One Way a Complementarian Relationship Can Look
(By Celeste Chute)
Editors' note: Below is part three of a four part blog series on one person's thoughts and journey about gender and gender roles.
This is the third in a series of posts I’ve written about complementarianism. I’ve written about how I don’t think your view on this issue is ultimate and how Jesus is always better. I’ve written about my journey to finding the beauty in God’s plan for relationships. And now I want to say is a little bit about how complementarianism has worked in my own relationship. Every couple is different and there is no ‘right’ way for this to be played out, but this is how it’s worked out for us. Anthony and I are engaged and will get married this fall. So all I can do is share what it’s been like so far. Also, I’m going to focus on the wonderful ways complementarianism shows itself in our relationship, but like any relationship, there are also bumps and hurt feelings and misunderstandings - just so you know I’m not trying to sugar coat this.
One way I have loved how this has taken shape in our relationship is how Anthony supports and encourages my emotions.
One way I have loved how this has taken shape in our relationship is how Anthony supports and encourages my emotions. I hate how society makes women feel crazy or dramatic or like we’re overreacting when we experience strong emotions. Unlike tv shows (and past relationships), Anthony never tells me to “calm down” or “stop crying” or “you’re overreacting”. He hugs me and loves me and tells me he loves how much I care about my friends or family or season finale of Parenthood or whatever it might be. Because Anthony and I know that men and women aren’t made the same, it gives us space to be different. He knows I’m made differently, that I process differently and react differently to situations. It would be really hard if he expected me to act like him in all scenarios, or if I wanted him to have the same reactions as me.
Because I have seen him make so many decisions well, by praying and talking and taking time, I trust his decisions even when I don’t necessarily agree.
I also see complementarianism play out in how we make decisions together. For smaller day-to-day decisions, I feel like we often try to ‘out-nice’ each other. I want to follow his lead and let him make decisions. He wants to be a servant leader and make sure we’re doing something that makes me happy. Although it can lead to comical indecision, I love that we both want to do what’s best for the other person. For bigger decisions, I feel like the most prized and valued consultant. I know that Anthony seeks my opinion and ideas on any decision. I know he really listens and allows himself to be changed by what I say. And he talks through his train of thought with me and allows me to weigh in and help guide the decision. Because I have seen him make so many decisions well, by praying and talking and taking time, I trust his decisions even when I don’t necessarily agree.
The most important thing that we try to remember is that it’s our individual job to be the best husband and wife we can be. If he is continually trying to grow closer to God and love me like Jesus loves the Church, and I’m pursuing God and working to be a supportive, strong, helpful wife then I think we’ll do pretty well. The trouble comes when I expect certain behavior out of him, or when he expects behavior out of me. There will be (and have been) times when Anthony doesn’t feel like leading and there will be (and have been) times when I feel feisty and stubborn and independent. But we will work to have grace for each other, like God has had so much grace for us.
Because of God’s design, we don’t have to be everything. We can be who we are; just as God created us.
Relationships are hard, and I have no doubt that marriage will be harder. But it’s also beautiful and significant; a holy covenant made with God. I love that we will be able to emulate the Trinity in our marriage, by having different roles but the same value, that we will be two in one. Because of God’s grace, we don’t have to be perfect. Because of God’s design, we don’t have to be everything. We can be who we are; just as God created us. Anthony can be Anthony, a man, a husband, and God’s cherished son. I can be me, a woman, a wife, and God’s cherished daughter.