A subject is coming up a lot recently. I call it the "What about her?" syndrome. It goes like this: We are ministering to a couple who is struggling in their marriage. Because God calls the husband to spiritual leadership in the home, we begin to focus on him. In his flesh, the husband begins to defend himself by defaulting to his "Adamic" DNA and says, in effect, "the woman whom Thou gavest to be with me...." Blameshifting is deep seated in us men and we make every effort to keep the tradition alive.
There are two other concepts that are related to the "What about her?" syndrome. The first is the "50-50" concept of marriage. My longtime friend and counselor, Dave Taylor, showed me the wall full of books about marriage and family counselling in his office one time. They were by secular and Christian authors. Dave said that the problem with them for the most part is that they are all based on the 50-50 concept of marriage. "I'll move a little, if she'll move a little and if we keep it up we'll meet in the middle." The second, related, concept is held with strong conviction. It's the concept of "fairness." Secular and Christian alike, we hold fast to the concept of "fairness" and "justice."
Let's work backwards through these concepts to gain some new perspective on our relationships. As "Christians" (meaning little Christs) we are called to be like Him. If you think that Christ came to fight for "truth, justice and the American way" you are confusing Him with a fictional superhero. As Ken Nair puts it (and I love this quote) "Fairness compromises Godliness." That is to say, I deserve judgement and punishment for my actions, words and attitudes. What I get from God instead is grace and mercy and sacrifice for my salvation. If Christ got a fair trial he would not have been condemned and crucified.
The "50-50" concept of marriage is popular because it is "fair." It equally divides the responsibility for the relationship between both the husband and the wife. The problem is that statistics are bearing out that it does not work. They say that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result." We're crazy to keep trying to force the "50-50" marriage model when we know it's failing. And it's failing because it does not follow the Christlike model set before us in Scripture. I know the quote, but I have a hard time living it..."Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her..."
What I'm proposing, guys, is the unfair (but Christlike) proposition that we take 100% responsibility for the state of our marriages, expecting nothing in return. That's the "100-0" concept. It leaves no room for blameshifting (otherwise known as the "What about her?" syndrome). How does that make you feel? I'd like to hear back from you on this.
Your Ally in the Pursuit of Christlikeness, Kim