Marriage: Harmony Without Hierarchy

Ever find yourself singing next to someone in church that completely throws you off key? Or how about that ONE lady who sings so loud, effectively drowning out everyone else? Despite, desperately trying to block them out, even secretly covering the offended ear, you realize it’s IMPOSSIBLE to hear yourself!? What happens if it’s a spouse that has great potential to throw your spiritual walk completely off course or maybe even threatening to drown you out, not by their singing of course, but by the way they act, live, or even believe? This doesn’t only apply to marriage, but with anyone you live in close proximity to…your parent, child, even fellow brother or sister in Christ. Yet the Bible calls us to live in “harmony” with all people -with an important caveat: as much as it depends on us...

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Rom. 12:16-18)

Only Two Options?

It seems we can choose to either sing louder than the bellowing nightingale or clam up and resign to never sing again. Some relationships are so toxic and destructive that it feels easiest to just give up, while you question your own ability and talents. Often these people will stop singing all together and let the other dominate, carrying the tune of the relationship whether it sounds good or not.

Then still some, fight to out-sing the other and therefore become the controlling voice.  Perhaps they’ve self determined they have the right tune, therefore everyone should follow their lead! Can I submit to you that neither of these options offer any chance of harmony!   I believe there is another more God honoring option.

Harmony without Hierarchy

We must not allow other’s actions or intentions weather in harmony with the Bible or not, to silence our worship and joy before God. But how is this possible?

It’s important to note that, one person may be able to sing very beautifully alone, able to keep in tune perfectly but yet in a duet they completely lose themselves. Instead of harmony of the souls, each one uniquely combining notes simultaneously having a pleasing effect on the ear, it begins to sound very dissonant.

Codependency, is enmeshing and confusing where each person neglects their part and expects the other will compensate for them. Eventually finding themselves unable to function, having allowed excessive unhealthy reliance on the other. When one partner forces the other to sing in a way that is not their natural voice, it is destructive not only to the vocal chords but metaphorically to the relationship.  One may try to sing in a lower pitch to please the other out of their comfort range, inevitably their voice quivers and drops off almost to nothing, we’re unable to hear them at all… the other may struggle to reach an octave never intended for them and let out ear piercing screeches. Leaving their audience with certainly nothing to commend or applaud…

Sadly, children who witness this, often repeat this sort of broken gospel record

Creating Space to Find Your Voice

Chances are, you are not going to get better together, unless you become more confident of your own voice and who you are ….alone.

Sometimes, in order to be able sing properly you have to relocate yourself from the one that makes it so difficult to hear. Creating space allows you to hear yourself better. Now, distance for the sake of repaying evil for evil or to hurt or offend the other isn’t the same as the distance I speak of, that is to hear what the Lord might be saying or teaching through His Word, to you personally without distraction. Only then you can evaluate how your own thoughts, words, actions and heart, line up to God’s.

“Living at peace” with someone sometimes requires distance either physically or emotionally.

With Space – Should Come Humility

You must sing for close friends, counselors, pastors. By that I mean tell them your story, let them hear your thoughts, feeling, dreams, fears and perspectives…. And be ready to receive correction where to the listening ear  you are not harmonized with God’s Word, giving clues to why you are unable to harmonize well with others.  Then as much as it depends on you, admit where you have been singing off key, repent and keep practicing.

Harmony takes two people. Don’t blame the other and claim he or she is the one who is tone def, and it’s all their fault. Rarely, if ever is that true! Consider, that your OWN voice is the only one you have control over, to train, modify or change. You have no ability to make the other sing or act any better or differently.

You can’t make another harmonize with you!

Leave that up to God and grow in confidence you are singing to the very best of your ability by receiving godly counsel and abiding in Christ.

Be Willing to Play the Background

We all sing the background weather we realize it or not. Some may claim a certain right to be the lead singer but there is only One Lead in this song we call Life – That is God. All of us must follow His lead, His Chords, His Notes, Commands and answer to Him alone.

A harmonious marriage without hierarchy frees both husband and wife

Equality and mutuality frees us to not have to choose out of fear, to control or be controlled, to not have to fight for center stage or authority. Translate that to other aspects of life and you are free to stop trying impress the world with our lives, jobs, marriages, parenting… as we’re all simply playing the background to God, in every aspect of life.

Maybe Paul included these short pithy statements, “Do not be proud… do not be conceited,” because nothing is more effective in throwing off spiritual harmony in any relationship, than when someone is arrogant, conceited, prideful or holds prejudice, considering themselves above or better than another.

If you happen to notice people intentionally distancing themselves from you – You might ask yourself……. “Could it be my singing?”


Song To Pray: I Can Play The Background -Lecrae

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2 Replies to “Marriage: Harmony Without Hierarchy”

  1. Great post Jennifer. It’s so refreshing to be in a faith now that definitely embraces equality in marriage. I always cringe when I think of the denominations that put a glass ceiling on a believer who, just because of their gender, are not allowed to use the gifts that God has given them. This certainly is not biblical. It’s so obvious in the scripture men and women worked equally side by side in all ways. It’s not easy at all but it’s so worth it.

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