Complementarian Versus Egalitarian

What's the correct view?

"The question is whether the husband is called to 'rule over' his wife in some way, benevolent or otherwise. While we see God describing this in Genesis 3, egalitarians point out that this is one of the negative consequences of the curse, something Jesus ultimately came to set us free from," Jenny clarifies.

"This isn't about not submitting," she says, but rather, it's about "the husband and the wife submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ, each one laying down their self-interest for the benefit of the other, instead of one of them setting the family's agenda and expecting the other one to get on board."

But in her complementarian view, sacrificial love and service to each other are expressed in and through their particular roles as husband and wife.

Submission & sacrificial love

Mutual care for each other is also a key component of Trillia's marriage. "We mutually love each other and we mutually serve each other," she says. But in her complementarian view, sacrificial love and service to each other are expressed in and through their particular roles as husband and wife. Trillia explains, "I find it comforting to have a clear idea of what my role is in our marriage, and it's also comforting to know that I have someone I trust who is leading our family." These roles, Trillia says, provide a framework within which "we can have a clear understanding of how to love each other and serve each other best."

"We take Ephesians 5 quite seriously," she explains. "While we believe God is calling wives to submit, he is also telling husbands to love their wives like Christ loves the church—which is a completely sacrificial love." Trillia points out Scripture's call for men, in essence, to die for their wives, saying, "God is calling me to submit, but not to a tyrant! To a loving husband. If he's not fulfilling his role too" (she chuckles lightheartedly), we will have a discussion."

Ultimately, Trillia says, she and her husband look to Scripture for guidance. "It's just a comfort to be able to go to the Word and say, okay, this is what it says. And then to ask ourselves, are we walking it out?"

Tough decisions

Both Trillia and Jenny feel blessed and grateful to be in healthy and encouraging marriages and both find that they are usually in agreement with their husbands about important matters. It's in those rare moments of strong disagreement that their complementarian or egalitarian perspective finds its most distinct expression.

Kelli B. Trujillo

Kelli B. Trujillo is editor of Today’s Christian Woman. Follow her on Twitter at @kbtrujillo or @TCWomancom.

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Bible; Husbands; Interpretation; Learning; Marriage; Questioning; Submission
Today's Christian Woman, March Week 4, 2014
Posted March 26, 2014

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