“Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.” (1 Corinthians 11:11-12)
One of the psychological maladies being touted today is something called “Co-dependency.” I must confess, I have not taken the time to read much about it, since these new syndromes are in and out of vogue so quickly. But from what I gather, it is when two individuals (usually a man and woman) are unable to cope in life without the other. No doubt, this kind of relationship could be harmful if one or both of them is psychologically deficient, in the first place; but as far as I am concerned, these two verses in First Corinthians give us a picture of a Biblical co-dependency that is both healthy and beautiful.
As a matter of fact, I suspect all this psychobabble could be yet another ruse to undermine the Biblical pattern for a husband and wife, as laid out in the Bible. God has ordained that when a man and woman are joined together in holy matrimony they become two parts of one flesh (Gen. 2:23), in a way that compliments both and makes one without the other less effective. That’s why it is so important for each one to fulfill his or her distinct role, without jockeying for the other’s position, “in order to form a more perfect union,” as it were, to borrow a phrase from the Preamble to our Constitution.
Order involves rank, not superiority.
Verse twelve says the woman is “of the man,” because she was taken from the man, and nothing can change that Creation order; yet the man is “by the woman,” because every man after Adam has been born of a woman. The obvious dependence here is healthy, I say, because it nurtures respect for the unique role a mate plays, while at the same time, instilling confidence in our own important one.
I am not ashamed to acknowledge my dependence upon the good man God has given me to share my life; and I like to think he feels the same about me. But, in reality, as the last few words in our text indicate, it is not really a matter of co-dependence, but inter-dependence—between husband, wife…and God. And, as Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”