Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Should we prepare for marriage?

In our day and age, it's not uncommon to hear that a young girl who is concentrating her efforts on preparing to be a good wife, mother and homemaker is narrowing her mind and closing off other possibilities the world can offer. Some argue it's not even sensible to prepare and make plans for marriage until a girl can be sure to a reasonable degree she will be married – say, when she is twenty-something and engaged. Until then… why limit your options?

And indeed, most young women today are being prepared for anything but marriage – they spend years and years giving all their time and energy, and large sums of money as well, to paths which lead them to competitive, time-consuming careers, which are supposed to grant access to power and influence in the future. The role of wife, mother, homemaker, helper, nurturer, a tender, gentle, self-sacrificing and generous giver – that role is forgotten.

Yet the majority of women will still become wives and mothers at some point or another. You just can't close your eyes to this simple and undeniable fact. And when they do get married, it turns out that they know very little about what it means; about a selfless, committed relationship, and childrearing and schooling, about managing a household and supplying their family with healthy, nutritious meals, and a thousand other things which used to be rightfully viewed as crucial to a good home life, but now are sadly mocked and degraded.

Many women, after they marry, are expected to make a sudden switch from career mentality to marriage mentality, from a "me"-mindset to "we"-mindset; is it any wonder that often, it doesn't work – look at our divorce rate; those women feel frustrated, overwhelmed and even deceived – how did it happen that no one told them marriage is a vocation? How come no one told them it requires work, time, energy and commitment? How come they are ripping their hair out, not knowing what they are supposed to do, and how to do it? They spent ten years in university getting their PhD – but have no clue about how to make home a sweet and welcoming place; and when they finally reach a point in their life when they realize nothing can replace a good, dedicated and wholesome home life, they plainly don't know how to proceed. So what are young women supposed to do?

To me, the answer is simple. If a girl or woman feels she is called to marriage, she should prepare for it as her primary, most important vocation, secondary to anything else she might be doing in years when time might allow for other pursuits. How will she know if she is called to marriage? If she doesn't see herself as a lifelong single, if she knows she longs for love, intimacy, family, and children, she is probably called to marriage. Of course no one actually promises her she will be married – as nobody can promise us we will get all our heart's desires – but there is a very good chance she will. And for that, she will need skills that are not taught on college campuses. She should keep that in mind and learn accordingly - it just doesn't make any sense to remain unprepared for this noble work.

71 comments:

PhDCow said...

They spent ten years in university getting their PhD – but have no clue about how to make home a sweet and welcoming place; and when they finally reach a point in their life when they realize nothing can replace a good, dedicated and wholesome home life, they plainly don't know how to proceed.

I know you didn't mean to offend with this statement, but it did hurt. I spent a total of 13 years getting my BA, MS, and PhD. I got married while earning my MS and from the very start of our marriage, I made sure that our home was a happy, warm place. My husband and I work very hard and I have always tried to make home a place of respite and replenishment. My mother never did this and growing up, home never felt welcoming, even though she was a SAHM. From the moment I got married, I vowed to make our home welcoming not only to visitors, but also to ourselves.

I had my 2 children while earning my PhD. Again, I've worked very hard to make sure that I leave work at work. I don't have a home office. All of my grading, etc. is done in my office at school. Home is our sanctuary.

- Angela

Brenda said...

And as a mom of 2 daughters, there is plenty I can do to ensure they have a different outcome!

Anna S said...

PhD,

I hope you didn't understand what I said as, "women who have spent years working on their PhD will always become dysfunctional wives" - because that's not what I meant. The bottom line of my post was simply that women often spend far too little time preparing for marriage while they are single, and instead invest their time in goals which do not ultimately contribute to their happiness.

PhDCow said...

I understand what you mean, Anna. Interestingly, all of the women in my PhD program (roughly half) were all married and most had children. None of the men were. The men were much more focused on their careers, rather than finding a mate. I'm sure it differs by discipline, but others have mentioned this trend as well. Perhaps this is a function of us being older than the traditional college-age student, but this is what I observed.

Mrs W said...

I tend to believe that it was God's original intention for every woman to get married. That's the reason He created woman...to be a help meet to one certain man.

Terry said...

I am definitely training my daughters to prepare for marriage and family. However, given the current state of the world we live in (among believers and non alike), there are many women who desire a husband and family who will never see that dream come to fruition. It is a possibility that women cannot afford to ignore, particularly when considering that many men these days do not appreciate the idea of a wife who stays at home. While I agree wholeheartedly with everything you've said here, I also think that as a single woman there is time to prepare for marriage and also develop marketable skills in preparation for the future. Keep in mind that there are large numbers of young women who have been raised without the covering of a loving and godly father- many with no father present at all. God knows this and His grace will cover them as they make the tough decisions needed in planning their futures.

Rebekah S. said...

Amen! Tell it like it is, Anna! :)

This is one of the reasons I'm against young ladies going to college and young married women working outside the home. Now, as you well know, I wholeheartedly believe that a woman must and should be highly educated. But this should be done at home (i.e. correspondance courses, college-level books, accelerated distance learning, etc.). One reason for this is so that she can better prepare for her life-long mission.

I find it so sad that young girls simply adore homemaking toys and dolls, and then when they're teens, for instance, they begin being bombarded with the words, "You're throwing yourself and your potential away if all you want to do is be a homemaker", "Children are a nuisance", etc. They become so confused. They're then shipped off to destructive colleges where they come to believe that only having a career outside the home is fulfilling and worthwhile. Then they become old and realise that they have nothing. Sure, they may be wealthy and may be known by many, but they have no worthwhile love, they may not have a good marriage-if a marriage at all, and do not have the fruit of godly progeny. They then see-when it's too late-that they missed out on the only highly enfluential, fulfilling, and worthwhile job there is-that of being a homemaker, wife and mother. It's all just so sad!

Rebekah S. said...

Mrs. W.,

The reason woman was created was indeed to be a helpmeet to a man. If she's unmarried, then she's to be serving and helping her father. Whether you're married or not, you're tied to the help and service of some man(even the feminists are serving and furthering the vision of a man-namely, Karl Marx).

Anna S said...

Terry,

I know many young women don't have supportive fathers these days. I'm one of them, as you maybe know.

It's not wrong for a young woman to earn money. It's not wrong to learn skills that will enhance her money-making abilities. It truly wasn't the point of this post.

My point was that most women will, indeed, get married, and it makes sense to prepare for marriage. Marriage isn't just one remote option - it's what most likely will happen to any given woman!

Rebekah S. said...

To be true Proverbs 31 women, we must practice all of the tasks which she completed from day to day. That's what my book(Lord willing) will be on.



Anna, thank you for the comment on my blog that you just left! :)

Shannon said...

This is so true Anna. I was raised in a home with parents who were so focused on their career's-I never really learned what 'family' meant! I never had a home that felt full of love, never had good home cooked meals or family time. We had TONS of material things and from the outside we looked perfect-but on the inside there was no sense of 'home' or 'family'.

Therefore when I got married I had an absolute freak out for about 1 year. I didnt know who I was, or what the heck I was supposed to be doing. I didn't know how to cook or clean or be a 'wife'. I didnt even know how to be a family member to my husband! It was a very stressful time and I went through a lot of searching for my identity. It sure would have been easier if I had someone in my life that could have prepared me for what marriage meant.

It's been 7 years now and thank God I have learned what it means to be a wife and now, a mother. I now dedicate myself to creating in my family what was missing in my family growing up.

Kelly (The Barefoot Mama) said...

Trust me, children turn your whole world around, so the time spent married before these blessings arrive is what I liken to prepping for graduation if you're equating it to the "working world" (and doesn't the working world LOVE to have us focus on *that* mindset anyway? LOL!). Learning skills that make a house run efficiently is a great endeavor to undertake before children arrive - there's nothing like trying to all of a sudden cook, clean, manage your time, etc. when you're nursing a little one 24/7 and tending to someone else's needs constantly. :o) Take the time to get those things down (at least started) before you expand your family.

Children are the utmost blessing. They're also a whole new level of committment and work. The stronger a woman can solidify the running of her home, the less exhausting and shocking will be the transition to keeping a home with children in it. Things will be turned upsidedown and all around, of course, when the babies come, but having a firm mindset that contributes to an efficient, humble and satisfying abode will pay off tenfold.

P.S. The most important thing that you can do during your newlywed time is the same as the most critical duty you can pursue during your entire marriage: increase, enhance and grow your love for your husband through the love of God.

Jennifer said...

When I was in high school I read an article about how young women should be living their daily lives in a way that is helping them develop good, Godly habits and attributes that they would desire to have when they are married. The point being that the attitudes, work habits, and heart focus that you are working towards each day as a teenager (and as a young single adult) is going to be the basis for how you will be as a mother and a wife. This seems so obvious and simple, but it really made me realize how small day to day decisions for me as a young single woman do matter in the greater scheme of things. If i want to be a good wife and mother someday (if that is what God has for my future) then I need to try to become that person I would hope I would be towards my husband and children this very day. Another wonderful post Anna!

Karen said...

In addition to teaching in the home, I'm not sure that the church shouldn't take a more active role in helping to prepare young men and women for marriage. When I got married, our pastor met with us for an hour and "discussed" what a "marriage" was supposed to be. Nothing was said about the biblical role of the wife at all. I realize that some churches now offer six week "courses" on preparing for marriage but I am not sure that that is enough either.

PhDCow said...

she will need skills that are not taught on college campuses

I know that you had a negative college experience, but as a college professor (and former college student myself), there are many lessons learned in college that I'm not sure can be taught elsewhere. Time management, budgeting, deadlines, and personal responsibility for starters. Learning how to take care of yourself physically so that you stay in good health. Deciding for yourself what foods are good for you. Deciding for yourself who your friends are. I entered college a very naive and sheltered 18 year old girl and came out 4 years later as a strong, confident woman with countless life lessons under my belt.

In addition, I went to a women's college and several of my friends, while majoring in useful professions such as nursing, nutrition, and teaching, went to college specifically to find their husbands at the neighboring engineering school with a 3 to 1 male to female ratio.

I'm probably not going to change any minds here, but I do want to show that there is another side to the story.

In any event, this discussion has been interesting and I wish you all a happy 2008!

- Angela

Bonnie said...

I think it is fine if a young woman wants to go to college or uni, but I think they should have a firm grounding in homemaking before they go. Correspondence courses are certainly a good option, and then the daughter can be at home all the time.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to see the world, in getting a degree in anything. We can't expect to go into a marriage knowing everything about homemaking, or everything about rasing a family etc - you learn all the time. You should certainly be capable before you are married, but I don't think we need a really strict emphasis that you must know everything before you are married, and not give anyone a chance to maybe fulfill their dreams of travelling or studying.
I know some women who don't cook at all in their homes - their husbands do it, and it works out fine for them!

Calamity Jean said...

I was so blessed to have a mother who raised all five of her children to do domestic tasks and she spent time showing us four girls what a joy it is to serve yoru husband and family. She never said that she was raising us to get married but she did tell us over and over again how important it was to create your home. What is interesting is that i learned these skills while I was still in high school with a normal teenager's social life, part time job and school work. Even in College I continued to learn how to accomplish domestic duties. Including making bedroom curtains for my roomates room with fabric and now sew. I guess my point is pretty much what PHD said...Whether you are are pursing ten degrees or working part time or living at home. You have to create a home that is a haven and that can be learned in conjunction with other pursuits.

Maggie said...

I think that I too have mixed feelings with regard to this. I did attend a university, and by own choice, i attended one out of town. By living on my own for 3 of the 4 years ( i spent my first year with relatives) it forced me to learn how to cook, to clean, do laundry, balance a budget, all of those necessary life skills that I'll need regardless of whether I get married or not. I never saw my university experience as overall negative or evil.

As with Phdcow, I've known several women who have completed their MA and PHds while there were young children at home, and/or with husbands. They survived it and they chose this path because that's how they view they can make a difference and change to the word. And like Phdcow mentioned, this might have been due to the field (sociology) vs. perhaps a more 'science' approach. I don't know for certain. But these women wouldn't change their experiences and their children are some of the most well rounded thoughtful kids I've met.
just my two cents.

Andrea said...

Anna, you are just so rational! I love the way you have worded this, for some reason, and I completely agree with the principle. I mean, it's just like any other profession, isn't it? One wouldn't take a young man who's been training to be a lawyer all his life and suddenly thrust a scalpel in his hand and expect him to perform an appendectomy, after all! All right, that's a bit of an oversimplification, but it's the first thing that sprang to mind ;)

I do find, I suppose, that we all wake to our goals/callings at different times in life. Until very recently I had minimal interest in homemaking at all; that is, I did housekeeping, of course (I made meals because I had to eat, I kept things clean because I didn't like them messy, etc.) but it's only very recently that things like cooking and cleaning have become more enjoyable for me, and I do find that a real blessing (I have noticed that my enjoyment of these things always coincides with the moment that they become my primary responsibility; doing dishes in somebody else's house is a service, but doing them as mistress of my own house is a joy. I have no idea why).

That said, I still don't know if a husband and children will be what I am meant to have; I am still preparing for things in that area, since housework and childcare are pretty well part of my everyday existence, but at the moment I am feeling no leading and seeing no signs that these are meant to be anything immediate for me, which is, to be honest, quite all right with me now, too!

Actually, at the moment I am feeling very called to study, perhaps even pursue a Master's degree, in the area of women in Scripture and the role of women in the early Christian church. I am somewhat hampered in that every program I have looked at so far (particularly the one I want to do the most, a really delightful one offered by Oxford) requires me to have either Greek or Hebrew or both, and I have neither! But if this is what I am meant to do for now then I suppose it's what I ought to prepare for, too! My aunt has actually been very helpful and has offered to put me in touch with somebody she knows who might be able to offer some suggestions, so for now, I suppose I, too, am training in the area(s) where it seems I am meant to proceed!

Anyhow, this was another refreshing and thought-provoking post; you are ever and always a delight! Thank you!

Seung said...

Not that this has anything to do with anything, but happy new year!

Dave said...

"If a girl or woman feels she is called to marriage, she should prepare for it as her primary, most important vocation, secondary to anything else she might be doing in years when time might allow for other pursuits."

While I do appreciate some of the points you make in your post, why should men not be held to the same standard as women in this matter? Should a man's primary focus not also be on marriage?

Allison said...

Amen! I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing Anna. :)

College Gal said...

It just amazes me how this world is turning out. A home should be a home, not just a house to dwell in. I'm so thankful that my parents brought me up to look forward to getting my future home ready, and preparing myself for it too. I cannot wait for my husband to come home to a lovely, welcoming, God filled home. I look so forward to it. Wise words again Anna, thank you and God bless!

Erin said...

Wow, thats exactly how I feel - that I'm doing all things work at uni for a career I don't want.
(At least it is a child related course so I am learning some things that will be helpful in being a mother one day)

I find it almost depressing devoting 4 years of my life to a uni degree I pray I will never have to use. And yet I do not have anyone around me who is supportive of the idea of quiting uni to focus on preparing for marriage and motherhood. "You don't know that it will ever happen." They keep telling me.

While I trust God with my future and know he can give marriage/motherhood to me if it is His will there is always the possiblitiy that it is not what is planned for my life and everyone seems to focus on that more than the possibility that it might.

Julia said...

Speaking from personal experience, I think a lot of young girls get the idea that marriage is about romance. I had my head in the clouds and never considered what kind of father my husband would be or his financial stability or any of the practical things that went into every day life. It never occurred to me that I would have huge responsibilities and I would need to be a real grown up. My parents never clued me in. Maybe they thought it was obvious, but it wasn't. I had read to many fairy tales where she marries the handsome prince and they live happily ever after.

I married at 19 and got pregnant 6 months later. It was a huge reality check and I was forced to grow up and learn that the world did not revolve around my happiness. It was a big mental shift for me. I became depressed. I know hormones play a part in that for many women, and perhaps they did somewhat for myself. For me, I feel that I was thrown into a situation I never anticipated and I felt sorry for myself. It all turned out alright for me, but I do think some preparation and some discussions with an adult about what marriage and real life in general are really like would have helped me.

Haus Frau said...

Excellent, as usual, Anna. :o)

I can add very little than what has already been posted, except to encourage women, young and seasoned alike, to return their hearts toward home - to care and nurture their families (future or existing), beginning with their husbands (remember: hubby came before the children!), and to walk in the ways the Lord God has set before us as shared in scripture.

I'm thankful our daughter is completing college classes online rather than living on campus. Yesterday we gathered together with a few other families. Two daughters made the decision, with their parent’s hearty approval, to live on the campus of their respective universities (400 miles from home). My husband especially noticed a marked change in the young women - a pulling away of sorts - a general disinterest of those around them. I'm not saying that all young women would change in this way, but this was an obvious change and in our experience not at all uncommon. Some might say they’re just growing up and spreading their wings – finding themselves. I believe instead, that they may very possibly be losing themselves to the world.

Buffy said...

I agree that the whole educational area of homemaking, marriage and childraising is completely neglected these days. For some women this may not be important but many do have a desire to marry, keep home and have children rather than have a career and these women (whom I daresay are in the majority) are made to feel there is something wrong with them.

On the other hand I don't think there is anything wrong with a woman doing a PhD at any time of her life (excepting when she has small children for obvious reasons). I just don't see why all areas of education can't be given equal status.

Jennifer K said...

Well Rebekah S., it's so nice to know that because I'm not a wife, mother and homemaker, my life is a whole bunch of nothing.

Kelly said...

Well said Anna. I know for me I'm going to encourage my daughter to get a degree and find a profession but I'm going to tell her that it is at least if not more important to put an equal amount of time into preparing to be a wife and mother. That would include knowing how to cook, clean, manage a household, etc. I figure that since I don't know if she will marry or not she should be educated but it's just wrong that women, and men too, are not prepared for marriage at all and go into it blind in a way.
My first few months of marriage I didn't know what to do with myself all day either. While I was running my web business that didn't take up the whole day. I ended up learning to cook, fine tuning my baking skills, and realizing that my business/accounting degree came in really handy for managing a household. Though I tried really hard not to treat my hubby as an employee ;-).
Kelly

Adlyn said...

Great post Anna!
Sorry I have not commented on your post latley we have just moved and and just got the iternet this morning. but I have been following along on my cell phone which has internet (thought I can not comment on the phone I still enjoyed to post :( ) anyway I'm glad to be back !

xoxoxoxo,
Adlyn

Rebekah S. said...

Hey, Anna! You haven't posted anything yet for today, and I just wanted to check in to make sure everything's all right.


Praying for you!

Blessings,
Rebekah

Stefanie said...

"I got married I had an absolute freak out for about 1 year. I didnt know who I was, or what the heck I was supposed to be doing. I didn't know how to cook or clean or be a 'wife'"

So nice to hear someone else say this! I felt the same way. I had my degree, and I had my spouse, and I felt ill equipped weirdly enough. I've been married for five years now and I feel like I am still constantly learning about being a homemaker. I think of all the time I could have been saved by knowing some of these things, but then again it has been a journey of self discovery concerning what works best for me. But the hard part is that this is always changing.
I have a natural home now, and I focus on creating quality of life.

USAincognito said...

Anna,
As you may know from reading my blog, I have been giving eHarmony a try to hopefully meet a compatible future mate. I have been corresponding for quite some time now with a doctor in another state. (for obvious protection of me and him, i won't be using any specifics on here)
Through my conversations with him and through reading your thought-provoking and challenging posts on marriage, more specifically the topic of "working mom" vs. "stay at home mom" my viewpoint has begun to change.

And I wanted to share with you some excerpts from some of the emails I have sent him....

I will be honest, for so long I enjoyed being single and doing my own thing. But as I am older now, I really want to marry and start a family of my own.
Yet, I also enjoy my career and do so love working in law enforcement.
I have really been doing a lot of thinking on this - is it possible to balance the two? Is it possible to be a good mother while holding down a fulltime career as demanding as mine is? And I don't think it is possible. At least, not doing what I am doing right now.
My mother stayed at home and raised my sister and I - and I am very thankful she did. I also know too many families where the children are literally put on the "back burner," so to speak, so the parents can live their lives and have their perfect career job - and that is so sad as the children end up with so many behavioral problems as they get older. (i used to work with these kind of kids when i was a counselor)
I have really been doing some soul searching and praying over this issue. And God has been changing my heart & mind on this issue. I used to be a woman who thought I could hold down a fulltime career and still somehow find time to be there for my children. But my way of thinking has been changing.
I want to be there for my children. And if I continue to work fulltime in my line of work, that will be nearly impossible. My career is very demanding of my time - and the hours are not conducive to raising children. In the end, my job would have to come first if I continued in this career field.
I guess what I am trying to say is, I would rather stay at home to raise my children. I want to be there for them. I don't want them being raised in some daycare where they learn nasty habits and terrible things at such a young age. And I don't want my children thinking that I am just tossing them off on someone all day long so I can go live my own life.
But at the same time, I have been thinking that (with my future husband's blessing) that maybe working as a Police Officer part-time a couple nights a week could also be feasible. That way, I am still able to be at home with my children during the day. But I can still keep up with my law enforcement - just on a part-time basis a couple nights here and there.
Of course, all this would be something I would need to talk over with whomever I decide to marry. But I do know that being an active part of my future childrens' lives is very important to me.

I believe how parents raise their children is very important. I guess this is why I am beginning to understand just why it is my mother chose to stay at home to raise my sister and me. We may have grown up very poor and with very little opportunities to be involved in sports and other extra-curricular activities, but I always knew my parents loved me by their words and actions. Our home was just that - a home. :)
I do believe education is very important. And I believe in encouraging children to apply themselves in their studies. Whether one child prefers science and another child prefers history, I believe in supporting and encouraging my children in their educational endeavors. I want my children to have the best education possible and to have opportunities to explore their acedmic interests.
I also want my children to have the opportunity to play sports, to learn a musical instrument, be involved in singing or drama...pretty much whatever they want to participate in. However, I do not want to force my children to join an activity that they do not enjoy. I want my children to be individuals in their pursuits outside of school and home. I want the decision of what activity (or activities) to pursue to be their decision. And I will be there to encourage and support them. :)
Obviously, I strongly believe parents must be positive role models for their children. They look up to us and mimic what we say and do. I want my home to be loving and warm, a place where they will feel safe. And I want my home to be God-centered.
I enjoy entertaining people in my home and believe this is a wonderful opportunity for my children to interact with other adults and children of different cultural backgrounds. It also gives them opportunities to learn proper social skills when interacting within a group of people ranging in ages.
Church is most definitely important in the upbringing of children! In fact, I believe that without God as the focus, all else will fail. A family must keep God at the center and teach the children how to live a godly (yet real) life.
I do believe you and I are on the same page when it comes to family and children. It is rare to find someone who shares similar thoughts and beliefs on these issues nowadays. It is quite refreshing to know there is someone else out there who does share my same thoughts and beliefs! :)
I guess this is why after much thought I think it best for me to be a stay at home mom - I want my children to be loved, to be well-educated, and to have the opportunities to pursue their passions/interests. I want to be there for them and to help them as they continue to grow and learn.
I also want to be there for my husband. I want my home to be welcoming and a place of comfort for him, as well. I want to be able to have that quality time to spend with him when he comes home from work. To be able to laugh and cry together. To let him know how much I love him and care for him.

Sis. Julie said...

This is such wonderful encouragement. My son's fiance' Jessica has been preparing for marriage for many years now. When her and my son got engaged she already had most everything she needed to set up house. There was only a few things she didn't have. Now they have set a date for 58 days from now and there is nothing left to have to get. What a blessing!! She has also been praying in preparation for marriage. I think that is most important. Without prayer how can you be sure that you have the mate that God intended for you to have. We cannot rely simply on our own thinking or desires. It is what God wants and who He chooses for us that is most important. Thank you for this post. I pray many young ladies will read it.

Mrs W said...

Rebekah S, the Bible clearly says that a wife is a help meet, but to say a daughter is her father's help meet is adding to Scripture and is wrong. I see no evidence for that. She's under her fathers authority, sure, but our daughters will probably help me far more than they help their father. It was God's design for women to be married, and I think it would be best if women stopped fighting that, and if Christians stopped telling women that they may never marry.

USAincognito said...

Anna,
You don't have to post my long "comment" if you don't want to. It was really meant just for you anyway. ;)

Sammybunny said...

hear hear

Anonymous said...

Anna,
Thanks for this great post, and for saying these things that need to be said! Don't let the naysayers get you down, nor the people who try to get you to "tone down" your message!

Women should definitely prepare for marriage, but in so doing, they are NOT limiting themselves.

So often, I am seeing that women sell themselves and their families short. They believe that as long as they can make the home a haven, they have accomplished all that can be done there; and then believe that their time would be best used by taking on outside careers. Oh, if only they could know the blessings and riches they would reap for themselves and their families if they invested their skills and talents 100% into their homes, instead of giving part of themselves to a career!

If a woman is gifted enough to manage her home with ease, then how much more "free" time she has to further the family's interests,and also to further the work of the Lord in her part of the world! Some examples are: visiting the sick, helping the needy, gardening(to provide the family with the freshest, most nutrient-rich food possible); recording family history to be passed on to one's descendants; researching on a myriad of topics to make the family wiser and stronger: politics, health, education, matters of faith...the list is endless! These things are worth so much more to a husband and family than a mere paycheck would be. These things enrich the very heart and soul of the home and make the home a greater force for good in the world.

The way I see it, when wives work outside the home, they receive a pat on the back, and of course a paycheck, but when they eventually leave that world, they leave the rewards behind. Eventually they are forgotten about, as the world of work continues on without them. When women invest their gifts and strengths into their homes and families, they continually reap the rewards of what they have built with their own hands and hearts--forever! And far from being forgotten, when women invest themselves in this way, they are treasured and honored by those who mean the most to them. (see Prov 31:28-31).

I pray that more and more women will pursue this opportunity of a lifetime!
~Beth

Jennifer K said...

Taking care of your home and family is wonderful, but keep in mind that if every single woman left the workplace the economy would probably collapse. And someone has to pay all the taxes.

Tammy said...

Of course we should prepare for marriage. I believe, incidentally, that men should prepare too. I got married young (19) and was woefully unprepared....luckily with much patience things worked out, and it's been 16 yrs now together.
I think it's most important couples prepare emotionally and psychologically for sharing their lives with another. For compromise. I actually don't think knowing how to cook and clean and keep house is crucial on the wedding day. These things come with time and with love.

Of course a woman would do well to come into marriage with the basics of cooking and cleaning (by the way, she probably needs these even if she's living on her own). But I strongly, strongly believe that a young unmarried woman should not devote ALL her time to learning this. Unless she is very wealthy, she needs to develop her career skills.

A woman should invest her time in a career that will not detract from her future home life. A career that has the option of part time work. One poster above said: I also want my children to have the opportunity to play sports, to learn a musical instrument, be involved in singing or drama...and then went on to discuss her plans to be a SAHM. I'm sorry, but if you want your kids to have these options, you need money. Even allowing each child just one hobby once a week adds up when you have a large family.

So I believe a woman who wants to be a good homemaker should invest her single years in developing a flexible career that will allow her to educate her kids the best way she can. In my opinion, for most families that's more important than developing gourment cooking skills.

Tammy said...

I just wanted to add that I absolutely agree with you Anna on the following: 'Many women, after they marry, are expected to make a sudden switch... from a "me"-mindset to "we"-mindset; is it any wonder that often, it doesn't work – look at our divorce rate; those women feel frustrated, overwhelmed and even deceived – how did it happen that no one told them marriage is a vocation? How come no one told them it requires work, time, energy and commitment?'
It's very true- for men too.
Indeed, in Judaism, I believe a man is supposed to devote his entire first year of marriage to making his bride happy.

Persuaded said...

Gracious Anna! 38 comments...I'm not sure you need another one, but of course I'll give you my thoughts anyway;-)

People do no respect housekeeping as a career, especially not a skilled career. It is felt that, hey, anyone can wash dishes and change diapers! The idea of training for homemaking is seen by much of the world as faintly ridiculous. I think that until homemaking is seen as a skilled career choice, young women will not be encouraged to spend their youths preparing for it.

My thought is that if housekeeping were so simple a thing, then why are so many homes disheveled? so many families eating from the take-out lane? why do so many families spend most of their time *outside* of the home seeking fulfillment and entertainment?

I am so very very encouraged to see young ladies such as yourself:-)

Anonymous said...

ummm...I think it should be noted (because some ladies have found rebekah to be a bit self righteous in her thinking)that she is a child of fifteen. We all remember when we thought we had life all figured out at that age, right? :)

Kat said...

I think that a woman's highest vocation is the one God gives her. I can't think of the hurt that has been caused to infertile or single women by the careless phrase "motherhood is a woman's highest (fill in the blank)"...as if all other women are somehow no quite right. This is terrible. My calling is to be a wife and mother, and I love it. However, I am not so bold as to say that my calling is the ONLY calling.

Rebekah S. said...

Amen, Beth!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Erin, you said: "And yet I do not have anyone around me who is supportive of the idea of quiting uni to focus on preparing for marriage and motherhood." Let me encourage you to do this if this is what the Lord is leading you to do, no matter what others say! Always follow the Lord and His commands, and you'll never regret it! So, follow Him and don't worry about what others think of you. I know that's hard! But He's always there for you! :)

Blessings,
Rebekah
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
USA, what a blessing to have the Lord work so much in your heart and convictions! I've been the recipient of that as well! :) Praise God.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mrs. W.,
It's clear that being a helpmeet is the reason woman was created. I've already stated my "argument" so to speak, so I won't reissue it. I do agree with you, though, about helping your mother. That's so very important!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jennifer K.,

It broke my heart when I read your comment. I'm so sorry if what I said made you feel that way. I never meant to hurt you or anyone else. I was just stating my convictions. But once again, I'm so very very sorry for hurting you! I hope you can accept my apology!

Blessings,
Rebekah

Anna S said...

JK,

I don't think the economy would collapse. Women worked only in their homes for many centuries. When women flooded the work force, the value of each single worker became cheapened. If more women left the work force, salaries would probably be raised.

Elizabeth said...

This is such a sweet and encouraging post! Thank you for writing and posting it, Anna! I've wondered so often - especially in the last few years - whether it's worth it preparing for marriage - which I do not KNOW, after all, will ever come to me ... the conclusion I've drawn is that yes, If (as I do!) I believe God will one day call me to marriage I have to prepare for it. It's an amazing and awesome calling and should be prepared for, just as every other calling is prepared for. Anyway ... thank you for sharing! You are SUCH an encouagement and so are your words!

Jennifer K said...

Anna, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. The world has changed a lot over the centuries, and people often have to be out in the world to keep the economy going. As for salaries being raised if all women stayed home? Hmm, maybe salaries would be raised if CEOs didn't make 400 times what the average worker makes (I'm talking about the USA, of course).

Rebekah, okay, I'm willing to forgive you. Sometimes I forget you are only 15. Sadly, women are often seen as nobodies if they don't have kids. I've chosen not to have children, and I have been labeled with hateful terms like "narcisstic whore" and "selfish bitch." I try not to let it get to me, but yea, it hurts.

Rebekah S. said...

Anonymous,

If I come across as being self-righteous or knowing everything there is to know about everything, then I deeply and wholeheartedly apologise. That's not at all how I want to come across. I want to come across as a sinner(not righteous at all, apart from Christ!) saved only by the grace of her Lord and Savior, and a sinner who desires to glorify God in all that she does-by obeying her Lord's commands. I, like everyone else, don't know everything and don't try to say that I do!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tammy, you said: "One poster above said: I also want my children to have the opportunity to play sports, to learn a musical instrument, be involved in singing or drama...and then went on to discuss her plans to be a SAHM. I'm sorry, but if you want your kids to have these options, you need money." A young woman can earn a whole lot of money from home(as the Proverbs 31 woman and Lydia did). There are countless possibilities out there. And earning money from home is actually more frugal, because you don't have to pay for take-out, work clothes, transportation, etc.

Blessings,
Rebekah
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi, Jennifer K! :) I don't think any of the pro-homemaking ladies on here are promoting a men-only workforce, for we can't expect those women who are not believers in the Bible(and sadly, there are many men and women alike who are like that) to obey the Bible. I think what these ladies are promoting is not a men-only workforce, but rather saved women obeying God's commands.

All for His glory,
Rebekah

Rebekah S. said...

I wanted to share with you all this wise quote from Mrs. March in Little Women:"To be loved and chosen by a good man is the best and sweetest thing which can happen to a woman, and I sincerely hope my girls may know this beautiful experience. It is natural to think of it, Meg, right to hope and wait for it, and wise to prepare for it, so that when the happy time comes, you may feel ready for the duties and worthy of the joy."

Isn't that just beautiful?

Rebekah S. said...

I don't remember exactly who it was, but some lady on here commented that women need to go to college so that they can prepare to be a homemaker in the areas of: budgeting, learning about nutrituous meals, etc." But in my opinion, what better place to learn these things than in the home and what better person to learn them from than your mother, who has done all of these things all her life and has a wealth of info to share with you?

Sis. Julie said...

Anna...you are so right about the daughters preparing for marriage by serving their fathers. A man knows how a woman will be in service to him and with him by how she serves and treats her daddy....the same is true of a man....a woman will know how her husband will treat her by how he is with his momma. You are not adding to Scripture in what you said. You are right on target with that!! Thank you for hitting on that!!

Rebekah S. said...

Jennifer K,

Thank you for accepting my apology.

Rebekah S. said...

Anna, (you don't have to post this comment) I was wondering why you didn't post my comment on feminism. I didn't see it as hateful, etc. I was simply trying to help the other ladies out by showing where I was coming from. I think it would have been very helpful to a lot of ladies. Thanks.

Blessings to you,
Rebekah

Andrea said...

I've been following the comments with some interest and weighing whether or not to jump in again! I have decided to compromise by sticking my nose back in to address one point in particular.

I do feel I have to add my voice to Mrs W's, and assert that a girl is not created to be a help meet to her father, but rather to her husband. God brought to Adam a grown woman capable of meeting ALL his needs, not a child still in need of training by her mother; once Adam had Eve, he didn't need more than one wife-figure, since the one wife he was given was perfectly suited to him. The idea that a daughter should view her father as a practice-husband --that she should serve him as a sort of practice-wife-- is to me, quite frankly, very creepy!

Staying at home and learning homemaking under your mother can be a lovely and wonderful way to prepare for marriage, and if that is what a young lady is called to do, she should work hard to ensure that it is possible. If a wife and mother is what you seek to become, then who better to study under than a wife and mother? A father, however, is not a practice husband, no more than a mother is to be a practice wife to her sons! The belief that the father should somehow represent a daughter's "preperatory husband" is not Biblical in any respect; a girl's father is there to teach and train her (as is her mother). Parents are to raise their children and train them, but I think it steps outside of Scripture to say it is absolutely a grown daughter's place to remain at home in strict obedience to all the commands of a parent. God calls children to obey their parents, and calls people in general to honour their fathers and mothers, but nowhere (that I can fine) are women explicitly instructed to serve their fathers until they marry, and to claim that God says they are is at best misguided; at worst, heretical.

Anna, I know that 1 Corinthians is probably not a book you would take as instructive and certainly not one you would view as prescriptive(!) but since many of your readers do, I would direct their attention to 1 Cor. 7:34, where it says (depending on the translation, something much like) “The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit.” The verse then goes on to say it is married women who look to the affairs of their households, and thus to more worldly cares.

I don't take this to mean that every young woman should set out on a personal crusade for the purposes of the Lord until the time of her marriage, since that's not what God has called every woman to do, but neither (clearly) do I take it as instruction that every unmarried woman is called to remain at home and serve her family- imagine, for example, what this would look like in a family with seven or eight grown women! This could work for a time and in certain situations, but to believe that God would never call young women outside the homes of their fathers for purposes of His own is exceedingly counter-Scriptual.

I am aware there is a movement within certain areas of the church devoted to presenting this father-to-be-served model as Biblically-prescribed, but a discerning study of the Bible itself will soon reveal it is nothing of the kind. Young women may be called by God to remain helpers at home until their marriage, and they may equally be called by God to pursue Him in other areas; neither way is denied to us, nor is either way commanded. Rather both, I think, providing God has led the young lady in her decision, are to be equally commended :)

Anna, thank you as always for letting everybody have a say; I have read your recent post about your weariness with deliberately antagonistic commenters, and it broke my heart to think of people contacting you for the sole purpose of baiting you and/or ridiculing your convictions. I do hope that those comments don't weigh on you too much, and that you can cast them off easily. You've worked so hard to make this a respectful forum for a variety of opinions, and I thank you again for that :)

Anna S said...

Rebekah,

I don't remember reading such a comment from you, so I suppose it just didn't come through for some reason. This happens sometimes. I certainly can't imagine you saying something hateful!!

Rebekah S. said...

Hi, Andrea! You were responding to some of my own comments in what you said, so I would like to reply, if you don't mind. :)

First of all, even if Scripture never said that a daughter was to serve her father, it still would be a very very good idea and something that she should do. Just as preparing for homemaking by being an apprentice to your mother, I believe that a daughter should serve, help, submit to, honor, and revere her father. For, if she doesn't, how will she know how to me a helpmeet to her husband? She will have no idea how to serve and help him if she hasn't been spending her pre-marriage time by helping and serving her father. I wholeheartedly agree that a daughter is not to be a "miniature helpmeet" to her father-she can and only should be helpmeet to one man-her husband. But she must prepare for that by serving and helping her father, so that when she is married, she can be the best helpmeet possible to her husband.


I do believe that a daughter should remain under her father's roof until marriage. God has given a daughter her father to be a protector for her, and Numbers 30 shows that a daughter is to be under her father's protection and leadership and then, once married, under her husband's protection and leadership. This passage of Scripture leaves no space for in-between time, and that's for the young lady's good. How gracious it is that God has provided that protection! We need to begin seeing it as a blessing, and begin loving it and enjoy being under it.
Also, the daughters mentioned in the Bible (all except for Dinah) remained in their father's home until marriage. Dinah did not and she caused a whole lot of trouble for herself and her family(to read more about her, please note Genesis 34). Also, please refer to Psalm 45:13 and Proverbs 7:11. In was the norm in our country until sometime in the 20th century, when feminism began spreading rampantly, that a daughter remained in her father's home until marriage.

Thank you so much for allowing me to reply to your comment, Ma'am.

Blessings to you,
Rebekah

Rebekah S. said...

Thanks for your sweet words, Anna! I was having sort of a bad day, and you really lifted my spirits. :)

If you don't mind, I'm going to try to retype what I had(at least as close to the original as possible) and republish it. Hopefully it'll go through this time! :)

The Lord's richest blessings to you and yours,
Rebekah

Rebekah S. said...

Ladies,

I think there has been some confusion among some of you, as to why I'm so against feminism and why I cling so tightly to God's every command, especially those regarding men's and women's roles. I hope that what I'm about to write will help to show you a little of why I comment on here as I do, and why I'm so anti-feminism and so zealous for God's truth.

Many women on here have said things such as: "Before and during marriage, women need to be preparing for and working towards their careers. This is so important." Others of you have said things such as, "A daughter isn't called to remain under her father's roof; if she wants to be independent, on her own, and get a career, then she should do that-nothing in Scripture prohibits it."
I must tell you, that hearing these comments being made, especially by Christian women, is heartbreaking for me. Because this sort of thinking and this kind of mentality came solely from satanic feminism and its heresies. You may be thinking, "Feminism? Satanic? Ok, Rebekah, now you've really lost your mind!" But, ladies, please hear me out. I've done a whole lot of studying on the subject of feminism (its history, its founders, its hidden agenda-to destroy and to dethrone God), and to hear godly ladies say things that is so pro-feminism is really really sad for me, and is a shame. Feminism's founder here in the West was Satanist, Communist and Socialist Karl Marx, whose goals in life(in his own words) were "to destroy capitalism and to dethrone God". He knew that the only way he and his allies and fellow fighters would be able to do this, was if they tore the very influential, godly, women from their homes and instead thrust them into the workforce. He knew something that even us Christians don't seem to understand: the importance of the godly woman in the home! Marx knew that the only way to tear down the powerful, united, productive, loving, influential Christian families was to take the women of the home and thrust them into the workforce. This is one of the reasons that it's so hard for me to hear women say things such as what I typed above. Because, whether it seems like it or not, to be pro-feminism is to be anti-God.


Another reason why it's sad and hard for me to hear women say things like those I mentioned above is because women who are independent, out on their own and in the workforce, are under a double curse. After Adam and Eve fell, we read in Genesis 3 that God gave a curse to the man for his sin and disobedience and He gave a curse to the woman as well-but these curses were different. The man's curse was that, through much toil and labor, he would provide for his family and himself. The woman's curse was that she would have to endure much pain in childbirth and that she would desire to rule over and lead her husband, but he would be the one in the leadership position(s). So, as you can see, the woman who is out in the workforce toiling and laboring to provide for herself is under the double curse(the man's as well as her own). This, to me, is a very sad and unfortunate thing.


There's another reason why it's hard for me to hear ladies say things like those mentioned above. They see what they do here in America(working long hours in the workforce, having their kids in daycare/school/after school care, etc.) as freedom and liberation. The same thing goes on countries such as China, and over there, it's seen as Communism and oppression. Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin received the following comment in response to their new documentary: "For the first 10 years of my life I was raised in a communist country by parents who had been born and lived all of their lives under communism. “College and career” was one of my first goals in life because I remember thinking about a career from a very early age. I did not grow up thinking I would marry, raise godly children and be a keeper at home. Under communism women were forced into egalitarianism to be instruments of the “Mother State for the common good”. I knew I had two options: study very hard to have a good career or end up working in one of the factories. There was never an alternative presented to me. Socialist governments want women in the work force as much as men and the family is a tool of production. Fathers do not provide vision for their children, but rather leave it up to the State. I am often times shocked to see that what was seen as oppression in the Socialist Republic of Romania is called liberty here in America (even among Christians)".


I'm currently writing numerous posts on feminism(its destructiveness, its history-that's not widely known about, its hidden agenda, its founders, etc.) and will be posting those soon on my blog(Anna has volunteered to review them as well, for possible posting on here.) Please be on the lookout for those, ladies. I hope they are helpful to you.

I want to thank you all for allowing me to share with you where I'm coming from, and why I'm as zealous as I am for God's truth. :) I pray that the Lord will bless you all.

Sincerely,
Rebekah Ann Shadoin

www.byhisgraceandforhisglory.blogspot.com

living_for_my_Lords_glory@hotmail.com

PhDCow said...

Rebekah,

Your point of view is very strong and I know I will never change it. But I'd like to answer your comment.

Because I work and have children, you see me as twice-cursed. I see me as twice-blessed. Pregnancy and childbirth was a joy for me, not a curse. Yes, it was hard work, but nothing good comes without some sacrifice and pain. I am blessed with two amazing children who have the daily ability to remind me how to love.

I am also blessed by being able to be a college professor. While the work is hard and frustrating at times, I have been called to pass on my knowledge to others. The most rewarding part of my work is to see the "lightbulb" turn on for one of my students and I realize that I've made a difference in his or her life.

To have a wonderful husband and children anda wonderful, rewarding job is the best of both worlds and I thank the Deities for these blessings.

Angela

Rebekah S. said...

Phd,

Hello! Thank you for your response-it's definitely valued. However, I know from your profile, various comments, etc. that(please be sure to stop me if I'm wrong in this!!) you don't believe the Bible. Is that correct? If it's not, then as I said, enlighten me!! :) Anyway, that post was mainly for Bible believing women, but I want to thank for you wholeheartedly for your response, and say that I'm very very happy for you that you are leading a happy life.

Rebekah

Tammy said...

I can absolutely respect and understand the concept of woman as her husband's helpmeet (although I prefer the paradigm of mutual helpmeets, each in the unique manner of their gender and personality).
However, I must agree with Andrea above, the idea of a woman serving her father is slightly creepy, whether you use the terminology 'helpmeet' or not. She must honor her father (and mother, by the way), and try to avoid angering them, and respect them in public and in private, and stand when her father enters the room….but nowhere does it say she should serve him or stay at home to cater to him. She doesn't even have to do everything he wants, as long as she's not openly defiant.
Indeed, as Andrea says, it is her mother a woman should turn to for her homemaking education. Rebekah, you stated: "even if Scripture never said that a daughter was to serve her father, it still would be a very very good idea and something that she should do". [so then this should not be presented as religious doctrine if it's your personal opinion]
And then you said: "a daughter should serve, help, submit to, honor, and revere her father. For, if she doesn't, how will she know how to me a helpmeet to her husband? She will have no idea how to serve and help him if she hasn't been spending her pre-marriage time by helping and serving her father….."
It has been said elsewhere on this blog that marriage does not require a 'test drive', and I must agree. It requires learning skills (mainly from your mother), but it does not require practicing the relationship. A woman doesn't need to practice sex before marriage and she doesn't need to practice serving either.

I must reread the Bible, I'm a bit rusty, but if woman/Eve's curse is to want power over her husband but never fully attain it, then feminism is just as natural a phenomenon as experiencing pain in childbirth. Furthermore, there are those who believe that after Redemption (whatever you believe that is), childbirth will no longer be painful, and women will no longer lack power (I will try to check sources later this week). In other words, feminine submission is not considered the ideal, but just part of our fallen reality.

Andrea said...

Rebekah,

thank you for your thoughtful reply :) I will admit a great part of my hesitation in speaking out at all came from the fact that, given your age, I would still term you a child under the authority of your parents. For that reason I felt uncomfortable at the thought that I might possibly be teaching you anything that went against the requirements of your parents whom, at this age, I suppose you would still be obeying, rather than only honouring (not that there is anything "only" about honouring, but there is a difference between the two!). For that reason I felt and still feel some reservation in boldly instructing you; I do, however, want to address two remarks you have made as carefully as I can.

You say of a daughter "she will have no idea how to serve and help [her husband] if she hasn't been spending her pre-marriage time by helping and serving her father." Rebekah, I ask you to please re-examine that statement with great care, much love and supreme objectivity, because in so doing I think you will see how utterly false (to say nothing of how unthinkingly hurtful) it really is. Firstly, it presupposes that learning to love, help and serve are skills that can only be learned by a daughter through her interaction with her father, which is borne out nowhere in Scripture or in life. Truly, what sort of life must a girl be leading if her interactions with people who are not her father are lacking in servant-spirit and helpfulness? If the only person she can serve and help with any adequacy is her father, then I would suppose she has been very poorly taught, and would hesitate to say she's ready for any sort of adult life at all, much less marriage! Our relationships with our fathers are not the only ones which prepare us for marriage, and nowhere in the Bible does it say that they are (indeed, again, in 1 Corinthians it says that an unmarried girl is actually free to devote all her time to pursuing God, with no mention of family! An extreme, to be sure, but it should give pause at least). Yet by your assumption, young ladies without the benefit of an earthly father to guide them are completely bereft of the opportunitity to prepare to relate to their husbands, which-- well, it strikes a cruel and unwarranted blow at any young woman without a father, doesn't it? Particularly since I know several young ladies without the benefit of a living or present father who have gone on to become "successful" wives with as much success as the next girl ;)

Secondly, your reference to Numbers 30 is a more difficult one for me to handle with tact and respect, not since I lack respect for you, but because I know that where Anna will stand on this and where I stand on this are different simply because we do not believe all of the same things. Old Testament/Judaic law is of course viewed and handled much differently by most Christians than it is by most Jews, and I want to be mindful of Anna as my very gracious hostess for this discussion. I will therefore restrict myself to saying, as objectively as I can, that I do not see any logical way in which Numbers 30 can be read as offering a prescribed course of action for a believing Christian girl. That instruction is rooted in a time before Christ came to make all believers a "holy priesthood" and each man and woman individually accountable to God, rather than to a human intermediary. If you are a grown woman and a believing Christian, you and you alone will be accountable to God for the vows you make, since we are taught in the New Testament that Christ, by his rending of the veil in the temple, his dwelling among men and his sacrifice, has made it so.

Anna, I want to sincerely apologise if any of that was out of line, since I know it is not what you believe. Rebekah, I would love to continue this discussion but do not feel this is a suited place for it, since even now I feel I'm exploiting the good will of my hostess. As a sort of compromise, with Anna's okay, I think I will "pass the buck." That is, I will link you to a VERY long discussion post (I mean, incredibly long. A "print it out and read it in pyjamas with a mug of hot chocolate" type of long) that thoroughly explores the topics you presented; this post and the comments that follow it are the product of many Godly women (likely much closer in age to your own mother than I am, and therefore I think better suited in terms of experience to admonish you than I) who seek to explain very clearly, lovingly and with much Scriptural evidence, why they do not believe that some of the views you have espoused are uncompromising Biblical mandates for unmarried women.

The concerns raised by these women, you will note, sprang not only from the release of a book and a movie that errantly espouse one Biblical model as THE Biblical model, but also from both their observations of and at times their personal experience within the controversial hyper-patriarchal movement (their very apt term for it is patriocentricity) and the way that stay-at-home daughterhood is presented by one group not as one of various beautiful models for ladies to follow, but rather THE Biblical model for ALL women, which an examination of God's Word will show is simply untrue :)

The following are three links, posted in the chronoligcal order that they appeared on the blog True Womanhood. The comments are abundant, and I doubt you will want to wade through all of them tonight (I strongly encourage you to look through them with your mother at your side, actually; I would feel much better if you had an older woman with you to help test and prove what is said, not because I think you are incapable, but because if I were your mother, I'd want to know what strange women on the Internet were telling you!) but even a perusal of the first hundred comments should give you an idea of the concerns that are raised by good-hearted and well-meaning young women holding so rigidly to views not actually prescribed by God.

These are some lovely ladies, with much wisdom to share; I hope you'll find their views as instructive as I have :)

http :// truewomanhood.wordpress .com/ 2007/06/11/visionary-daughters/
http :// truewomanhood.wordpress .com/ 2007/10/22/visionary-daughters-discussion-thread-2-karen/
http :// truewomanhood.wordpress .com/ 2007/11/21/visionary-daughters-thread-3-karen/

(Anna, you mentioned you don't want theological debates on here, and I want very much to respect that. I trust you will let me know if I get too close to breaking that rule; as it is, I will step back from this topic anyhow, since I think I've said all I can helpfully do while still respecting this as first and foremost your blog and your domain. Again, thank you so much for this forum!)

Rebekah S. said...

Hello, Tammy! Thank you for your response! First of all, I would like to ask you a question, if you don't mind. Where, in the Scriptures, do you ever see support for husbands and wives being mutual helpmeets to each other? We see in Genesis that it was the woman solely who was created to be her husband's helpmeet. Yes, I thoroughly believe that the husband is called on to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and should serve her, help her, etc., but he is never called on to be a helpmeet to her, as she is to him. This is sort of off the subject, but a lot of people also seem to think that both the husband and the wife are to submit to each other-they believe that mutual submission is taught in Scripture. However, this just simply isn't the case. In Ephesians 5:24-26 the woman is commanded to submit to her husband as unto the Lord. The husband is never commanded to submit to his wife(if the Lord was teaching mutual submission in His Word, then it would have been there!) He is rather given the office and role of leadership and is to love her as Christ loved the church. Many try to point to Ephesians 5:21, which says,"submitting to one another in the fear of God." as being a place in Scripture where it says that there is to be mutual submission. However, this isn't the case. It's clear from the context itself what this verse is meaning. It's serving, for the following paragraph. It's addressing Christians in general, and then in the following sentences, is breaking down how this is to be done: wives to their husbands, children to their parents, bondservants to their masters, etc. These relationships are never reversed-afterwards in the passage, men are not told to submit to their wives, parents are not told to submit to their chidren, and masters are not told to submit to their servants. For centuries it was understood that the passage teaches that we should be subject to those God put in authority over us, such as husbands, parents, or employers. I'm sorry to sort of go off on this subject when it was not really even addressed. :)

You said: "However, I must agree with Andrea above, the idea of a woman serving her father is slightly creepy, whether you use the terminology 'helpmeet' or not. She must honor her father (and mother, by the way), and try to avoid angering them, and respect them in public and in private, and stand when her father enters the room….but nowhere does it say she should serve him or stay at home to cater to him. She doesn't even have to do everything he wants, as long as she's not openly defiant." First of all, where in the Bible does it say that a daughter has to stand when her father enters the room? That's a new one-I honestly haven't heard that before. That's something that gentlemen usually did when females entered a room. Also, I have adressed, with numerous Scripture passages, the fact that the Scriptures do talk on females staying in their fathers' home until marriage, and how this is a rich blessing. Also, as you said, she is commanded to obey her parents. Therefore, she is called to do what he wants her to, providing that what he is asking her to do is not contrary to God's Word(in which case, we're to obey God rather than man-Acts 5:29). You said she needs to respect them in private, yet you also said that she doesn't have to do everything he wants, as long as she's not being openly defiant. This doesn't seem to make sense to me-it almost appears as a contradiction. You speak on how you think a dauther serving her father is creepy. Well, then, I guess I would have to say that it sounds like you think the way Jesus served His disciples is creepy. Regardless of whether or not daughters are called on to be helpmeets-in-training, Christians are called on to be servants, as Jesus Himself was. Therefore, we should be serving our fathers, mothers, other family members, and others around us. There is nothing creepy about that-it's Christian love and is commanded in Scripture.

Just as one must practice homemaking skills prior to marriage(for of course, we're obviously born without knowing these things), one must also learn how to be a servant, unselfish, humble, etc. We're born as sinful, selfish, human beings that haven't a clue as to be an unselfish, lowly servant. Therefore, we must practice that and learn how to be helpmeets-not "little helpmeets", but rather helpmeets in training.

You said: "In other words, feminine submission is not considered the ideal, but just part of our fallen reality." This is a very sad statement, Ma'am, with all due respect(and I wholeheartedly mean that!). The curse is not that the woman would have to submit to her husband, or that her husband would rule over her. This was a part of God's perfect order and plan for society from the beginning. The curse is that the woman will desire to have her husband's position-she will desire to lead him, but because of God's design, he will lead her. Knowing this, it's quite clear that feminism has been around since the Garden of Eden! All of us females are sinners that desire to come out from under God's perfect plan, and to instead be in power outselves. In Ephesians 5, we read that women are to submit to their husbands. This is a reflection of the submission of Christ to God. He said in the Garden of Gathsemane "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done." If Jesus hadn't submitted to God and His plan, then we Christians never would have recieved salvation.

You mentioned: "Furthermore, there are those who believe that after Redemption (whatever you believe that is), childbirth will no longer be painful, and women will no longer lack power (I will try to check sources later this week)." Please do check these sources out for me-I've never heard this way of thinking before!

Thank you for allowing me to address your comment. :) May you have a peaceful weekend!

Blessings,
Rebekah

Rebekah S. said...

Hi, Andrea! First of all, I want to thank you so much for being so kind! All to often, when people disagree with one another, they become really mean and hateful. You disagree with me, yet you're very kind and gracious, and I want to thank you for that-that's truly a blessing! :)


Before I begin, I also want to thank you for those links. I will check them out as time allows, and will get back with you about those. However, I must say that I don't think they will change my beliefs in the slightest, since all my convictions are not based on my own wants, wishes, desires, opinions, etc., but rather on God's Word. I also know the book and movie of which you speak. I've read that book twice now, and have both times checked every single think said and taught there against the light of Scripture. And after much indepth study, I have yet to find something contradictory to God and His Word. The same is true with the documentary, which I just watched for the first time today, in fact.:)


You're right-there is a difference is honouring and obeying. I believe that's why both of those are commanded in Scripture. If your parents ever call on you to do something contrary to God's Word, then you are to obey God rather than man, but you must do so in a respectful, honoring way!

You said: "Firstly, it presupposes that learning to love, help and serve are skills that can only be learned by a daughter through her interaction with her father, which is borne out nowhere in Scripture or in life. Truly, what sort of life must a girl be leading if her interactions with people who are not her father are lacking in servant-spirit and helpfulness? If the only person she can serve and help with any adequacy is her father, then I would suppose she has been very poorly taught, and would hesitate to say she's ready for any sort of adult life at all, much less marriage! Our relationships with our fathers are not the only ones which prepare us for marriage, and nowhere in the Bible does it say that they are (indeed, again, in 1 Corinthians it says that an unmarried girl is actually free to devote all her time to pursuing God, with no mention of family! An extreme, to be sure, but it should give pause at least). Yet by your assumption, young ladies without the benefit of an earthly father to guide them are completely bereft of the opportunitity to prepare to relate to their husbands, which-- well, it strikes a cruel and unwarranted blow at any young woman without a father, doesn't it? Particularly since I know several young ladies without the benefit of a living or present father who have gone on to become "successful" wives with as much success as the next girl ;)"

I never said that a daughter shouldn't be helpful and loving to others or that she shouldn't be a servant to those around her! If I said that, I would have to wipe out every command that Jesus ever gave on us being servants to others(please refer to my comment above to Tammy). I wholeheartedly agree that our relationship with our fathers is not the only relationship that will prepare us for marriage. Learning from our mother and learning from her homemaking skills is a tremendous asset to a daughter in preperation for marriage! Also, her relationship with her younger siblings can prepare her for being a mother someday. While dealing with these younger siblings and other young children around her, she learns the huge importance of being a good role model. She also learns the art of caring for other peole's needs instead of just her own. This teaches her to be selfless instead of selfish, which will be a great asset to her future married life! Also, this time in a daughter's life needs to be used in learning how to be a good helpmeet, learn homemaking skills, serve others, etc. for as that passage in 1 Cor. goes on to show, a married woman will not have time for this preperation and will not have as much time for the service of others, for she is going about the business of her household. Also, if what I said led you to think that I thought women who had no father in their life was completely without the ability to practice for her future marriage, then I'm very very sorry, and desire your forgiveness! That's not what I meant at all. Anna has never had a father in her life, but you know as well as I do that she will be a tremendous helpmeet to her husband one day. I'm sure she'd also be the first one to tell you, however, that she would have gladly welcomed the ability and opportunity to have served her father in preparation for her marriage.

I can understand where you're coming from in regards to Numbers 30(however, that still leaves you with the other references I provided). However, we must keep in mind that in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, we read: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." And we never read anywhere in the NT where God has eradicated what is taught in Numbers 30. He never says that we should stop practicing or living out what is taught there. If we're going to do away with this passage of Scripture and its application to us, then we would have to do away with other passages in the OT, such as Proverbs 30:10-31. And this, of course, would be a crazy thing to do!

Also, for a daughter to live under her father's roof until marriage is given to us as a blessing to make us the most influential and productive in God's Kingdom. This frees up so much time for us, to enable us to learn homemaking skills, etc., but to also serve others more, and to get closer and closer to God. Also, the best place for us to learn homemaking skills from our mother is inside our own home! The "patriarchal movement" and the "biblical daughterhood" movement are not some new religious trends; they are based solely on Biblical commands and teachings. Numbers 30 is truly a rich source of instruction for fathers and daughters. It teaches that women(unmarried daugthers, as well as wives) aren't to be independent of their fathers(if unmarried) or husbands-and this is a beautiful blessing given to us by Almighty God Himself! Through it, He offers us this gracious protection and care. The Scriptures are jam-packed with examples of protected daughters under the roof of their fathers.(take Jehtro's daughter, for example-Moses' future wife; their story is found in Exo. 2:16-22. It's clear from the context that she's under her father's roof, and thus under his protection, authority and leadership, as she's supposed to be.) But there is only 1 example in the entire Word of God of a daughter who went out from underneath her father's roof and protection, and that is Dinah-and she wreaked havic for her family line! If adult daughters were free to leave their father's homes, and didn't have to stay under his roof until marriage, then God would have provided more examples of this being done. He would not leave us with this 1 horrible example, if it was an ok thing to do. He would have left us with more examples, precepts, patterns, etc. But there are no principles that lead us to the conclusion that a daughter is free to be void of her father's protection and care(why would she want to be void of this amazing blessing anyway?), void of his loving leadership and authority, etc. Not one. There is no passage that leaves us thinking that it's normative for daughters to leave their fathers, forsake his protection and care, and be independently on her own. And if it was ok with Him that daughters leave, then He would have said something to the effect of, "Daughters of Mine, follow the commands in Numbers 30 and throughout the rest of My Word, or go out on your own-whichever you feel is best." But He never says that! Rather, He leaves us with the Scriptures I mentioned. He gives us Numberbs 30 and others, showing us that, for the daughter's good, she is to be under her father's authority and protection, and then under her husband's once married. The one and only example of a daughter leaving her father and the home of her family, is a very very negative and sad example-the example of Dinah, who by doing what she did, brought devestation on her entire family line.



Lastly, I notice that you're sort of hesitant to discuss Numbers 30, etc., because of the fact that Anna's Jewish and you and I aren't. Therefore, I want to invite you to e-mail me if you'd like, in case that would make you feel more comfortable as we continue our discussion(s). Or, you can ask questions on my blog, if you would like. There's another lady who is from this blog that does that exact same thing, and we enjoy fruitful, healthy, respectful discussions, though there are some things on which we disagree. That brings me to the next thing I wanted to say-I would like to welcome you to visit my blog and become a reader of it. I see that there are some issues that we disagree on, but you are more than welcome, and I think there would be many many posts that you will read on my blog in the near future that you would completely agree with and enjoy reading. So, please feel free to drop by at any time. :) You're most welcome.

Thank you for allowing me to respond to your comment. :) Have a wonderful weekend!

In Him,
Rebekah

Rebekah S. said...

On the subject of being a helpmeet-in-training and serving your father, I want to leave you with a few more thoughts. Every woman is, simply by nature, a man's helper, despite age or marital status. That's what the female was designed for. Therefore the question isn't: Am I called on to help a man or not? But rather: who am I going to help and serve? And, as a daugher, who better to serve and help than your father?



Also, in response to a daughter being under her father's roof, I want to leave you with a few other verses: "That our daughers may be as cornerstones, polished after the similtude of a palace." ~Psalm 144:12. For a palace( or any other building) the cornerstones serve to support and uphold the structure resting on it. How can we be as the daughters in this verse, and help to serve and build up our homes and families, if we're not in those homes? Also, in Leviticus(I forget the exact reference-I'll look that up for you!), it speaks of a widowed dauther going back to the house of her father. Her husband had died, and thus she was without leadership, protection and authority, so she went back to her father's home to be under his protection again.

Rebekah S. said...

Andrea, you said: "and the way that stay-at-home daughterhood is presented by one group not as one of various beautiful models for ladies to follow, but rather THE Biblical model for ALL women, which an examination of God's Word will show is simply untrue :)" As I've shown you through the Scriptures, stay-at-home daughterhood is a Biblical principle. And, as it is, the fact that these women are sharing it as being THE model for ALL Christian daughters is quite allright-for God's way truly is the ONLY way for Christian daughters! We're to obey His each and every command, out of love for Him. If there were women that said that it's the Biblical model for ALL Christian daughters and sons to obey their parents, you wouldn't see this as a bad thing-for it's taught in the Scriptures.

Tammy said...

Hi Rebekah,
I think we will have to agree to disagree. You quote extensively from Christian sources, and I am not Christian, so it really can't convince me. I quoted some Jewish sources indirectly (rabbinic, etc)but due to lack of time and lack of intellectual integrity just didn't make the effort to look up the source (my bad, I admit).

I looked up Andrea's truewomanhood site and was fascinated. I think it's probably far more relevant to you than my ideas, since you're coming from a similar base (these woman are very Christian and even patriarchal, but I found them extremely articulate and intelligent in using the NT to refute the whole concept of serving one's father. They also deconstruct the entire paradigm from within.)

As for my comment about perceiving men and women as mutual helpmeets. I never stated this had a base in Scripture. Although I live a pretty religious (Jewish)lifestyle, I never stated my views are all found in Scripture. (I didn't realize it was necessary to back every opinion here with a Bible quote). But I definitely don't think the Bible is AGAINST my views; and I interpret 'ezer kenegdo' as being an equal helper, kenegdo, across the man, not below or under or subordinate to him.

Rebekah S. said...

Hi, Tammy! :)

I apologize for quoting the NT so much-I didn't know you were Jewish! In those passages, we will of course have to agree to disagree, and I completely understand that! :) Although, I have to admit that those Rabbinic things you mentioned didn't sound at all like what I've read in the OT. That's why I was sort of curious as to the sources.

As I promised Andrea, I will indeed look at those links. I'll let you know, if you would like, either on here or through e-mail, what I think of what I find there. I will be checking those out as time allows and will get back with you on that. I don't really think they'll change my convictions all that much, since I base them on Scripture in its context, but I will definitely give them a chance!! However, without even thinking on the helpmeet-in-training thing, one can see that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a daughter serving her father, for we are called on to serve everyone out of godly love and compassion.

I don't think you have to back up every opinion with a quote from the Bible. But, I must say, that if that is your Biblical conviction regardig the helpmeet issue, then yes, I think you would need some verses(at least just 1) to back it up. In our English translations, Gen. 2:18 says, "Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him('or suitable to him', depending on what version used)'". The Hebrew text can be translated literall, "I will make "for him (Hebrew le-) a helper fit for him." Eve's role, and the purpose that God had in mind when He created her, was that she would be "for him....a helper." It's clear that she was made for the purpose of being his helpmeet. The same is never said of the man.

You wrote: "I interpret 'ezer kenegdo' as being an equal helper, kenegdo, across the man, not below or under or subordinate to him." If it's allright, I'd like to address this in two seperate paragraphs.

First of all, I wholeheartedly agree with you that they're equal in worth, etc. That's quite true-the Bible(both English translations and Hebrew) teaches that. A well noted and very knowledgable theologian writes in one of his books, "She[Eve] is to be a helper 'fit for him' and here the Hebrew word kenegdo means a help "corresponding to him", that is "equal and adequate to himself". So Eve was created as a helper, but as a helper who was Adam's equal, and one who differed from him, but who differed from him in ways that would exactly complement who Adam was."

The fact that Adam and Eve are equal in worth, doesn't imply or mean that they are exactly exactly the same, in that they don't look different, act different according to what gender they are, have diffent roles, etc. But they are indeed unique and so are their looks, roles, etc. The theologian quoted above goes on to write, "Surely their equality does not mean that Adam and Eve were exactly the same physically, for they were not-Eve 'corresponded to' Adam in the exact way God intended, but that includes differences! In the same way, the term itself neither implies not excludes difference in roles in their relationship. It simply says that they would be 'fit for' each other, 'suitable for' each other, in many ways. That is consistent with appropriate differences in roles. God made Eve as a 'helper fit for him' and that means Eve was created to 'complement' or complete Adam in many ways. It does not mean that she would be the same as Adam in every way, or that their roles would be exactly the same, or that their authority would be equal. It surely does not mean that Eve would be superior to Adam. It just means that she would completment him in exactly the ways God intended." In another part of the same book, he writes, "It is correct to see in Eve's creation from Adam's side an indication of equality in human nature, in personhood, in importance,and in the image of God. But such equality does not demand sameness in every respect. Adam and Eve were equal and different, and not only physically different, but also different in the roles they filled in their relationship(as is clear from several other indications in Genesis)." In yet another area, he writes, "Both Adam and Eve were created in God's image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood. Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained be God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart. Adam's headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin. The man has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. 8 arguments showing male headship in marriage before the fall: 1. The order: Adam was created first, then Eve. We may not think of this as very important today, but it was important to the original readers of this text. 2.The representation: Adam, not Eve, had a special role in representing the human race. Looking at the Genesis narrative, we find that Eve sinned first, and then Adam sinned. Yet, we know throughout the rest of the Bible(both O and N Testaments) that the sin passes through the father, the male. It is unmistakable then that Adam had a leadership role in representing the entire human race, a leadership role that Eve did not have. Not did Adam and Eve together represent the human race. Adam alone represented the human race, because he had a particular leadership role that God had given him, a role that Eve did not share. 3.The naming of women: When God made the first woman and and brought her to the man, the Bible tells us that the man said: 'This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman for she was taken out of Man." Adam gave this name to her. This is important because in the context of Genesis 1-2, the original readers would have recognized that the person doing the 'naming' of created things is always the person who has authority over those things. The original readers of Genesis and of the rest of the OT would have been familiar with this pattern, a pattern whereby people who have authority over another person or thing have the ability to assign a name to that person or thing, a naem that often indicates something of the character or quality of the person. Therefore when Adam gives to his wife the name "woman", this indicates a kind of authority that God gave to Adam, a leadership function that Eve did not have with respect to her husband. The authority to give a name in itself assumes that the person giving the name already has authority over the person or thing receiving that name. 4.The naming of the human race: God named the human race 'Man', not 'Woman'.(Gen. 5:1-2) Because the idea of naming is so important in the OT, it is significant to notice what name God chose for the human race as a whole. The word that is translated "Man" is the Hebrew word adam. But this is by no means a gender-neutral term in the eyes of the Hebrew reader, because in the 4 chapters prior to Gen. 5:2, adam has been used many times to speak of a male human being in distiction from a female human heing. In the following list, the word man represents the Hebrew word adam in every case:Genesis 2:22,23; Genesis 2:25; Genesis 3:8,9; Genesis 3:12; and Genesis 3:20). When we come, then, to the naming of the human race in Gen. 5:2 (reporting an event before the Fall), it was evident to the original readers that God was using a name that had clear male overtones or nuances. In the first 4 chapters of Gen. the word adam was used 13 times to refer not to a human being in general but to a male human being. In addition to the 8 examples mentioned above, it was used an additional 5 times as a proper name for Adam in distinction from Eve(Gen. 3:17,21; 4:1,25; 5:1). I am not saying that adam in the Hebrew Bible always refers to a male human being, for sometimes it has a broader sense, and means something like "person". But in the early chapters of Gen., the connection with the man in distinction from the woman is a very clear pattern. God gave the human race a name which, like the English word man, can either mean a male human being or can refer to the human race in general. It does give a hint of male leadership, which God suggested in choosing the name. It is significant that God did not call the race 'Woman'(I am speaking of Hebrew equivalents to these words.) Nor did He give the human race a name such as 'humanity', which would have no male connotations and no connection with the man distinction from the woman. Rather, He called the race 'man'. Raymond C. Ortlund rightly says, 'God's naming of the human race 'man' whispers male headship.' When Gen. 5:2 reports this naming process, it refers to an event prior to sin and the Fall. And, in fact, the name is already indicated in Gen. 1:27-'So God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him; male and female He created them.' If the name 'man' in English(as in Hebrew) didn't suggest male leadership or headship in the human race, there would be no objection to using man to refer to the human race today. But it is precisely the hint of male leadership in the word that has led some people to object to this use of 'man' and to attempt to substitute other terms instead. Yet it is that same hint of male leadership that makes this precisely the best translation of Gen. 1:27 and 5:2."


Tammy, I hope you don't mind, but I must close now and continue on with what I wanted to share with you about what this man said(#s 5-8) tommorrow. I must get off the computer now, for it's beyond time for me to retire to bed! Thank you for understanding. :) Also, I've been typing most of this relatively late, and do not have the time to fix any typos that there may be. I'm sorry! Thank you for understanding. :)








As you can see from this part of the OT/Hebrew study that I've been able to get through in this part tonight, one doesn't even have to open a single page of the NT to discover that God created the husband and father to have leadership over the family, church and government.


I'm so sorry for the huge length of this response!! :/ Thank you so much for allowing me to respond to your comment, and for showing you where I'm coming from. May the Lord richly bless you with a wonderful, peaceful day and week!

In Him,
Rebekah

P.S. As I did Andrea, I wanted to kindly welcome you to visit my blog and to become a reader of it. There may be some things there that you won't agree with, but I think that there are a lot of posts that would be coming up soon that you would agree with and enjoy reading. So, you're more than welcome to stop by anytime! :)

Tammy said...

Hi Rebekah and Anna and all,
I have much I could say in response to your last entry, Rebekah. Some I could respond to off the bat, and some I need to check the books for. However, I think we will have to close the discussion.

I respect Anna's wish to limit the blog mainly to those who support the anti-feminist ideology, and I'm surely not one of them (although I do consider myself religious, btw). I also understand your desire Anna to avoid publishing more long-winded theoretical diatribes, which probably are not appropriate to the blog format (sorry, I'm a newbie at blogs, so I didn't realize this).
Finally, I have 5 kids of my own, all under 13, so in truth I'm a bit too busy for lengthy debates now! I will go back to trying to make my home a haven, a wonderful goal I think we all share.

Rebekah S. said...

Hello, Tammy!


After reading your latest comment, I'm not so sure that you're all that interested in the rest of what this theologian went on to write in his book. However, I'll type it here anyway, in case you're interested.


"#5. The primary accountability: God spoke to Adam first after the fall. After Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from the Lord among the trees of the Garden. Then we read, 'But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?'(Gen. 3:9) In the Hebrew text, the espression 'the man' and the pronouns 'him' and 'you' are all singular. Even though Eve sinned first, God first summoned Adam to give acount for what had happened in his family. Adam was the one primarily accountable. An analogy to this is seen in the life of a contemporary human family. When a parent comes into a room where several children have been misbehaving and have left the room in chaos, the parent will probably summon the oldest and say, 'What happened here?' Though all are responsible for their behavior, the oldest bearts the primary responsibility. In a similar way, when God summoned Adam to give an account, it indicated a primary responsibility for Adam in the conduct of his family. This is similar to the situation in Gen. 2:15-17, where God gave commands to Adam alone before the Fall, indicating there also a primary responsibility that belonged to Adam. By contrast, the serpent spoke to Eve first(Gen. 3:1), trying to get her to take responsibility for leading the family into sin, and inverting the order that God established at Creation. #6. The purpose: Eve was created as a helper for Adam, not Adam as a helper for Eve. After God had created Adam and given him directions concerning his life in the Garden of Eden, we read, "Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.'"(Gen. 2:18) It is true that the Hebrew word translated helper (ezer) is often used elsewhere in the Bible of God who is our helper(see for example Psalm 33:20, 70:5, 115:9). But helper does not be itself decide what God intended the relationship to be between Adam and Eve. The activity of helping is so broad that it can be done by someone who has greater authority, someone who has equal authority, or someone who has lesser authority than the person being helped. For example, I can help my son do his homework. Or I can help my neighbor to move his sofa. Or my son can help me clean the garage. Yet the fact remains that in the situation under consideration, the perosn doing the help puts himself in a subordinate role to the person who has primary responsibility for carrying out the activity. Even if I help my son with his homework, the primary responsibility for the homework remains his and not mine. I am the helper. And even when God helps us, He still holds us primarily responsible for the activity, and He holds us accountable for what we do. But Genesis 2 does not merely say that Eve functions as Adam's helper in one or two specific events. Rather, it says that God made Eve to provide Adam with a helper, one who by virtue of creation would function as Adam's helper. 'Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'(v. 18) The Hebrew text can be translated literally as, 'I will make for him (Hebrew, lo) a helper fit for him.' Eve's tole, and the purpose that God had in mind when He created her, was that she would be "for him...a helper". Yet in the same sentence God emphasizes that she is not to help him as one who is inferior to him. Rather, she is to be a helper 'fit for him' and here the Hebrew word kenegdo means 'a help corresponding to him' that is 'equal and adequate to himself.' So Eve was created as a helper, but as a helper who was Adam's equal. She was created as one who differed from him, but who differed from him in ways that exactly complemented who Adam was. #7. The conflict: The curse brought a distortion of previous roles, not the introduction of new roles. After Adam and Eve sinned, God spoke the following words of judgment to Eve: 'I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your busband, and he shall rule over you.'(Gen. 3:16). The word translated 'desire' is an unusual Hebrew word, teshuqah. In this context and in this specific construction it probably implies an aggressive desire, perhaps a desire to conquer or rule over, or else an urge or impulse the woman has to oppose her husband, an impulse to act against him, and not submit to him. This sense is seen in the only other occurence of teshuqah in all the books of Moses and the only other occurrence of teshuqah plus the prepostition 'el in the whole Bible. That occurance is in the very next chapter of Genesis, in Gen. 4:7. God says to Cain, 'Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.' Here the sense is very clear. God pictures sin like a wild animal waiting outside Cain's door, waiting to pounce on him and overpower him. In that sense, sin's 'desire' or 'instinctive urge' is 'against' him. Some have assumed that the 'desire' in Gen. 3:16 refers to physical, sexual desire. But that is highly unlikely because (1) the entire Bible view sexual desire within marriage as something positive, not as something evil or something that God imposed as a judgment; and (2) surely Adam and Eve had sexual desire for one another prior to their sin, for God had told them to 'be fruitful and multiply'(Gen. 1:28), and certainly He would have given the desire that corresponded to the command. (plus sin in the following chapter doesn't have sexual desire for us!) So 'your desire shall be for your husband' cannot refer to sexual desire. It is much more appropriate to the context of a curse to understand this as an aggresive desire against her husband, oone that would bring her into conflict with him. Then God says that Adam, 'shall rule over you' (Gen. 3:16). The word here-translated 'rule' is the Hebrew term mashal, a common tern in the OT that regularly if not always refers to ruling by greater power or force or strength. It is used of human military or political rulers, such as Joseph ruling over the land of Egypt(Gen. 45:26), or the Philistines ruling over Israel(Judges 14:4, 15:11), or Solomon ruling over all the kingdoms he had conquered(1 Kings 4:21). It is also used to speak of God ruling over the sea(Psalm 89:9) or God ruling over the earth generally(Psalm 66:7). Sometimes it refers to oppresive rulers who cause people under them to suffer(Neh. 9:37; Isa. 19:4). (Of couse, the man is not supposed to lead and have authority over his wife in an oppressive or abusive manner). In any case, the word does not signify one who leads among equals(in rank) but rather one who rules by virtue of power and strength, and sometimes even rules harshly or selfishly(and if the man does so in this manner, this is a result of sin). Once we understand these two terms, we can see much more clearly what was involved in the curse that God brough to Adam and Eve as punishment for their sins. One aspect of the curse was imposing pain on Adam's particular area of responsibility, rasing food from the ground(Gen. 3:17-19). Another aspect of the curse was to impose pain on Eve's particular area of responsibility, the bearing of children(Gen. 3:16). And a third aspect of the curse was to introduce pain and conflict into the relationship between Adam and Eve. Prior to their sin, they had lived in the Garden of Eden in perfect harmony, yet with a leadership role belonging to Adam as the head of his family. But after the Fall, God introduced conflict in that Eve would have an inward urging and impulse to oppose Adam, to resist Adam's leadership(the verb teshuqah + 'el). ' Your impluse desire will be against your husband'. And Adam would respond with a rule over Eve that came from his greater strength and aggressiveness, a rule that was forceful and at times harsh(the verb mashal). 'And he because of his greater strength, will rule over you'. There would be pain in tilling the ground, pain in bearing children, and pain and conflict in their relationship. It is crucial at this point for us to realize that we are never to increase or perpetuate the results of the curse. We should never try to promote Gen. 3:16 as something good! In fact, the entire Bible after Gen. 3 is the story of God's working to overcome the effects of the curse that He in His justice imposed. Eventually God will being in a new heaven and a new earth in which crops will come forth abundantly from the ground(Isa. 35:1-2; Amos 9:13; Romans 8:20-21) and in which there is no pain or suffering(Reve. 21:4).So we should never try to perpetuate the elements of the curse! We should not plan thorns and weeds in our gardens, but rather overcome them. We should do everything we can to alleviatee the pain of childbirth for women. And we should do everything we can to undo the conflict that comes about through women desiring to oppose or even control their husbands, and husbands ruling harshly over them(this is why the philosophy of feminism is so wrong and non-Scriptural). Therefore Gen. 3:16 should never be used as a direct argument for male headship in marriage. But it does show us very clearly that the Fall brought about a distortion of previous roles, not the introduction of new roles-the role of man to lead and have authority over his family has been around since the very beginning, and is all part of God's loving plan. The distortion was that Eve would now rebel against her husband's authority and Adam would misuse that authority to rule forcefully and even harshly over Eve."


It becomes quite clear through the study of the Bible and through the study of what this man has written, that authority of the man and submission of the woman is a very good thing. It's all part of God's all-wise and all-loving plan. It's a good thing and should be seen as such-it shouldn't be seen as something to fight against, for if we do that, we're fighting against God Himself, and His wisdom and love.



I can see, Tammy, that you're very hesitant to continue this discussion here on Anna's blog. But I want to let you know that you are more than welcome to e-mail me at any time, and we can continue this discussion as you find time, there. I would really love to hear what you would say in response to what this man has written after his in-depth study of Hebrew and the OT, and I would love to hear more about your thoughts and beliefs on these areas. So, you are most welcome to e-mail me at any time, as well as to visit my blog and comment there. I look forward to hopefully hearing from you soon!


Wow-5 kids! What a huge blessing! That's awesome that the Lord has blessed you in that area! :) Yes, making your home a haven is so important and is a truly beautiful art.

May you have a wonderful week! :)

Many blessings to you,
Rebekah

www.byhisgraceandforhisglory.blogspot.com

living_for_my_Lords_glory@hotmail.com