Wednesday, June 29, 2011


A few posts ago, I offered a few options of new post ideas that I may research, think about, and eventually post upon. I listened to those who have made requests, and I will begin two new sets of posts this week. Either tomorrow or Friday I will post about Jesus curious actions and words in the gospel of Mark (NT studies is one of my great loves after all).

Today, however, I want to talk about marriage. Specifically, I want to give you some basic advice for marriage:

Marriage is NOT a compromise.

Give and take is a lie. 50-50 doesn't work. Push and pull is not God's design.

This has been one of the most common pieces of "advice" I have received from the older, more seasoned marriages that surround me. Compromise, meet her halfway, etc.

I see two problems:

First, it doesn't work! Only a few years ago, my wife and I were trying to buy a house (we succeeded!). We had to set up meetings and work out a contractual agreement for the buying of the house between us and the former owners. The idea is simple: find a middle ground that would satisfy both parties. The problem was, we wanted a little more than fifty-fifty. We wanted to know that we had won the negotiations.

When we aim at 50-50, both parties always stop at 40 and fight for the rest.

Second, I don't believe God desires us to set up our marriages as 50-50 business deals. One example:

"and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ, Wives to your own husbands as to the Lord...Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her." -Ephesians 5

There is no room for 50-50 here. This is the hand you go all in. Every chip you have is on the table. Every bit of you is expended, not in the pursuit of yourself, but in the pursuit of your spouse. This is a 100-100 marriage. A God honoring emptying of self in pursuit of another's God-centered joy.

I have never been happier than when I stop thinking about myself. I have never been disappointed when I look to give my wife 100% of what she needs. Her dreams become my desire. Her spiritual life is the garden I help cultivate. Her heart is the treasure I desire to keep.

And let me tell you, you never lose, even when your spouse isn't 100% for you. And when they are for you, all in, both are pushing each other to Paradise.

There is no room for self in marriage.

Lord, empty me in a way that I can best serve my wife. Amen.


  1. It's always nice to see people of the male sex taking the egalitarian approach.

  2. Egalitarian misses the point. Egalitarian is still trying to make sure that each of us "gets our fair share." Instead, I seek a marriage that allows me to pour myself out totally, not seeking my own good, but trusting another to do so. I think mothers have experienced this giving of all more than most husbands or wives are willing to do in the marriage. Mothers give to children whether the children return the gifting. I pray that our marriages would be the same.

    In terms of both male and female giving--I think if we read Ephesians carefully, the wife may submit, but she submits to one who is wholeheartedly giving up himself for her, and that changes the view of submission entirely.

  3. Love the 100-100 idea, Matt. Reading the above comment, though, I think that we need to consider that there is room for that 100-100 idea within the realm of the egalitarian approach. I think living a life alongside my husband and son, following my own dreams and goals, standing for my own opinions and decisions even when they are different than Duane's still is me giving 100% - "pouring myself out" if you will. How? By using the gifts God has given me in intellect, compassion, and free-thinking to guide my family and community alongside and equal to my husband and (when he has grown) my son.

  4. Abby, I am in agreement that both parties, husband and wife, must bring their skills and gifts to the table 100% to create a God-honoring marriage.

    It is the term "egalitarian" that I have a major problem with. The term, in and of itself, speaks to the concept of total equality (which is in one sense the idea). However, when we aim for equality, we tend toward making sure "I" get my fair share of the deal.

    My argument is simply that this passage of Scripture, and many others, point to absolute selflessness (even if that means I give 100% and only get 10 in return). The issue is not whether both parties in a marriage have a voice, it is whether we use our voice to lift up, support, and encourage the other. If our voice is concerned with ourself (as I see happen in most egalitarian situations), we miss the mutual submission and total sacrifice to which we are called.