Over the last few months, my life and beliefs have taken a radically different path than I ever could have imagined. Some of the most profound changes have been in my beliefs about a woman’s role in marriage. As a product of Western culture and a victim of it, I had, for years, serious problems with the Scriptural instructions for women to submit to the authority of their husbands. I thought that meant that somehow Elohim (God) thought less of women, or thought they were of less value than men. This was reinforced by the way I saw a lot of women being treated in this society. For many years it caused me to shy away from a committed relationship with Elohim (God) and even after I became a dedicated believer, I told myself that I would most likely never marry because I could not see ever being able to be the kind of submissive wife that the Bible instructs women to be. I thought that to avoid being disobedient to Elohim (God) I must needs avoid marriage. I saw the submission doctrine as designed to rob a woman of her identity and integrity, designed to reduce her to a mere chattel or slave to an authoritarian man. Not for me, I said to myself.
Having had some time to think and pray and study Scripture over this issue and having the guidance of a Godly man, my fiancée Stanisław, I have come to some startling conclusions. I have come to realize that, contrary to what I always thought, Yahweh does most definitely not dislike women nor does He want them to be downtrodden or in bondage. I have come to believe that in His wisdom and knowledge of a woman’s strengths and weaknesses, He knew just exactly what kind of environment she needed to reach her fullest potential and greatest blessing. See, the simple truth is that women are different than men. Not less than or more than, but different. We think differently, we feel differently, and we react differently to our environment. Let’s look at some examples.
For the last several years I have worked in a factory, in a job mostly held by men. Notwithstanding the fact that it is physically demanding and getting more so each year, I have found that working in a male environment has affected me in an emotional and spiritual manner as well. I have found over the course of the last few years that my attitude has become confrontational and my manner of speech much coarser than even I realized until pointed out to me by close acquaintances. I blow up, so to speak, over nothing, tend to see every adverse event as a personal attack. I feel a spirit of competitiveness with my male coworkers, as though I have to do twice as much to be considered half as good and this has left me with a log-sized chip on my shoulder. It is very demoralizing to always feel that you have to prove yourself but that is what happens when you are in an environment that is not suited for you in the first place, where you have to force yourself to fit the mold, so to speak, no matter how unnatural it may feel. This is what the feminists have fought for so long, equality. But is it really equality or is it just bondage to an unnatural state of being?
For years feminists have fought to get women accepted in roles that were not designed for them. They have fought to get women into combat units in the military, into job areas historically held by men, and demanded that concessions be made to accommodate them in relation to job demands that most women cannot meet. This attitude has carried over to home and family life. Women demanded and were given the “right” to enter the work world and compete with men in business and industry. Our girl children are being raised to think that being a wife and a mother is somehow demeaning and beneath them. They are being taught to aspire to careers and lives outside the home as if that were somehow better. I know this to be true, I was taught that. Even in my home growing up, I was not taught to look to the time I would have a husband and family, I was taught to develop job skills so I could go to work. I was not allowed to play a musical instrument or take art or homemaking. These were all things that were deemed a waste of time, as they did not lead to getting a job and making a living. This early teaching has colored my entire adult life.
Coupled with this rising feminism is seen the devaluing of the family as evidenced by the soaring divorce rate and ever-increasing incidence of familial abuse and misuse. Our society has become so hung up on our “rights” that no one knows how to love or nurture family anymore. As women have forced their way into the male realm, many men have responded to the perceived threat by becoming antagonistic and even violent towards their women and children. The newspapers tell the story. Statistically, three women an hour are killed in the United States every day in domestic violence. That is twenty-four women a day, killed in the out-of-balance power struggles between the sexes. What price freedom? Could there be a rational explanation for this? I think so.
See, like most of the problems faced by modern folks, the causes and solutions are plainly evident in the Bible. Scripture clearly delineates the roles of men and women. Once delineated, the roles are further explained and defined and instruction given for their implementation.
First off, Yahweh gave man dominion of the earth. This would suggest that man would tend the flocks, till the fields, build the homes, etc. This was his priority, his job, if you will. When Elohim (God) saw that it was not good for man to be alone, and created woman from his rib, He created her to be a helpmeet. That’s helper, folks, as in aide or assistant, not co-ruler. Woman was never intended to do the same work as man. If she were, seems reasonable Elohim (God) would have made her just as strong as a man and He did not. Instead, He made her to be a nurturer and keeper of the home. And He gave her the emotional makeup to best compliment these tasks. He made her to bear, nourish, and nurture the children and charged the man and the woman to be fruitful and multiply.
Now, for all of Western society’s high-flown ideals about equality and equal rights, the simple fact is it does not work. It does not work in civil government well and it does not work in the home at all. The reason for this is basic psychology. Human beings are hierarchical by nature. This means that in a group there must be some kind of rulership structure for the group to be stable and function in the best interests of the entire group. Without this structure, chaos would result with everyone pulling his or her own way. That is a basic tenet of human psychology and group dynamics.
Now most of us are familiar with the Scriptures regarding the roles of men and women in the family. Elohim (God) gave the man headship in the family, made him the boss in the modern vernacular. It is his responsibility to see that everyone has what they need, be it food, clothing, shelter, spiritual guidance, emotional support, and correction if needed. It also falls on him to protect his family from outside harm. A huge responsibility in any era I would think. And in doing this, he has also been charged to love his wife/wives like Christ loved the messianic community (church), longsuffering and faithful. Now in order to meet the requirements Elohim (God) has set him to provide for and protect his family, he must have the respect and obedience of his family to take instruction from him and follow his lead in all things. His natural drive to build and acquire his domain stands him in good stead for these responsibilities. See, Yahweh does not set us a task and then fail to give us the tools we need to complete it if we just do things His way.
Then the wives have their roles defined. They are the helpers, the keepers of the hearth as it were. Theirs is the responsibility of bearing and nurturing the children and tending the home, making it a place of comfort and beauty for their husband and their children. And they are uniquely suited for it. Women tend to be more loving and patient therefore on them falls the responsibility of teaching the children as they are nurturing them. It is from the mothers that young children begin to learn how to function in the group, and from a Christian/Messianic standpoint, where they begin to learn about living a Godly life.
It is incumbent on the woman, in pursuing her calling in the home, to acknowledge the headship of her husband, his rulership. She is to submit to his authority in all things and follow his direction. On the surface this may seem arbitrary. I know I thought so for a long time. But is it?
The simple truth is, as is born out in the mess modern society is in now, women are not good leaders. Emotionally we are not well suited. Leadership roles require a hardness and force of will that does not come naturally to a woman. They force women into a mindset that does not fit well with their emotional makeup. It has nothing to do with intelligence or ability, but with suitability. We were never meant to be the hunters or the providers, we were meant and designed to be the nurturers. For those of you who may think this is restricting or oppressive I challenge you to get to know a few women who are currently functioning in unnatural leadership roles, e.g. Single mothers, career women, etc. They are stressed out and harsh and domineering as a rule, with their home lives in a shambles and never at peace. Liberated? I think not!
And what of the woman who is the nurturer, the home tender? The woman who is in joyful submission to her husband in accordance to Yahweh’s will? She is the woman who is at peace, fulfilled and satisfied with her life as she lovingly tends her home and family and her children grow up in an atmosphere of love and order knowing what a loving and Godly family is supposed to be like. She is free to engage creative impulses, making her surroundings more beautiful for herself and her family. In short she is free to revel in the richest blessings Elohim (God) has for her.
In conclusion, I have decided that Yahweh must have loved us an awful lot. He provided the means for us to be cherished and cared for and protected so that we could reach the fullest potential He has for us. For those of you who find that somehow demeaning or degrading, all you have to do is look at what is happening in the so-called real world to see how women are really degraded when forced to step into unnatural roles. In short, folks, I have seen the boss’s job and it stinks. I am blessed that I don’t have to have it shoved off on me any more. Some food for thought.