“Because of TAFES I have changed what I am looking for in marriage.” One of the staff said this to me one evening when he was over for dinner. Intriguing! I asked him, how have you changed?
This guy hasn’t lived in his tribal context for most of his life, but his tribe is conservative and he’s observed it in his family. He described a home where the husband does not lift a finger, ruling over his wife as his God-given right, while she is expected to do everything.
He said to us, “We have read that the husband is the head of the wife but we have made him more than that.” At TAFES he has learnt to read the Bible in context, which means if you want to read the bit about the husband being the head, you have to read the bit that comes after about how that means even sacrificing your life for her!
This gave a foundation for us to suggest that the curses in Genesis must also be read in context, that a man ruling over a woman is not God’s plan but his announcement of the disorder brought by sin. This made sense to him, because of the harmony between the man and the woman in Genesis 1 and 2.
That harmony has been lived out before him as well. TAFES often runs seminars on marriage and relationships, and he has heard about how important it is to really get to know your wife so you can communicate better with her, and care for her. He is fascinated by ideas like introversion/extroversion, and love languages. But even better, he has met TAFES Associates and others who pursue unity and harmony in their marriages, and he has seen that loving your wife, though it may be hard work, actually makes you happier, and gives you a more fulfilled life than ruling her.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.