I’m still trying to figure out complementarianism. What on earth do complementarian gender roles mean in the real world? I figured out the “wives, submit” part. And the, women, keep quiet in church” part.
Beyond that they say a lot of nice things that I superficially agree with, but these fail as soon as they are called his role or her role. It seems harsh to speak badly of good, almost true, statements like these below. But the point is that these things are said to promote that men and women should do distinct things. And almost all these statements can be reversed, and would still be good.
…complementarians advocate… that the man lead in so much as he sacrifices as Christ does for the church. He leads in love and service. He does the hard things. He cares for his wife, etc – Daniel Darling in the comments here.
Okay, what does that mean in practice? Wives could also sacrifice, they could also lead in love. For example, a preoccupied husband could give an unthinkingly rude answer, and a wife who responds in a loving manner would lead love into a situation where the husband did not lead it. Some wives bring distant husbands back by being more loving than him for a season. To most Christians, that would be a praiseworthy attempt to improve a marriage. But if leading in love is a gender role, she is sinfully usurping his role.
By making the beautiful concept of love and service a complementarian male role, should a wife refuse to act in a loving manner when her husband treats her rudely, neutrally, or barely-positively?
If the husband should lead in service, should the wife only do things for the husband when he does things for her first? And when the husband goes through a truly hard season (illness, for example) and is not serving his wife, should she stop serving him to not take over his role?
Should no women ever do anything harder than the man in her life? Before, for example, getting pregnant, they should ensure that their husbands did something harder than giving birth? If caring for spouse is a gender role, should wives not care for husbands?
Thank God for egalitarian lack of gender boxes – people could do the easy and thankless things called serving and the hard things, all in love, without counting who does more or does them first. (And thank God for everyone who is complementarian in name, but still egalitarian in practice.)
There are husbands who serve more (measured in actual hours served), love more, and do harder things. The two men I know who believe they did (I believe only one of them, but that is another story) are both divorced. Instead of saying God called them to do more, both claim their wives did not do enough.
My simple view is that it is my responsibility as a husband to guide our marriage in such a way that maximizes our love for God and willingness to serve and honor Him… My wife is to submit in that she is to respectfully honor my attempts at pointing us to Christ, and encourage me to continue to do so.” – Matthew Shedd, also in the comments in that same link.
And, say egalitarians, when a wife guides in a way that maximizes the family’s love for God, when she points her family to Christ, the husband should also honor and respect these attempts and encourage her to continue pointing towards Him! If you believe the man should disrespect her attempts to point the family to Christ, and discourage her from doing it, only then does the idea becomes complementarian.
So, where is the complementarian aspect of it? Comps that give these answers are not explaining anything, unless they imply these are things women should not do. As a general rule, people who can plainly say what they mean can be trusted more than those who cannot.