Even though I was raised as a southern baptist I never heard my church or parents debating the roles of women and men. My mother and father lived out traditional (western) roles…until my mother found a career she loved and her kids were old enough to not need a helicopter. She loved her work, we needed the money and so both of my parents worked AND my mom was still the primary in-home caregiver. My dad was and still is a very strong man, worked as an iron worker from the age of 20-60 and yet is still the one who tears up a little when we give him just the right hallmark card. Regardless of who was mommy and who was daddy, what I lived was balance that provided all we need in many different aspects. And that can and does happen regardless of the gender make-up of a relationship.
Even the language of “mutual submission without basing it on gender.” gives me the willies. My mamma never submitted to my dad – and he never expected that of her. Why must there be a submission of one to another? How about a partnership of equals where decisions are negotiated with compassion and respect taking into consideration the totality of each circumstance and person? Well yeah, that does take more work. Of course, all the talking about complementarianism vs egalitarianism is really only happening in a small subsection of culture. And not to mince words (because y’all know I do, ha) there seems to be a heaping helping of willful ignorance in some circles ’cause frankly – many Christians have ceased this conversation decades ago and the secular world couldn’t give a rip.
But as it turns out, it seems I am living a my own little queerly complimentarian lifestyle.
See my partner and I compliment one another – in the words of JM – she completes me.
We are so very different – I am peace loving Jesus freak and she is a by-the-book, gun-toting cop (nearly 18 years on the job, thank you ma’am). She loves action flicks and horror movies, I love dramas and romantic comedies. We both love to cook but she goes for sweet while I dig savory. She’s all military corners and my shoes can hang around in a pile for weeks. She runs twice a week and practices Aikido four or five days a week while I play Just Dance 4 and ride a beach cruiser around the ‘hood once in a while. She is really in to Financial Peace University and I’m not sure what our balance is this week, or last. I run the kids all order creation, sew Girl Scout patches, help with homework and she creates safe and reliable boundaries for them to test at every turn. She plays “rough and tumble” games (as our 10 year old calls them) and I play board games with the kids. She volunteers as security at the massive school yard sale (running the Incident Command System for Household Items, CLothing and Furniture) while I organize the toys and fold the gently used baby jammies. I love to talk about reeeeealaaaaationships and feeeeeeelings – she’d rather tell a fart joke. (Oh yeah, and this is her favorite kind of therapy session.)
Our partnership, our very family, relies on each bringing her gifts and challenges to this journey and offering what the other needs, when she needs it. Balance, mutual respect all bound by love is what makes it work. PTL
So as I see it and live it, gender composition of a relationship has nothing to do with notions of complementarianism. Nope, ANY well balanced relationship, grounded in love and hoping for a long future, will draw upon one another’s strengths and and rise up to support one another’s weaknesses. And yes, I realize this is an over simplification of an unnecessarily complex debate. I am not the least bit interested in a literalist, legalistic reading of scripture that is only literal and legal regarding notions a gasping patriarchy hopes to cling to. I am much more interested in a narrative of love, compassion and mutual respect.
I sure hope you have someone who you complete and who completes you.