I’m a strong-willed, bull-headed, opinionated, outspoken modern woman married to a man who continually challenges me to pursue my dreams and make an eternal impact. And yet, I take Ephesians 5:22-23 literally, which says, “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of His body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything” (NLT).
Yes, the verse preceding this says we are to “submit to one another,” but here’s the deal–I have no control over my husband’s behavior but I have full control over mine. And in this instance, I can choose to obey Christ, trusting He truly does know better than I how to build a happy, intimate relationship, or I can operate on my own faulty, self-absorbed, deceived thinking.
So, what does biblical submission look like in modern marriage?
It’s not oppressive. It doesn’t mean suppressing my God-given ideas and intellect and following my husband around with the remote and an iced soda. In fact, in my home, it’s rarely seen, until a major conflict arises. When that happens, I’m given a choice–dig in my heels and fight for my way, or surrender and submit, trusting God to work things out according to His will.
Let me illustrate with a story. When our daughter was young, I felt a clear and strong call to homeschool. Excited to embrace this new journey God had laid out for me, I shared this with my husband.
His response: No.
Not, “Let’s talk about this,” or “Let me think about this.” Nope. Nothing but a firm, “No.”
So, being the stubborn, opinionated, and at times self-righteous, woman I am, I fought, nagged,
argued, pestered, and cajoled in an effort to get my way–which I firmly believed was God’s way.
The result? The tension in our marriage increased and our home became a battle ground. Steve and I grew further apart, far from the united front our daughter needed.
Convinced I was right and Steve was wrong, I turned to prayer, expecting God to rally behind me.
He didn’t. He told me to submit. To put my marriage above this thing, as important as I felt this thing was. So, with confused reluctance, I did, figuring I’d either heard God wrong or He’d change my husband’s heart.
God did the latter. Shortly before our daughter was to start her kindergarten year, my husband said to me, “Have you considered homeschooling?”
My stomach dropped. Had he seriously forgotten about the major battle we’d had over this issue? I’m not sure if he had or if his question was a way of initiating conversation, but regardless, in the two years I’d gone silent on the subject, God had begun speaking–to my husband. He’d changed my husband’s heart, and that fall, I began teaching our daughter from home with the full support of my husband.
Consider how different things might’ve turned out, had I continued to fight for my will. I may have worn Steve down eventually, got him to concede to my desire, but he probably would’ve resented me and our homeschooling for it. It would’ve been a mess for years to come. He certainly wouldn’t have stood beside me, supporting my efforts.
God’s way was better. But then again, isn’t it always?
I could share numerous other stories like this, of times when Steve and I stood on completely opposite sides of an issue with no signs of compromise and God gave me the choice to keep fighting or submit. And every time when I’ve chosen to submit, God has worked things out, in His timing and His way, and always, always for our good.
Because He’s good. And He’s sovereign. He has a plan for me, my family, and my marriage, and He’s committed to working out that plan. And in my marriage, when wills collide, God’s plan for me is submission.
Let’s talk about this. Ladies this is a hard one, right? I think because we’re fearful. We’re fearful if we concede to something, we’ll be trampled on or something will go wrong, or we’ll miss out on or lose something we hold dear. But faith is the antidote to fear–faith not in our fallible husbands but rather in God.
What areas are hardest for you to submit? When have you surrendered an issue to God, conceding one of your husband’s wishes, and what were the results? When have you dug in your heels and fought for something and regretted your behavior? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook, because we can all learn from and encourage each other!
For those following me online, here’s where I’ve been this past week:
Yesterday I chatted about my novel, coffee, and other randomly fun things on Sarah Ruut’s blog. You can join our conversation HERE.
On the Internet Cafe’, I asked then addressed the question: Are You Training Your Child For Divorce. You can read my post HERE.
Monday I stopped by Whispers in Purple to participate in a fun interview. You can join me HERE.
Last Friday I shared what seems to be y’all’s favorite post, a special road trip romance and how an anniversary trip to Seattle added color and depth to my latest release. You can read this story HERE.