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Posts Tagged ‘gay marriage’

Gender Roles – Do They Always Fit?

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

man headI heard through my many years in church community that the husband, in subjection to Christ should be the provider and protector for the family. And it’s been traditionally taught that a woman should manage her children and her home. This little meme says that this is the “Natural Order of the Household.” Really?

This teaching sounded good to me for many years. It seemed to make sense to have some headship to the family system. Some women I spoke with through the years seemed to appreciate their husband fulfilling that role in their lives so I thought it all worked pretty well if it were followed.

I didn’t question it as it’s been taught that this model came from the Bible. Lately, I’ve been doing some internal evaluation about many things I’ve been taught. This is one of those standards that I truly no longer believe is something that is good for everyone, or in every situation.

Sure, a good husband who loves his wife dearly, follows his faith deeply, and honors his family is a good thing! There are situations where this is the very best and it works well. But, those situations are rare to find! Needless to say, not everyone is married and there are many more situations that just cannot fit that model and this causes many problems. I do not believe this is in any way, a “Natural Order.” This is not at all natural for some people and to try to make it so causes some people’s lives to get into all sorts of knots.

This model says that a husband should be the provider for the family, the protector and so on. Well, once again if the husband has a great job that can provide this is wonderful! But this isn’t always the case. So what should one do? And there are husbands who aren’t the best suited for being a protector. Their personality, or their daily situations just may not fit that role.

I find that this model can cause many internal struggles of shame, performance anxieties, and can create endless insecurity. I’ve personally known many men who feel ongoing shame from not being able to be a provider for their families. I also know families where the wife is the main provider due to her education or her career path. This also can undermine a husband’s sense of balance if he believes this model is the only biblical model for his family.

What about single moms, or dads? Where do they fit here? In my former church communities there were attempts to dance around this dilemma and try to find ways to fit this into a neat little box but honestly, it just doesn’t fit and once again can cause a sense of alienation from others due to the sense of not belonging to a “biblical” model of submission.

I’m a gay husband. My husband and I have talked a lot about this model and our own lives. Being in a gay marriage has taught me a whole lot about marriage, family, and submission to models that just don’t fit everyone. In our marriage I’ve learned that we both have different talents, roles, and strengths. We allow those to lead us into our own cohesive home and family. But I’ve also felt at times that I’m not fitting into a stereotype which causes me to have a lot of questions. But in reality, it works for us to mold our home into what does work for us, uniquely. I’ve learned that each person, married or not, with children or not, straight or otherwise, would do well to discover their own strengths and use them. This, is a far better spiritual model in my opinion. God has created us each, individually, with our own strengths.

There are spouses who do well at financial provision. Some do better at home management. Some will do well to see potential dangers and provide protection. Some are better at keeping house, cooking, or home maintenance. These roles are not gender specific – ever! We just cannot put people into those kind of narrow spaces. It just doesn’t fit.

As a man, I’ve always had talents that were often seen as more fitting for women.  I cook well. I clean. I also manage the home maintenance. I do the laundry, run errands and shop for household needs. My husband goes to a nine to five job. He’s good at what he does and works hard at it. He manages the finances, bank accounts and watches over our investments. He is good at that too! He isn’t good at cooking, or cleaning. These things stress him out! We work together equally to make all of this happen. Neither of us is higher, or more significant than the other in our roles. But being gay doesn’t make this unique. Regardless of a person’s gender, these roles are definitely flexible based on each person’s unique design.

As with so many other things, when we try to fit things into religious boxes like this it causes problems and takes away from people feeling good about themselves. The lack of freedom for each one to explore their own roles can cause people to fall back from seeking their own strengths and living out their created design!

In my humble opinion, this teaching of Christ the head of the husband, the husband being the provider, protector of the home, and the wife being the manager of the family and children somehow has been misconstrued and falsely interpreted. When this was created men were perceived to own their wives as property and things were very, very different.

In todays world it seems to me that those who do the very best with their roles, family relationships, marriages etc. are those who no longer believe they need to follow this archaic teaching. Those who discover their own strengths and live by them seem to be the most confident and the most effective at living out their daily lives. I know a man who raises and home schools his children while his wife earns the income for the family. They’ve done this for years and it really works for them. But this family has to constantly go against the grain of traditional religion. They have to live in self affirmation of their choices to live out their strengths and there are some who judge them for being out of sink with biblical teaching.

Frankly, I’ve always been naturally good at household things. I’m random, I’m creative, and I’m flexible. I’m good at managing our home. In my previous marriage, my spouse was great at managing our home. I spent my time within our relationship on my vocation and on outdoor maintenance. Things have changed for me and my role has changed too. These things are certainly not set into stone.

I’m not trying to say that the traditional model doesn’t work because for some it does. But as always, it’s not a one size fits all. Think about it. Does it work for you? If not, then find what does and live in it. There are traditions that are just that, traditions that are not truth.


This is Why I Believe SCOTUS Should Approve Gay Marriage

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

marriage equalityOver the recent years, I believed two people of the same sex should be able to legally marry, but I personally didn’t know how to defend the right to marry.

This week I finally worked it out in my mind and now believe whole-heartedly that marriage for gay people should be legal and it is discriminatory to not make this happen.

We’ve heard more times than we can count from religious people that marriage is traditionally and biblically should only occur when it’s between one man and one woman. Therefore they want to keep the laws to only allow for marriage benefits and advantages here in the United States when it fits that criteria.

As I look at what I see in history, and of course in the Bible, the obvious examples of marriage situations that are NOT one man and one women and include people God says are after His heart. But there are other things that stand out to me as being more common to a marriage historically that I believe are significant.

I see two people who make a decision to establish a relationship that is different than friendship, or companionship. They decide to live as one, a family with a common investment in the relationship and its life and future.

The relationship is based on love, care and nurture. In some marriages, there is the inclusion of children both natural and/or adopted. Based on the depth of connection and emotional investment, when desired or needed, the relationship is submitted to further knowledge and counsel for improvement or repair to maintain it.

There are often financial commitments and investments. Decisions are made together for home and family. Consideration is given for household investments and maintenance. A weaving of life and belonging that is significant and indicative of a marriage.

Extended family is included such as siblings and parents. There is a shared concern for their lives and wellbeing. In many cases, holidays and a shared history of tradition is built. There is an expectation for future years together. Weddings, birthdays, and funerals are also shared events with a deeper emotional connection each time they occur.

In most marriages, there is a decision to cohabit, to spend each day together in some significant way. A physical closeness is experienced for emotional support, comfort, encouragement, and sexual intimacy. Spending the energy to keep up with life events on a daily basis because each wants the other to know that someone cares and is a significant part of the other’s life. A deep knowing of the other, a looking in the eyes; sharing humor, grief, and daily life emotions is significant in a healthy marriage.

Spiritual bonds form through faith, religious convictions and practice. Stimulating one another to further growth in their faith journey is also significant for those who share a desire to do so.

When two people share a life together in this type of marriage the US government has offered a license allowing for legal benefits available for those who are married. In many states, when a couple has been living together like this for seven years, it’s called a common law marriage, recognized as legal. Some corporations and employers also offer common benefits such as medical insurance for couples that are married in this manner.

While many utilize clergy to facilitate the commitment, many others do not, taking advantage of a licensed person or government official for the vows. Marriage in the US is not always viewed as a God centered event, therefore the freedom of religion allows for this to be the case.

Some who oppose marriage for anyone other than an opposite sex couple, minimize the reality of this kind of marriage for couples who are of the same sex. They lack the clarity of thought and reason that can see that gender has nothing to do with real marriage. Two people, regardless of their gender, can emulate marriage as it has always been respected throughout history.

There are religions that do not approve of same sex marriage. That is their freedom and right to live within their own religious convictions. A religious pastor or leader who by conviction will not marry two people of the same sex are free to maintain their restrictions. In no way does another view of marriage nullify their belief. In the same way, our US government has seen fit to devise a system where one religion cannot be a guiding factor for our country. Our country has been built upon religious freedom and diversity.

Therefore, it is my conviction and belief that if two people decide to weave their lives together in a legal marriage, as described above, regardless of their gender, they should be given the right to the benefits and advantages afforded all married couples in this country. Their relationship should be legally recognized as set apart from friendship, or a business partnership.

All we have to do is to look around and see there are thousands of same-sex couples that are already married in spirit, but at this time are not allowed the benefits of opposite sex couples.

It is my hope that the Supreme Court of the Unites States will approve the order allowing same sex couples to marry and to see that any other decision would be to discriminate against same sex couples.