I read an article written by Greg Morse, a staff writer for desiringgod.org, called A Marriage Made in Hell.
It’s a spin off of the Screwtape Letters, a satire written by C.S. Lewis from the perspective of Screwtape, a head demon who writes letters to his nephew, Wormwood, explaining ways to tempt and trip up his assigned human project on earth.
In his article, Greg Morse satirizes (mocks) a specific kind of marriage relationship that he disapproves of. Here’s how he identifies the type of marriage (a marriage made in hell) he is satirizing:
Call it teammates, best friends, enlightened, liberated, progressive, egalitarian…
Before I go any further, I want to say that I know lots of men and women in marriages where both partners work together and view one another as equals. I’m in a marriage like that. Call it what you want—I call it a Christian marriage, and I love it. My husband loves it, too. We operate in unity and with mutual love and respect, the way God designed Christian marriage and all Christian relationships to operate. There is no jockeying for power-over. We are both safe with one another, and we utilize one another’s strengths to make the most of everything we do together.
Greg Morse mocks his own false caricature of these marriages, but he fails to actually address a real Christian marriage relationship that would be called “egalitarian” by those of us who actually live it out in real life. I’m guessing it’s because he doesn’t know anyone in a marriage like that in his circles, which is really quite sad. His practical inexperience with what he is satirizing ought to cause him to wisely pause, but pause he does not.
So just to clarify—he’s actually setting up a totally different marriage to satirize, and he’s labeling it egalitarian. This means his satire doesn’t count. It’s like saying “Blue is Red. Red is bad. Therefore Blue is bad.” The only problem is that Blue isn’t Red to begin with.
He’s counting on his readers to just believe his original premise, and since they are brainwashed with religious propaganda to believe it already, they think his satire makes sense.
But to those of us who actually live in the real world of egalitarian relationships, his satire doesn’t make any sense.
Let’s look at his satire.
Marriage, Globdrop, reflects everything we detest. The male dresses up as the Enemy [God], while the wife stands in for his beloved [church]. As he made man in his own image, he made marriage to reflect his terrible story. But while the Enemy means for it to narrate one tale, we can make it tell another. Through it, we can preach one of our gospels. Perhaps the most effective way to do so these days is to instruct him in what I like to call homofunctional marriage.
Right out of the gate Morse labels a marriage of equality (mutuality and unity) a satanic gospel—calling good evil.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20
Here is his explanation of a “homofunctional” marriage:
...“homofunctional marriage” consists of two different sexes that function identically. The same still marries the same: they both lead and follow. They both must shoulder the same amount of burden, both must offer the same amount of sacrifice, and both be equally responsible for the other before God.
And later on he says:
No marriage can have two masters.
Clearly Greg has no idea how it actually works. Did he do any research on egalitarian marriage before he wrote this? Did he interview anyone who lives in a marriage like this? He is saying “Blue is Red” but it isn’t.
Greg—Blue isn’t Red.
He is coming from a perspective that assumes you have to have a leader and a follower in every marriage relationship. But, good heavens, this is Kindergarten politics, not New Testament Christian living. He assumes some interesting (false) things about how boundaries work as well.
Greg believes that a marriage of mutuality is a marriage where there are two masters. That’s because Greg insists on earthly masters—a worldly kingdom order of things. “WE WANT A KING!” But that’s not how the Kingdom of God works. Jesus ushered in a new way of operating within relationships.
In a Christian (Christ-like) marriage, there are no earthly masters. There is one eternal Master—Jesus Christ—and two human partners who are humbly taking their place as humans instead of grasping for power over (to be like God – the first sin).
In functionally Christian relationships, and certainly in a functionally Christian marriage relationship, there are no permanently assigned leaders and followers according to Genesis before the fall and the New Testament after Christ’s sacrifice.
Hierarchy is the curse that came in between. (Why, oh why do some Christians love the curse so much? So much sin and oppression and crappy relationships under the curse. I don’t get it.)
Because human beings are gloriously different and uniquely created by God with various gifts, abilities, personalities, upbringings, etc., partners will defer to the other one in order to make the best use of their collective gifts, abilities, and so forth. This is sometimes called cooperation. Healthy interpersonal relationships.
It requires humility on the part of both partners. It requires Christ-likeness and maturity on the part of both partners. It requires grace from God, and it brings HIM glory.
WE ARE IN A SPIRITUAL BATTLE, PEOPLE. As long as either man or woman is standing around quibbling about who gets to be the leader and who gets to follow, they will LOSE. They are the immature LOSERS. Not the Christ-empowered victors.
Now, as you can guess, 50/50 cannot last long. Someone must eventually break the tie.
Here we go again. Greg actually believes this. “What about the tie-breaking vote?! WE’VE GOT TO HAVE A TIE BREAKING VOTE!” And of course, Greg would say it’s the person with the penis that carries the weight of that noble responsibility. I wonder if he has ever seen a Christ-like male partner allow his wife to break the proverbial tie on which rests the destiny of the universe in any given home-life circumstance?
No, in Greg’s world, it’s all about how 50/50 can’t work. And while he is thinking of 50/50 in a different way, he’s actually right. A Christian marriage isn’t 50/50. It’s two individual people (not one) giving 100 each.
When both partners are seeking to be like Christ, they will both look for ways to love, respect, and submit to one another. If one partner (whether it is the male or the female) refuses to participate in the marriage in a Christ-like way because they think marriage is about them and their power and control, you no longer have a marriage operating on the Christian principles of relationships spelled out in the New Testament.
Power-over isn’t Christian no matter what’s between your legs.
Greg goes on to describe a woman name “Monique,” inadvertantly exposing his own demeaning core beliefs about women:
Monique is “reluctant to do anything domestic” (lazy and negligent), “shares her opinions for hours on end” (she has opinions, not valid thoughts, and she never shuts her pie hole), doesn’t want to be a “helpmate” (he’s using the English for this word but obviously has never studied the Hebrew meaning), “chafes at submission” (he believes in submission of only female Christians), “hates the Enemy’s script nearly as much as we do” (she’s on the devil’s side), and she is “a manly woman standing upon a doormat [husband]” (she is an oppressive, power-hungry rebel).
Alex, Monique’s hapless husband, is described as sitting “emotionless,” letting his “wife steer” and living “to defer.” (EGADS, we can’t have a person with a penis defering, now can we? Never mind Ephesians 5:21 or Jesus Christ.)
I agree. This is profoundly dysfunctional behavior on the part of both Monique and Alex. But I wonder if you caught something?
When the person behaving like a selfish moron is Monique, and the person behaving like an apathetic doormat is Alex, we all see how dysfunctional it is. Greg sees this, his friends see this, his readers see this, and we see this, and he is calling it out. It’s kinda gross.
But here’s what Greg and his friends are missing:
When Alex is lazy, shares his opinions for hours on end, refuses to help, refuses to submit, chronically disregards God’s Word or uses it to manipulate and power-over others, and stands upon his wife, treating her like a doormat, Greg would call THAT a “Biblical” marriage. How do I know? Because I work with thousands of women who were told THAT EXACT MESSAGE by their own husbands and elders who read this kind of male chest-banging propaganda on places like desiringgod.org.
I find it absolutely fascinating how people like Greg can see the evil of this behavior when Monique is rocking it, but he thinks the SAME behavior makes Alex look amazeballs.
Now, I know if Greg were face to face with me, he would say that, no, he doesn’t believe Alex should be behaving that way either. Yet, if he is anything like most of the men I’ve encountered who are immersed in his particular flavor of Christianity (and his satire is evidence that he is), he will defend the power-over theology that safeguard’s Alex’s choice to be abusive simply because Alex has a different anatomy.
Greg looks young. I’m going to assume he’s got very little exposure to real life healthy egalitarian marriages (which is sad – he’s only got the caricatured version from the men he learned under) and very little awareness of the massive extent of abusive power-over “Christian” marriages (which is sadder). Hence the satire that actually makes no sense.
I didn’t experience Jesus Christ in his satire. I experienced another Christian man shaming and blaming Christian women for causing “marriages from hell.” I know very few women who are abusive, and I work with thousands of women who have experienced decades of abuse from men. Where’s the satire on that?
I pray one day for a world in which Christian men will lead. They will lead the way in repentance. Lead the way in building up women in their God-given gifts and abilities and experiences and wisdom. Lead the way in taking responsibility. Lead the way in accountability. Lead the way in humility. Lead the way to a safer world for women and children.
This satire was just the same-old, same-old step in the opposite direction.
You might say it was another step toward hell.