Another view on Biblical submission?

Since the last post was short, here’s another brief one to round out my own thoughts on mutuality (see footnote).  You can read the other three here, here, and here.  Tomorrow, I’ll recap the week with my favorite posts from around the web, so don’t go anywhere.

My final thought on this subject has to do with same-sex relationships.  As many of you know, this is a topic I love to challenge the Church on.  Today is no exception, but it comes in the form of a question.

How do Christians in same-sex long-term relationships/marriages handle the issue of submission?

Okay, I get it.  The majority of complementarians probably also believe same-sex marriages are outside God’s will.  Fine. But for those who don’t subscribe to that view, this is a teachable moment.  After all, being complementarian doesn’t mean being conservative in all ways (though the correlation is probably pretty high).

According to complementarian theology, men and women have certain roles within marriage.  These roles can be very conservative, encouraging women to stay home, care for the household, and be the nurturing spirit of the family while men work and are strong and masculine.  But these roles can be more flexible, recognizing that women can work and men can stay home, that household chores can be divided equally, and that children are everyone’s responsibility.  The main point is really that men are the spiritual head of the household and that women should respect them as such, trusting their husbands to lead the family.

I am not certain this would work in a same-sex relationship.

Honestly, I don’t know.  I’ve only ever been a woman married to a man.  I’m not trying to be irreverent, nor am I trying to be ignorant.  I’ve never asked this question before.  I guess I never thought about it much.  Come to think of it, I’ve never given much thought to what my role in my own marriage is “supposed” to be, much less anyone else’s.

I do wonder if this is what some people object to when it comes to same-sex marriage, though.  Is it the idea that two men or two women couldn’t reflect or represent God’s relationship with the church properly?  I suppose that is an issue, in some people’s minds.

Anyway, I am sincerely interested in the answers.  I would love some of my Christian friends in same-sex relationships to help me out here.  How do you read and interpret the Bible on the subject of submission?  Is it irrelevant to you, or do you choose to read those words in a way that is meaningful within your particular relationship?  Have you ever heard a message given on this subject that you found applies to you?

Chime in, don’t be shy!  I’ll bet there are a lot of people interested in the responses.  And be sure to let me know if I’m overstepping the bounds of being appropriate here—I’m not above loving correction and I will be happy to remove this post if it’s offensive.

This post is part of the Week of Mutuality led by Rachel Held Evans.  You can follow the other posts on Twitter with #mutuality2012.  Check it out, there are some fantastic writers weighing in on the topic.  On Friday, I will highlight my favorites.  Look for Rachel’s faves in her usual Sunday Superlatives.
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4 thoughts on “Another view on Biblical submission?

  1. I’ve been in a longterm same sex relationship for 11 years. He’s my husband and I am his husband. We really don’t think of it in terms of submission. We respect each other and have open dialog – in roles in the house, we tend to play to our strengths – he cooks better, so he mostly does that. We both contribute in work around the house. Although, I’ve made a few meals from time to time. He just gets tired of sandwiches. We think of each other as equals and I think that with straight couples it should be the same – and play to your strengths in household duties and break the rules from time to time. Open communication, love and respect on this is key to success.

    • Was hoping you’d answer this. 🙂

      That makes a lot of sense. Sounds pretty much like my marriage, actually. My husband is by far the better cook, much more adventuresome than I am. I guess it helps that he doesn’t mind getting the kitchen a little messy, though. We do split the chores, but I do the laundry because I don’t trust anyone else to do it right! Heh.

      Absolutely, about open communication. I love that I married someone who isn’t closed off about his opinions and feelings.

  2. I could be biased since I’m queer, but I think the best way to end hierarchy in relationships is have a same-sex relationship. No pressure to conform to any bullsh*t “gender roles!”

    But seriously, my boyfriend Sean and I don’t have any “roles” in our relationship. We just support each other equally as much as we can. (Of course I should point out that while we are in a committed relationship, we’re not in a domestic partnership. It’s WAY too early in our relationship to consider that quite yet!)

    • Ha, I was thinking that. One of the couples I know would certainly agree, but they are not religious at all.

      While your relationship may be in an earlier stage, for a lot of hetero Christian couples they already begin talking about their roles. That was one thing I found strange when I went to Christian college. It seemed like everyone was gearing up for marriage–which made very little sense, as we were there to earn a degree. Of course, I met my husband there, so I should probably just shut up.

      We didn’t then, and don’t now, conform strictly to gender roles. It looks like it a little on the outside, but it’s not on the inside.

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