A Short Theological Quiz Regarding Women, Marriage, and our Feminized Church

A few weeks ago I had a delightful dinner with a pastor of a very large church.  The conversation ranged across topic after topic but eventually settled on a lengthy discussion of marriage.  The pastor talked about the key to his long and successful marriage and the key to Christian marriage in general.  His advice was a variation on advice I’ve heard countless times across my decades of life in evangelical churches:

Men, you must love your wives.  A woman responds to your sacrificial love (the love that Christ has towards his church), and if you love her sacrificially, she will reward that love with her admiration, her respect, and her affection.  You would never think of withdrawing money from an ATM without first making a deposit, would you?  You must invest in your spouse through your care, your attention, your romance, and your pursuit of her.  A woman thrives in such circumstance, and she responds with an overflow of love towards you and your children.  Yet men again and again try to “withdraw” love from their wives without making a sufficient deposit.

If you care to comment below, please tell me what is wrong with this statement and why.  But with or without comments, I’ll try to answer my own quiz tomorrow.


  • http://www.popehat.com Ken

    1. It suggests that we do things, or should, in a relationship because of what we get in return?

    2. It invites uncomfortable questions about what ATM fees are in this analogy?

    • David French

      Ken, perhaps the ATM wasn’t the pastor’s best analogy :)

  • Shane Dean

    Seems to be more “Me” generated than having the mindset of Jesus in whatever is “Best” for the one you love. More to manipulate her for whatever validation/need “I” may require from the relationship. More to build her up so that “I” be built up.
    Just a couple thoughts that popped into my mind at first blush.

  • http://familiesotn.blogspot.com Christine Miller

    Marriage was designed by God to demonstrate the union of His Trinity to those on earth as well as to show how God loves those people in His family whom He is bringing to glory. God is the initiator: we are able to love Him because He first loved and loves us. So as far as the pastor saying he loves and gives to his wife so she can love him, that is true. However, God is also the leader and He desires to conform us to the image of His Son. Therefore He does many things that we don’t immediately understand or like, including things that bring suffering. Often, His love does not look like we think it should. We learn to trust Him as we follow. Perhaps the pastor doesn’t realize that it is his leadership qualities that his wife admires and respects as much or more so than all the “investing” he does in her. A woman is not going to naturally (or supernaturally) look up to someone who dances to her tune but rather one who is leading her by example to worship the Author.

  • Mike

    As far as the “ATM” reference, probably a bank account would be better analogy. 1 thing that I have learned in my marriage is I tried to be “sacrificial” but it didn’t matter to my wife. I needed to be unconditionally loving. There is a difference between sacrificial and un-conditional. CHRIST’S love is un-conditional and led to sacrifice. 2) every woman and man has a “Love” language. You have to learn to speak to that. I recommend a wonderful book called “His Needs, Her Needs.” it is written by a Christian couple for married folks!

  • http://www.arealeducation.com Belinda French

    David, very interesting that I would read this on our 45th wedding anniversary!
    When you say quiz I could probably get a better grade if I consider what you might be thinking, and the title certainly has a clue (our feminized church). It’ll be interesting to hear what you have in mind.
    I’m glad that this pastor’s wife has responded in love to him, but we can’t assume all would. Jesus’ sacrifice was as pure as it gets, and not all have received Him.
    I’m thankful for my husband’s and my marriage, and I’m thankful too for the mercy of God! We’ve needed it.

  • Steviedore

    Women today, also, must understand that marriage is not always for ones sake, but it also takes commitment for the children’s sake. Two become one…. then the children move on and repeat the process…. for the sake of mankind.

    Men can show their love and respect where it may not be apparent first. Kind of like a cat bringing home a dead mouse and laying it down at your feet. Long memories sometimes means short marriages. Whoever looks to be offended, will never be disappointed.

    And that’s all I have to say about that!

  • Carlos Weinheimer

    This is a one sided proposition. Why do men “withdraw” from their spouses? Are they failing to meet our expectations?

  • http://n/a BikerDad

    It places all the burden on the husband. If a woman doesn’t “respond with an overflow of love”, it’s HIS FAULT. The possibility that she is a deeply flawed individual wth her own issues that he CANNOT control doesn’t exist.

    In short, it frames the husband as God. Being only human, he WILL fail to live up to the standard, and in today’s feminized church, that means she’s given a pass when she divorces him. Because HE failed.

  • Mike

    David what is your answer to it? Did we all pass?

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  • Pat Pope

    Although I get the pastor’s point, I think where the analogy breaks down is with the thinking that men (or anyone, for that matter), give simply in order to get.

  • Lynn

    There’s a lot of truth in it, actually, although it obviously isn’t a complete view of marriage.
    If my ex had even attempted to practice such a principle, I feel pretty sure we’d still be together.

  • http://www.rickmcopy.com Rick

    A human being is not a machine. While the car is virtually guaranteed to run if the gas tank is full, you can’t predict that your wife (or your child or your coworker or your neighbor) will be a lovely, responsive person just because you have been a good Joe first. There are many husbands who have taken the advice that “your wife will respond to you if you take the first step and love her first,” and after years of service have realized that she’s still passive-aggressive, frigid, fragile, immature or has never outgrown childhood hurts enough to love in the present. Yes, you should love, but no, you can’t assume that A will always deliver B. Humans are too complex to fit into a formula.

  • Joe DiLoreto

    I have been married for 33 years. Marriage takes work from both partners. The key in my opinion, to a successful marriage is BOTH partners make the other person first in the life, after God, but before all others. Sounds simply but it is not easy.