The “selfishness” of bearing a double burden

Elspeth writes:

Among a cohort of men who firstly, believe that maybe 1 woman in 1000 is even worthy of marriage to begin with and secondly, are specifically concerned for the well being of their fellow Christian brothers and young men in particular, the notion that a man should make odds for those men even more daunting by multiplying wives for himself strikes me as particularly selfish and unloving.

And no, I don’t have a horse in this race. My man says that one woman (even when you have a good one) is more than enough to deal with.

With no ill will towards Elspeth, no woman is worthy of marriage. If you wait until you find a worthy woman, you will never marry (and that is acceptable).

She strikes toward the truth in the second paragraph, despite denying it in the first.

Marriage is a type of Christ and the church.

The church has never been, and on this planet never will be, worthy of Christ’s attention, affection, undying love, and sacrifice.

This is a hard saying, but worthy of repetition.

You marry a woman not because she is worthy, but in order to perfect her, and to perfect yourself by Christ working through you. Many men will choose not to shoulder the burden of marriage. Marriage, no matter how enjoyable it may sometime be, is ultimately a burden and a cross.

Marriage may not be your cross, but you have a cross, and you must pick it up to follow Christ.

The man on whom is laid doubly the cross of marriage is not more selfish, but less selfish for it. To whom much is given, from him much is demanded. He must pour himself out doubly.

Do not envy or demean another’s  cross. Rather, bear your own well.

5 thoughts on “The “selfishness” of bearing a double burden

  1. If it proves anything, Elspeth and Robyn’s comments show how women see life and issues within a narrow context and perspective — in this case, their marriages and their husbands only. They do not have the ability to see things from a bigger perspective or the perspective of someone else. And as you have explained, they do not see or are aware of the sacrifices of a husband or their husbands. So, the idea of “a woman is more than enough to deal with” from a man or husband’s perspective eludes them completely. Because of this and as Cane Caldo has termed it brilliantly, there is an economy of respect (for husbands and fathers) that is severely missing in our society.

  2. Agree on most everything, but I think you are talking past Elspeth.

    The man on whom is laid doubly the cross of marriage is not more selfish, but less selfish for it.

    What are you judging here? If you are judging what a good husband in a polygamous society would do then you might be right. Or if you are describing how God would have marriage used then you are correct. But if you are judging the intentions or reasoning of a man who takes a second wife then it certainly could be because of selfishness; even in the context of a polygamous society.

    I think Jesus is clear that God created one woman for one man in marriage. It was not counted as sin before He said made that clear, but that doesn’t mean it was God’s plan. The same thing happened with incest. Abraham married his sister, (“Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.”) but later the Israelites would be given the law “You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether brought up in the family or in another home.”

  3. @ CC

    Agree on most everything, but I think you are talking past Elspeth.

    Sort of. This post is not at all for Elspeth. The (very similar) response I left on DS’s blog is only partially for Elspeth.

    What are you judging here? If you are judging what a good husband in a polygamous society would do then you might be right. Or if you are describing how God would have marriage used then you are correct. But if you are judging the intentions or reasoning of a man who takes a second wife then it certainly could be because of selfishness; even in the context of a polygamous society.

    I make no pretense of judging motives. However, I acknowledge that it quite possible to do unselfish things for selfish reasons or out of selfish motivations.

    There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

  4. Your recent posts recounting the story of your finding, marrying, and starting a family with your wife have, due to my own flaws, made me rather jealous (being a single 24 year old). Which makes me glad you wrote this post, even if I think Cane is right that you’re not talking about the same thing Elspeth was.

    Every new privilege comes at the cost of one or more duties, and it does no good to count only the benefits and ignore the costs.

    It also gets a lot easier to trust God with my future when I realize that marriage is a burden, and only God is the right judge to say if I am ready for it or not.

  5. @ Daniel

    You are right that I was not exactly talking about the same thing as Elspeth. It was for people like you that I wrote what I did. Or rather, for people like me–as I could have easily written what you did when I was a single 24 year old. Recognizing the duties of a husband is essential preparation for the one who intends to shoulder them.

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