The Gospel Coalition

Years ago, I wrote a newsletter called Every Husband Feels Like a Jerk and Every Wife Agrees. It was meant to explain a common phenomenon that kept emerging in the course of my marriage counseling practice. No matter what else they brought to the table, couples seemed to agree on one thing: No one believed the husbands demonstrated loyal love in their marriages.

In fact, whenever I began to talk about the quality of love in the marital relationship, most husbands began to act ashamed. They were like Isaiah when he saw the Lord sitting on his throne, "high and lifted up" (Isa. 6:1). It seemed like their wives were so good at love.

It's true. In almost every case, a wife approaches marriage with a deeper understanding of and passion for loyal love. I consider this a God-given gift, one way she reflects the image of God (Gen. 1:27). I began to identify this as an aspect of a wife's inner beauty.

This inner beauty exposes areas where a husband is lacking. Just as Isaiah encountered the Lord's beauty, I heard husbands echo his response: "My destruction is sealed, for I am a sinful man and a member of sinful race" (Isa. 6:5).

But unlike Isaiah, who was reduced to humble contrition in the presence of such loveliness, husbands tend to fight back. "My wife wants too much from me," they declare. The wives counter with a long list of their husbands' failures. This tension increases because neither the husband nor the wife responds well to her gift of inner beauty.

Couple Implications


If inner beauty is God's gift to a woman, then it stands to reason that it's a gift that can be employed in the service of building redemptive marriages. I want to suggest a couple of implications for each couple.

To grow in loyal love, a husband must not be afraid for his sin to be exposed in his wife's presence. This requires humility. He must stop telling his wife she wants too much and instead look to the Lord for his help. Typically, a husband wants to be a knight in shining armor. Instead, he needs to be willing to humbly see the ways he hides and casts blame. As a husband opens up to this exposure and learns to look to the Lord for forgiveness and care, he has more to give his wife. A wife's inner beauty matters because a husband can let it expose his deep need for God's grace and mercy. A wife's inner beauty is meant to turn a husband toward the Lord, not drive him to intimidation, control, or defensiveness.

To use her gift to enhance loyal love, a wife must remember that her husband experiences shame in her presence. He experiences this whether or not she says or does anything. Her gift of inner beauty can be that powerful. When a wife trusts this, she can relate to her husband with more kindness and rest instead of feeling compelled to help her husband recognize where he is lacking. When Peter encourages wives to let their "adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit," (1 Peter 3:4), he is telling wives to rest as their husbands learn how to make room for the ongoing conviction of sin that comes with marriage. Peter wanted women to stop expending so much effort. A husband's struggle to love well should turn a wife toward more faith and less activity as she waits for him to grow into God's love.

In fact, as a wife rests and shows kindness in the midst of her husband's frustration, she can have a powerful effect. After Isaiah witnesses God's beauty and expresses humility, a seraph touches his lips with a coal and says, "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for" (Isa. 6:7). Later, we find Isaiah willingly responding to the Lord's direction. Beauty and kindness together inspired courage in Isaiah. He is moved to stand up and follow the Lord.

It works the same way in marriage. When a husband responds well to his wife's inner beauty, and when a wife mixes it with kindness, she becomes a compelling force in her husband's life.


Comments:

[...] example provided us in a more direct fashion is Gordon C. Bals writing here (H/T Sunshinemary, by all means read this too): In fact, whenever I began to talk about the [...]

Brian Fidler

January 2, 2013 at 09:34 PM

Thanks Gordon. Good stuff to chew on! You've put words to some of the dynamics I see between couples in my counseling office.

JohnM

December 9, 2012 at 09:38 AM

We'll see if this one makes it as my previous comment appears to have been deleted, by whom I don't know for sure. Anyway, just wanted to say MZEllen, thank you. You hit the nail on the head.

David

December 9, 2012 at 05:52 PM

This article seems to be an attempt to window dress some secular therapy-speak with a few out of context quotes from scripture.

Let's look at the Bible verses quoted:

Isaiah 6 is where the prophet is convicted of his sin following a vision of God. In the article the author uses this as a comparison where the husband is the prophet and the wife is God. This is virtually blasphemous.

Isaiah 6 does not seem to be about God's "inner beauty" but about God's holiness.

I don't see anywhere in the Bible where anyone, male or female, has a "gift of inner beauty". It sounds more like a concept derived from the unrepentant secular culture. It might even be in a Christina Aguilera song.

1st Peter 3 isn't about telling wives to "rest as their husbands learn how to make room for the ongoing conviction of sin that comes with marriage". It is instead telling wives to submit to their husbands. It is interesting that this act of submission is the nearest to "inner beauty" that you will find in the Bible. Quoted at greater length below:

"1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be externalóthe braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wearó4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."

I am quite unpleasantly surprised by the entire tone of the article above which seems to assume that wives are some higher form of spiritual life. God commands both men and women to repentance.

Ezer: Created to Give Life

December 9, 2012 at 04:40 PM

[...] http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/12/06/a-wifes-inner-beauty-convicting-and-compelling/ [...]

Victorious

December 9, 2012 at 03:40 PM

I find it ludicrous that these types of marital-advice columns insist on defining women and men with common traits, giftings, talents, and strengths. Scripture never records "molds" for individuals, but rather recognizes both women and men as unique persons shaped by backgrounds, experiences, education, culture, and ethnicity.

Marriages would be happier if partners would accept one another in view of these things instead of trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. It's just causes stress and accomplishes nothing but frustration at trying to be something that's expected rather than expressing a sincere appreciation for their individuality.

Tim

December 8, 2012 at 10:34 PM

Gordon,

Thanks for the helpful clarification.

Mike Cosper

December 8, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Thanks for the article, Gordon. I found it very helpful and convicting. It's hard to be concise and cover all your bases, but I think you handled that well. I look forward to reading your book.

Harry Schaumburg

December 8, 2012 at 05:59 AM

After 30 years of counseling couples, I question the completeness of your conclusions. All relationships are fallen, all relational styles are sinful. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that men have it wrong relationally, and women being more relational, get it right. There is sufficient observable evidence, if I can say this as a man, that what women desire, demonstrate, and offer in marriage, is not the inner beauty of 1 Peter 3. Both men and women are sinners, both relate sinfully in marriage. Men need to learn the framework of relating according to Eph. 5:25ff, and women need to learn the disarming beauty of 1 Peter 3:1ff. In other words, women cannot be born with inner beauty, nor are they full sanctified at conversion with inner beauty. Men and women both need to become spiritually, relationally, and sexually mature in marriage. Looking deeper, their loyalty is often nothing more than a commitment to serial monogamy.

Gordon

December 8, 2012 at 02:44 PM

The goal of this post was to help wives and husbands see an aspect of a wifeís dignity (her inner beauty that can be a reflection of Godís image depending on how it is handled in the marriage) that has been corrupted by the fall and can be redeemed by Godís restoring love. I tried to indicate that both husbands and wives must work together for this to be so. I in no way meant to indicate wives are sinless or even less sinless beings then men. Humans seem to be equal opportunity sinners and marriage provides ample opportunities for husbands and wives to sin against one another. Saying that loyal love could be an aspect of Godís image that is a part of a wifeís inner beauty was not meant to imply that women love better than men. I was saying women often see marital love through this grid and they can use that gift to disparage their husbands or to build them up. Whether or not that gift is offered in the service of marital love only happens as a wife offers it to God and gets His help in loving her husband. Because husbands donít seem to focus on loyal love as much they often can give grace or let some things go easier than wives. This is a different aspect of love that grows out of their uniqueness as well. This is not to say men love better than wives it is to say they often love differently. It is also not meant to imply wives donít show grace. To say a husband or wife has gifts is not to idolize them. I have found it is often helpful to remember how we can reflect Godís image and aim to do that. I certainly agree that it would have been helpful to present more biblical background to my thinking but for the sake of brevity that was not done with much specificity. It would have rounded out the material to present a manís gift (e.g. physical strength) and show how it can be used to help grow martial love or misinterpreted by a husband or wife to cause division. Again, this was omitted to keep the post short and not to imply that women are better then men.

Clarice

December 8, 2012 at 02:30 PM

For wives who feel that their husbands rise above them in arrogant self righteousness, and that marriage counseling sessions are focused primarily on their sin, this article may be helpful.

Annie

December 7, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Some of the above comments not withstanding, I am not sure I see too much that is helpful (instructional?) of this blog post. I'd be interested to learn why TGC put it up. Juat because it is not apparent to me, doesn't mean someone didn't have a good reason behind it.

Women do indeed "approach marriage with a deeper understing of and passion for loyal love" because of just who they are as women. Some of this is our portion of the Imago Dei but then, because of the fall, this quality can easily be perverted into idolatry. I think that is one reason why we get so embittered toward our husbands, because we want things from them that we are meant to get from our Creator. Our desire will be for our husband and he will rule over us from Gen 3 easily comes to mind here.

I think it is okay to talk about what we have learned from our experiences, as this pastor has from many years of counseling. I do agree that women tend to be better equipped in the emotional department and also tend to be better communicators (note the use of the word "tend") These tendencies can make us invaluable helpmates to our husbands when redeemed for gospel marriages. Just as I need my husband's help and leadership in other areas, this is something unique I can bring. That is the beauty of complementarian, yes?

I think, as previously stated, that this article could have been better balanced.

Phil

December 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Melody: One of my areas of research for my thesis part is divorce and all the stats that go with it. First, adultery is only cited in about 25% of divorce cases (I'm referring to current stats, not necessarily applicable in past decades). Money problems -- e.g., bankruptcies, spending differences, etc. -- were the top cited concerns as to why the marital differences were irreconcilable. After the peak, women filed for 75% of divorces in few decades ago, that figure is not around two thirds or so. But that's only an average, as factors of income and education cause that figure to swing quite a bit.

All these figures may be changing due to two huge cultural shifts:

1.) Living together before marriage is now almost the 'norm';
2.) Women are fast outpacing men in college degrees;

As the current generation sees living together first as near-required final step before getting married, divorce numbers have gone down because marriage rates have plummeted. Fewer marriages means fewer divorce proceedings.

Also, the education factor matters because women initiate a staggering 90% of divorces among couples where both spouses are college educated. The reasons for college educated women filing for divorce at such high rates is a huge and controversial topic in itself, but I assure you that male adultery is not the primary or even dominant factor for these women (hints: money, career, independence, Have-It-All-But-Still-Unhappy Syndrome, etc.)

Again, adultery/unfaithfulness is not the cited cause of most divorces, at least not in national figures.

Melody

December 7, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Also, those proverbs are not about women who ask for a lot from their husbands. They're about women who are contentious.

Melody

December 7, 2012 at 11:38 AM

I *do* see what you're talking about in this article. But as far as the wives divorcing their husbands more often - it's probably because their husbands cheated on them.

I don't have statistics for that, but almost 100% of the women I know who are divorced, got the divorce because their husband cheated on them. One because he threatened her life. One because he wouldn't let her see her family. One because he insisted on it.

So yes, over half the divorced women I know asked for the divorce, but it was because their husbands were disloyal.

MichaelOris Howard

December 7, 2012 at 11:32 PM

Well said Mary.

Tim

December 7, 2012 at 11:18 AM

A post about how wives are like God in Isaiah with their sin-exposing inner loyal love, with men playing the role of the sinful prophet. Reverse this and you have a lot of people crying sexism.

In all fairness, this I'm sure is the author's observations, it just doesn't get any biblical support in the post.

Ways this article could be better.

1. Backup the gender specific inner loyal love gift with a biblical argument. Observations alone cannot support such a wild and relatively insulting claim.

2. Avoid drawing parallels that put one sinner as the All-Holy God and another sinner as...a sinner. Bad idea.

3. Qualify more when saying something that could be disparaging to a particular group. Obviously not all men have this kind of issue or that kind of relationship with their wife, and obviously not all wives would have this loyal love gift even if such a thing were to exist.

Respectabiggle

December 7, 2012 at 11:11 AM

I found this precisely describes my experience in 20 years of marriage. Thank you for a powerful and compelling description.

To address some of the comments:
If I say "Italian food is wonderful," that does not mean any of the following:
- All Italian food is always good
- No other food is wonderful
- Good food is the only important thing about Italy
- Nothing about Italy is bad

Also: Yes, husbands have to accept more responsibility for problems in a marriage - even when it's not their fault. That's part of what headship means. When a US Navy ship runs aground, the Captain gets fired, even is he was asleep in his bunk at the time, because he's responsible; it's his ship.

Victoria

December 7, 2012 at 11:06 AM

I didn't pick up that perspective when I read, Angela, but I think you bring up a good point that helps me to appreciate the article :)

Angela

December 7, 2012 at 09:50 AM

As a wife, I found this very convicting. If I read correctly, you mean that women sense some things differently than men, and we would be wise to use that sense to build our husbands up rather than trying to be their holy spirit. Thank you for the reminder.

Sarah

December 7, 2012 at 09:37 AM

Lou, I agree with your comment/response. Thank you for articulating clearly how to read articles and exhortations like this.

Lou G.

December 7, 2012 at 09:24 AM

Amy, thank you for your honesty about feeling flattered by this article. Because that is how most of us guys feel about 95% of the articles written about manhood.

It's very important to read what people write for the clear meaning of their content. If I can get past my prejudices and biases (such as: is he putting women on a pedestal or saying they're sinless, etc.?), then I can see the merit of which he writes. Then the point can be very well taken, in charity, and applied. In fact, many women read articles about manhood and think the same thing.. (is he comparing husbands to "God" and saying that husbands should be worshiped?). Of course, that is not what most men mean when they speak about manhood and Christlikeness. Similarly, I do not in anyway think that this author has confused a wife's natural affinity toward love and beauty as something to be worshipped or idolized. If we take it that way, then perhaps we ought to look inside our own hearts and motivations first.

I thought the article was extremely helpful and would enjoy hearing more of this type of pastoral heart in how we speak of the marriage relationship.

James Robinson

December 7, 2012 at 09:17 AM

Seems to me part of being a husband (and a father) is to accept the blame for everything that goes wrong or doesn't get done whether it's his fault or not. No sense in arguing about it, just accept it. The ones that don't, usually end up in big arguments, leading to separation and divorce. Been married 19 years and it's worked so far.

Amy

December 7, 2012 at 08:36 AM

As a woman, I felt very flattered by this article. I think that is a problem.

I am not predisposed to goodness, loyalty or love. If that were the case, then I suppose I need Jesus less than my husband?

Typically, the things women desire, are good things. Faithful marriage, security. We CRAVE them. We substitute these "good" things for Jesus. We often hold ourselves above our husbands and act self-righteous-bestowing guilt on them for the being a different side of the same coin-idolaters.

Spare me the pedestal.Treat my sin with seriousness and don't keep my need for Grace hidden behind the softness I use to get what I want.

Judy

December 7, 2012 at 08:32 AM

Thank you Michael. You are right..I agree. We allow our hearts to become hard because we are so busy thinking about our needs. Big struggle with us women. We are called to die to self. I would like to have seen this article address the problem not as the man or woman's problem but as a spouse problem across the board. Are we loving our spouse as God called us to? Are we taking up our cross and dying to self?
This man gave us a yeah, what he said, thing to respond to. We need to look (wives) at ourselves and what we are doing wrong and not our husbands.

Victoria

December 7, 2012 at 08:29 AM

I have to agree that this article seems to put women on a false pedestal and assumes this convicting and compelling inner beauty simply by their gender.

HOWEVER, I do think that what Gordon is saying about the effect of a godly wife on her husband is correct. If there were a reversed perspective, I imagine that the effect of a godly husband on his wife is the same.

I'm less than 6 weeks away from my marriage and, more often than not, I'm always amazed that my godly fiance loves me despite the gaping holes in my holiness - yes that was a DeYoung reference! I pray often that I will be a godly wife to bless my husband-to-be, but in my experience he leads and sets the example in that respect.

I would love to hear what Gordon has to say about his article.

Mary

December 7, 2012 at 07:35 PM

In the same way that good things that men pursue can become idols and understood to be sin, I think this article needs to be wary of the reality that, much like the story of Leah, sweet sounding traits of 'longing closeness' from the husband could just as much be her idol.

Having a husband "humbly" avoid "casting blame" is naive at best and at worst, a denial that both wife and husband have hearts capable of making an idol out of anything.

MzEllen

December 7, 2012 at 04:48 PM

God is the the One who created gender distinctions.

In today's culture, from the time they're little, boys have their masculinity scolded, beaten, shamed or drugged out of them.

If a man (by definition, because he's a man) experiences "shame" - it's most likely because our culture has cultivated the notion that "men" are inferior beings, and women are "goddesses"

This is the world speaking, the church should not be helping.

Men and women are created equal, but *different* and instead of shaming men for those differences, we should be praising God for them.

Frankly, I don't want to be put in God's place in any relationship, much less in a marital relationship where God has put a man and a woman together, to give the world the metaphor of Christ and His bride.

BryAna

December 7, 2012 at 02:34 PM

Amen, Amy! Amen! Just give it to me straight.

BryAna

December 7, 2012 at 02:20 PM

I must agree to disagree with this article. Maybe not so much what your saying here, because I do believe that men have that guilt. But it seems to me, that men are constantly being challenged to be men..normally quite bluntly.. but when it comes to women being women... it is tip toed around. I think that many preachers are trying so hard to politely say it, but they still get the knee-jerk angry reaction anyways.... might as well just come out with it. WOMEN BE WOMEN! Stop taking everything to the extreme, as though telling you to stop nagging your husband is advocating some sort of abuse. Stop acting like you can do EVERYTHING and then getting mad because your husband doesn't rise to your expectations.

EMSoliDeoGloria

December 7, 2012 at 01:38 PM

As a counselor, would you consider the majority of the marriages you have cared for to be healthy?

Could it be that this dynamic, while common to some unhealthy marriages is actually not common to healthy marriages?

MichaelOris Howard

December 7, 2012 at 01:37 PM

I like your wise distinction.

Phil

December 7, 2012 at 01:10 PM

James: Not quite. Part of being a husband is accepting the responsibility when something goes wrong, but NOT the *blame for* everything that goes wrong; there's a HUGE difference. Jesus did not take the *blame* for our sin, but rather He came as our Holy Bridegroom to redeem His bride and in doing so He accepted the responsibility of paying for her sins, in her place. He took the responsibility, even though He was not to blame. If we confuse this, we confuse the important doctrine known as Christ and His bride, the Church.

MichaelOris Howard

December 7, 2012 at 01:09 AM

I appreciate Chris' comments and certainly hunger for men to be encouraged as husbands. There are sins of the wife, just as their are sins of the husband. And Christ and the gospel are always the answer. Will husband's trust Christ instead of themselves?

As a man who failed in marriage, I found much to recommend without buying hook, line and sinker. I have been a pastor for over 40 years, also. A repeated cry from one wife after another including my own was the desire for relational intimacy with their husbands. Some phrases they used were: hunger to be soul-mates, intimacy (not sexual), communing, deeply inter-connected, quality and quantity time together, being deeply known by their husband, valued as evidenced by listening to their opinions, concerns, dreams, best friends, frustrations, and more. What happens when the above is not cultivated and nurtured is the wife's heart begins to get hard then harder and harder, which was what happened to me.

This is not said to excuse the wife's sinfulness in hardness of heart but to challenge husbands to humble themselves turning to Christ and His gospel sufficiency while making their relationship with their wives second only to Christ. Is she really a passionate priority and does she both know and feel that? Oh, how I regret failing here.

Thinking back I can never remember a husband crying out for the above, even though I am sure there were a few. The above threatens the freedom and Independence and control of a man. Trusting Christ is the answer.

Chris

December 6, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Honestly, I can barely believe what I just read.

So, wives have a sense of loyal love, and this is their inner beauty. In the end this merely sounds like sinlessness.

As men are exposed to this God-given quality they simply see their sin? Where is the sin of wives? Is it even conceivable for a man to selflessly love his wife while she does not return that love?

I feel as though men have been attacked recently. The rising generation in particular, and now this article which is aimed at husbands. Some of it is warranted. But I think we could all use a little more encouragement.

Furthermore, where is the gospel in this article? Where is the grace and love of the wife which should flow out of her understanding of what Christ has done for her? And where is the gentleness and love of the husband which flows out of Christ's humble sacrifice on the cross for his sins?

"A husband's struggle to love well should turn a wife toward more faith and less activity as she waits for him to grow into God's love."

Does the husband never have to wait for the wife to grow in godliness? Is the a priori assumption truly that women are more godly then men, and they simply must wait for us to grow up?

"When a husband responds well to his wife's inner beauty, and when a wife mixes it with kindness, she becomes a compelling force in her husband's life."

And what of the redemptive power of the husband for the life of the wife?

If this article were the first of a two part series in which men's main issues in marriage were discussed, followed by an analysis of the same for women, this wouldn't seem so ludicrous. As it is, there appears to be no mention of the common sins of wives, no gospel presence, and therefore no real redemptive love.

Dave

December 6, 2012 at 11:11 PM

So your diagnosis of pretty much any counselling situation seems to be that it's really the husband's fault?

In almost every case, a wife approaches marriage with a deeper understanding of and passion for loyal love. ... I began to identify this as an aspect of a wife's inner beauty. This inner beauty exposes areas where a husband is lacking.


If the wife excels at loyalty why is it then that wives divorce their husbands far more often than vice versa?
Apathy on the other hand might be where you'd find more of a male presence.

But unlike Isaiah, who was reduced to humble contrition in the presence of such loveliness, husbands tend to fight back. "My wife wants too much from me," they declare. The wives counter with a long list of their husbands' failures. This tension increases because neither the husband nor the wife responds well to her gift of inner beauty.


Ah yes... expecting too much from their husbands is something the Bible says nothing about except for a Proverb or three.

Lettie

December 14, 2012 at 10:19 AM

What we need to understand here is that the church is straying away from what Jesus and His disciples have called us to. We are so busy looking for someone to please us that we have forgotten who it is we are to be pleasing. The bible NEVER tells a wife to love her husband, but to respect and honour him. Where is the honour and respect of most women today? The bible never told a man to find a friend or a playmate and then "see how things go", men are told to find a wife. We Christians are told to be set apart from the world, to be in it but not to be conformed by it. By leaving our understanding of the bible and its purpose in our growth, to the "ministers of the word" instead of "studying it to show ourselves approved" we have sleepwalked into deception. Marriage is, and always has been, Gods idea, so it is HE who we should be looking to for direction.
Men have been blaming women since the first man sinned. If a man is given Gods word, then he MUST do what he is told through it. It isn't someone elses fault that women seek divorce, men need to man up and take responsibility first for their choices, then for their household and finally for the harm they have brought to their wives by not understanding their position as leaders and taking it.

Lettie

December 14, 2012 at 10:06 AM

a third if the divorces now being asked for by women now? That would suggest that less women are asking for divorce now than men. Previously it was 75% now it is 66.66% (2 3rds)?

[...] SOURCE: †Gordon Bals/The Gospel Coalition [...]

Men Are From Jerusalem And Women From Venus «

December 11, 2012 at 12:45 AM

[...] from Gordon C. Bals, A Wife’s Inner Beauty: Convicting and Compelling. Share this:FacebookTwitterPrintEmailStumbleUponGoogle +1DiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

Wendy Alsup

December 11, 2012 at 12:42 AM

Having written articles for this blog before, I can attest to the problem that required brevity poses for the author. I appreciate very much what was communicated here. It was brief, and it highlighted a singular point to consider. There was not room for the 100's of disclaimers that could be written if you had a 10,000 or 40,000 word limit. I was encouraged to think and pray through some things after reading it. That was valuable to me. Thanks!

Melody

December 11, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Ok, but you're talking about Nationwide statistics...not among just Christians. And I doubt this article is referring to anyone beyond Christians.

Joe

December 11, 2012 at 08:14 AM

I wholeheartedly disagree, David.

Do any of you honestly believe that Bals finds women a "higher form of spiritual life?" Come, now. Yes, the passage you referred to speaks of a wife's submission to her husband. It also speaks of how that submission, that respectful and pure conduct (often thought of as inner beauty), is a ministry to her husband. EVEN IF he does not obey the word, he may be won by her respectful and pure conduct. I would suggest that ESPECIALLY IF he does obey, he may be won. The unbelieving husband is won to salvation and the believing husband is won to sanctification by his wife's obedience to Christ.

On the authority of Scripture, a wife's conduct(or inner beauty if that's what you want to call it) is ABSOLUTELY a ministry to her husband. That fact does not make her a higher spiritual form, and it does not deny that men also have a role in their ministry to their wives--that just happens not to be what this particular article is about.

Many of these comments are all over the author for something he did not even say.

JohnM

December 11, 2012 at 05:52 PM

I appreciate the need to be concise but in this case cannot entirely excuse the absence of clarity/explanation for the sake of brevity. The partial explanation offered later on helped some, but when one includes statements like "In almost every case, a wife approaches marriage with a deeper understanding of and passion for loyal love." without offering examples in evidence, or even defining terms, (loyal love??) any misunderstanding is not the fault of one's readers.

Dan

December 10, 2012 at 11:39 PM

I agree wholeheartedly, David.

Patrick

December 10, 2012 at 08:56 AM

I just spent like twenty minutes reading what I would consider vitriolic comments. There were some comments that speak very eloquently about HOW to read an article like this, of which I appreciated very much. I never heard that women are sinless, or superior, or don't need Jesus any less than men do. I can relate to the article in many ways, it seems like my fiancť is more loving than I am. Since our engagement, the Lord has revealed much sin and selfishness in both of us, but through it I feel like she is more loving where I want to isolate myself. I found this article very helpful. A better way of thinking of an article like this is a snapshot of a much larger idea. We aren't getting the full picture of what marriage, reconciliation, and faith looks like, but we're getting a small part.