Sunday, June 8, 2008

To whom does the Bride belong?

Paul's NT letters provide us with a beautiful picture of marriage. It is hard to imagine the mindset that finds it necessary to atomize husbandly headship and wifely submission in a way that removes all the beauty from these passages, Ephesians in particular, obliterating all references to our Saviour's authority. Some religious feminists have seen the implications for their view of mutual submission and are proclaiming that Christ submits to the church!

I've been pondering that, and the point in a wedding ceremony where the bride is given by father to husband. This is at the heart of marriage and the picture of Christ and His Church - to whom do we belong? Do we belong to our Bridegroom, who seeks to present us holy and blameless? Or do we retain ownershp of ourselves, obliterating the picture of marriage and leaving ourselves open and vulnerable.

For, make no mistake, we always belong to someone.

Ephesians 5:21-33, ESV:

21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.


alaiyo said...

I really like this picture, Kamilla. I hadn't thought a lot about that particular aspect of the ceremony.

Anonymous said...

> the bride is given by father to husband.

It seems the norm today is for the father to walk her down the aisle, but for him to say that he and her mother are giving her to the groom.

At least the mother isn't wanting to walk her down the aisle, too! Maybe that comes later.

I guess the feminists, in trying to be egalitarian by that, miss the point that the father is still standing in for the mother and that the bride is given to the groom, not the groom to the bride.


Anonymous said...

I guess the feminists, in trying to be egalitarian by that, miss the point that the father is still standing in for the mother and that the bride is given to the groom, not the groom to the bride.

Not necessarily. At my feminist wedding, my husband and I mingled with our guests for a period, and then went to the front of the room together with our justice-of-the-peace and gathered our guests around us for the ceremony. I have also attended friends' weddings in which both bride and groom were walked down aisle, each with both mother and fahter -- a borrowing I believe from a popular Jewish custom.

That having been said, I admit that a lot of feminist-oriented women still fall back on traditions and old symbolism when they marry. I think the thinking is that "It is just traditional symbolism with no real meaning," or "I don't want to disappoint my dad." (I personally think that symbolism matters, but others are willing to compromise in that area.)

-- Maggie Fox

Michael said...

> both bride and groom were walked down aisle


I haven't been to one of those, yet. But I haven't been to any justice-of-the-peace weddings, either.

> "I personally think that symbolism matters"

Yes, me, too. So, I'm guessing your husband didn't carry you over the threshold.

> "feminist-oriented women still fall back on traditions"

Even non-feminist women don't seem to know what the veil is all about. You skipped that accessory, I expect?

I'd better not ask who carried the bouquet or who wore the pants -- I might get confused.


Anonymous said...


You are right that we skipped the carrying-over-the-threshold and veil aspects of getting married. I am not sure I have any objection to either, but then you probably know more than I about the symbolism of those things.

I was quite happy to carry a boquet and wear a dress at my wedding, and yes, my husband wore pants! Although we do not believe in traditional gender roles, we are not at all androgynous in our physical appearance or manner of dress. I wish I could rewind the clock so you could attend, see for yourself, and eat some yummy cake!

(Apologies to our hostess for yapping about me, me, me in this thread. I am very much appreciating this thought-provoking, well written new blog.)

-- Maggie Fox

Michael said...

Hello Maggie,

I didn't do the carry-her-over-the-threshold-thing, either.

Thanks for clarifying who wore the pants.

[I can be a sarcastic smart aleck sometimes, so don't take me too seriously.]

I don't recall, after 32 years, how my father-in-law did the walking-her-down-the-aisle part, as he was also the minister! Must've involved some tricky footwork.

My dad was the best man. It was a military wedding, we we were also in white, like the bride.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Oooh, military weddings are nice.

I am a smart aleck too, but I am trying to be on my best behavior since I am a feminist guest in non-feminist territory!

- Maggie

Kamilla said...

Hi Maggie,

Don't worry about "yapping", I'm quite enjoying listening in.

I actually like military weddings - or Scottish ones with kilts! I did, however, once attend a wedding in which it was only possible to tell Bride from Groom (from the back) by who was wearing the pants - they both had long blonde hair!


Michael said...

> I am trying to be on my best
> behavior since I am a feminist
> guest in non-feminist territory!

I noticed - and am impressed! Nice to run across a lady-like feminist every now and then.


Anonymous said...

*blushes demurely*

You'd be surprised at how many of us there are.