From the vicarage July 2009

From the vicarage published in the church magazine in July 2009 (this month as I write).

It’s hard to escape the news this week that Jordon and Pete Andre have split up. Apparently Pete has had enough of the way Jordan treats him. When they first met, Pete was confident and funny and today he’s angry and hurt.

Jordan is reported in the News of the World as saying

“I’m in complete hell, this is a living nightmare for me. I could never imagine life without Pete.”

But despite her fury, Jordan admitted how SHE had started to drive a wedge between the couple.

“I always thought I treated him well but maybe I did take him for granted and could be cruel sometimes. But I never thought he had it in him to do this.”

Pete Andre’s sense of confidence and fun seems to have melted away because of Jordan’s sharp-edged tongue and cruelty. It is sad that their marriage only lasted four years.

There is a pattern in many of today’s relationships which begin when confident, happy, fun men attract powerful, beautiful women. Once in a relationship, the power of the woman quickly saps the man’s confidence and with that confidence gone, the relationship ends.

This is what seems to have happened to Madonna and Guy Ritchie. His “Lock, Stock and Two smoking barrels” confidence was sapped by Madonna’s power.

In our politically correct world where women rightly expect to be treated as equals in the work place, there is lots of discussion about men and women having exchangeable roles and even attributes. In this brave new world women can be macho and men can be gentle. So women can run companies and men can stay at home with the kids. Those sorts of situations exist and work well where the character and skills of the couple work that way.

There is another area which needs to be discussed but which has either been misunderstood or swept under the carpet. In relationships who holds the power? What are we to do with power in relationships? It’s fine for women to be the boss in the workplace, but when women boss men around in the home, men become emasculated. They stop acting like men and lose their nerve and spine. That’s partly what happened to Pete Andre and Guy Ritchie.

What’s the alternative? A return to the days when the man was the boss in the house? No, never, ever. Male dominance is not the answer either. Men should never exert power over women in relationships.

In Ephesians chapter 5 in the bible, God gives us a beautiful solution to the issue of power in marriage. Men must not rule like tyrants but be like Christ. Men are to die to themselves for the sake of their wife and family. Men should ask “what must I do to love, protect, care for, nurture and enjoy my family?” We men must be willing to give things up that we enjoy for the sake of our wives. In return for this self-sacrificing love, women should love their husbands. Husband and wife must discuss her needs and when he has listened, discussed, thought and prayed things through, she should gladly let the man continue to take responsibility by shaping the spiritual life and direction of the family.

In the film the Titanic, Kate Winslet plays Rose, whose fiancé Cal is a selfish, domineering man. Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is the opposite. He wants what’s best for Rose. With the exception of his sexual weakness, he is a brave and selfless man.

Cal only wants to save himself. He bribes an officer to let him and Rose into a lifeboat. When she returns to the ship to find Jack, Cal chases them trying to kill Jack. When Cal realises that he’s lost Rose, he finally succeeds in saving himself by pretending to carry an abandoned child onto the lifeboat.

Meanwhile, Jack and Rose find themselves on board a sinking ship with no lifeboats. They slide into the water and cling a piece of wood which can only support one of them. Jack hoists Rose onto the plank and slowly dies of hypothermia, slipping quietly away beneath the waves. Rose survives and is rescued.

Every day, men can be like Jack in little ways for the sake of their wives. Every day, women can love their men for dying for them. This is God’s way of stopping men from bossing their wives around like Cal. It is also the way God gives us of stopping women ripping the spine out of their men.

With love


About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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