timothy?
Because we don’t do this in our culture, and certainly in our churches, men are left to throw up their hands in frustration and women are left to complain. Really the only time there is a crowd around a couple wishing them well and offering advice in the form of platitudes is at the wedding ceremony. After that, they’re on their own.
Meanwhile, as the sailors suffered for a time while Jonah attempted to flee God in disobedience to a direct command he was given, so too do our chidren and others around us suffer because of our poor decisions and relationship difficulties.
Maybe it’s time we swallow our pride, admit we don’t have all the answers, and lock arms in an effort to help each other find those answers so we can build better relationships and marriages. How different would our marriages be if we didn’t abandon the couple after the wedding cake was served?