O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When St. Paul said, "Husbands Love Your Wives and Wives be Submissive to Your Husbands" This is What He Meant...

JaneK has another great piece on Voces Traditionis, this time on wives being obedient to their husbands. First she and her husband tried doing things the world's way:
We thought that we would have an equal relationship and decide everything together through discussion. It became apparent fairly soon that this did not work. I am better at talking than my husband. In practice, deciding things together through discussion meant that I always got my way. There were two problems with this. My husband rightly became resentful. And we ended up making bad decisions that would have been prevented by doing things my husband’s way.
When you pretend that marriage is an equal partnership, it becomes politics. You have two different people with two different wills and two different sets of strengths and two different sets of weaknesses. An "equal partnership" is no more than negotiation of peace terms between the two on every little thing. Any time any decision needs to be made, the two people in this "equal partnership" need to negotiate some "middle ground" that is satisfactory to both. However, it is not completely satisfying to either since each needs to give something up to compromise and maintain the "equal partnership". In the end, whoever is a better negotiator will always win. Every. Single. Time. It's usually the woman. Worse come to worse, women can always deny the man sex in a desperate attempt to win a fight after they realize that the man is right. Again. This happens all the time in so many relationships. At this point, what happened with this couple isn't the slightest bit surprising.

This "equal partnership" garbage only causes tension and more arguing. The relationship is only satisfying if you can get your way. Unless you win in the negotiations and compromise, you will never be happy. This often times causes the end of the relationship: the two claim to be equal, so they must agree on everything, so they must negotiate and compromise on everything, so you are only happy if you win, so the other person gets sick of you. After this point, these two smartened up and started doing things God's way: the man is the sole head:
That meant that I had to obey him and he had to love me in a self-sacrificing way. (I think that I got the easier part.) This worked really well. My husband was not bossy or oppressive. He sought input from me and considered my feelings. He used his authority for the good of our family, not to selfishly indulge himself. Also, I discovered that obedience has spiritual benefits and I came to greatly appreciate that this was my role in marriage.
Now that is what a marriage should look like! None of that equality crap. What's wrong with that model is that it is no more than negotiation and compromise with the other person because you desire happiness for yourself with the other person. That's not love. That's infatuation. It desires happiness for self. Love is a desire to sacrifice yourself for the good of the other. It is not a desire to gain, but a desire to give. You desire to give yourself to the other for their greater good, not your good. Your good isn't counted, only theirs. That's true love. The man is the head of his wife. He loves her in a self-sacrificing way. Everything he does is for her greater good. She is submissive and obedient to him. There cannot be two heads. That's anarchy. That puts you in the tailspin of an "equal partnership" I already described. The two will pull back and forth and can never be happy as a result.

Instead, the man is the head and it is his obligation to lead her to Heaven, since Heaven is the only joy that lasts forever. Hell is the only other thing that lasts forever. It's your choice. He must lead her with love both guiding him and strengthening him. At this point it is clear that three are needed: man, woman, and love. They love they have for each other is an actual grace (which they received from God after being deeply infatuated for some time) calling them to the Sacrament of Marriage, where it becomes a sanctifying grace (thus the need for matrimony becomes clear; cohabitation is evil in and of itself). Ergo, love is the Holy Ghost (grace being His presence). In other words, the couple needs God. The two alone are not enough, they need the grace of God to help them and guide them and strengthen them. They need the Holy Ghost, who is the Burning Sun of Love. Once the man is guided by the grace of the Holy Ghost, everything is for her good. Nothing is an attempt to gain happiness for himself. Even sex is not about pleasure, it's an expression of love. During sex, the mentality is one of giving everything to the other, even your very body, even the most private part of that body. It is a total gift of self. Sex is not about pleasure when your in love.

If the woman refuses to be submissive to her husband, then she refuses to be submissive to God, who operates through her husband. God is the One Who, by His grace (the love the man has for her), moves the man to act the way he does. It is not so much the husband that works, but God that works through him, using the grace of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. It is in this way that the husband is an Alter Christus. He is the Christ figure in the marriage and the family. He loves his bride the same way Christ loves His Bride the Church. He is head of his bride the same way Christ is head of the Church. He, by the power of the Holy Ghost, leads his bride to Heaven the same way Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost, leads His Bride to Heaven. A marriage is only good if it reflects Christ's marriage with the Church. The more it reflects Christ's marriage, the better it is.