Cue the scary music, I want to talk about submission!

I would say that I've been a fairly submissive wife now for a good couple of years. 'Submissive wife', no doubt, conjures up images in your mind of a big overpowering husband who rules with an iron fist over his passive, small and timid wife. But I ask you: Am I small? Am I timid? Am I passive?

Nope. Not a jot.

So, I wanted to bust a few myths about what submission is and what it looks like.

Firstly, let me say that there are some brilliant resources on the Above Rubies (aboverubies.org) website, but I want to share more about the practical things that a submissive wife does for her husband.

OK, so what does a submissive wife look like?

I think it all comes down to respect for her man. 'Submission' is defined as 'to give over or yield to the power or authority of another'. We all know Ephesians 5:22-24: 'Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.' I don't see anything in there that says you aren't allowed to have an opinion. I don't see anything there about not speaking or remaining silent. To me, it just reads: respect his authority to make the decisions. Doesn't say you can't be involved in the process!

Writes Pearl Barrett of Above Rubies, "Finally, when there is a decision to make that you have strong feelings about, you should feel free to share your thoughts with your husband on the subject. Remember though, as we are told in 1 Peter 3:5, that a wife’s meek and gentle spirit is precious in the sight of God. The way you share your feelings with your husband on the matter will affect his ability to listen."  (http://aboverubies.org/articles/english-language/-marriage/273-marriage--why-not-submit)

How do you share your ideas in a meek and gentle spirit? Phrases like, "I just wanted to check....", "Do you mind if...." are two examples of which I use with my husband often. It's just being polite, really. No big deal.

Also, have any of your read further on after that Ephesians verse I quoted? See those six verses? Yeah, if I were a husband, those words would make me shake in my boots! 'Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” '

Jesus Christ died for the church, that she may appear holy and blameless before God. In God's eyes, husbands are expected to do the same. That's serious stuff! Seriously, if all that rests on my man's shoulders, then the least I can do is respect him when he makes a decision - he's got a big call on his life as a husband!

So, in practical terms, it also means that as well as respecting his decision, I ask Ben's advice on things much more. Big things like educating our children and small things, like "How does this look?". For me, it means that I can relax, knowing that someone is sharing the load and I'm not alone. With our four young children, I'm often overwhelmed and so I love knowing that he is interested in lifting my burden. And he gives awesome advice as well! It also means that even if I don't agree, I might voice my concerns, but also let him know that I'll trust his decision. This sort of scenario happens for me quite often, but I have learned to trust, keep my mouth shut if things do go wrong and take my concerns to God in prayer. It is hard, but it gets easier with practice!

Pearl Barrett, in her article "Why Not Submit?" ( http://aboverubies.org/articles/english-language/-marriage/273-marriage--why-not-submit) says, "How do we submit?  You don’t have to wait until the next seriously important decision arises to allow your husband to lead.  Submission is a lifestyle.....As mothers and wives we have households to run and many decisions to make daily.  Of course, there are many things we must decide on our own, but this does not give us license to disregard our husband’s leadership. The woman in Proverbs 31 whose price is above rubies brings honor to her husband. When you make plans that will impact the family, run it by your husband first, instead of charging ahead. If he disagrees, this is not the time to rant and rave or give him the silent treatment."

Submission to me also means looking at things from his perspective. This was a big wake-up call to me when God brought it to my attention. Is it any surprise that husbands are uninterested if their wife tells them what to do and then attacks them or laughs at their suggestions or advice? How could I expect my husband to sit and listen to me complain about the children and the housework if I wouldn't listen to his advice without sarcastic comments or I laugh it off?

Finally, I think a submissive wife has children who know that she respects their Dad. I'm always saying, "We'll need to check with Daddy." and we always do it! When he disciplines them, I don't step in. He follows through with discipline that he instigates and if he intervenes in what I'm doing, I let him. He is ultimately responsible for them, so he has the final call. They know that when their Dad speaks, it's their turn to listen.

The best bit of being a submissive wife is seeing your husband grow stronger and become more responsible and confident. Choosing to give my husband respect has really blessed our marriage because as my husband has realised how much the children and I respect him, it's made him in turn bless us even more with thoughtfulness and tenderness. It's so fantastic to receive unexpected blessings in return for letting him lead our family.

The most exciting development in our family is that my husband decided on his own to start a little Bible Study with our children two nights a week (we do stories and prayers every night, this is an added thing that the older two children stay up later for). I can't begin to tell you how awesome it is to see my husband engaging with our children in such a fantastic way - without me even saying a word! And of course, since it's Dads thing, the children LOVE it!
So, while I know it sounds old-fashioned and sooooo 1950's, I think that it works. God designed it! It works better for me as a wife and mum to know that I really do share the burden of decision-making in our family and that my husband feels empowered enough to step out and engage our family and lead us through life together. I can see the swelling of pride and strength in my husband as he makes decisions that are fully supported without question. It's so fantastic!

This doesn't happen overnight, it's a process that takes heaps of patience and tongue-biting! And of course, as someone who grew up in an abusive home, I would say that if any wife is worried for the safety of herself or her children, she should leave her marriage - because it's not a marriage. I don't doubt that God wouldn't want to see his precious daughter abused or bullied by her husband. Submitting to an abusive man achieves nothing. God is God and he knows how messy life can get and that us humans make mistakes.

As a little aside, I often turn comments around and replace the man with the woman and it's interesting how it appears - for example, the couple fooling around over the yoghurt in this clip. How would it appear if the roles were reversed? Yeah, not so funny. It'd be domestic violence, actually!

So I hope that you're not as scared about the word 'submission' now or at least understand the concept a little more. As always, my door (or blog) is open if you have any questions!

Blessings,

J :)

Comments

  1. Perfect explanation!!! I wouldn't want it to be any other way in our house.

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