Through the years, my views about submission, and submitting to my husband in general has changed. When we married, I was quite the feminist. I knew beyond a doubt that my greatest joy and job was to care for my children, but I didn’t quite understand the way I should relate to my husband from a Biblical viewpoint.
The Lord has been so kind to me, and over time I have realized my error. I no longer believe that submission is antiquated, and I try to be the follower, and not the leader, in our marriage. Even though I now understand my role, I don’t always get it right. It’s funny. I was a first born, and my husband was the last born in his family. Perhaps this is why it is so easy for me to try and take the lead.
Anyhow, I usually try my best to submit, which can be hard. Now, my husband is a pretty easy going guy. Submission should be fairly easy.
But it not always is. Especially when it comes to a topic I feel very strongly about.
While I usually will go along with what he wants to do without many complaints, I can develop a martyr attitude.
You know, the “woe is me” complex. Or sometimes I will grow quiet, not willing to share my feelings.
While reading Flourish by Dorcas Showalter, I came across a passage that I would like to share with you.
“Sometimes my husband reminds me to just please let him lead in the area where we disagree. Even if I am reluctant to trust his leading for fear he’ll make a mistake, I must let him do the job God asked him to do as a husband.
This may put me in a quandary. I’m willing to give up things I enjoy doing, but my husband doesn’t want my martyr attitude. Neither does he want a wife who is a spineless “doormat,” never voicing her opinion. Off and on over the course of several years, I searched for answers to the puzzle.
I discovered a phrase I hadn’t heard before – false submission. I realized that while I thought I was applying God’s commands to submit to my husband, I had not totally given up the reins. I wanted to hold onto the very end, so that just in case I thought my husband was letting go, I could pick up the slack and hopefully not everything would be lost. I thought I was trying to submit, but I was still failing. I had to totally abandon my desire to control him. ‘Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.’ (Ephesians 5:24). In everything! Nothing omitted.” – Florish, p. 50
Hmm…false submission. I think I might practice this more than I realize. It is so easy to put on a good show, but still not totally give up the reins.
She continues, “To be submissive doesn’t mean you are weak. It takes strength to give up all your will to control and manipulate. It takes strength to get your heart and mind in agreement and say, ‘Not my will, but Yours, Lord.”
I easily forget that submitting to my husband is a command of God, and should be a picture to the rest of the world as to how the assembly of believers is to submit to the will of the Father, just as our Messiah did.
While I wouldn’t say that I desire to “control” my husband, I at times elevate my own opinion much higher than it should be. A marriage involves a continual dying to our flesh, on both sides to be sure.
While I was cleaning out our room yesterday, my husband thought he would be helpful and pull a few things of mine out of his closet so he could better organize his space. I must admit that I winced when I saw the new pile of my own random items to go through. Didn’t he know that by him cleaning his closet too, it will create more work for me? (On a side note, these items were put in the closet before I knew it would eventually be his. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have put them there in the first place.)
Ah, it is so easy to think of our own selfish motives, but we must take every thought captive unto Christ. I would like to say that I immediately realized my wrongdoing, but I did stew for awhile. Being selfish is easy…it comes so naturally. I was not being submissive to my husband when I saw that pile of stuff sitting in my closet unannounced and uninvited. He obviously wanted me to take care of it, and my selfish feelings took over. This does not have to be the end of the story, though. With God’s help, we can do the right thing and put others needs and wants before our own…especially when it comes to our husbands.
I would like to encourage you today to be helpful, submissive wives. We can do this, ladies! One day at a time. And when we fail (which we sometimes will), it is wonderful to realize that God’s grace is here for us, and He will continue to mold us into His image minute by minute.
I hope your day is wonderful, ladies!