Over the weekend I went a little trip with my dad and my uncle down to a hardwood store in Anaheim. It was a good trip to a great store, and its always fun to listen to these two guys get together. There’s a lot of interesting stories and history between them about the rest of the family on their side.
My uncle is, along with my dad, a person I would definitely consider a “mans man”. Despite growing up in relative poverty he studied, went to school and became a doctor. He lifts almost daily. He doesn’t sway on his opinion of something when he knows he is right, and yet, he is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. He loves the Lord and is very well versed in scripture. Sadly for him, his wife, my aunt, succumbed to cancer not to long ago, and though he seems like the same happy guy, there is definitely a sadness about him. He talks about her a lot, and rightly so. She was a fun and industrious lady, whom everyone in the family loved.
While on our drive South we conversed and, during the conversation, my uncle mentioned a fairly popular Christian marriage concept, the marriage triangle. If your a Christian and have had any kind of interaction with marriage counseling or even marriage sermons you have probably seen this before:
The mantra that goes with this is “As they get closer to God, they get closer to each other”, speaking, of course, of the husband and wife. The goal is to get the pair to concentrate on their relationship with God and, as a byproduct, their relationship with each other will become stronger. At least, that’s what I got from it when it was presented to me.
Looking at it now, however, I see some inherent problems with the configuration, mostly in that it isn’t biblically supported. You see, with this configuration the wife is completely independent of the husband. Within it she can move “closer to God” while staying as far away from her husband as possible (assuming he doesn’t move any closer to God, which is a common church concept as well):
When I say this model is not “biblically supported” I am referencing the fact that it doesn’t seem to take into account the scriptures that call for a wife to be subject to her husband, obedient and respectful:
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
1 Peter 3
3 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
In addition the scriptures that clearly place men in higher authority than women, particularly their wives and daughters, as was set by God:
1 Corinthians 11:
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
There are more verses on the subject, if you care to look them up.
The point of this post is that, biblically speaking, I don’t see it being a possibility for a woman to get closer to God without first getting closer to her husband. That is to say that her obedience to her husband is part and parcel of her obedience to God, so this triangle model just doesn’t add up. Its just not possible for a woman to be “closer to God” while ignoring her closeness to her husband.
I suggest a new model:
This model seems to be much more fitting given the wife being under the authority of her husband and God’s commandments for her to be obedient and respectful towards him. As she gets closer to her husband she also becomes closer to God:
Now, that is not to say her husband is an intercessory for God, but I don’t see any way a wife can say she is ‘close to God’, yet continue to be distant (disobedient, disrespectful) toward her husband. I know there are those who would argue that the wife is “her own person, apart from her husband with her own relationship with God”, but how can we avoid holding this wife to account when Christians are readily willing to accuse a man, or woman, for that matter, of not being able to be fully close to God if they are avoiding fellowship with the church?
Using the same model a husband who draws closer to God by proxy draws his wife closer to God as well. Of course, he can never draw her fully, as it is upon her to be the obedient wife and draw closer to her husband, thus drawing herself closer to God in the process.
The problem with the triangle concept is that it feeds Christo-feminist concept of a wife being completely independent from her husband, which is not something the bible supports. The bible likens the husband/wife relationship of marriage to a master/servant relationship. The wife is under the authority of her husband and her obedience to him is pleasing to God. Any other “truth” than this is simply not true. As I said in my previous post, …whom he has not seen?, how can a woman, who cannot be obedient and respectful towards her husband, whom she can see, claim to be obedient and respectful of God, whom she cannot see?
To some this may seem like a little gripe. Something petty for me to pick on within the churches teachings, but I can tell you that for a time I believed this ‘triangle’ model, as my wife and I have gone through some marriage counseling in the past and this is the model that was presented. It carefully avoids reminding husbands that they are to be leaders, and avoids reminding wives that they are to be obedient even if their husband is not a believer.
I have referred others to the triangle in the past, when I was a more ignorant person, but I will refer to it no longer. In order to be scripturally accurate the ‘chain’ model will be my go to for making such a reference.