Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Way of a Man with a Maid

I was asked the other day by a man who needed to know, "What areas of doctrinal agreement make for a spiritually happy marriage?"
A couple of things need to be cleared up first.
One: I don't expect a wife to agree doctrinally with her husband. They usually do agree but I don't think it helps a man already too pleased with himself to have another soul, who loves him romantically, adding her voice by default to the cheers. That she does agree and knows that she need not is a great freedom and greater confidence within her own thoughts that she has processed, not merely 'slept with' her husband's views. Plus, he will be able to trust that if he can't convince her, he might still be right but he will know that the transferring argument needs work.
Two: It is not the 'agreement' that makes for the spiritual happiness. If the two agree and are wrong in their view they have team happiness. They have just what two advocates of, or members in, a particular sporting franchise have. The weight of spiritual happiness in a marriage is that degree of agreement on that which is sufficiently correct that the Powers of Heaven conspire to aid and comfort.
Primarily I am thinking of a man with a maid though I imagine a young lady of mental means might find this helpful as well.
The Preacher saith "Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life which he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun."

Three conclusions or opinions must have been reached by a young lady if you hope to be happy with her in daily tests and maturings with which this futile life is encumbered.
They are, The Gospel, the Primary Desire to Please God, and a Knowledge of where Truth comes from.
The first is obvious. Without regeneration by a belief in and a calling out to God through His Son Jesus Christ, the hottest for you, most infatuated in you, sinner on the planet will be Hell on wheels. In the lightest and heaviest way, God Help You.
The second is about her opinion of her Christianity relational to all else in her life. The Powers wish to aid and comfort. Does Christ not merely save her from sin but buy her attention as Lord? Just like a man would not like to discover that she married him for an occasional romp and as a day laborer, so also would that man want to have someone as committed to pleasing the Lord as is he. Remember this is about agreement. They, the two of them, must have met the Gospel with effect. They, the two of them, must take the position that Christ is Lord.
In looking for a wife it is a reversal of Christ and the centurion. Christ is impressed with the Roman soldier's understanding of authority and comments about such a one that, "no greater faith is found in Israel". I say 'reversal' for a man wants to find a wife that understands (before she becomes his wife) that God rules the world of men and as such she is more ready to be what God commanded for a wife.
"Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands."
Ephesians 5:22-24
Let us recap. Evangelical faith unto salvation and an abiding desire to please God. Sounds like a great gal. Without getting into a systematic agreement on your particular creed, what more could be needed? The third thing, that I mentioned above, is the thing that puts legs on the spiritual relationship between man and wife.
"If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home."
I Corinthians 14:35

What I said above was "that they know where truth comes from" and then just now I quote a little more Pauline misogyny. No, I am not saying that truth comes from the husband. I think you would have figured that out by my first aside, that a wife need not agree with her husband on doctrine. The husband needs to know that he is Biblically mandated to be a teacher for his wife and like Christ and the Church "wash her with the water of the word". So what quality in her should he be looking for. Many women are saved. Many want to please God. And tragically, many of these many make up their minds by what their pastor says, what their father says, what their husband says, what friends, commercials, traditions, superstitions, passions, and emotions say.
If she ends up in a correct opinion about anything, she was lucky.
Above all else pick a wife from a set that knows whence truth comes. You have to guide her and answer the questions. Watch for these evaluators.
When she holds a position which is revealed to be opposite from what she sees in Scripture, run like Hades.
When she, on encountering a rational proof against what she thinks, makes her defense in the tall grass of passion and/or what people important to her said, resign yourself to a longer search for love.
If what is apparent on the grounds of a shared phenomenal reality is set aside for vain imaginings, faeries, conspiracy or worse, conveniently forget her phone number.
You cannot lead, and you cannot spiritually enjoy a woman who doesn't know where truth resides. You cannot hope to have a wider range of agreement in doctrinal nuance with some babe for whom the Scriptures, logic and empiricism are just 'guy think' and against which she decides and lives because of the oatmeal she calls gray matter bubbled up at the sight of a puppy.
"Like a gold ring in a swine's snout
is a beautiful woman without discretion."
Proverbs 11:22

8 comments:

Jeff Moss said...

Evan,

In 1888 the Anglican Communion adopted the "Lambeth Quadrilateral," a fourfold summary of what were in their view the foundations of truth and unity:
1. The Holy Scriptures
2. The Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed
3. The two Sacraments ordained by Christ
4. The Historic Episcopate

If I understand you correctly, in point three of your post you are instead suggesting a sort of Evantine Triangle:
1. Scripture
2. Rational proof
3. "Shared phenomenal reality"

Is this a fair assessment?

The Oracle said...

I was addressing what a young man should minimally look for in a maid in order to minister and marry without substantial headaches. I would suppose that the average church would be more easy to guide with the Evantine Triangle but I would not go so far as to suggest Christian fellowship and unity should be predicated on these three. I don't have a choice of whom I am in the church with. I do have a choice about my wife.

timmyjimi said...

Thanks for this post.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Just a quick comment: it seems to me that the average church would be more easily to guide based on the Anglican (or the similar Weslian) quadrangle. It may be incorrectly guided, but it would be far far easier if 1888 Lambeth were correct.

And second, it seems the Anglican view says "The pilar and ground of truth are Christ and the Church." Yours seems to say "The Bible and me." Thus, yours is less in agreement with St. Paul, who says the Church, (not the Bible, not my reason, not even Christ) is the pilar and ground of truth.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Also, misquotations are often revealing. The love of a husband for his wife is not said to "wash her with the water of the word" but "washing of water with (or by or in, but not of) the word."

In yours water is a metaphor for word. In St. Paul's, water is an element of the washing along with the word.

Justin said...

Ah, this is a good reminder to look for a companion and not merely a lover.

Frank said...

Great post, Thanks

thebeloved said...

This has often been a question that people have asked me and that I have asked myself. Thanks for your comments.