“Give way to one another in obedience to Christ. Wives should regard their husbands as they regard the Lord, since as Christ is head of the church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife; and as the church submits to Christ, so should wives to their husbands.” (Eph.5:21-25)
My parents will snicker, I’m sure, at least a little in reading the above passage in an article about them. After all, no one is perfect, so it seems likely that they may not have flawlessly conformed to this particular teaching of St. Paul. They will snicker even harder thinking about the beginning of Ephesians 6: “Children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord – that is your duty.” I have certainly railed against that directive more than once – and failed to fulfill it rather spectacularly on certain occasions.
St. Paul’s instruction for healthy families was always a reading that made me gnash my teeth when I was growing up. You see, I have an embarrassing confession to make. I am a recovering feminist. It started when I was very young. I’m not sure where it came from. Not from my parents, I know that for certain. Perhaps a particularly left-leaning episode of Sesame Street during a fever did an exceptionally good job of indoctrination. We won’t know until Judgement Day, I suppose. But I clearly remember, at the age of seven, thinking, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle” was the funniest thing I had ever heard.
It was only recently that I understood and appreciated St. Paul’s description of a Christian family, through reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Lewis took the common-sense view that in a two-person team, someone has to be in charge. How else would decisions get made? When there is a difference in opinion, who would be the tie-breaker? A partnership of two adults requires that someone has the deciding vote. The Bible tells us that that person must be the man. But Lewis points out that irrespective of that edict, no one really wants it to be the woman, even pushy wives themselves. “There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule,” Lewis claims. He also makes the argument that a wife should be the “special trustee” of her family’s interest, while the husband serves as an ambassador to the outside world.
These statements rang very true for me, and I recognized in them my parents’ marriage. I began to understand something about the beautiful balance in the divinely ordained union of matrimony. I began to realize why my parents reacted differently to the same situation.
I have been thinking a lot about the nature of marriage lately. As Ontario legalizes sodomite unions, and is attempting to force Christians to recognize them as marriages, my parents are on the eve of their 30th wedding anniversary. They have spent three decades together, and through the grace of God have given life to three children. As awful as the reality of the fulfilment of the homosexual agenda is, it highlights for me the wonderful gift my parents gave my sister, my brother and me. While our friends’ parents were getting divorced, my parents nurtured us in a stable home. While other Catholic parents yielded to the liberalization of the church, my parents taught us lessons that were true to the Magisterium. They gave us a balanced view of the world and showed us what a family should look like. My siblings and I benefited from seeing how men and women interact together. We learned that women and men see the world differently, and that they react to it differently. My sister and I learned from our mother how to be women, and my young brother is learning from my father how to be a man. This is a gift a homosexual couple cannot give a child, either adopted or biological. At best, they can give a lopsided, distorted view of the world. What does a girl raised by two men know about femininity? What does she know about dealing with men if she is raised by two women? Boys would similarly suffer, perhaps more so, in such deformed “families.”
I should not have to consider it a gift that my parents raised me with morals, in a moral environment, but it is the sad state of affairs in this day and age that it is a remarkable and rare gift. Moreover, it seems likely that it is a gift fewer and fewer children will receive, for even if parents are not themselves in a homosexual union, scores of liberal parents are doing their children an inexpressible disservice by telling them that such unions are respectable and “okay.”
So, as my parents celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary on Oct. 13, I’d like to thank them for raising me as a Christian, for teaching my the value of human life from conception to its natural end and for giving me a family as close to St. Paul’s instruction as they could manage.
Gillian Long is executive director of Campaign Life Coalition Youth