The Vatican recently sponsored an international colloquium on the complementarity of man and woman in marriage entitled “Humanum.” I watched the first 15-minute video produced for this event: “The Destiny of Humanity: On the Meaning of Marriage.” I was deeply moved by the thoughtful manner in which the video presented the truth of marriage between one man and one woman being woven into the very fabric of creation. In the beginning, Philosopher Peter Kreeft observes: “The masculine and feminine are cosmological. They are not limited to humans, or even just to animals. Every language that I know of, except English, has masculine or feminine nouns…the sun and moon, the day and night, the water and the rocks…but most today think this is a projection of our sexuality into the universe. That makes us strangers to the universe. The God who invented human sexuality also invented the universe; the two fit. It’s a much happier philosophy: we fit the nature of things.” The complementarities of creation reaches it climax, adds N.T. Wright, “in the creation of human beings in the image of God…an image which has male-plus-female at the heart of it.”
I came away with a some reassuring observations. First, I was moved to celebrate the uniqueness of my marriage to Judy, my wife. Sometimes the complementarity of marriage has caused me frustration, because my wife is so different from me. But this is how it is meant to be. Paul reminds us that our marriages are a mystery to be entered into, not something to figure out. “…And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become ‘one flesh.’ This is huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all” (Eph. 5:31-32 – The Message). Men, don’t try to solve the mystery of your marriage. Rather, celebrate your marriage. Ask God for grace to enter into this mystery, so you can learn from your “better half.” God has given her to be your “helpmate.” She is intended to be your complement. Pay attention to what God wants to teach you through “your bride.”
Secondly, I was very encouraged to see how the complementarity of masculine and feminine is woven into all of creation. This reality goes far beyond the gender struggles we have in our culture, the “war on Women” being one of the most ugly manifestations of culture’s distorted view. C. C Pecknold, writing in First Things had this to say about the message of the video. “The male and female union is the universal heart of human life and existence. It has a ripple-effect on all of humanity. But this has a powerful corollary: new sexual ideologies will fall not simply because Christians oppose them, but because they cannot withstand the gravity of nature, or the weight of glory given in human existence itself.” This comment reminds me of C. S Lewis’ contention that masculinity and femininity are rooted in God and have transcendent dimensions. Men, don’t let the dominant voices of our confused culture rob you of the joy of living in a complementary relationship with your wife.
Men, I strongly encourage you to go online and watch the six videos produced for this conference (humanum). You will not be disappointed. They are awe inspiring. Share them with you wife, and children. Be sure to view them with other men. By the way, Rich Warren, Russell Moore, both prominent evangelicals, also spoke at this conference. I believe this conference will have an impact on the church. Praise God for the moving of His Spirit in our day.