I’ve shared bits and pieces of my own personal story here and why I’m so passionate about spreading the dangers of complementarianism.
My husband and I went through a very, very dark period of 5 years. We had always functioned as a team. And then, because of complementarianism in our lives (we had no idea egalitarianism even existed), our marriage became broken, fractured…we were no longer a team, no longer one…and emotional and spiritual abuse entered and made itself at home in my life. So much damage.
While going through that, I was so very, very grateful to learn about egalitarianism…and I threw myself into pages and groups and articles and books to learn more, to get help, to set myself free (because nobody in my life was going to do that…I had to find a way to become free myself).
What I constantly asked for, what I constantly sought out, was an example…an example of people who had been in a marriage that was complementarian, who had encountered the inevitable hardships and oppression and abuse that comes with it (so much damage), and actually survived…successfully transitioning TOGETHER to a partnership in egalitarianism.
I would even ask in these groups that I became part of. I would ask for book recommendations, for videos, for interviews, for ANYTHING that could be a source of encouragement and hope and guidance for us. And for me, the abused, especially. We wanted to survive and keep our marriage intact. I KNEW that if we got away from complementarianism, we could survive. My husband wasn’t oppressing me, emotionally and spiritually abusing me, and allowing others to do the same because he was a horrible person. No, within complementarianism, those are the actions and attitudes and beliefs he was being taught…those were the things he was being guided and mentored to take action on within our marriage. With a complete paradigm shift and a completely new belief system, I knew that things could be different for us.
And…now they are.
I want our story to fill the void. Many egalitarians either weren’t ever complementarian, or they ‘got out’ before it did real damage to their marriage…or…they are now divorced because their marriage didn’t survive it. There is no shame in divorce…I do not want to convey that at all. I understand it now like I never have before…and was a step away from that myself. That is the only way some can find their freedom.
But, for those marriages that can possibly survive, there has to be help and guidance and examples of success…and that is an area seriously lacking. There is a void there. I don’t completely know what God has in store yet, but I want to work to fill that void in any way I can. I want to provide hope and guidance for survival. I want to provide hope for marriages surviving…even after much damage has occurred. It IS possible…I’ve seen it, and now I’ve lived it.
I know that my story is rare. But, I want it to become less rare. I hope for others that their marriages can survive complementarianism, they can make a successful transition into egalitarianism, and then they can begin to heal so that they can eventually thrive…together.
What are your thoughts? Do you see this as a need? What can I do to help in this area in my postings here? What would you like to see in my Marriage Monday posts?
I know there are people stuck in complementarian marriages that don’t see a way out. They have no hope. I want them to be able to have real and practical hope.