Menu iconFilter Results
Topics: Marriage, Womanhood, Women

When the Rubber Meets the Road: Marriage and Complementarianism

October 28, 2013

comp in word, egal in deed pic

By Leanne Swift

I have been a proponent of complementarianism since I learned of the term a handful of years ago. I have stood by the word and will gladly defend God’s design for men, women, and marriage until my death. I’ve read marvelous material about men and women being equal in value, but different in role. I have learned about male leadership and female submission. It is all entirely beautiful to me. I’ve even written some of my own material that has flowed from a heart that is simply thankful for the exposure I’ve had to these transforming biblical truths.

Since getting married, my words have been put to the test.

All that I have read and said is now met with life experience, and at times I find myself functioning more like an egalitarian than a complementarian.

How can this be? How can my zeal for God’s design be so easily lost in my behavior?

My Story

In my first two years of marriage, some ungodly patterns emerged in my life. I began to realize that I was demanding certain things and responding in manipulation and anger when my husband and I weren’t quite seeing eye-to-eye. At times, I literally acted like a child – stomping off and slamming doors, crying, pouting, and the like.

The Heart of Anger, by Lou Priolo, has been truly eye-opening for me in revealing ways that I can manipulate my husband to get my way. I am so thankful for the change that the Lord has wrought in my heart through this book and I recommend it for every woman.

When the moment arises for us, as women, to demonstrate our love for God’s complementary design for husbands and wives, we are faced with a choice: to let our actions be consistent with our words or to contradict our words and live as though we should be the leaders of our home instead.

It can be sticky.

The Dreaded “S” Word

Submission is at the heart of Christianity and women aren’t the only ones who are called to submit. The “s” word shouldn’t be met with hostility by any Christian. Men and women are both called to submit to God, just as Christ, himself willingly and humbly submitted to him.

In God’s good plan he has called men to lead their homes, and women are called to trust that God will accomplish his purposes in their husbands. We know this doesn’t mean that a woman has no voice. She was given to man to be his helper – that means she should actually help. And to help, you must do things, say things, and take an active role. But our hearts should be soft to God and to our husbands in the process.

We are called to be complementarian in word and deed. Let us strive together toward this goal, for the glory and praise of our wise and loving God. And when we are weak may we remember the truth found in Hebrews 4:15-16 and run to Christ who was tempted in all things yet willingly submitted to the Father’s will. May our eyes be fixed on his finished work that enables us to come boldly to him. There we will find limitless grace to help us become women who demonstrate God’s design.


Leanne Swift (BA Christian Ministries, The Master’s College) lives in Cleveland, OH with her husband Brian and two bunnies Zoey & Sophia.  She is pursuing biblical counseling certification while writing her first book on delighting in the Lord.  She has contributed to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s Gender Blog, has written for Modern Reformation Magazine, and blogs at


Did you find this resource helpful?

You, too, can help support the ministry of CBMW. We are a non-profit organization that is fully-funded by individual gifts and ministry partnerships. Your contribution will go directly toward the production of more gospel-centered, church-equipping resources.

Donate Today