Living with your wife in a misunderstanding way, as with someone stronger...

Under the post titled "Men and Women as It Ought To Be," a couple men objected to the post. They commented that my commendation of Russian men helping women across streets indicated I was a chauvinist fool, and to prove their point they went on and on about how strong and bright and competent women really are. I put my response here because it's possible I will not get to writing another post today, and I hope this will be helpful to some of you living with your wife in a misunderstanding way as with someone stronger. Smile.

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Dear (brother),

Thank you for your comment. Maybe you think a man who holds up honorable gentlemen for emulation, calling attention to the feminine vulnerability that prompted those men, logically leads to the conclusion that the man who holds up honorable gentlemen for emulation is a chauvinist, misogynist, fool? 

I would not have survived my mother, let alone my wife and three daughters, had I been a chauvinist. As a matter of fact, were I to choose a woman to escort me across the street when I was feeling a bit intimidated by the horns and wet pavement and semis, it would be my wife. For sure. Our family and church family well remember the evening she was so frustrated by the IU basketball traffic on IN 37... that she got out and directed it. She has—how you put it, muscle tone?—combined with what New Yorkers call chutzpah. If she were a man, we'd call it something else but she's a beautiful woman and it would be appropriate to call it that.

Honestly, man, to go from what I wrote to what you wrote is absurd. Why do you find it infuriating to have me ask a Christian man if he believes and teaches and lives with his wife and daughters "in an understanding way as someone weaker" when this is the clear doctrine of Scripture and God commands it? Is this really the rebelliousness men of your sort have chosen?

It's very sad for a Christian man to mock the servant of God who proclaims the beauty of manhood and womanhood and to think one's making mockery of that pastor is to strike a blow for the weaker sex.

So now, again; here is what I was saying by the wonderful post above, and by my comment to Bob:

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1Peter 3:7)

You see, Bob and Dan, that it is a command of God foundational to the relationship of the sexes (not "genders") that man is to live with woman just as the husband is to live with his wife, in an understanding way. And the center of what he is to understand is that she, being a woman, is "someone weaker." The Apostle Paul doesn't define the weakness or its extent. He doesn't say every woman is smaller than her husband or has less muscle tone in her forearms. He doesn't say to live with our wives as someone dumber, but "weaker." 

Can we please teach this, or are we such slaves of Satan's deceptions that permeate our rebellious culture that simply to raise the subject is to commit an unpardonable sin?

Then this:

But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. (1 Corinthians 12:20-25)

Combine the two commands of the Apostle Paul and we see precisely what I said in the headline of this post and what all gentlemen believe: that because of her "weakness"—again, God's Word, not mine—we must not despise her. We must not say to her as gay men and chauvinists do, "I have no need of you." 

Rather, the members of the body that seem to us to be weaker are necessary. They're not to be dismissed or taken advantage of or looked down on, but to be given more abundant honor and prized so that the members of the body have the same care for one another.

Here the Apostle Paul speaks of the Church and her members, but this is the way chivalry and etiquette developed, also. Men help daughters, mothers, wives, and grandmothers across dangerous streets because they hold precious the weaker sex and want to treat it with even greater honor because they understand that sex's weakness and because they love their daughters, sisters, grandmothers, wives, and mothers.

Finally, if you object to my saying that such behavior is simply to be a Christian, consider that the Holy Spirit declares through the Apostle Paul in the 1Peter 3 passage above that those men who refuse to live with their wives in an understanding way as with someone weaker will not be heard by God when they pray. This is what I meant when I said to Bob that it is to be a Christian. To obey God is to live by faith. It is "the obedience of faith." Every command of God gives the one confessing faith in Jesus Christ one more opportunity to be a Christian.

Love,

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

My point was, the men in the video were helping the elderly, babies, the disabled and animals. Almost exclusively. What does this have to do with the male-female relationship? And it hardly demonstrates that men are stronger than women in any respect.

Thank you.

Bob,

Let me make sure I understand you.

You are saying that you agree that the wife is the weaker vessel, and that men should understand the inherent weakness of the women under their care, but that the video did not satisfactorily illustrate this Biblical truth.

If this is your position, perhaps it would have been less confusing for the thickheaded among us if you had not made such a point of the lack of weakness in your own daughters.

If this is not your position, please be honest and acknowledge that you struggle to embrace the truth of 1 Peter 3:7. This would be more profitable than your obtuse comment above.

I've also been told that Russian men put their American counterparts to shame in the amount of flowers they buy for the women in their lives.

(convicting MYSELF here, now....sigh...)

And Bob, what this demonstrates is that these Russian men are putting American men to shame in taking time out of their lives to assist those who are more vulnerable. 

And, for that matter, are we going to seriously argue that women are not, as a group, more vulnerable?  Seriously? 

Now there are exceptions, like when physically gifted young lady with a black belt gives a nasty surprise to a street thug gracious enough to lead with his chin (and I applaud this of course), but it's not an accident that 90% of men pass the entry exam for Marine Infantry School, while so far 100% of women who attempt it have failed it.

Might just have to bring flowers home to my weaker vessel.  After a hard day with six kids and their pets, it's just plain good sense.

Nice job on this much needed clarification. I see your point. I think you and Bob are talking about two different things, and I don't think his comments about the events in the video mean he is questioning scripture. I'm willing to bet that Bob loves his wife and daughters and would lay down his life for them. And I bet they would do the same for him if they could.

Your wife sounds pretty remarkable.

Bert - I don't think one youtube video is an accurate way to measure Russian vs. American courteousness. Guess what city in the world ranks highest in courteousness? New York. See the link.

http://www.readersdigest.ca/health/relationships/how-polite-are-we 

Dan--true, and my flowers example is anecdotal as well.  That said, are we claiming that Russian men are always exemplars of virtue--the vodka industry would mock us if we did--or whether in some regards, the Russians are getting it right?   

It's the latter, clearly, as with your example from Gotham--which of course was met with quite a bit of hilarity in that fair city, for obvious reasons of stereotype.  Yes, thankfully 80% of Gothamites make it their duty to help weaker vessels, too.

"As a matter of fact, were I to choose a woman to escort me across the street when I was feeling a bit intimidated by the horns and wet pavement and semis, it would be my wife."

Mary Lee would be my female choice as well :)

Much Love,

Lauren

>>Mary Lee would be my female choice as well :)

Thanks, Lauren. Mary Lee will consider it a compliment. BTW, my second choice would be Heather Ummel, my third Lauren Pickett, my fourth Joyce Huck, my fifth Laura Moore, my sixth Lauren Bushbacher, my seventh Allie Passwaiter, my eighth Carol Canfield, my ninth Cheryl Bayly, my tenth Tessa Bayly, my eleventh Sandy Bayly Armstrong, my twelth Carol Taylor, my thirteenth Leslie Taylor, my fourteenth Therese Schreuder, my fifteenth Reze Schreuder, my and absolutely my sixteenth, that terror of Kinshasa drivers and traffic cops—Doris Weeks herself!

Love,

"Finally, if you object to my saying that such behavior is simply to be a Christian, consider that the Holy Spirit declares through the Apostle Paul in the 1Peter 3 passage above that those men who refuse to live with their wives in an understanding way as with someone weaker will not be heard by God when they pray. This is what I meant when I said to Bob that it is to be a Christian. To obey God is to live by faith. It is "the obedience of faith." Every command of God gives the one confessing faith in Jesus Christ one more opportunity to be a Christian."

Just to be clear, I never objected to what you said about men and their call to love, help, and protect. I just felt that Bob also made a good point that while the video shows men doing good deeds, it doesn't necessarily make a statement about gender roles from a Christian perspective, and it certainly doesn't suggest anything about women. The title you chose for the video post seemed to imply that this video was making a statement about the proper roles of men and women, but this new post clarifies what you meant, so no big deal.

Finally, when Bob's Christian faith was brought into question because he said that his daughters were capable of doing many of the things portrayed in the video, I thought that was a bit of a stretch...thus my joking response.

>>it certainly doesn't suggest anything about women.

Actually, I think it does. All nature sings of our Heavenly Father's love for poor, last man, and the Church responds in faith coming under His Son's loving care for us through justification and sanctification. So I thought the women coming under the care of all those men was beautiful and sang of the Bride of Christ, and thus of our own brides. Which is woman. 

Also, I might say that calling someone to be a Christian is not the same as calling into question whether he is a Christian. I should have been more clear in the way I asked the question.

Love,

Gotcha. Thanks. Your point is clear now and well received.

Check out the video just posted, Dan; you'll like it.

Love,

Great clip!

I thought it was Peter who wrote 1st Peter

You know when the Cleveland Browns on occasion beat the Steelers?  It's because they play up to their competition.  That's what I've had to do since I got married, although my wife isn't my competition.  :)  She does, however, challenge me every day to be a better man, a more proactive leader, and a more thoughtful person.  Lots of things have had to change since August 13, 2005!

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