Eden on its Head

Have you ever noticed that in the mystery of marriage God asks both the man and the woman to do what is impossible? In marriage God demands what’s hard, not what’s easy. Here’s the simple naked truth: The woman is supposed to (horror of horrors!!) submit to her husband and the husband is supposed to (drat it!) take responsibility. Now, this is exactly the opposite of what both men and women want to do.

The women I know naturally want to take charge. They’re practical, down to earth creatures who see a job that needs doing and want to do it their way. Most fellows are easy going slobs who are content to lie on the couch watching football with a bag of chips to keep them company. Most guys are happy for the wife to take charge…”Yes dear…Whatever you say dear. When’s supper?”

In fact, the women are often better at being in charge than men are. They’re practical and efficient. They’re caring and consultative and lead from the heart. They have stamina and stomach and can clean up baby vomit and dog poo and then cook a dinner without batting an eye or gagging. The men, on the other hand, would prefer to play a video game, mess with the computer or the car or simply chill out.

But Eden stands that on its head. Of all the wild and wonderful things to do, God puts the man in charge and tells the woman to obey. Therefore, the most natural temptation for both sexes is to rebel against this outrageous order. The man rebels by abdicating his responsibility and opting out. The woman rebels by taking charge and taking over. What the feminists don’t realize, when they march out to take over the world is that most fellows are quite happy to let them do so.

“Here–you want to run things? What a relief. Now I can go play play with my pals.”

That’s why the devil tempted the woman. She’s the one who wanted to take charge anyway. He probably tempted Adam first, and the man scratched his belly and said, “What, get up and climb that tree just for that apple? Nah, I’m pretty happy the way I am.”

The marriage covenant stands the whole thing on its head again. It’s a scandal! It’s revolutionary! Marriage says to the man, “Be a man…get off the couch…take responsibility.” Marriage says to the woman,”Step back. Learn to obey.”

“Get off the couch? Ouch!” “Learn to obey? No way!”

This stuff has to be true because it is just so unpredictable and so wildly difficult. What is difficult is more likely to be true because it is less likely to have been made up by people who want to be comfortable.

Truth hurts, but it hurts like surgery hurts, and in the spiritual life, when it starts to hurt we might just start to be making a little bit of progress.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05603702087808854465 Chad Toney

    Hey brother. I don’t read blogs to get convicted! ;) Welcome to the bloggin world!I really enjoyed More Christianity and it was very helpful to me on my journey.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13531034731461673925 Julie D.

    Huzzah! I bow only to The Curt Jester in being your biggest fan … welcome to the blogosphere!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00274788007550318693 Elizabeth

    Welcome to Blogdom !I read your chapter in “The Benedictine Handbook”, and thouroughly enjoyed it :-) I love this take on Marriage; it is sooo true !

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09298702642040698110 Mikaela D’eigh

    Great take on marriage – even having studied Theology of the Body, I didn’t see it from that perspective. Welcome to the blogosphere!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09266849399102419066 Jonathan

    Welcome to blogging! I’m looking forward to reading your insights. God bless,Jonathan

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09015745990344837357 Nârwen

    But… it still leaves room for us single women to run the world ! MWAHAHAHAHA !

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14231946368075733351 A. Noël

    Found you by way of Julie D. I really like this post – you’ve put a tough truth very succinctly. Welcome to blogging!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05154454029656977215 Sarah

    Wonderfully written and beautifully said. Thanks for a take on marriage that makes me stop and go HMM.And welcome to the blogosphere! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07626607370920550085 Squiboda

    You really live in a world where women are in charge and men just want to lie on the couch and eat chips?I seriously doubt that.Enjoy that fantasy if that’s what you like though…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Dwight Longenecker

    Squiboda…its something called hyperbole…literary exaggeration to make a point.


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