Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Domestic Kenosis: A Response to Ross Douthat from the Mother of Eight Children - Public Discourse

In the final analysis, Engels fails to intimidate me. John Updike’s iteration of the intramarital class struggle is more illuminating, from his novel Couples: “Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant.” Am I so sure which of those two I am? My most productive years have been entirely committed to manufacturing and maintaining humans, but the weight of our world is on my husband’s shoulders. I set my own schedule, have some latitude in determining which tasks I will perform, and perform those tasks according to my own standards. He is a wage slave in the service of nine lives outside of his own, because together we have turned out to contain multitudes.

Mr. Douthat’s description of situations such as ours as kenotic necessarily calls to mind Philippians 2. Is large family life an icon of the Lord’s emptying of himself on our behalf? No more, I believe, than any Christian life deliberately modeled upon His example. And yet it could be a hacky way of getting at it for a lot of people.

Would you have goodness forced on you? Get married, and let marriage have its way with you. Those who come of it will become greater, O man, and you will become less.



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