Category: marriage

“What DO You Believe About Men’s & Women’s Roles in Marriage & Family?” (On Patriarchy and Stuff.)

An email I received said:

“Dear Kelly,

I am so confused. There seem to be so many beliefs about marriage and roles and one group villainizes another group for their stance, and vice versa. I’m particularly confused about what is called “patriarchy.” I thought that was another term for what the Bible taught about husbands and wives, but many Christians I know, who I agree with on things, are denouncing it. What do you believe?”

Frankly, I’ve been confused too. For years I would have agreed with this person about patriarchy. I wrote a post about it (which I have since taken down because the word itself evokes so much vitriol and I didn’t care for the keyword search attention it brought). In that post, I said that I believed in patriarchy, provided that patriarchy is the same definition as I find in the Bible about marital roles.

To quote one of my favorite movies, “I do not think that word means what you think it means.” And I have come to understand that words change meanings over time and we can’t define our terms with them anymore. As such, I am not a proponent of patriarchy because it doesn’t mean what I believe.

To use an example, it would be useless for me to say, “I support being gay” if I meant that I support being “happy.” It wouldn’t matter what I meant by the word anymore.

The thing that made me realize I don’t subscribe to the word and therefore have to ditch it, is seeing other people (who don’t know me but think they do from reading my blog) describe me. They said things like, “Kelly is brainwashed, fearful and weak. She is in a cult. She can’t help it, she doesn’t know any better. She only does what she is told.”

Which is funny. Because that doesn’t describe me at all. (In a cult?! What even?) In fact, when my husband read it, he laughed. And not just chuckled. My husband has an infectious laugh so notorious among our friends, they try to catch it on video. That kind of laugh. I think I should be offended.

My detractors like to paint me as someone who is legalistic (at best), and therefore imprisoned by my own beliefs and living a sad and narrow existence. It is their grotesquely distorted descriptions of my proposed life that throws up big red flags about anything else they say. When once you see yourself being falsely maligned and defaced publicly, you aren’t prone to give their other words much credence. Just keep that in mind in this great big Internet gossip cess pool.

Here is what I believe about marriage: you can open your Bible at this point to find out. Genesis 2, Proverbs 31, 1 Corinthians, Colossians, Hebrews, Ephesians.

It’s the same thing I’ve ALWAYS believed. Wives are to submit to their husbands, but only as husbands are to love their wives as their own flesh, submitting themselves to God. Where a husband fails to do this, and exercises abusive power over the wife, she is freed by her submission to honor Christ. I don’t believe the Bible teaches a philosophy that allows women to be abused. She has, and should use her recourse of the local Body.

Admittedly, I’m married to a fabulous man. Not every woman is. My hearty embrace of what Scripture teaches is very easy because of my husband. He is a servant. That’s what real leaders are. There isn’t contention. We are a team and he prioritizes me above everything. His having a leadership role that God has given him doesn’t diminish me or remove my right to speak up about things, disagree with him or offer counsel. It only makes him more careful and tender.

And about women, roles, daughters and careers: from Scripture I see that a woman’s first calling and priority is her home and family. (Proverbs 31, 1 Timothy, Titus 2)

I do not think it’s a sin for a woman to work outside the home or attend college. (I have many close friends and daughters who do these things.) I do think it can easily become a snare, especially in our day, given the emphasis put on career and lack of it devoted to the role of women at home. Also, it’s difficult to shift gears once a couple is accustomed to living with two full time incomes and they are receiving little, if any, encouragement for her to make family her first job. I know, I’ve been there.

I certainly support women (young and old) working to help with the income, especially if that job helps them keep their families a priority, instead of enslaving them to a schedule they can’t control. It is getting increasingly difficult for a family to survive without multiple incomes, but I don’t think that fact negates our first duty to the calling on our lives. I offer caveats that I believe line up with Scripture’s emphasis on women helping their husbands, raising their children, keeping their homes and ministering to the community.

Where Scripture is silent, we cannot erect commands. Where Scripture speaks, we must apply it to our lives as clearly as we know how, submitting to the authority of Christ above all.

I hope this is helpful to others who may be confused.


Visit our STORE for tools to help build your family and home!
Take 10% off anything with code, "tennow"

Every Good & Perfect Gift…Our Daughter’s Marriage

Raising a child up to leave home is one of the most glorious, painful oxymorons of life. Parents are handed a soft, sweet-smelling, beautiful creature, perfectly helpless and perfectly captivating. They pour their time, love, energy, tears and prayer into that gift and beg the Lord to protect her, lead her, and give her good gifts in her life.

Then He does. And then with the same fervor and tenacity with which we held on to that beautiful child and our hopes for her, we must let her go. And we must rejoice in doing it, for it is as it should be.

We are given a gift, we invest everything, then we let go. Hard, but right.

We gave our daughter to her husband Saturday. I’ve talked about the process of letting go, but all I’ll say now is that I watched on this transformation of two lives becoming one with perfect peace and a happiness that bubbled over. They shared their hearts with each other, Kyle promising to lay down his life for Bria just as Christ has done for the church, and Bria expressing her gratitude to Kyle for this sacrificial love, already demonstrated, that makes her feel safe enough to give herself to him forever. There was such sweetness and sincerity and I think every guest was awed just a little by it. It was so pure, so purposeful and so perfect. God’s grace.

I thought I would be a puddle of tears and I barely teared up. God was so gracious to give me the gift of sheer enjoyment and rejoicing. I rejoice because my daughter and my son-in-law are pure-hearted followers of Christ. And not much can go wrong from that start.

And truly, all I could think as I watched Bria and Kyle beam at each other is,

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

And I praised Him for this gift to us all and for the gift of His Son, reflected in the glorious institution of marriage.

(I wanted to share a few pics. You can click on an image to enlarge it.)

Photography by Chandler Farms Photography

Visit our STORE for tools to help build your family and home!
Take 10% off anything with code, "tennow"

Homemaking 101 & Unmarried: The Films. On Sale.

Do you need a “back-to-basics” homemaking crash course? Or maybe you just need a reminder to inspire you out of the lull of drudgery. Either way, I think you’ll love the Homemaking 101 DVD from my friend, Jennifer, at Family Vision Films. It is on sale right now for $11.95 just until Sunday! Get your discount with code “101sale”. So jump on over and grab it!



And while you’re there, the much-anticipated documentary, Unmarried: The Rise of Singleness is here! And it’s on sale too now for just $13.





Watch the trailer:


Visit our STORE for tools to help build your family and home!
Take 10% off anything with code, "tennow"

5 Things People Think About Marriage and Growing Up That Are Wrong

The following are actual statements I’ve read or heard in just the last few weeks about marriage and life, and I assume many people believe them. And because the way a culture thinks about marriage greatly influences said culture, we need to be thinking rightly about it and helping others do the same. Especially our children.
  • Criteria for a “good husband”: Is he good looking and does he make a lot of money?

This statement came from a woman who lived during the Great Depression. I get it. I really do. At least the last part. (The first part–really?) And honestly, don’t we all struggle with the money thing somewhere deep down? Money translates security. And who doesn’t want that?

The usual argument might go, “Well, you know how hard it can be on a marriage with financial struggles.” And that’s true. It can be hard. It can also be hard on a marriage when work-demands from a high-paying job deplete a relationship. It can also be hard on a marriage when greed and selfishness take over, or when status becomes more important than sitting on the front porch together, or when a couple gets trapped in the automobile-upgrade-because-our-neighbors-did game.

I’ve never heard one person warn a youngster about the dangers of making too much money. If we aren’t going to be honest, we should be quiet. The divorce rate doesn’t favor the poor or the rich. Seems financial security or the lack thereof doesn’t offer much indication of the success of the marriage. Maybe there are other things, far more important than the paycheck, that do.

  • You can’t get to know someone in less than a year.

Actually, that’s both true and false. The truth is, you can’t really get to know someone until you live with them. Period. But can you get to know someone’s character, get a feel for your compatibility in less than a year? Absolutely. There is no special time frame for relationship milestones.

  • College and becoming who you want to be and discovering yourself and your career should be much more important than getting married and tying yourself down to a commitment when the discovery of yourself has not yet been found. College is a time for individuals to discover themselves and find their paths in life. Marriage would greatly inhibit this. You cannot grow with another person until you fully know yourself. I am doubtful that anyone ranging from the ages 18-23 has fully found themselves yet. (Comment left here on the blog.)

Wow. Many people actually do believe this. “Finding one’s self” is highly overrated not a thing. The problem with most of us, in fact, is the quest to find one’s self propels one on an unending, self-absorbed search that kills what is most crucial in the human spirit–serving outside of self. We learn who we are only in the context of other people. That’s how we were made. Without commitment and responsibility to others we self-destruct. Marriage and family are the path to true discovery–wherever you are in a family.  It’s how we grow up and find ourselves.

  • My worst fear is how I’m going to pay for their college.

I find it almost unbelievable that we have elevated college to the place that it causes us this kind of fear. How about we put our energy into raising children who will grow up with upright character so they can face what life will inevitably throw at them. Let’s hope they become responsible, faithful, wise and honest, whether they go to college or not. Let’s pray they become followers of Christ. That they find godly spouses and seek first the Kingdom of God. Those are the things we should be afraid of their missing out on. Not a ginormous debt  they might not even need. Furthermore, parents shouldn’t “fear” paying for college when that isn’t even an entitlement. College is not a requirement for the good life. Character is.

  • You need to have all your ducks in a row before you start a family.

Whatever ducks you may have in a row are likely to change in a few years so don’t count your ducks before they waddle off. We make too much of “having it all together”, in my opinion, these days. Whatever happened to couples figuring out life together, easing the burdens by helping each other, and growing in love and security and wisdom having been through the beautiful catalyst of trials together? Do we need a plan? Yes, though it will likely change a few times. More important than the plan then, are the marks of ambition, work ethic and wisdom that will fortify a family through anything. We do our children great harm, I think, when we deprive them of building families on the pretense that “security” is more important. “Seek first the Kingdom…” and everything else will be added is what He says.

Visit our STORE for tools to help build your family and home!
Take 10% off anything with code, "tennow"

We Don’t Get Marriage (And That Makes Us Say Dumb Stuff)

As I enter that time in life where my children grow into adults and my friends’ children do the same, marriage is a hot topic. And our grown-up kids are bombarded with unsolicited advice:

“Don’t get married unless you’re ready.”

“Don’t get married too young.”

“Don’t get married too old.”

“Don’t get married and have a baby right away.”

“Don’t get married and wait too long to have a baby.”

Seems we have constructed “perfect parameters” for the major milestones in life and those who fall outside of them are, well, not perfect. Or something.

And I tell you what I think…I think we really don’t get marriage. And I mean even those of us who think we do are so immersed in a secular view of it that we forget. We don’t know what it’s for and so our “advice” becomes empty and even destructive.

The purpose of marriage.

First, marriage is something God made, not us, and so He gets to determine its purpose. The very first glimpse of marriage that God gave us is still our clue into why He created it. Basically, Adam had a big job to do and he needed someone to help him do it.

And what was that big job? The same one we still have. Our complete existence in this life is to make known the glory of God and the reign of Christ on earth.

Not only that, but marriage was the way God would speak to the world about His unconditional love for His Church. He needed a real-life demonstration.

But the vast majority of us think marriage is to make us fulfilled and happy. Or worse, that marriage is something to delay so one can be fulfilled and happy first. Fulfillment and happiness are a common by-product of marriage, but not its purpose.

When we, or if we will force ourselves to deprogram from the movies and books and improper relationships from our lives, then we might be able to reexamine God’s design for marriage which should then equip us with wiser counsel for the young who are entering adulthood.

And as I see it:

  • Marriage is something we need, not just something we desire. That small difference changes how we think.
  • Marriage fulfills important work in the Kingdom of God; it’s not just a rite of passage in our culture.
  • Marriage is good. Marriage is God’s.
  • Marriage accomplishes what singleness cannot. Suffice it to say, that the few who have been called to singleness also accomplish what the married cannot. But for most people, singleness is not their calling. And as such, they are better with a spouse. Even singles live within a context of families. The whole Bible is a family portrait, with all playing an important part in tha portrait.

So, fleshing out our purpose and the purpose of marriage, how should that change our idea of the if, whens and hows?

As children become adults it is right and fitting that they transition into their own families. It’s part of the multiplying we were commanded to in Genesis.  It’s a parents’ job to equip them for this transition.

Just as Adam needed help in his calling, so men today still need help. And just as Eve complemented him, so we still complement our husbands.

What calling? The overarching calling of pointing the world to Christ. And while we do different things and are placed in different situations, we still all are called to unite together in that mission of glorifying Christ and revealing the Gospel to the world.

Practically applying our purpose.

Practically speaking, we work, build, play, pray, disciple and grow together toward that end. And marriage is an integral part of that, with the dual purpose of the living metaphor of the church and her Groom.

When we really, truly get concerned with the business of God, seeing things from His perspective and desiring to carry out the mission His people have been given, it changes our petty parameters and foolish notions of marriage.We don’t obsess about getting married, but we certainly don’t treat it as an afterthought–something to be done after one has found himself. Ideally, a couple grows up together. Hardship and lack of experience is a boon to the success of marriage, not a hindrance.

The Singleness Disclaimer

I know there are young people who long to get married who aren’t. I think we must be sensitive to them and this post isn’t meant to imply that we “push” marriage to the extent we discourage those who are single. I fully believe that while a person is single, they are living fully if they are living for God’s glory. The single years are a fabulous time of serving and learning and growing. It should not be looked down upon. But neither should we encourage our children to think that marriage is second-rate and “full of woe”, encouraging them to wait for the perfect scenario. They are looking to us  for their cues and we should be saying “marriage is a good thing.”

I pray the older generation (that’s us!) will take seriously the responsibility we’ve been given to speak truth into the next generation. We must get our theology of marriage right or the whole course is off from there. Let’s use reason with wisdom as we encourage the young adults around us. Let’s give them hope and a vision of purpose. Let’s share God’s love of covenant marriage and do all we can to encourage it. Let’s talk to them about how they can move toward marriage not about why they should avoid it.


Visit our STORE for tools to help build your family and home!
Take 10% off anything with code, "tennow"

Featured @ The Laundry Moms Today!

The Laundry Moms is a nifty site full of awesome tips for moms with advice about everything from saving money to removing stains. I think you’ll love it!

Jump over today to read one of my most popular posts, A Letter to My Children About Marriage. Then browse and see the other great stuff there and let them know you stopped by!

Visit our STORE for tools to help build your family and home!
Take 10% off anything with code, "tennow"

WordPress Themes