Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gender Roles: Leadership?

This is a follow-up to my post -- Gender Roles in Marriage: Are They Right?.

Yesterday I wrote on how I don't believe our cultures "gender roles" in marriage are (or should be) reality. Inside of this post I write a sidenote that said,
Also, sidenote... I do have a desire for Eric to lead our marriage. However, this is a personal decision, not something that I believe should be prescriptive for all marriages. I like the idea of Eric being a leader (especially since he's such a humble, caring man), but I will never pressure him to lead, nor will I judge anyone who disagrees - this is just a personal thing that I like to see in my marriage.
I would like to explain this thought further.  This desire that I have doesn't come from any "Biblical" basis, nor is it something that I feel should be normative for all marriages. I absolutely 100% believe that marriage should be an equal partnership and there should be mutual submission and respect between both parties.

It was asked of me yesterday though why I have a desire for Eric to lead in our relationship. This is a good question, and something I hadn't really thought much about before, because in my mind it's always been that I'm an indecisive person and would rather defer my decisions to another person. Is this right or wrong? I'm not sure - and that's something that I'm going to continue thinking about.

There's a possibility that I would rather defer decision-making to Eric because I'm insecure. Throughout my entire life this has been my struggle. I'm often not confident in my decision-making because I'm so afraid I'm going to make the wrong one. Is this always the case with Eric? No, it's not. There are many times when we make decisions together and I make it clear if I'm uncomfortable with a certain decision. But probably more often than not this is why I defer to him. I'm not saying that the reasons for my desire to defer to Eric are always the right ones or the wrong ones. But hear me on this - I'm talking about big decisions that need to be made, not daily decisions or things that will only affect me and not him. I can easily make those decisions on my own - the decisions I'm talking about are financial in nature or regarding the "bigger picture."

I also trust Eric - I trust him with my life. I know that he has the ability to be confident in his decisions, and I know that he will make decisions that will be the best for both of us. He is a far more confident person than I am, so until I can be more secure, I would rather defer to him. In saying that though, please also note that I do believe communication is absolutely necessary - I would never make a big decision without talking to him, and vice-versa. We strive for unity in our marriage, and you can't have unity if one person is making all the decisions without consulting the other person as well.

As far as spiritual leadership is concerned, this is somewhere I know I disagree with many people. I don't believe that the husband is supposed to be the spiritual leader at all times. I believe to put that pressure on my husband is doing him a great disservice and not allowing him to be as a person. Let me explain.

There are ebbs and flows to every believer's spiritual walk. Sometimes we walk through a time of incredible closeness to Christ, and our relationship with Him flourishes. However, there are other times when we remain stagnant or reach a "dry" period in our faith. I think every believer experiences this at one time or another, whether they are willing to admit it or not. If I were to put the pressure on Eric to be on a "spiritual high" at all times, I wouldn't be fair to him. If he is ever in a dry point in his relationship with Christ, I would much rather give him that time to breathe and figure things out than pressure him to "be better" or be in a different place. I would want him to do the same thing for me, and he has done that for me in the past.

Marriage is a give-and-take relationship. There are ebbs and flows to marriage. There are ups and downs, and there is a lot of back-and-forth. It's unfair to pin all the responsibilities of leadership and different roles on one person, because we all have mountains and valleys in our lives. To give each other room to breathe - room to be - is a beautiful thing. Doing so implies an understanding toward one another that allows for unity and teamwork. I would much rather see Eric as my teammate who sometimes acts as a "captain" (sports references...) than this man who has power over me. Sometimes I will be called to act as the "captain" as well, and I am more than happy to do so.

I hope this explained a little more of what I believe and where I'm at. I know I don't have all the answers and I'm still figuring things out, but that's what life is all about, right? No one has it figured out - that's why we're on this journey. :) If anyone has any further questions, please let me know!

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