Maybe Two Heads Are Better Than One
I was asked a question the other day by someone who was curious about the Egalitarian marriage style Will and I adhere to.
“If you and your husband disagree on an issue who gets the deciding vote?”
I think this is great question and one that I asked in the beginning of my journey to Egalitarianism.
I was under the impression that two people can’t really be in charge or you have a big mess on your hands. Each will be vying for authority and fighting over who has the last say.
Here’s the thing: this idea implies that both “heads” (1) must be leading at the same time, all of the time. This over looks the options of mutual consensus, alternating leadership and situational deference.
Egalitarians don’t reject the ideas of leadership and submission. In fact we embrace them. We just embrace them mutually. Sometimes he leads or defers and sometimes I do but mostly we just get along, talk it out and decide together. Neither of us hold a “Divine Trump Card” because of our sex. We each have fluid roles based on our particular spiritual giftings, our talents, personal convictions, The Spirit’s leading, our knowledge of the situation or who it effects more. Most of the time though, it just comes down to what is more practical in the moment. If we ever couldn’t decide on something together that would be our cue that we need to get advice from an outside source.
Honestly, Will often has to remind me that it’s ok for me to decide, that he wants me to make a choice instead of expecting him to choose for me. Old habits die hard, so I think needing an outside tiebreaker would be a very rare instance for us.
Leadership really just means “influence”(2) anyway and we are both constantly influencing each other practically and spiritually. I don’t think it’s fair to put all of the spiritual and practical burdens of decision making for life on my husband. If I am to be a strong help (3) for him I need to step up and be the ally he needs just like he is for me.
I love Sarah Bessey’s words about this when asked the same question:
“Well, who is in charge here?
Yes, but if push comes to shove, who is the leader?
Only Jesus. Only ever our Jesus.”
(1) Does “head” really mean what you think it means? Did you know that there are some good arguments about that word actually representing something more along the lines of “source”, "nurturing source" or "loving care" not “authority”?
(2) This is an excellent article about leadership being influence by John Maxwell. "
“True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that cannot be mandated. It must be earned. The only thing a title can buy is a little time-either to increase your level of influence with others or to undermine it... Leadership is influence. Just because someone has a title, doesn’t mean that person is a leader."
(3) Here is a post I wrote explaining more about the term "Help Meet".