A Non-Hierarchical Way

As we draw near to our wedding celebration, Dan and I have been the recipients of well-meaning advice on marriage, relationships, families, and the roles of women and men. Sometimes it’s subtle, like a card being addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Dickerson,” and sometimes it’s people telling me what’s appropriate for me to do because I’m a woman. In many of these conversations, there is an underlying assumption of how a household should be structured: the man is the “head,” the leader, the breadwinner, and the woman is the follower, the helper, the server.

While I appreciate the hearts of these people, who (hopefully) truly care about us and want to pass on their wisdom, Dan and I are taking a different approach to marriage and family. We’re doing it together. As equals. As partners. Neither of us is the designated family leader. Neither of us has more power than the other (because of our gender or anything else).

This life practice stems from a belief that all people are created in the image of God. Equally. That means women and men both share in the same character and reflection of the Creator. For us, that means that we see each other on the same level. We make decisions together. We fight together, and no one wins automatically because they’re the “leader” or hold more cards.

I don’t think this is the easy way to go. When there is no clear “leader,” it’s usually a bit messy, chaotic, and filled with surprises. Not to mention the incredible amount of flack and societal pressure. But we’re not doing it because it’s easy . We’re doing it because we don’t think God made men naturally to be the “head” and women naturally to the be the “follower”. We’re doing it because we value each other equally. We’re doing it because we believe there has to be a better way to be married than the dominance/submission hierarchy that has scarred our history.

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2 thoughts on “A Non-Hierarchical Way

  1. Sarah,
    Yes, absolutely! I applaud you two for taking the road that you believe is right for you. My husband and I have intentionally built our relationship in the same way. It is wonderful, rewarding, and after all these years neither of us would have it any other way.
    I agree, it can get awkward when people pressure us and tell me that I am not living in a ‘godly’ way…but we just have to remember what we know to be true, that we are living as we were intended, and that an egalitarian relationship is best for us.
    Congrats on your marriage and I wish you many years of happiness together!

  2. Beautiful! I think you are both wise and I know God gave you this choice! Listen to God and your hearts! My husband and I have had a relationship like this for 22 years. We have both made plenty of mistakes but I have always known that I am an equal in our relationship and I personally think it makes for far less fights because who wants to be told they don’t get a trump card? No, it is much better to address each other as equals with respect. Great writing as always!

    May God bless your marriage Sarah and Dan!

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