Learning from the Giraffes (Part 2)

In my blog “Learning from the Giraffes Part 1”, I discussed how married couples can learn from the communal feeding patterns of the male and female giraffes that help maximize food resources. As a result of following their God-given instincts, the giraffes live lives of good stewardship and in harmony with the environment, God, and others. By following these instincts, they are cooperating with God’s plan, which creates a healthy order.

God desires us to have order as well, particularly in our marriages. Unlike the animals, God has given us the beautiful gift of free will. We rely on the proper use of our free will, not instinct, to have harmony and goodness in our lives and our relationships.

I am sure I am not the only woman who would bristle when I heard the suggestion of this verse on how to use my free will within my marriage. Here it is, ladies, the dreaded Ephesians 5:22-24: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Ouch! Are you kidding?! What kind of discrimination tactic is that? How more degrading to women could God and the Church be? However, like every teaching from the Catholic Church that I had a difficult time accepting this initially, I worked through this directive as well. In time, I grew to understand the wisdom of the teaching and its proper application.

Ladies, ladies, ladies, we have the better deal on this one. There’s more to the story than just Ephesians 5:22-24. Remember, everything must be put into proper context. Don’t forget Ephesians 5:25-33: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of His body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

Last time I checked, Christ showed his love for the Church by letting himself be drilled with nails through his wrists and feet, be scourged to a pulp, be mocked and spitted at, be stripped off his clothes and hung naked on a cross, have a crown of thorns shoved on his head, and be abandoned by almost everyone who claimed to be his friend.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds a little bit worse than God asking me to be submissive to my husband.

God designed marriage. He knows what will make it successful. There really should be very few instances when a couple can’t work through various issues and differences. In some cases, the assistance of a competent, marriage-friendly marriage counselor may be needed. For the rare times when consensus cannot be reached, God has indicated that to protect the unity of the marriage, there must be one party with ultimate authority; in this case, it is the husband.

God is just trying to help us avoid the disorder and horrendous consequences of having a marriage headed up by a two-headed dragon.

Tune in next time to learn, step-by-step, how to bring the two-headed dragon where he belongs–back in a book of fairy tales, not in your marriage.

Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Today consciously let down your defenses about any teachings of the Roman Catholic Church that may offend you, keeping an open mind that God only wants what is best for you.