In light of last week’s sermon on 1 Peter 3, here are my thoughts (from a woman’s perspective!) on what submission is, how it works, and how I truly feel about it! Mind you, it’s my first blog ever, so please bear with me!
Before I start, let me say this: Submission, to me, has more to do with the attitude of my heart rather than the big specific decisions in which I have to defer to my husband’s leadership. Is my heart willing to follow my husband? Do I desire to see him succeed and thrive, or am I only concerned with my own comfort and situation? There will be times when I do need to lay aside my preferences or opinions, and submit to his decisions. However, in general I think of “submission” as a willingness to follow my husband, trust his leadership, respect him, and work to help him succeed and be the man that God dreams him to be.
Now, when I think of “submission” in the specific sense, to be honest, I think of my parents and a few other godly couples that I respect. (If you’ve never seen marriage done well, I commend you to find a couple that you respect and watch them! Imitate their marriage, and learn from them.) I have wonderful parents who modeled God’s plan for marriage very well for me. I remember a conversation with my mom about submission when I was in high school. We were standing in the kitchen, and she told me that she didn’t have a problem with submission as a wife, because the husband was called to love her above himself. If he was making decisions with her best interests in mind then it should go well for her. Husbands are called to love their wives sacrificially, as Christ loved the church, and also as much as they love their own bodies (Eph. 5:25-33). My mom looked at me and said, “Who wouldn’t want to follow someone who was loving them in that way?” It was a freeing concept to her, and it is one to me as well.
I don’t have to be responsible for every decision. While I have my own responsibility before God, ultimately Kyle will be held accountable for how he led our family. I don’t envy that at all!! I know that in the midst of life, decisions will come up. My husband is to make the call on these decisions putting the needs of myself and our family above his own needs and preferences. I can follow him as he follows God, and I can trust that as I have a willing spirit to trust and honor him through submission, it will be a blessing to our marriage (even if he doesn’t make every decision perfectly!).
At times, he will make poor decisions. However, he always does listen to me, respect my opinions, hear out my concerns, and value my input. If I feel heard and understood, then I can more easily let go of my own will and trust him. Of course this is not always easy, and the even harder part is not reminding him of my opinion in a decision that he made which ended poorly! Once I choose to submit to his decisions, I am saying that I will make that decision with him. Trust me, he won’t need any reminding that I had disagreed with him! As a wife, I need to choose to respect my husband by not playing the “I told you so” game.
How often does this type of submission happen in our lives? Not very often at all. We’ve been married almost 10 years, and I can easily count the times that we’ve discussed something major, had different opinions, and I had to choose to submit to his lead. I think much of that can be credited to communication in marriage. We really talk through a lot of these decisions and weigh them out as a couple. I feel truly loved by Kyle, and I know that he takes his responsibility for our family seriously. (Note: There are often times for much smaller things that I must choose to defer to my husband’s preference or decision. These are not as “hard” or scary to submit to, but they do require me to set my pride aside and graciously follow. Times like these are the testing ground which prepare my heart for the more major decisions in which I need to submit.)
My role as a wife is to respect my husband, be his helpmate, and love him tirelessly. When he knows that I will follow him willingly wherever he goes, through whatever he decides, and however he deems best to spend our time, money, energy, etc, he feels truly respected. When he feels respected, he feels loved. When he feels loved, he wants to love me in return. Win, win!! What true joy there is found in living life to see your very best friend thrive and come alive! Submission is not a menial task…it is hard and selfless, but it is part of how God has created us to live as women. And living how God created us is truly the most freeing and best life of all!
**One caveat I want to address before I end…I recognize that many of you reading this will not have a husband who is putting your needs before his own. He may not even be a Christian. I will say to you: I don’t pretend to understand your situation, but I do know that God still created you as a woman who was designed to follow her husband’s lead. If he is not leading you into sin or disobedience to God, you follow him and show him respect in doing so. Don’t be afraid to communicate to him your concerns, feelings, and opinions in decision-making. That is also part of being his helpmate. However, how you communicate those can make all the difference in the world as well. As wives we are to be helpful…not manipulative, demeaning, or selfish. 1 Peter 3 says to those who have unbelieving husbands that some of the husbands may be won over to following Christ simply by the wife’s godly character and willingness to submit to their leadership…what an incredible role we have as women to draw our husbands closer to God by how we live. With Christ modeling submission for us, and the Holy Spirit modeling the role of a helpmate, we can see that how we live makes a big difference in our marriages!
May we be known as women who love God with all our hearts, and may that love overflow in our lives to our husbands, families, and all those around us!