I say this very cautiously, cognizant of the taboo cloud that already engulfs ANRs.

However, a careful study of Scripture would reveal that God wants husband and wives to sort of “father” and “mother” each other, respectively.

From God’s word and life experience, we know women play many roles. They wear the hat of wife, and that of mother. Also add sister. Daughter. Friend. Counselor. Nurturer. Homemaker. Encourager.

These roles necessarily overlap. A good woman, by virtue of her womanhood, can’t help being an encourager to her husband, nor can she contain her natural drive to nurture him.

God tells us that a husband is to be a cover for his wife like her dad was. The ESV Study Bible comments on Leviticus 21:1-4: “the assumption is that once [a priest’s virgin sister] marries, she is not regarded as one of his closest relatives, but comes under the care of her husband and his clan (see Gen 2:24).”

Leviticus 22:12-13 tells us: “if a priest’s daughter marries a layman, she shall not eat of the contribution of the holy things. But if a priest’s daughter is widowed or divorced and has no child and returns to her father’s house, as in her youth, she may eat of her father’s food; yet no lay person shall eat all of it.”

The Holy Spirit also commands husbands to cover their wives in Ephesians 5:22-24: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Again, in 1 Corinthians 11:3, He says, “But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” Verse 7: “A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man,”, and “husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7).

Similarly, a wife is to nurture her husband like the Proverbs 31 woman who had a habit of waking up early to make food for him and the household, and also being a fruitful vine in his house as in Psalm 128 and comforting him during moments of grief like Rebekah comforted Isaac after his mother’s death in Genesis 24:67. Even the apocryphal Ecclesiasticus, more properly known as The Wisdom of Sirach, says “A wicked woman abateth the courage, maketh an heavy countenance and a wounded heart: a woman that will not comfort her husband in distress maketh weak hands and feeble knees” (25:23, emphasis mine). This deuterocanonical book is obviously not inspired but is based on inspired Scriptures, and it exhorts a woman to be a loving comfort to her husband.

So I mean this not literally as in becoming a father or mother but applying — as full equals — some of the paternal and maternal instincts with which He’s blessed us, to our spouse, with a romantic spin. Indeed, not only does God want every man and woman to apply these innate instincts to just children or spouse but to our society at large. That’s why the most famous men in American and Canadian history are referred to as the Founding Fathers and Fathers of Confederation respectively, and not the Founding Men or Men of Confederation.

We ought to be thankful for men who defend, protect and provide for our societies.

The way I protect my kids won’t exactly be the same way I protect my wife. As a husband, I can’t help protecting my lover and best friend, as manliness and fatherhood are inextricably related, as is mothering to womanhood. God doesn’t want us to compartmentalize them.

The manner in which my wife nurtures me, along with the mood, and the way I protect her, both take on a romantic twist which is not at all condescending, as with children. The divine imperative for women to be soft, motherly, comforting nurturers stands, regardless of recipient. The application and ambience only vary depending on the object of her nurturing.

God wants women to “mother” their husbands. Not literally, but only in the sense of nurturing and comforting, with a feel that’s completely grown-up and entails mutual respect, love and romance.

Somehow, in God’s mysterious counsel, equality works side by side with deference. Two people can be equal, yet one of them can be submissive. In the Trinity, we have a perfect example in Philippians 2: Christ, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but took the form of a slave and humbled Himself to death even death on the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

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