Metaphors in Marriage

Typically, I try to give my wife a day off each week.  I think a stay-at-home mom is one of the hardest working people in the world, especially when that combines with home school for children.  So, one day a week so that she can do some of the things that she enjoys and that refresh her.  On that day, I become the home school teacher, an activity that has raised my respect for all teachers, be they home-school teachers or more traditional school teachers.

One thing that I have to do is go over the literature assignments with my oldest daughter.  During that time, we try to recognize how an author used metaphors and similes.  Metaphors and similes communicate a great deal about how one feels about something.   Men and women often use metaphors for their spouses and not very flattering ones.

For example, when a man calls his wife “the old ball and chain” he is expressing not only his opinion of his wife but his opinion of marriage.  He sees his wife and marriage in general as something that holds him down and takes away his freedom.  When a wife sees her husband as a “beached whale” or “couch potato”, it not only expressed her opinion of  his physical condition but also of his work ethic.  She sees him as something in the way that she has to work around.

Our metaphors for our spouses say a lot about us and how we view what God gives us.  In the Genesis account of creation, God said, “It is not good that man be alone.”  That is not to say that being single in inherently bad and undesirable.  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7 that there are circumstances when being single is best.  However, God saw Adam and saw that he needed a companion.  So He said, “I will make a helper as his complement.” (Genesis 2:18, HCSB)

The best metaphor for spouse that we can use if think with the Bible in mind is “gift.”  My wife is God’s gift to me for my good.  As we relate together I learn my own short-comings and I seek to grow in the image of Christ.  She helps me and completes (complement) me.  If I use less flatteringly metaphors I show scorn at what God has given and at what God has said is good for me.

Therefore, before we say something scornful about our spouse or to think of them as less than a gift from God, we should think twice, and then thank God for the grace that He shows us in giving us our spouse.


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