Wednesdays for Wives: That Dirty Little “S” Word (Not the One Your Thinking)

I  Goggled “Christian Wife” and was disappointed by what came up. I found article after article admonishing us to be submissive and obedient, and detailing the dire consequences if we are not.

Wait! Don’t get your dander up and start quoting scripture to me just yet. I am well aware of what the Bible says. “Wives, submit to your husband, as is fitting in the Lord,”  (Colossians 3:18) and –gasp!– I agree with it. I even vowed on my wedding to “obey” my husband. Now all you who think I’ve just set feminism back 1oo years keep reading before you completely disregard me.

It’s true, as wives we are called by God to submit ourselves to the authority of our husbands. It is one half of a commandment that is central to a strong marriage. The other half is found in the verse that follows, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” That is a discussion for another time. Let’s keep focusing on that dirty little S word. No, not that one. Again, a different discussion. I mean submission.

What bothered me about most of the articles on submission was that they simply stated it was something we must do, with out mention of why. They also cautioned of what might happen if we don’t, but said nothing of the good if we do. Also, it was the only thing mentioned. Nothing about all the other virtues of a Godly wife. Anyone ever read Proverbs 31?

Let’s first dissect Colossians 3:18 a bit. Notice that Paul, the author of the book, directly address the wives. He doesn’t say, “Husbands, make your wives submit.” This means that it is up to us to choose to submit. It is a willful act. Next the following words say, “as it fitting in the Lord.” This means that we are to submit to our husbands because it honors God. So our submitting is not based on contingencies, such as what our husband has or has not done to deserve our obedience. We choose to surrender ourselves to the authority of our husband, because we have already surrendered ourselves to the authority of Jesus Christ.  

Now let’s delve a little deeper. Most of us get hung up on this whole submission thing because we don’t want to see ourselves as weak or inferior. And why should we? Going back to Proverbs 31, it’s author shows us that a Godly women is in fact, strong, smart and enterprising, and her value is unrivaled. The women described in the Old Testament chapter runs household affairs, cares for her family and conducts business outside the home that brings in money. She doesn’t fear the future because she is prepared to meet it. She is strong physically and mentally and she is wise. It says, “Her husband has full confidence in her.” She is also loved and appreciated by her family. Does this sound like a meek,retiring wallflower? No. It sounds more like today’s modern woman who “has it all.” According to this, with the right balance, you can.

So again back to Submission. Webster’s dictionary give this definition for the word submit. “To give over or yield to the power or authority of another; to subject to some kind of treatment or influence; to present for approval, consideration or decision of another or others.” It goes on, but you get the drift. No where does it say anything about being inferior. It talks of a willfull act solely of the part of the person who is submitting to allow the one in authority to have the final say. Inferior is defined by Webster’s as “lower in station, rank, degree or grade; of comparatively low grade, poor in quality, substandard.” Being a woman doesn’t mean that we are substandard to men. In God’s eyes we are all equals, sinful by nature, worthy of the same love and forgiveness offered freely to us by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as payment for our debts.

What God has done is establish order. 1 Peter 2:13-15 says, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”  God recognized that somebody has to be in charge. Decisions must be made, success rewarded and rules enforced.

We need earthly leaders. Consider a company with 25 employees. All have an MBA, and all have a different idea about how to improve profits. They are equal in education and each idea is a good one. There aren’t enough resources to pursue all the ideas and eventually different approaches would conflict with each other, and in the end nothing would be accomplished. So one employee must be appointed leader to direct which idea will be carried out. Perhaps a vote is taken to name the leader.

A marriage partnership, just like a business, needs one person who has the final say so each person isn’t working against the other. God has taken the vote for us, and he has said that the husband is the leader in a marriage. Ephesians 5:23 says, “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.” In the preceding verse, Ephesians 5:22 that nasty little word again appears, “Wives, submit to your husband as to the Lord.”  In submitting to your husband you are really submitting to God. If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ you have already decided to surrender to another authority in your life. This is just acting on what you are called to do as a woman of God.

Take a deep breath if I’m making you angry. Consider for a moment the good implications of submitting to another’s authority. The pressure if off you! By allowing your husband to have the final say you can stop fretting, stop worrying, stop agonizing over every little thing. Support your husband, lift him up in prayer, offer comfort and let him carry the load for you. God designed it that way. Trust your husband to trust God to lead him and you in the right direction. Ultimately trust that God will honor your decision to submit to your husband, and he will bless your marriage and provide for your needs.

So maybe Submitting isn’t a dirty, nasty word after all. It’s God way of telling us it’s O.K. to relinquish control, let our guard down, not try to do it all by ourselves. Submit to your husband and let him be a haven to you in the midst of life’s storms.

Another benefit of submission not mentioned in most things I read, the affect on that other “S” word, sex. Yes, I said it. You will find that when you surrender to the authority of your husband his affection and desire for you will increase because what he wants from you more than your love, is your respect. By showing him that you have given yourself over to his authority, you are showing him respect. You will notice a change in his attitude toward you and he will be better able to love you as he is called to do. Intimacy will blossom in way it can only in a marriage that honors God’s commands.

It takes practice to submit as we are called to do. It’s difficult, especially when the world around us tell us every day to do the exact opposite. I’ve been trying to get it right for 10 years, and I still find myself trying to take the reins. I am an imperfect work in progress, but I keep at it. When I do get it right I can see the tangible results of God’s hand and blessing in our marriage.

If you have resisted submitting to your husband I challenge you to give it a try, and see what results. If this is something you’ve been practicing already I encourage you  to keep it up, and look for the blessings that have come from it.

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One Response to “Wednesdays for Wives: That Dirty Little “S” Word (Not the One Your Thinking)”

  1. acupofjoy Says:

    Submission has become a reality for me. I’m a newlywed…married 9 months. Only by the grace of God is submission possible sometimes. It is easier to submit when keeping one’s mind on the truth…”as submitting to Jesus”. Submission isn’t always hard. Sometimes it is a real joy to submit. I know I have a lot to learn as a new wife. I desire to be a blessing to my husband, respect and honor him as would please God. Ladies, we are in this together. We are all learning this lesson. May we uphold one another with encouragement, prayer, and a sense of humor. Doing all in love, and for the glory of God.

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