Truth And Faithfulness

I Pledge You My Troth: A Christian View of Marriage, Family, Friendship, by James H. Olthuis (Harper & Row, 1975, 148 pp. $7.95 and $3.95 pb.), is reviewed by Andre S. Bustanoby, marriage and family counselor, Bowie, Maryland.

When God made woman out of Adam’s rib, he never intended her to be a bone of contention. He had in mind an enjoyable partnership based on mutuality between man and woman.

“Troth” is an attempt to regain the concept of mutuality that has been obscured by much writing on the headship of the husband and the submission of the wife. The reader would do well to read first the appendix, “Paul on Women.” There Dr. Olthuis deals with those passages in the Pauline Epistles that are most frequently used by expositors to teach the subordination of woman to man. The author attempts to show that Paul’s intention was not to teach subordination of woman but rather to instruct domineering women not to dominate. They are to remember their call to mutuality.

Mutuality does not ignore, however, the issue of the husband’s headship. Headship is the husband’s office. He has a responsibility to take the lead in mutually examining the marriage to see if it is developing along the lines that the husband and wife have agreed on.

In this interpretive framework the author explores the idea of troth, which is pledged in the traditional marriage ceremony. He points out that “troth” is an Old English term for truth, faithfulness, loyalty, and honesty, all essential to a good marriage. Those who counsel troubled marriages are well aware that the key element lacking is a commitment in just those areas—truth, faithfulness, loyalty, and honesty.

Troth has implications not only for the husband and wife but also for the ...

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