Love And Marriage, SGM Style…

November 29, 2010 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

So awhile back, someone sent me the following email:

Dear Kris,

You should say something about the way Sovereign Grace handles marriage.  Maybe this isn’t the case for everybody, but if you grow up in SGM, the “leave your parents and cleave to your spouse” rule does not apply.  Neither does “Wives, submit to your husbands.”

Courtship is all about the parents.  If you court, your primary goal is pleasing the woman’s father.  That doesn’t change much after marriage.  You and your wife are expected to live like her parents are still in charge. 

The email went on to describe a specific scenario in which the writer found himself embroiled.  After a lengthy struggle with unemployment, he had found a job which he loved.  He was finally experiencing some success in his career, to the point where he had recently been offered a significant promotion.  The catch?  The promotion would require him to move to another state…and to a town that was nowhere near a Sovereign Grace church.

His wife’s parents did not want them to move and made their feelings known.  His wife has been so conflicted and has made life so miserable for him that he is pretty sure he won’t take the promotion.  When he sought counsel from his SGM pastor, everything the pastor said seemed to support his wife and her parents.  The man finishes the email with this:

I don’t know if this is standard operating procedure or if it’s happening because my in-laws are “rock stars” in our church, but my pastor has taken their side.  He and my in-laws obviously think that choosing to move against their counsel would be wrong.  They have all said things to indicate that the Godly thing to do is stay where we are.  

I have never been more confused in my life.  How can I lead my family and do what I believe is best for us if I have to follow the directions of my father-in-law first?  How is it that Sovereign Grace can teach wifely submission but overlook this important point?

I don’t really know the answers to this man’s questions.  Maybe those of you who have spent time within SGM’s culture can shed some light on this topic.

© 2010, Kris. All rights reserved.