A quote from Douglas Wilson’s new book, Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families (Thomas Nelson, 2012), caught my attention:
“When a man opens the car door for his wife, he is doing far more than just getting the door open. It is not a matter of utility. It is not a question of pragmatics. Granted, we could save energy all around if both individuals opened their own doors. But he is making a statement in addition to getting the door open. He is disciplining his own heart and soul, which need it, and he is honoring his wife, who is glorified by it. The role of the man here, if we may speak this way, is not just to get the door open. His central role is the liturgical act of saying that women everywhere should be held in honor by men, and that he adds his amen to this, as everyone in the parking lot at Costco can now see.”
At some point in the past, my husband began opening my car door for me. I must admit that I’m often uncomfortable with it to varying degrees. I often feel uncomfortable because it does seem inefficient and it causes my husband to be inconvenienced and to endure poor weather longer as he waits for me to get in. At the risk of sounding self-effacing, well…I am. I tend to aim to be inconspicuous in public and do not usually seek public attention.
What Wilson helped me understand is that my husband’s gesture, makes him conspicuous and declares to believer and unbeliever alike a created order. This stood out to me yesterday. It wasn’t Costco, but the local movie theater. My husband opened my door as usual. Just a few seconds later a young man and woman and a couple children got out of the car near us. I was keenly aware that it couldn’t help but be obvious to this young couple that despite women’s “liberation,” despite the new casualness, despite the hardening of the womanly spirit in our country, here was someone who displayed a manliness not often seen anymore and demonstrated his acknowledgement of his creator’s order…and His grace to womankind.
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
[Illustration: Tom Lovell]