Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll in a sermon Sunday discussed what a biblical marriage should look like and what it should not look like, including comparing a wife's nagging to the torture of hearing a dripping faucet.
"And some women – you're a nag. You're disrespectful. You're quarrelsome. Being married to you is like a life sentence, and the guy's just scratching on his wall every day, 'One more day. Just one more day,'" said Driscoll, eliciting laughter from those in attendance at the Seattle-based megachurch. "Proverbs talks about certain women – they're like a dripping faucet. You ever tried to sleep with a dripping faucet? Plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk. It's what we use to torture people who are prisoners of war."
Driscoll, the preaching and vision pastor of Mars Hill, made the comments in the second half of a sermon titled "I Am Loved" as a part of the church's sermon series about the Book of Ephesians called "Who Do You Think You Are?" Driscoll based his sermon on the text found in Ephesians 5:22-33, which says wives should "submit" to their husbands and husbands should love their wives "as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."
Some people view the text as "the most hotly contested, heatedly debated section" in the entire Bible, he said, particularly in a time when many Christians are resistant to addressing issues pertaining to gender, sexuality and marriage. But the only way to fully understand love, he said, is to learn about it through the example set by Jesus Christ.
"So, here's the big idea for the Christian: there is no understanding of love apart from the person and work of Jesus," he said. "It remains, for many who would still use the word 'love,' a great mystery. They don't really understand what it is, what it means, what it does. But those of us who know Jesus, we have the opportunity to see what love is and to see what love does, because it's a mystery that's been now made known in Jesus."
The pastor and co-author of Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together also said God's love for his church is like a marriage relationship between a husband and wife. Jesus, for example, takes responsibility for his people, said Driscoll, just as a husband should take responsibility for his wife. Likewise the church submits to Jesus' authority, just as a wife should submit to her husband.
"Number one, it does not mean that the wife is less valuable, intelligent, or competent," he said. "Both men and women bear equally the image and likeness of God. They have equal dignity, value. In addition, it doesn't mean that the men are more important than the women. That's not true."
He also emphasized that he was speaking specifically about marriage relationships, not gender issues in general. Women do not need to submit to all men, he said, but only to their husbands.
After discussing ways women can respect and submit to their husbands, Driscoll also addressed several ways husbands can love their wives and lead them like Jesus leads the church. He called today's men "pathetic," arguing that they tend to shirk their responsibilities instead of owning up to them.
"For the first time in the nation's history, the majority of children born to young women are born out of wedlock. For the first time in the nation's history, young women are more likely than young men to be in college, to be in church, to be in the workforce, and even have a driver's license," he said. "We live in a day when men are acting like boys even though they are men, and they're mooching off their mothers, and they're mooching off their girlfriends, and they're abandoning their responsibilities, and it's a fool's parade, but there's no punch line for the joke."
Driscoll also compared the marriage relationship to a garden, in which the wife is the garden and the husband is the gardener.
"Some of you guys would say, 'Man, there's a lot of weeds at my house.' You're the gardener. 'Man, there's a lot of rotten fruit at my house.' You're the gardener. You're the gardener. What you don't need is another garden. You need to be a better gardener," he said.
Driscoll's sermon can be viewed in its entirety on the Mars Hill Church website.