-By Nick Arundell-
Three months ago I married Joy. So far it’s been a great decision!
But it has left me wondering what on earth I’m supposed to be doing as a husband.
I grew up in a working class area in Geelong, where most men went outside the home for work while most women took on extra home duties. But I then went off and studied at a University, where I was taught that there are essentially no differences between men and women (other than physiological ones). In my hometown I saw from the outside what looked like a sound pattern but that idea was torn to shreds at University.
So now that I’m married I’m rather confused. Is it good for me to be somewhat distinct from my wife? And is it appropriate to encourage her to likewise be different to me?
Society at large would say ‘no’, however I can’t help having a lingering feeling that the differences between men and women are more profound and ingrained than simply physiological. Which, of course, leaves me in a conundrum.
But, thankfully, there are answers to my queries that are more than just conjecture, because the Bible is speaking directly into my new life as a husband. Certainly there are passages like those found in Ephesians 5,which shed light on the topic, but my first concern today will be more general. I’m thinking about God.
For the God of the Christian hope exists eternally as the “three in one”. Three persons who are eternally and unchangeably one God. It’s tempting at times to throw our hands up in the air and give in when we hear that God is both three and one. But the importance of this doctrine for our daily relationships is paramount.
God in his infinite wisdom and generosity created men and women in his image to be equal yet distinct.
For the Triune God created men and women in his image. God “created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” which tells us that God in his infinite wisdom and generosity created men and women in his image to be equal yet distinct. We see further that men and women are created in the image of the Triune God by the use of the plural ‘us’ in Genesis. Meaning that as men and women we are created equal yet different in order to image the Triune God.
In light of this, therefore, it’s the wonder of the Triune God that elucidates my current predicament as a newly married man. God created men and women differently, yet equally. Just as God exists eternally as three different persons who are all unchangeably and equally one God. Consequently, it is entirely appropriate for me and my wife to exhibit differences in our roles, responsibilities and marital relations. We were created that way!
So as a newly married man, in accordance with God’s Word, I should endeavour to live and act differently to my beautiful wife. Given that we’re both created in God’s image we’re both equal in God’s eyes. However, just as God exists as Father, Son and Spirit, with distinction in his unity- performing different roles and exhibiting different ways of relating- so also should we live and act differently. We were created to image the Triune God and we can only do that by being distinct within our union. All of which lays the groundwork for Ephesians 5.
Nick Arundell is married to Joy, and attends Darebin Presbyterian Church. He is currently studying theology at PTC