For thousands of years, men and women have engaged in power struggles. Have you ever wondered why? Women began fighting for their rights in the early 1800s in America. Despite gains in the public and private work sectors, some believe there is still room for improvement.
Today, men and women are still in a tug of war for superiority. Skirmishes between husbands and wives often center on who should have the final say. Should the highest earner control the finances? Who is the chief disciplinarian? Who decides which church the family will join? Too often, questions like these become a catalyst for conflict.
The First Fight
Some say couples struggle because they are different. The saying goes: “A man will pay ten dollars for a five-dollar item he needs. A woman will pay five dollars for a ten-dollar item she does not need because it is on sale.” Joking aside, there are many differences between men and women. God created the differences to promote harmony, not discord, unity not division. The first power struggle happened in the Garden of Eden. It was not between Adam and Eve but rather between humanity and God.
Prior to their sin, Adam and Eve were a team. God said, “let them rule” over creation (Genesis 1:26 NASB). Perfectly suited for each other, they worked to please God and each other without shame. In sinning, they rebelled against God and then shifted the blame (Genesis 3:12-13). Marital conflict generally traces back to self-pleasing desires on the part of one or both parties. When we seek our way over God’s way, our spouses may end up in harm’s way.
Trust God’s Original Plan.
God made Adam and Eve “suitable” companions (Genesis 2:18, NASB). He established a family structure with the husband as the leader and the wife as his “helper” (one who supplies strength). In His infinite wisdom, God retained this structure following the fall (1 Corinthians 11:3). The key to minimizing marital conflict starts with trusting God’s plan. Trust requires husbands and wives to submit to God’s ultimate Headship. A husband yielded to Christ will strive to lead his wife and children with tender, sacrificial love. A wife yielded to Christ will seek to support and respect her husband as he follows Christ. In marital conflict, both people can be wrong, but both cannot be right if their views are opposites. The secret to getting along in marriage is seeking the third and best opinion- God’s.
This article first appeared in Birmingham Christian Family Magazine.