A what? you ask? A complegaltarian. (Yes, I made that word up.) It's the best way I can explain my stance toward two different, Scripture-based understandings of Christian marriage: the complementarian view and the egalitarian view.
Defining the terms
It's important, right off the bat, to distinguish the complementarian view from an ultraconservative, traditionalist stance which may view women as secondary in importance to men. That is not the case with biblical complementarianism. In the complementarian view, men and women are both of equal, intrinsic value before God— and are also both of equal value and importance within the marriage. However, they are understood to have different, complementary roles or functions, with the husband serving as the spiritual leader in the family. An egalitarian view of marriage, on the other hand, focuses on equality within marriage without distinct roles based on gender. Both the husband and wife lead the family collaboratively, stressing mutual submission to each other.
And, ya know what? I know both complementarians and egalitarians who have a lot to offer on the subject of marriage—whose relationships are healthy, vibrant, and exemplify the love of Christ. And so rather than arguing about how to parse Greek verbs or what the heck being saved through childbearing actually means (uhh. . . what?!), I invited two friends to join in on this discussion of marriage for Today's Christian Woman.