Looking at the first set of focus verses tells us what we are, creations in the image and likeness of God. We were created to have dominion over all the other creations of God. And we were created in two genders. The two genders were, in my view, needed because of our human limitations. God is infinite with infinite capacities for love, tenderness, judgment and wrath. It would be impossible to get all the qualities of God wrapped up into a single human being, unless that human form were God himself in the person of Jesus Christ.
The second set of verses speaks to the creation of woman out of man. She was created to be a companion equal to and fit for him. This places woman at the side of man, not over his head and not under his feet.
The relationships in these two passages are both vertical (with God) and horizontal (with man). Because God is our creator, we are subservient to him, to his purposes and plans. We are not capable of knowing all of those purposes and plans, but we are capable of trusting him to know them and to see them to fruition. We need only supply our obedience to him.
Because woman was created from the rib of man, they are the same flesh. She wasn’t created from his head to be dominant over him, nor from his feet to be subservient. She was created to be a companion and helper, fitted to him perfectly. Equal in all things.
This requires being respectful, submissive, kind, and loving. You respect others because they, too, were made in God’s image. Being submissive requires letting people see who you are, without pretense or mask, and letting them show you who they are the same way. Being kind means treating each person as if they were your other self. And loving means having their best interest at heart, equal to or even more that your own self-interest.
Those are tall orders, but possible if we remember who we are and whose we are.
Help us always to remember that our beginning is in you. Help us to remember that everyone else has that same beginning. Grant that we may sink our roots deeper in you, so that we are not blown about by every wind nor uprooted by every storm. Keep us firmly grounded in you and your word that we may be about the work you would have us do.