It's funny how Andy and I ended up in an egalitarian marriage. We didn't do it on purpose.
We were both raised in traditional, conservative Christian households, where the assumption was man=leader, woman=follower.
We had been told, "This is God's design for marriage." We thought it was true, and we tried to make it work.
Andy was supposed to be the stalwart, adventuresome spiritual leader. On the inside, he felt young and scared and incompetent.
But it was wrong to be that way, so he covered it up.
I was supposed to be meek and submissive and to let my husband do the talking for me. On the inside, I was mad because I had important things to say, and I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do with the brain God gave me.
But it was wrong to be that way, and my anger turned into depression.
It looked fine on the outside, because we both knew how to play the game. But our insides were way different from our outsides.
After we got deeply, painfully, agonizingly real with each other, our relationship grew into something completely different.
We learned Andy was not strong all the time. He needs love and attention and reassurance and care, just like I do.
We learned that my voice is a valuable gift, and not something to be locked inside my head. I need respect and affirmation of my gifts and abilities, just like he does.
We found that real unity is what we wanted, not role-playing.
And as we experienced that real unity, we both discovered the incredible freedom that comes with being loved and accepted and celebrated for exactly who you are.
We ended up egalitarian, and now we wouldn't have it any other way.
I know there are individual proof texts telling wives to submit. But there are also individual proof texts telling us to have our heads covered, telling slaves to submit to masters, and telling us not to eat bacon. We're good at picking and choosing.
The scriptures say things like, if the Son has set you free you are free indeed (John 8:36). And: you're free, so don't get tangled up in slavery again (Galatians 5:1).
So God would make me free, but then my husband would somehow be designed and called by God to curtail that freedom?
I don't see how that works.
So I've gone out of the individual proof-texting business and I'm going with a model that seems to fit the bigger picture of scripture, and also the joyful life I have.
The question that people ask is this: "Who makes the final decision when you disagree?"
Our unity matters to us way more than any decision.
99.9% of decisions just don't matter all that much. We decide together, and sometimes one of us has a stronger opinion, so we go that way. No big deal. Happy to do it.
If we have gotten to a place where we are so divided that "somebody" has to make a final decision that we can't both agree with? Our unity is in deep trouble, and we will backtrack, regroup, and work it forward.
Here's another thing to know.
This kind of unity doesn't fall down in a shower of rain. It doesn't happen accidentally, automatically, or overnight. We wept bitter tears and sweated blood for it. We spend time on it every single day, because we are not letting go of it.
But it's worth it, so worth it, and we love living egalitarianly ever after.