Friday, 15 October 2010

Joe Carter on the Mutual Help Model of Marriage

There’s a nice, suggestive piece on marriage by Joe Carter in the latest online Comment issue from Cardus.

As the summary sentence says:

‘Too often our culture encourages us to buy into the myth that the perfect spouse is one who completes us, rather than one who can aid us in our journey in becoming whole.’

Adam, says Carter, didn’t need a ‘soulmate’, but a ‘helper’, ‘someone like himself who could share his burdens, his joys, his humanity’.

He draws on Herman Dooyeweerd’s ‘spheres of human life and experience’, seeking to apply them to marriage, spheres which when ‘taken together and in proper proportion... can lead to fulfillment and the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts’:

• The biotic – to do with organic life functions, and health.

• The sensitive/psychic – to do with feeling, emotion, psychology.

• The analytical/logical – to do with the making of decisions.

• The formative – to do with human construction, creativity, and achievement, including history, technology, and culture.

• The lingual – to do with symbolic communication in speech, writing, signs, song, and so on.

• The social – to do with social interaction, forming relationships and social institutions.

• The economic – to do with the skillful, careful use of the household's resources.

• The aesthetic – to do with harmony and surprise, with play and the arts.

• The juridical – to do with giving what is due, providing justice, recompense, and retribution.

• The sacrificial – to do with self-giving love.

• The pistic – to do with faith and faithfulness.

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