An egalitarian marriage is something I haven’t spent a lot of time pondering. The first time I heard the term “mutual submission” I was 20, sitting on the living room floor of friends I met in seminary who were married. They described their marriage as being intentionally egalitarian. While I had never heard that term before, I didn’t know what the other options were.
I learned those options quickly being female and attending a southern baptist seminary. I dated on guy who seemed great! He did all the right things down to having his roommate leave roses all over my room when we were out playing catch at the ball park at Arlington for our Valentines Day date. What I didn’t realize was that he expected a lot for his early shows of affection. And I don’t mean sex. He expected me to tow the line and even when I disagreed with him to never (and I mean NEVER) allow others (as in ANYONE, not even my own family) to know this. My words and actions needed to align with his. He assured me he would listen to me and take my opinion into account (how magnanimous of him!) but that in the end, it was his job to break the tie and mine to trust that he would do what was right and best in all our decisions. Needless to say, we didn’t last.
I can’t imagine anything apart from equality in marriage. It seems to belittle both sides. It makes women seem second class and men seem insecure. It betrays the perichoresis and pushes for a hierarchical relationship in the godhead, which by the way is considered heresy. I digress.
This past week I was asked if I could recommend a book on marriage. In particular one that discussed an egalitarian marriage. There seem to be dozens on a complementarian marriage. I realized I didn’t know an egalitarian book on marriage. I realized my many conversations on egalitarian issues have all focused on ministry. I also learned that while I haven’t focused on this issue much over the years, many people have.
After a little digging I found one blog that offered an accessible and non-sensationalized look at an egalitarian approach to marriage. I wish I had written. It was the picture of the mom from The Incredibles at the top of the blog that caught my attention. (I so wish I could have her super powers!) It is the content that makes me recommend Egalitarian Marriage: What It Looks Like.
With that in mind, I have added Heirs Together: Applying the Biblical Principle of Mutual Submission in your Marriage by Patricia Gundry to my fall reading list. If you have other suggestions, I am open.