Ann and I were born, raised and married in England, in an entirely different culture to the current North American culture. It was a Christian culture—not one in which everyone was a Christian, but where Christian values were universally accepted.
However, our marriage partnership was definitely patriarchal; the wife was expected to support decisions made by the husband. Although discussed together, the decision to emigrate to Canada in the 60’s was my decision. Ann dutifully went along, although she confided later that she thought I was crazy—I had just completed my architectural training and was ready to develop a career. This union was clearly not the equal partnership of the Bible.
After arriving in Canada, things changed. Ann noticed the independence of North American women and realized the lopsided arrangement of our marriage. With assertion on her part and bewilderment on mine, things began to change. If she was uncomfortable with a projected decision of mine, I heard about it.
So began an education on my part and a balancing of the marriage responsibility. Despite my Christian background, I had not yet come to an understanding of the relationship between husband and wife that the Bible taught, rather accepting the patriarchal version of biblical interpretation that was current—and convenient—at the time.
I could have considered that this change was belittling to my manhood. But I found that the injection of female ideas and intuition into our plans contributed to better decisions. Not only that, I began to appreciate more the abilities and plain commonsense of the lovely and talented wife God had given me.
How could I have been so ignorant of the great resources Ann brought to our marriage and blind to the guidance scripture gave me? The simple answer is arrogance; I simply believed that I always had the better and final answers to all of life’s questions.