A recent segment on NBC’s “Rock Center” features former volleyball star Gabrielle Reece and her new book on marriage. In the book, she tells the story of how her own marriage nearly ended after only four years. She and her husband were able to come back from the brink, and they are still married today now with three kids.
The provocative part of the interview is when she explains that the key to their success is that she “submits” to her husband. The interesting thing, however, it that this is not a Christian couple who have embraced a biblical view of gender roles. They appear to be a typical, secular family with no apparent religious conviction.
As I watched this, it occurred to me that someone might conclude that this is a non-Christian version of complementarian marriage. But actually, “non-Christian complementarianism” is a contradiction in terms—something on the order of “round square” or “four-sided triangle.”
Complementarianism cannot be reduced to wifely submission. It’s certainly not less than such submission, but it is also by definition much more. At its root, complementarianism is a comprehensive view of manhood and womanhood rooted in what the Bible teaches about the glory of God and about Christ’s love for his church. If the Christian element be removed, it is no longer complementarianism. It’s just traditional gender roles.
I’m as thankful as the next guy to see that Reece’s marriage is still holding together. God made marriage to be permanent, and she and her husband appear to be in it for the long haul. But that doesn’t change the fact that God also made marriage to be so much more.
[WARNING: The video linked above is not for children. It includes some frank discussion about the couple’s married life.]
(HT: Ryan Gold)