Reformed theologian and author John Piper has argued that the biblical idea of "gender roles" applies to all relationships — not just marriage.
During a podcast posted on the desiringGod.com website on November 2, Piper read an email he received about whether gender alone should affect the way a Christian views his or her identity, and if gender alone should change the way he or she behaves, outside of marriage.
"It seems most questions of this type get answered related to gender roles within the family, and not at the level of mere gender alone, even among singles," the reader said.
Piper began by asserting that gender alone — that is, our sexual maleness or femaleness alone — is an "essential part of our God-given identity, whether we're married or not."
"You are who you are everywhere you are, and with whomever you are," he said. "Your core identity as male or female does not change according to your audience or your relationships."
Scienctific research has proven that men and women are vastly different beings, both biologically and psychologically, Piper said. And, Christians, believe that the brain and the soul are not identical, but "interrelated in mysterious ways that have profound correspondence."
Thus, our sexual identity as male and female is "part of our true God-given, body-based, brain-based, soul-based identity — whether we are married or single," Piper said.
"It is relevant for all our relationships, not just one of them," he continued. "When we are spiritually and physically and psychologically whole and healthy, this will manifest itself with scarcely any self-consciousness. A mature, healthy woman does not consciously try to be a woman. She just is what she is — and so with a mature healthy man."