I apologize for the lack in recent posts. I recently had a baby, and they tend to take up quite a bit of time. Not to mention, sleep deprivation would have resulted in some very hard to follow –albeit entertaining- articles.
As a married Christian woman, I can honestly say my constant struggle is with the idea of submission. Most of those outside of the Christian faith see submission as a man who has complete control of his woman, and therefore the woman has no opinions but is instead destined to serve dinners and bear children in silence.
Unfortunately, some Christians also uphold this idea. Women are, consequently, turned off by it, and instead run screaming for the hills with battle chants of independence. The Devil has done his job convincing the world that submission is another form of female bondage, and has deceived us into believing that this is another one of those “outdated” traditions that we can discard in favor of modern definitions of womanhood.
This was a particularly hard concept for me to wrap my head around. I mentioned in my testimony that I had been in a controlling relationship. My definition of submission had been tainted to read, “any request made by a man shall be honored immediately, with no objection, regardless of what it is.”
When I did get married, I was bound and determined not to submit to my husband. If he asked me to get him a glass of water, I told him to get it himself. If he asked me why I didn’t make dinner, I told him if he was hungry he knew where the kitchen was. If he complained that he had no clean socks, I reminded him that he knew good and well how to work a washer.
While I was on wife-strike, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why my husband had started lacking on his duties. I piled up eight bags of trash in the dining room waiting for him to take it out. I kept praying that God would show him that he wasn’t fulfilling his calling as a husband.
Finally, one night, we had a fight. My husband asked me to make dinner, and I gritted my teeth and made pasta. I chose pasta because it took the least amount of time, and I felt less like I was “submitting” if dinner was low-key. As I brought it out, he made a comment about how I can’t do anything except make spaghetti. I broke down and cried for a solid ten minutes.
Obviously, he was confused. I explained the sudden outbreak to him. When I was in my previous abusive relationship, he would constantly tell me to make him dinner. I wanted to avoid being around him as much as possible, so I made the quickest thing I knew how- spaghetti. It was my form of trying to get out from under his thumb. In the instant my husband made his comment, I finally connected the dots. I was punishing him for something that someone else had done to hurt me.
We stayed up and talked until we had to go to work the next morning. I explained every detail of that relationship to him. I explained how it had formed my idea of how women were expected to serve men without question. As I began to understand how much my misunderstanding of submission was hurting my marriage, I could finally see that I had been praying for the wrong person to change.
The next day, he took me to the library, and we found some Christian books on womanhood and submission. My definition of being a wife has changed greatly. Not that it’s perfect by ANY means, but it has matured immensely. It has also been modified by many of those hot-shower-epiphanies that so many women are familiar with.
The following realizations are what led me to my current understanding of submission:
Epiphany 1: Submission begins with submitting to God. He calls us to submit to our husbands. Therefore, no matter the circumstances, we should submit to our husbands because we first submit to God.
Epiphany 2: Obedience brings blessings. If God calls us to submit to our husbands, and we obey, then we will bring blessings into our marriage.
Epiphany 3: Our husbands cannot earn our submission. Our husbands are not perfect. As wives, we get caught up in lists in our heads that justify our decision to forego submission. However, no list justifies disobedience.
Epiphany 4: Our husbands are also called into submission. God calls all of His people to submit to Him. He calls husbands to love and respect their wives as Christ loves the church. Just as our husbands cannot earn our submission, we cannot earn a Christ-like love.
Epiphany 5: We are perfectly created to fulfill our calling. Men are created to lead. They are better equipped to make decisions, protect their loved ones, and be the foundational strength for their family. They thrive in an environment where they are respected. Women are created to help. We are better equipped to give emotional support and advice. We are designed to nurture our family. We thrive in an environment where we are loved unconditionally.
Epiphany 6: The world expects husbands to fail. You’ve seen the comedies where husbands have no clue. They feed kids junk. They watch TV nonstop. They get fat and lazy. Modern culture expects husbands to fail in their calling, and calls women to step up to the plate.
Epiphany 7: Obedience really does bring blessings. Once you step into your role as a wife, you vacate the role that should be filled by your spouse. This allows him the ability to step into his role as a loving husband. As you bring yourself into submission to God, He will bring your husband into that strong, loving role you are longing for.
Notice anything? Never once does submission point to who does the dishes or the laundry or the trash.
In fact, submission can be succinctly defined as this: A man, in obedience to God, fulfilling his role by loving and leading his wife as Christ led and loved the church. Also, a woman, in obedience to God, fulfilling her role by supporting and following her husband as the church should support and love Christ.
Each marriage is different. Each spouse will have to pray about their own unique way to fulfill their role for their own marriage.
Remember: God blesses those who obey Him. If you are having difficulty in your own marriage, focus first on yourself. Ask Him how to fulfill the role He has set aside especially for you. Do not be afraid of His calling. As you begin to willingly accept being a wife or husband, He will bless you with peace and contentment in your marriage.
Pray for your spouse, but not out of frustration. Pray for God to work in their hearts to prepare them to step into their role. Only God can truly change a person.
Be patient. As you learn to become the wife or husband that God called you to be, there will be tests. Recognize that they are an opportunity to become stronger, not a production of your failures.
Above all, remember you are not alone. God is waiting for you to ask Him deeper into your marriage, and He is ready to bring unimaginable blessings with Him.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”