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Why Man Needs Woman

Masculinity needs femininity; man needs woman. His angular focused essence requires the more diffused and rounded contours of woman. Most men long for that essence. All men need it.

The anatomical differences between the sexes are only the beginning. The probing, driven, and external nature of male sexuality is a window to his approach to life. And how submitting his life to the other is essential to his wholeness!

In Genesis 2:7, God creates man from the ground. Earth is the raw material from which he is formed. That foreshadows a theme that drives him—the natural inclination toward prevailing over and giving form to his world. (“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Gen. 2:15)

Man needs to discover purpose through the work of his hands. He tends to draw his significance from what he does. And to be respected for it. To a large degree, masculine honor hinges upon him exerting his power on the earth in a way that makes a difference. To prevail over the earth and to bear fruit seems to be built into the very essence of manhood.

In Genesis 3, man is cursed as a result of his sin. Things change—the good earth sours on him, and his labor now seems addictive and futile. “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life…By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you will return.” (Gen. 3:17-19)

Man’s inclination toward prevailing remains, but now sweat and pain mark his livelihood. His pursuit of significance seems strained as well. Can the unforgiving earth yield enough reward for him? Perhaps not. Is it any wonder that he is vulnerable to strife and addictive attempts to cull meaning and worth?

Woman is different. She invites him into a different world, one that is perhaps gentler. He longs for that softness, the feminine gift for connectedness that eludes him in his world of striving and competition. Her many words help give voice to his few. He lets down; he breaths. Woman provides a home for man’s weary heart.

In spite of my same-sex attraction, I was and am very masculine in my focus and drive. What most drew me into relationship with Annette was her relational ease. She engendered a kind of peace in me that neither work nor same-sex unions could. Somehow, her response to my awkward advances empowered me further to avail my strength to her. I grew stronger in love, as did she.

Man needs woman. Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.
“In Your merciful design, O God, may weary men find rest in good women.”

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Otherness and Intimacy

To honor marriage is to honor the distinctions of male and female, and how the two combine to form a whole. The one discovers its need in relation to the other—‘I do not possess what the other offers’, and one’s unique gift—‘I possess something the other needs.’

Gender complementarity is crucial to a marriage being able to ease the aloneness of both parties. It is precisely the other’s difference that satisfies the ache of the solitary heart. The mystery of the other draws one out of familiarity and into another reality. Gender differences provoke exploration and yield the rich discovery that the other rounds one out. At physical and psychological levels, one finds grounding and a covering that composes a whole.

Karl Barth writes: “Were Eve only like him, his mirror image, a numerical multiplication, she would not confront him as another…as such, the aloneness of neither would be eased.”

Frustrating at times? Of course. In the face of the ‘foreigner’, we are tempted to judge the other as less than human, our own familiar ways of knowing and being as superior. But gratefully, God did not create the other in our image but in His own.

Mike Mason writes: “Marriage seems to specialize at times in radically deemphasizing the similarities between partners and wildly exaggerating the points of difference. But that is so that a couple may come to know one another at the deepest level—‘bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.’

Becoming one flesh is a journey of discovery. We discover a beauty and wisdom and strength unknown to us; in that difference, the other has unique power to fortify and to console us. (S)he encounters us as the other, imparting to us what we may never have experienced but what we need.

Mason refers to marriage in a term used for the trinity—a hypostatic union, meaning that distinct properties (male and female) combine to form one new identity. He says: “Marriage is not about sameness but about oneness, which is less characterized by similarities than by difference…That oneness is not a skill to be mastered but a phenomenon to be marveled at with increasing humility and gratitude.”

To honor marriage, we must reclaim the inner meaning of God’s image: man for woman, woman for man. Together, the two create a whole that satisfies the aloneness of each. Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“Thank You God for Your design. You said that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18), and You made a way for the gap to be closed. Give us grace to behold and to honor the other’s difference. Ease our aloneness through him or her.”

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Complementarity and Gender Clarity

Wholeness in marriage requires two distinct parts, or complements. Maleness and femaleness define marriage; the two together create its essence.

That is more than a practical means to procreation. Before babies, the duality of male and female creates the basis for authentic awareness of who one is as ‘the other’.

Adam and Eve are alike in that both bear the Creator’s image. She was taken from his side and then returns to him, bearing her humanity in distinction from his own. Her very difference from him has power to mirror back who he is as male. In his reflection, she too becomes aware of her difference.

There can be no maleness without femaleness, and vice-versa. Gender would be stripped of its meaning without the reality of gender difference. We simply would have no awareness of our own essence as male or female without the dance of difference we experience in relation to the opposite gender.

That awareness operates on two levels. The first is realizing what we are not. Image-bearing is humbling. And it reveals a mystery: the elusive and yet profound aspects of the other that we cannot fully understand because we do not possess those aspects in full.

We can only marvel at the difference. And recognize our need for the other. His/her awesome and at times perplexing otherness draws us into wholeness.

Similarly, as we reflect upon the difference, we become aware of the unique and essential gift that our own gender difference imparts to the whole. The presence of the other helps us to know what this gift is. On emotional, spiritual and physical levels, we become aware of our own essence as male or female.

May we recognize its essence and its import to rounding out the whole of God’s image. With increasing clarity and confidence, may we realize the good gift of our own gender to the other. And continue before both God and our fellow humanity to humbly recognize our need for the opposite gender.

Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo: “One learns so much from the constant comparing of the masculine figure from the feminine, which are always and in everything so totally different. It may be supremely difficult, but what would art and life be without them?”

Let us honor gender difference and the valuable role it plays in clarifying self-awareness and self-giving. Marriage requires gender difference. It is its very essence.
Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“God humble us and grant us confidence to be good gifts for the opposite gender.”

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Marriage is Male and Female

Gender matters in marriage. As we saw yesterday, the distinctly masculine and feminine dimensions of marriage reveal something about God to us, His very image revealed on the earth.

Let us explore this further. Marriage involves the joining together of two distinctive parts: male and female. Wholeness requires ‘otherness. The oneness of body, soul, and spirit that marriage embodies requires essential maleness and femaleness. There is no one-flesh union apart from the two genders becoming one.

Marriage is not just about friendship and intimacy. It is about the sexual merger of maleness and femaleness. Or according to the Judeo-Christian tradition, a sexual re-merger. My favorite author on the topic of homosexuality, Robert Gagnon, writes:

“The creation story in Gen. 2:18-24 illustrates this point beautifully. An original binary, or sexually undifferentiated, adam is split down the side to form two sexually differentiated persons. Marriage is pictured as the reunion of the two other halves, man and woman.

This is not an optional or minor feature of the story. Since the only difference created by the splitting is the creation of two distinct sexes, the only way to reconstitute the whole, on the level of sexual intimacy, is to bring together the split parts. A same-sex erotic relationship can never constitute a marriage because it will always lack the requisite sexual counterparts, or complements.”

Marriage is exclusively the domain of two becoming one. At core and in essence, that involves the joining of male and female. The comprehensive sharing of life in marriage is founded on bodily union. And that union, as we have seen, is made possible only by the sexual complementarity of man and woman.

I will explore that theme of wholeness in two halves further. Suffice to say, ‘gay’ marriage is a contradiction in terms. To seek to become one with the same gender undercuts the Creator’s unwavering intention for marriage. That involves ‘otherness’–male and female.

A wise-man said: “The corruption of society begins by a failure to call things by their proper names.” ‘Gay marriage’ is a fundamental contradiction in terms. To validate a misnomer is to contribute to the corruption of California.
Vote YES on 8. Honor Marriage for the Good of All.

“Help us see things as they are, O God. Raise up the foundational truth of how You see marriage. Open our eyes to the good of man for woman, woman for man.”

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The Greater Love Story

Marriage is pre-political. It did not originate in any one nation, under any one government. It was born in the heart of the Creator. He created humanity as male and female and described them together as manifesting His image upon the earth. God dared to represent Himself in the union of one man for one woman.

That is audacious! Knowing our propensity for misusing power in the name of love, God entrusted humanity to manifest who He is in how man honors woman, and how woman honors man. Marriage is the main and plain of that manifestation; it is the window on earth of something akin to God, the Creator Himself!

But creation is only the first part of how significant marriage is in the divine plan; redemption rounds out the powerful good of man for woman and woman for man.

Jesus describes Himself as the bridegroom who gave Himself up (His death on the cross) for His bride, the Church. He will come again in order to become one with her. In the meantime, He as the bridegroom is serving and loving us, His bride, in order to make us ready for His return. That return is the consummation of God’s plan of redemption that began on the cross.

Marriage matters: it conveys the essence of who God is, and how He is towards us, His people. Theologian Christopher West writes in The Love that Satisfies:

The Bible begins in Genesis with the marriage of the first man and woman, and ends in Revelation with another ‘marriage’: the union of Christ and the Church…The whole story of our salvation is contained between the love initiated by the bridegroom and the response of the bride…These nuptial bookends area key for interpreting all that lies between. (p.12)

In other words, marriage manifests God. Marriage supports and protects a whole union between a man and woman; that union is a window to God. As we shall see, marriage reveals something about Him. It makes known an aspect of His personhood.

How a man loves a woman in marriage helps us to understand how God wants to prepare us, His bride, for an increasingly pure, passionate relationship with Himself.

As a man initiates and loves a woman, and as a woman responds to that love, rounding out the whole, so does God seek to love us into wholeness.

Marriage is one key to knowing and honoring God. It reveals His plan for creation and redemption. California, vote YES on Prop. 8. Honor Marriage for the Good of All.

“Who can know Your mysteries, O God? Thank you for giving us marriage as one of the keys that helps us understand who You are, how You love, and what You plan for us.”

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