• Julie Cabral

I’m An Egalitarian Married to a Complementarian; A Real Lesson in Servant Love

Let’s start by defining what an egalitarian and a complementarian are to those who are unsure. An egalitarian is someone that favors equality in authority and responsibilities between genders. Some complementarians believe that this philosophical viewpoint is the same as feminism; it is not. A complementarian is someone who favors separate roles in marriage, family life, the church and elsewhere. This philosophy believes that men and women complement each other in their different roles. (Christianity.com) Of course, all complementarian’s believe that the “husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23). This headship is also mentioned again in 1 Corinthians 11:3 and is taken to mean that in all things the husband has the final say. For more of an explanation about egalitarian and complementarian see the Christianity.com link below.

In a podcast that I recently listened to, also posted on YouTube so I will leave you a link at the bottom, Ask Pastor John, he states that a complementarian married to an egalitarian would be a sin because one, or both would have to compromise their principals or conscious to remain married to the other. But all marriages, whether you both are egalitarian or complementarian involves compromises that would go against one or both of their consciences at some time or another in order to keep peace. If you have been married for longer than 5 minutes you already know, marriage is the art of compromise.

Pastor John then follows up with another interesting podcast, also posted on YouTube that has him backtracking a little. He states that an egalitarian married to a complementarian would not be sin in-and-of-its-self, but some decisions made inside the marriage might be sin if it goes against the headship principle. So, I am assuming from Pastor John’s statement, he must be a complementarian.

It’s no surprise that I, being the woman, would be the egalitarian in my marriage. My husband, who always wants to do the right thing and will always err on the side of what he feels is biblical truth, is a complementarian. In many Christian circles to be egalitarian is the same as being a Gloria-Steinem-feminist who is pro-choice, hates men, think’s marriage is slavery, is a heretic and ultimately has the spirit of Jezebel and should go immediately to an exorcist. But Christian women who are egalitarian, love Jesus, study the bible, and love their husbands and their family know that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Since this blog post is really not about whether I’m right or my husband is right because defending that belief would take more time than this short blog has to offer right now and I will be writing more about this topic in future posts; I would encourage everyone who is a Christian husband or wife to delve into this topic with an open mind. This blog post is simply about the ability to live in harmony when there are strong disagreements in theology, philosophy and doctrine.

I know the next verse is talking about lawsuits among believers, but I think it has much deeper reaching implications…..

Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather suffer the wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 1 Corinthians 6:7, NASB

Why not rather, suffer the wrong? In a good healthy Christian marriage, we understand this completely. Sometimes we have to let the other win, not for the sake of keeping the peace but because whatever it is that is conflicting us, it may be more important to the other person. Or, we as believers know that we do not have to win. To demand your way always, well that is a sin. It really is about mutual submission.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. Ephesians 5:21, NIV

“The wife doesn’t not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife” 1 Corinthians 7:4, NIV

Jesus came to give His life for us. That is the kind of leadership or headship Jesus is talking about. If a man desires to really be the head of his home, let him lay down his crown at his wife’s feet and see how fast she is willing to get on board with that kind of headship. If a husband always puts the needs of his wife first, there will never be any arguments about who is right, who is head, who should obey. True leadership is service. Men simply are taught that it is their duty to be the head of their home because, isn’t that what the bible tells them to do, without ever giving them any real preparation on what that looks like.

Jesus said to his disciples, “if anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” Mark 9:35, NASB

Having different philosophies about marriage and headship makes for some interesting conversations at our house for sure and incredible opportunities to serve each other. It is in his sacrifice that I have seen what love really is. I wouldn’t change my husband or his philosophy because it is his desire to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord that makes him the most loyal friend anyone could have and that makes him the true servant head of our home.

Helpful Links….

What Are Complementarianism and Egalitarianism? What’s the Difference? (Christianity.com)

Could a Complementarian / Egalitarian Marriage Work? Ask Pastor John (YouTube.com)

I’m a Complementarian Married to an Egalitarian — Who Compromises Now? Ask Pastor John (YouTube.com)

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