I had a chuckle while following a recent debate about marriage in which the egalitarians were doing battle with the complementarians, as if they were playing a game of football, when the accusation of “extreme complementarianism” came up.
It was a timely thing to read since I have spent a great deal of time on the internet getting kicked around and banned from a couple of blogs, Biblical Gender Roles being the most recent, Tomassi of Rational Male coming shortly before that. Alas, both of those men seem to be rather defensive and afraid of my sweet, gentle words. That’s not even sarcasm, I really have done my best to speak to both of these men as gently as possible, but to no avail.
Why try to speak to them? Well, because they are wrong about a few things, the first problem being, they believe themselves incapable of being wrong about anything. Would I call them “extreme complementarians?” No, no, they are not even worthy of that complaint. What they are is so full of male ego and injured pride, they seem to be unable to see the forest for all the trees. Their concept of “complementary” pretty much revolves entirely around them and their own needs, which is evident in the outright contempt for women being expressed, including sexual contempt. There was a most unfortunate comment about not looking at medusa’s face while being intimate with her….
It is so not good for man to be alone…. Ahem, Genesis 2:18.
Naturally the world loves a good sex scandal…..and anything that portrays Christians in a negative light. BGR has now been covered in HuffnPuff, Jezebel, CNS, and the Daily Mail, as if he speaks for all Christians, as if these are biblical values, as if he represents what complementary even means.
In the interest of setting the record straight on this terrible slander of the very word, “complementary,” let’s look at the actual definition. Complementary means,
- combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other or another
- completing something or satisfying a lack in something,
- two things when added together helps to make the other better
- mutually supplying each other’s lack
- serving to fulfill and complete
Now if that is not the sweetest, most romantic thing ever, I don’t know what is. Darling, you complete me, you enhance me, you call me to my higher self. You fill me up, you lift me up, and you bring out the best in me. You are my other half, my better half, not my main squeeze, but THE squeeze. You are the cheese on my pizza, the amore in my moonlight…
Works for me, I am falling in love already….
The very word “complementary” speaks of love, of humility, of respect, of having the good grace to realize that together we are better than we were before, that there is a lack within us that can only be filled by another. Alone we are incomplete. Together we are one flesh. “Love lift us up where we belong, Far from the world below, Up where the clear winds blow….”
Sorry. Anyway, what both of these men have gotten wrong is that they confuse fear with love, leadership with control, domination with destruction. Authority with lording power over, rather than having power within. Given their rather contemptuous view of women, as well as their completely loveless presentation of what a complementary marriage is, it is no wonder so many people recoil in horror and start speaking of being egalitarians.
No doubt both of these men now try to perceive me as a raging feminist or downright delusional, but what I really am is a biblical literalist, as in scripture is not be bent to conform to our world view, but we are to bend to conform to scripture. So marriage, even complementary marriage from a scriptural view, is not designed to demean or debase women at all, in fact there are some very pertinent scriptures being all but forgotten here.
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 1 Peter 3:7
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it… Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.- Colossians 3:19
However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband… Ephesians 5:33
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. -Ephesians 5:28
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman -1 Corinthians 11:11
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal….Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful… -1 Corinthians 13:1-13
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain -Proverbs 31:11
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her –Proverbs 31:28
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church -Ephesians 5:29
See, the very word “complementary” speaks to becoming complete, to symbiosis between the two genders, inter-dependence even. I call it a Divine comedy because men and women often perceive the world differently, meaning we sometimes must struggle to speak each other’s language, but it is also in that struggle that we come to know the nature of true love, the love our Creator has for each one of us, and the love He has for His church. This one flesh concept is a spiritual union, born oflove not condemnation and contempt.
Do I romanticize and feminize the entire love story? Oh absolutely, but little brothers, if you’re talking about draping a cocktail napkin over your wife’s medusa face or as Tomassi says, creating dread by flirting with other women so your wife will fear you could leave her, you’re doing the whole darn tango wrong. I mean seriously, either count your darn blessings that you have found someone foolish enough to put up with you, or get the heck off the dance floor.