Marriage, such a beautiful example of our relationship with Jesus. In You Want Me to Submit? Part 1, I shared some scriptures, definitions, and quick thoughts on submission. Today, I want to get a little deeper into what that might look like in our marriages.
Now, even though I’m sharing on this topic, do not think I’ve conquered the stubborn and defiant flesh nature that wants her way. Oh no. Sometimes there is a battle, but I’m learning. I’m learning to allow my husband to lead, and I’m learning to allow the Holy Spirit to lead. The more I submit, the easier it becomes. Be encouraged that this area is something to be practiced as in other spiritual and physical disciplines.
In the beginning of our marriage, the thought of submitting grated on me. Give up control? No, I can’t. Yet, I wanted my husband to lead our family. So I’d submit, but only when I agreed. I still tried to get my way, and often succeeded. I deluded myself into thinking that was true submission.
I can remember the first time I clearly saw the damage I was doing to our marriage. I came home all excited about an opportunity for our kids to take piano lessons. It would be awesome, the price was doable, and we’d finally get some real use out of our keyboard. Can we do it?
“No, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
I’m thinking perhaps he didn’t hear all the details. I rehashed it all, and said please. He didn’t budge on this. I begged, pleaded my case, and generally refused to accept his decision.
I can still remember the look on his face. I’d worn him down. His whole demeanor sagged, weary. His sad expression tore at my heart. In frustration, he told me to do what I wanted.
I’d won the battle! So why did I feel broken and empty as I watched him drive away? I remember sitting on the front porch, tears streaming down my face as I realized that in winning, I’d lost. I had lost something far more valuable than piano lessons. I’d lost the intimacy and closeness in my marriage.
I dragged myself off the steps, and into the house. I spent the day processing what had happened. I looked hard at our relationship. Why did I fight this man I loved? I craved his leadership, yet I fought for constant control. Over and over, I headbutted with him on issues. I began to see the pattern in our marriage, and how more and more, he would just concede to my wishes. I’d ask him, and he’d say, do what you want. The very thing I truly wanted, I had driven out of him – the will to lead.
I wish I could say that was the last time I fought his leadership. I have wounded my husband so deeply because I didn’t follow God’s plan for marriage. Some of us have to fall and shatter before we give in. Hear my heart, it is not worth your marriage to refuse to submit as God has called you to.
Submission can be scary! Trust me, I know. Here’s the truth about submission. I have come to realize that more often than not, my husband’s decision has been the best choice for our family. If we had done the piano lessons, I would have been so overwhelmed and overextended. My husband knows me, and he knew it was the wrong timing. It wasn’t long before I realized this myself.
I know we get a less than desirable mental picture when we think of submission, but let me paint the truth about marriage. As I submit to his leadership, and as I show him the respect he craves, he begins to cherish me more. He takes time to nurture and nourish our marriage. I feel secure, comfortable in his love. Which makes me want to submit to his leadership more, and I have more respect for this man I love. It builds a good cycle of give and take in our marriage.
We discuss things, I share my heart, my thoughts, but I choose to allow him to make the final decision. He’s not demanding I submit; I am choosing to. Sometimes that choice isn’t even a real thought, but a natural happening. Other times, I am conscious of the decision, and I CHOOSE to respect and honor him. The consequence of not doing so is far too fresh not to. The joy in a close, intimate marriage is far more precious than having things my way. There is so much freedom in a marriage walked out according to God’s mandate.
I am free to nurture my family. I am free from the weight of responsibility in providing for our family. I am free to build up and encourage my family. I am free from making the wrong decisions for our family. I can relax and rest in knowing that my husband is the leader, and I am to walk beside him in this venture. To help him as he needs it.
When we obey our Lord, we experience freedom, contentment, and security. It’s the same dynamic in our marriages.
Call to Action:
Think over your marriage. Do you allow your husband to lead as God has said? Or do you submit when it works for you? Is this an area you struggle in? If so, why? Fear? Pride? Hard questions to ask ourselves, but allow God to shine the truth about submission in your marriage. Ask him to help you in this area.
On Monday, I’ll tackle what happens when our husbands won’t lead. How should we, as wives, respond?
All photographs on this post were taken and are copyrighted by Markle Memories Photography.