Fullness and Complement

The place of the woman in marriage is a perfect combination of honor and subordination.

Living Waters

The place of a woman in marriage is a perfect combination of honor and subordination. She is honored, because she is the fullness and the glory of man, and subordinate, because she was created for him and finds her reason of being in man.


The position of honor is clearly understood when we observe the antitype of which woman is a type, that is to say, the church. In Ephesians 1:23 it says: "The church, which is his body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all". The church is the fullness of Christ, and that's why the woman is the fullness of man. The reality of Christ and the church is previous to that of man and woman, therefore, the model of such a relationship is Christ and the church.

To say that Christ is incomplete without the church almost sounds like a heresy; nevertheless, these inspired words show us that it is so. Calvin said: "It is the highest honor for the church, that the Son of God considers Himself in some way as being imperfect whilst He is not joined to us".

Not of course imperfect in his divinity, in which he is full - in him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily - but as Man, for which reason the man was also created with a partner. As a husband, he is incomplete without the wife.

This is the greatest honor for a woman: to know that without her the man would be incomplete. That's why, as the Scriptures say: "The woman is the glory of the man" (1st Cor. 11:7). Nevertheless, this is not the complete truth.


When Adam saw Eve for the first time he said: "this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" (Gen. 2:23). The word "woman" In Hebrew the word that corresponds to woman (Ishshah) is the feminine form of the word that corresponds to man (Ish). The Hebrew and English words show a deep attachment or bond between the two.

What is certain is that the word used for 'woman' derives from the word used for 'man'. And this fact is not simply a linguistic matter, because it indicates that woman derives her existence from man. This is a fact that has spiritual significance and origin.

Eve was taken from Adam; therefore, her life, her reason of being, was Adam. But this did not only refer to Eve. In the New Testament, Paul takes the story from Genesis as a basis for extracting the general principle, applicable to every woman: "The woman (is) of the man"; "the woman (was created) for man" (1st Cor. 11:8-9). So not only Eve could find an explanation for her existence by looking at Adam, but every woman finds the same reason for existing by looking at her husband. She exists because of him.

So, in this sense every woman is "of man." Even if you rename our use of English language, and call her something other than "woman" she is still an extension and a complement of the man.

Does this mean a woman is degraded? We answer with another question: why should it if God designed her this way? God is wise, and he knows what he does.

So then, if this sounds like degradation, the explanation we have to look for is not in God, but in the knowledge of this world, which God hath made foolish (1st Cor. 1:19-20). Humanism has tried to improve God's model for marriage, which has infiltrated different ideas into the heart of woman.

The woman was taken from man, therefore, and will be similar to him, being of one mind with him. The more similar the woman is to the man who is her husband, the more apparent they will make what God has spoken on this matter, and will thereby honor her husband.

The idea of a 'complement' is not, of course, our invention, but rather it is in the Bible. Some modern versions translate Ephesians 1:23 as: "his church, which is his body, the complement of He who fills all in all". The word often translated as 'fullness', H.B. Pratt translates as 'complement'. Is there an error in any of these different versions? No; there is a complement and enrichment.

The perfect balance

So, if we join these two ideas, that of complement and that of fullness together, we have the complete, full meaning of what the woman is for man. May the Lord show his grace to the sisters to see it!

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