Ok, let’s rehash. First, know that ever since I posted the article on submission, I have done nothing but backpedal. It’s quite embarrassing, actually. But, my closing argument was that submissive women are just as strong as those who don’t. In fact, some might think stronger. I’ll let you decide that for yourself.
Ephesians 5:21-29 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Submission: Accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.
What does this look like in the year 2013? Women have made many strides since the Bible was written. We can vote, have high powered jobs, hold government office, and I don’t want to brag or anything, but I am now a person! I know, it’s great. But does the Bible change, even though society is virtually unrecognizable from those days?
I’m going to say, wholeheartedly and emphatically, NO.
So what does submission look like?
The biggest one for me: REALIZING THAT YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING
For real, I don’t. So why is it so hard to admit that? I mess up around our home every day. I’ll forget to set the timer. Leave a load of laundry in too long. Forget a child in timeout. Forget to pick up something at the store. Drive past the gas station, while on empty. Believe me, I could go on. These are just the things I FORGET. There’s also my mistakes: ignoring a child while I’m on the phone. Getting impatient with the Pretty One. Not following through on discipline when I just don’t want to fight. So why can I not allow my husband to do these things? At one time, and really, my natural state wants to nag him when he forgets his lunch at work. Or criticize him when he doesn’t handle the children like I would. At work, he is trusted with vehicles worth waaaaay more than the equity in our home. But I feel the need to look over his shoulder and say, “Well, you can cut his toast like that, but that’s not the way I would do it.” If we wonder why so many men feel the need to stay at work longer than they need to, look no further than the fact that men, in a lot of cases, are not welcome in their homes. They get yelled at when they help, and yelled at if they don’t. I know I am guilty of it, anyways.
MATCHING UP PRIORITIES
I can count on my two hands the amount of times that dinner was NOT ready when my handsome hubby got home from work. Seriously. He calls me when he leaves, I have it hot and ready when he gets home. The food, I mean. This was important to me, because all husbands want that, and it makes me a good wife. Right? NOPE! I’m realizing, now, years later, that he needs a shower at the end of a long day to ease into the hustle and bustle of our home. He is exhausted, and just needs a few minutes to clean up and get in Daddy mode. Huh. Kinda makes sense. Too bad I completely resented the fact that he didn’t seem to appreciate it. I told him to care and everything! Also, most days (the percentage was much higher before Baby #4, I think we’re now hovering around 70%) I had the house picked up when he got home. As in, nothing on the floors, toys picked up. Well. I can expect all the praise and accolades I want, but he would much prefer work shirts in his drawer, as opposed to still in the laundry basket (They were at least clean, okay?). So, now I write, with toys by my feet, coffee in hand, but, wait for it. . . clean shirts in the drawer. It’s even easier. By adjusting my priorities to his, life is actually much simpler. Are all men like this? Have no idea. I’m only married to one. But it’s worth the question, “Hunny, what EXACTLY do you care most about?”
Here’s the one we’ve all been waiting for. . . . letting him make decisions! We can say that we’re equal and all that, but when it comes to making decisions, especially with money, do we let our husbands? When faced with a decision, how many of us put in our two cents (or whatever it’s worth, the penny’s gone, and if you round down. . . ) and then get angry if they don’t listen to us? Or give them the silent treatment, or wait for them to fail so we can say, “I told you so!” That doesn’t seem like equal to me. I think that puts the pendulum totally on our side: if they don’t follow what we believe to be right, we get resentful. And I don’t know if you know the proverb about that, but a troublesome wife is compared to a leaky roof. Eek. That’s pretty annoying. And expensive. I don’t want him to be annoyed by my “having to have it my way.” I love him. I want him to want to be around me. Of course, in saying this, please realize that I am totally guilty of this. Actually, two days after my original post on submission, I blew it pretty good on this one. My HH made a purchase, without consulting me (he does not HAVE to.) I didn’t freak out or anything, but, um, my displeasure was known to all, believe you me. I gave him a good dose of girly mama attitude, but I didn’t yell or say anything straight out (NOT AN ACCURATE PICTURE OF BIBLICAL SUBMISSION). Well, wouldn’t you know. He worked hard, and ended up not having to pay for the purchase at all. Simple as that. It was given to him freely. Huh. If I would have worked through what I believe and truly feel in my heart before coming to rash judgments and, umm, emoting, I would have left it to him and God, and I would have been so blessed by it. But now, I was wrong and I had to apologize. Living and learning, I guess. I wish I would have knocked that one out of the park, and trusted him enough to mess up. See, I have found that there are TWO end results in letting my HH make decisions:
1. He is wrong. And he’s allowed to be. I am, all the time. I would much rather give him the grace and space to make mistakes in his own right, then ever stand in his way of something he believes in, or to regret something because of me. If he messes up on his own, he is far more likely to apologize, not do it again, and learn from his mistakes. If I never let him take risks, either he won’t, and regret it, or he will, and will be too ashamed to come to me. I love him. I love him through the good and the bad. The thought of him not coming to me when he’s disappointed, and having to carry it on his own, breaks my heart.
2. He is right. And we, the family, are blessed by his decision, his knowledge and his leadership. ‘Nuff said.
Obviously, I am working on this one. Case in point. I totaled our car, and did NOT want another one. Mostly, I didn’t want to sell our holiday trailer to pay for it, because I love “camping” with the family as much as we can. He found a good deal, and he asked how I felt. I told him, truthfully, that I didn’t want a vehicle for the sake of our trailer. He overruled me. He doesn’t want me out in the country without being able to leave if there’s a problem. With the four kids, we can’t just ask someone to pick us up. So, he bought a car. It cost a little more than our other one, but it’s WAY better. The trunk’s bigger. Less mileage. Both fenders are painted. The speakers boom, almost like my old car. I love it. Yup. I was wrong. He was right. Good thing he listened to what he knew was better for us, rather than me.
PUTTING HIM AT THE FRONT
I’m not talking about priorities here (although I do have a strong opinion on that too.) I mean, letting him protect us. Not long ago we had problems with someone. It was bad. Our hearts were broken. There were many phone calls, screaming, crying, arguing, fighting. I dealt with it, to protect my HH. I would answer the phone, I would debate, argue, everything, to try and make them see how we felt. After one conversation with our pastor’s wife, I realized that I was trying to do what my HH is supposed to do. I let him handle it. He calmly laid down rules with this person. Problem solved. Completely. The crying, screaming, everything was over. I stopped making the situation worse by trying to make it better. He just eliminated the situation, and all relationships were restored within months. Even on facebook, I have a lot of old friends, and a lot of old guy friends. By putting my HH’s name before mine, I know that some people, guys especially, think twice about what they say to me. They don’t know who they are talking with. I am not put in uncomfortable situations. I know one would say, just don’t be friends with them! However, I know that a few have been blessed by our family and our relationship, because we are SO MUCH different than how we used to be. I want to be a light to the world. But to do that, I need to be protected and sheltered by my husband. This goes hand in hand with. . .
LETTING HIM SHELTER ME
Especially, from myself. Up until a few years ago, seriously, I will commit to anything. And crying and not sleeping, I will follow through. I love to do things, to schedule things, head up and organize things. At the expense of myself, for sure. So now, I ask him. When I was due for the Pretty One, I asked him if I could organize VBS. I was due on the Monday of the program, and I went overdue with the baby before. . . and he said no. I am so darn glad. Then my mom, the other main leader, had a stroke, and the whole thing was cancelled. You know what? Life went on. My sanity remained intact, or at least at the level it was before. As it turned out, I ended up having our little girl the day before it was to start. Imagine how plain dumb that is? There is so much blessing in allowing him to decide my schedule. Obviously, a lot of it falls on me. But when the going gets tough, if I stop jerking at the chain, it is so much smoother. A couple months ago, when I was still pregnant, we were supposed to go downtown for ministry. I was so tired, and just over my head in life. He came home and said, I already cancelled it. All of a sudden, a weight went off my shoulder with a whoooosh. What a way to prove how much he loves me, and our family. If he would have “asked” me before cancelling, I would have said no. I hate not following through with what I say I would do. But, he knew ultimately what was best. He totally saves me from myself.
Please know, I am not a theologian. But I can read, and this is what it says to me. Now, to me, this is only the first part of the verse. As in, “Submit yourselves to your own husband.” There’s more to it than just a few nice and easy bullet points. It says, “as unto the Lord.” Oh boy. Also, this does not talk about what it means if you positively know that your husband is not listening to God, or have your best interest at heart. And mercy, that makes me sad. I’m praying about it.
What do you think? What areas do you struggle with? What irks you about all this? Love to hear your thoughts! Please, fight me. I don’t know everything. How many times do I have to say that?!?