Instead of watching the debate tonight, I had dinner with friends in Littleton. The restaurant had approximately 34 televisions going and all were tuned into the Denver Broncos preseason game. I love Colorado.
So I missed the little brouhaha over Byron York's question to Michele Bachmann, embedded above. When I think of the top, say, 1,000 questions I'd like to hear Fox News ask GOP presidential contenders, asking Michele Bachmann about her views on submissive wives wouldn't rank on my list. And you could tell the audience thought it an unconscionably rude or idiotic question.
What I find surprising, though, is how little the culture understands about what the New Testament teaches Christians about marriage. So as a wife in a Christian marriage, allow me to explain. Marriage is my most important vocation. It is the means by which God blesses me and my husband. Ephesians tells us that marriage is an image of Christ and the church.
St. Paul tells spouses to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives are told to submit to their husbands as to the Lord. Husbands are told to lay down their lives for their wives, sacrificing everything for them out of love.
We serve God by serving our spouses and denying ourselves for their good. As Gene Veith has written:
The husband loves and serves his wife, and the wife loves and serves her husband. The unpopular command for the wife to “submit” and the forgotten command for the husband to “give himself up” for his wife are examples of the self-denial required in every vocation. The husband, emulating Christ, sacrifices himself for his wife, who, emulating the church, receives that sacrifice in submission to him.
Today’s culture gets marriage wrong, in large part, because of our obsession with the self. People assume that marriage is supposed to be about self-fulfillment. Christianity, in contrast, teaches self-denial. The irony is that in a Christian view of marriage, both spouses are fulfilled, not by each of them making selfcentered demands, but through the selfless actions of the other.
I fail at this daily but this is what I aim for in my relationship with my husband. Likewise, he aims for this with me. When we sin, which happens all too often, we confess our sins and receive absolution. This is what our daily life is like and I'm thankful to have this teaching about marriage.
The fact is that the husband's given role -- that of complete sacrifice for his wife -- is much more difficult than the wife's role of submission. But something tells me we won't be seeing anybody ask the Catholic or Evangelical male candidates whether they can be president while holding a Biblical view of marriage that requires this complete sacrifice for their spouse. On the one hand, that's a good thing. On the other, it shows just how much that vital role -- the one that sustains a Christian marriage -- has been neglected and forgotten.