"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12



“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats





Friday, March 6, 2009

Submission

Defined in the dictionary as:

The act of submitting; the act of yielding to power or authority; surrender of the person and power to the control or government of another; obedience; compliance. acknowledgement of inferiority or dependence; humble or suppliant behavior; meekness; resignation.

I've been finding myself in prayer and deep thought for many months now about the very taboo subject of being a submissive wife. I know it's been the Lord speaking to my heart AND it's been something that I've really wanted to achieve. I have chosen this season of Lent to really practice this form of discipline, if you may. Can I tell you how hard it is?

I don't think I need to express how much I adore and respect my husband. The Lord has blessed me with a smart, very loving, Godly husband and an amazing father. Probably one of the best fathers that I've ever come across, without spoiling his children. I know I am blessed beyond measure in my marriage. So, why is it so darn difficult for me to follow God's word when it comes to submission.

At first, I thought I had a Type A personality, or what I thought were Type A traits. I've been doing lots of reading on both Type A and B and then came across a personality test by Discovery Health. I was pleased to find out that on a scale from 0 to 100 (0 being Type B - 100 being Type A) I scored a 38. A mix of both, but tend to gravitate towards Type B. This is what my score meant:

You seem to be in the middle between the Type A and Type B personality. In this case, the middle ground is good. Your attitude to life is more of the "smell the roses" kind and you know how and when to relax. Nonetheless, you realize that picking up a challenge and competing a little bit for your place in the sun can add some spice to your life. The equilibrium is important, so don't let your hostile, aggressive, and competitive alter ego take over too often. Generally, you are easy to be around, and people tend to feel relaxed and comfortable in your presence. Yours is a very healthy attitude towards life.

Sounds pretty good, huh? I thought so, considering the fact that the Type A personality didn't seem like too much of a nice person to me. It definitely wasn't the person I want to be. I digress.

Back to what my topic is about, Submission. Can't really blame it on that Type A personality now. I do like how I am. But, I wish when it came to my husband I'd be different.

The Lord clearly tell us in St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians (5:22-24) -"Wives, submit to your husbands as 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."

Like every couple, we've had some rough patches in the almost 12 years we've been together, but I can honestly say that we have a wonderful, loving relationship. I fully respect my husband. I love that he takes care of his family and is a wonderful provider. I absolutely see him as the head of our home and although his walk with Christ may not be what I (notice the Type A kickin' in) may want it to be, I know that He loves the Lord with all his heart and is a faithful servant. So, if he is my perfect dream man, why is it that I keep going back to the same question? Why do I feel that I should always put in my two cents and not trust 100% when he chooses otherwise without giving some sort of input? In the end, we always end up talking about whatever the issue was and coming to a unanimous decision. But, why should there even be a discussion?

In 1930, Pope Pius XI said something that is still very relevant to today's society. He said, (Casti connubii, 10 cf. The Navarre Bible — Captivity Epistles):

“The submission of the wife neither ignores nor suppresses the liberty to which her dignity as a human person and her noble functions as wife, mother, and companion give her the full right.

It does not oblige her to yield indiscriminately to all the desires of her husband; and his desires may be unreasonable or incompatible with her wifely dignity.

It does not mean that she is on a level with persons who in law are called minors. And minors are ordinarily denied the unrestricted exercise of their rights because of their immature judgment and not having enough experience.

I have to say that I totally agree. I've always been the kinda girl that is not big into women's rights. Yes, women should have the same equal rights as men when it comes to voting, employment, etc., but I am still very traditional when it comes to a man and a woman's role.

This entire post may sound like a bunch of blundering words thrown together, if so my apologies. This typical-of-me-controversial-topic is one that, as I mentioned earlier, has been on my mind for many months now and today I randomly decided to toss those thoughts down on "paper". This is something my heart is really calling me to do, As I read back the words I just wrote, I am clearly seeing the need for prayer asking for more humbleness and humility.

Since I have met so many wonderful Christian women (and men) that truly try to live by God's word daily, I would love to hear what your take is on this subject. Do you follow God's word as He intended us to when it comes to submission? If not, why? If ever I wanted comments or feedback on a topic, this one is it. Please either leave me a comment or EMAIL me. (If you do leave a comment and you think it may be something I may have questions about, please leave me your email address also.)

Of course, as always, those "Anonymous" comments will be accepted as long as they are respectful.

By the way, Scott's been way too busy lately to read my blog, so chances are he won't even get to this. But FYI, I have not told him that this is one of my Lenten sacrifices. I did mention that I am doing something different and I am hoping by Easter he could be the one to tell me what it was that I did.

Hugs and blessings,

14 comments :

Timmy's Girl said...

Ohilda,

What a blessing! I have always loved and accepted that my husband is the head of the household...I would NOT want his job, but like you, I tend to question it, and fall flat on my face. I had a mother that was very submissive and was a wonderful example, so it did make it a bit easier for me to follow that example, but not so easy that I don't have my moments...A LOT! What I meant about this being a blessing is that I have been struggling so much lately with the issue of my husband and his back pain and the meds, so I had to submit fully to God and let my husband be in that area. I was laughing when I read the part in your post that said,
" I know that He loves the Lord with all his heart and is a faithful servant. So, if he is my perfect dream man, why is it that I keep going back to the same question? Why do I feel that I should always put in my two cents and not trust 100% when he chooses otherwise without giving some sort of input?"
That was my struggle, has been my struggle...my 2 cents. So, I have studied, prayed, and finally submitted (Again, because I have to be broken about this OFTEN) and Sister, what a better week it has been. I have been freed of that burden. It was NEVER mine to begin with! My conversation with my husband went like this: "I am sorry that I have kept giving you my 2 cents. Especially since I know nothing about medicine and the medical field. I will from now on keep my 2 cents to myself and be a supportive wife instead."
Now, this doesn't mean I don't have a right to share my thoughts and opinions with him, but lately they have not been productive, so I feel the Holy Spirit is leading me to keep my fat trap shut. Instead God is wanting me to let HIM handle the situation. To keep my husband in prayer and to pray that God give him guidance on what he should or should not do.
What liberation when I give my cross to HIM. And wouldn't you know that instantly the junk that kept bothering me and putting a wall up between my husband and myself was completely gone.
If God's Word says we are to be submissive, then that my sisters is what we should be. Because all things from God are good and I have seen it time and time again...follow HIS instruction, be blessed beyond measure.

xoxo, Veronica in CA

a Tonggu Momma said...

For my husband and I... we BOTH feel that submission is somewhat of a mutual thing, simply because the husband is supposed to love his wife the way the Lord loved the church. Submission is easy for me because my husband leads our home this way - I put his needs first, he puts my needs first, we both put Christ above one another and ourselves. (Well... ideally... you know, sometimes... well, we ain't Christ! LOL.)

In terms of major decisions, we typically pray until we BOTH receive the same clear answer from God. If a decision MUST be made before that clear answer arrives, then I follow my husband's lead. It's rare that happens.

In terms of day to day stuff... I don't boss my husband around. If he does a chore, it's great as long as it's completed, no matter if he did it differently than I would have done. And vice versa. In terms of parenting the Tongginator, unless it impacts me in a HUGELY negative way, I say nothing because I realize that she needs different things from each of us. And he provides her with so many things that I never could BECAUSE his choices are different.

I believe that many churches do a terrible job teaching submission. They place almost all of the onus on the women. In truth, both husband and wife should work just as hard to make it work. And that doesn't mean that the husband should work on being MORE firm in decisions (although sometimes that might be the case)... it means that the husband should work on loving his wife the way Christ loved the church.

sara said...

I think the reason it is hard to submit, starts in Genesis.

Gen 3:16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

If you go back to the original text, the "desire" the bible is talking about is to "rule over your husband". with the fall came the desire in us to rule, but God gave that role to the man. Therefore, we can not do it without God.......submission to God is the key. Go back one verse in Eph 5:21

"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ"

That comes before the verse to wives. Because I love Christ, I choose to put my husbands best interests before mine and vice versa.

Lanny said...

I either sent a long comment or deleted it, either way it was accidental. Email me at victory@fairpoint.net let me know what I did.

Sassy Pants Freckle Face said...

All I can say here is WOW! I gave up coffee for Lent

Ruth said...

A great post and some great comments so far. Sure is a subject that is not very popular these days. Cute post over at my SIL's blog on the subject - kind of - did you see it? (Meredith's blog)

The Byrd's Nest said...

I am a submissive wife....BUT that doesn't mean that you don't have a mind of your own or your own heart. The tongue is a powerful weapon...even though I am submissive and Greg makes the final decisions in our home...sometimes I believe God uses me to speak to him.

For example...Greg was beating his head against a wall trying to figure out what to do with our church. Was God wanting him to stay there? Should he apply for another church? Why can't he reach these people? I just tried to be the peacemaker between Greg and the people. Then God spoke to me and I waited until I knew it was the right moment to tell Greg God has called us into the mission field.....he could tell it was God.....and he was peaceful for the first time in a long time.

So YES we should submit to their final decisions but God uses us Ohilda....He uses us and I KNOW He uses you!

sara said...

ohilda, just found a blog I think you should visit today: http://shootinstraight.blogspot.com/

maybe you already have!!

love ya!

Aus said...

Ohilda - you just love to open a can of worms from time to time don't you? There are more twists and turns in here that anyone would ever really think about....and I'm at something of a loss to find a place to start - my seminary background - or as a husband and dad of over 25 years....in keeping with the zeitgeist - maybe both -

I like to think that real dads and husbands don't want a servant or a slave - they want a partner and companion. My Christian beliefs (and you know me well enough to know that of all things I am a true Believer!) dictate an understanding of Scripture - and it is that understanding that actually prompted my thoughts. At the risk of offending our more fundamentalist Christian brothers and sisters - here's my thoughts...

In the Old Testament and later in the Gospel's and the rest of the New Testament - the speakers were talking to the people from the perspective of their times. In that era - males were 'of the world' and females were 'of the home'. The men had the education (such as it was) and worldview - and the women did not. Obviously in that life the men were the only ones suited to make 'life decisions'. Understanding that point - Paul's words - in their strict and simple language meaning, were a directive to the people on how to live their lives. They were a rule in keeping with Scripture - but along the lines of the 10 Commandments - simple and clear.

Today such is not the case. Men and women are generally well educated, and frequently women have higher or more advanced degrees then men do (at least here in the US)! Women are also 'in the world', making decisions and understanding things that women who lived over 2000 years ago couldn't begin to understand. Life is significantly more complicated, and what used to be black and white is now frequently gray.

We must reconsider the 'simple language' understanding in view of the "Zeitgeist" - we must reconsider our understanding by factoring in the 'spirit of the times' when the words were spoken, and how the world is today. In that light....

Today - women's opinions are valid and true - in ways that their ancient ancestors could never have understood. Women's dignity as humans (and life partners) DEMANDS consideration in both the world, and in any married or committed relationship.

For my part - Marie and I have never made a unilateral decision or demand without first considering the others opinion. In fact - the one thing that gets in the way in our relationship is when we get 'overly considerate' of the others opinion - that can really lead to 'gridlock' in a household!

So - submission - yes - but each to the other. "And a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife" - those words and the charge that "You shall love another as you love yourself" (sorry I'm not adding the citations this is getting way long!) demand the utmost respect of a husband for his wife, as well as the wife for the husband. Partnership is the truest form of submission.

That is the recipe for a long, successful, loving, committed, and happy relationship. It also sounds to me like what you have with Scott - and its what I have with Marie! It's also the recipe for a happy home - and - what all of us who have adopted have come to know very intimately!

Whomever I may have offended - my most humble apologies - but - I can respect your beliefs as being true to you - I hope that you can respect mine!

hugs - aus and co.

Sally- That Girl! said...

Ohilda, As you know this is an area I know God continues to work on in my life as well. I know I am very type A and independent and for that reason God placed an easy going husband who cherishes the idea of me needing him. Silly Father in Heaven who always knows what we need!!!!

I have lots to say about this subject but do not have enough time to properly articulate it in this post. I am working on it!!!

Colleen said...

This is a great post! In our household everything is equal.We do live traditional...my husband works and I stay home with the kids. I think you need to do what works for your marriage. We have been married almost 25 years...what ever we are doing works for us! : )

Carmen said...

One thing that is very important and hardly ever stated about a wife's submission is that we answer to God first so we do not submit to our husbands in sin.

Esthermay said...

Excellent post. I wish more Christians would rely on God Word as the AbsoluteFinalAuthorityOnAllThings - including what it has to say to women!
Churches won't teach this.
It's up to the older women to teach the younger women (who defines "old" is what I'd like to know....lol) as Paul instructed in Titus.
THANK YOU!

ABM said...

I have been struggling with this same thing lately. I really feel God calling me to be more like the Proverbs 31 woman. I am very stubborn and headstrong and while I accept my husband as the head of the household and he has the final say in things, I grumble and push a lot on the little things in day to day living. I really am trying to turn around my thinking and realize that this is a gift to my children and husband that I can give and that they need. Whenever I start to think that it's not fair, I think about how unfair it was that the one person on earth who had no sin was sent to earth to die for the sins of everyone else.

That said, I am struggling hard with it. But, I do think it is something God is calling me to do.

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