Sweet Submission

I wonder if, after reading my title, some of my readers (especially you gals) are thinking: “Sweet Submission! Is she nuts?” And, I guess that in our modern times when feminism is still a hot issue, the subject might be considered a throw-back to less enlightened times.

However, as a Christian, I have chosen to believe that the Bible is the inspired words of God and that He says what He means and means what He says, and that I need to be obedient to His word and instruction. So it behooves (how’s that for a word!) me to do my best to understand what God has said in His word.

My previous post, “The Other Side of the Coin” seems to deal mainly with the attitude that a husband should take in a marriage. So I thought that I should balance the scales by writing about what a wife’s attitude should be in a marriage. (I feel qualified to speak on this as I am a wife and I have attitude!)

God’s Word is quite straight clear regarding the attitude that a wife should have towards her husband:

Eph 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Uncomfortable as it may make you ladies, there is no ambiguity (oo – another fancy word) in that command. And yes, I believe that it is a command from God, not a suggestion. There is no “it might be nice if…” or “perhaps you could try …”. No “if you feel like it”. It is plainly and simply a “do it” statement, no “ifs, ands, or buts”.

Ok, so I know that I must submit to my husband. What exactly does that mean and what does submission entail? Does submitting to my husband mean that I have to lose my own personality and become his doormat? These are exactly the kinds of questions that so confused me when I was struggling to be a Christian wife.

Firstly, we need to understand the concept of submission.

Webster’s Dictionary gives the following definitions for the word “submit”:

1) To yield, resign or surrender to the power, will or authority of another.

2) To refer; to leave or commit to the discretion of judgment of another.

In Eph.5:22, the word translated as “submit” comes from the Greek word  hupotasso which means “be under obedience”. It is interesting to note that the word hupotasso comes from two other Greek words, the first one meaning “under” and the second one meaning “to arrange in an orderly manner”. Could it be that God, in His wisdom, understood that a marriage would need to be arranged in an orderly manner with one person, the husband in leadership and the other person, the wife, in submission in order for the marriage to operate properly? After all, too many cooks in the kitchen spoiled the soup.

Eph. 5:22 also tells us how wives should submit, or at least what their heart and attitude should be: “submit … as unto the Lord”. I guess what we have to first ask ourselves is: Have I truly submitted myself unto God? How can we submit to our husbands if we have not first submitted ourselves in obedience to God? I believe that if we give God His proper place and let God be God in our lives, (guys and gals) then it would be much easier for husbands and wives to assume their proper places in the marriage.

And just what are those proper places? Let’s go back to the beginning where once upon a time, God made a man (yes ladies, the guy came first) and God noticed that the man was singing “I’m just a lonely boy, lonely and blue. I’m all a lone, with nothing to do”. (I know – lame) So God decided to do something about that:

Gen 2:18   And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.

Ladies, we were created to be a helpful companion to our husbands. Not a slave, not property, not a maid, not a doormat, but a helpful companion. Webster’s defines a companion as “one who keeps company with another; a partner or associate”.

So God intended wives to be a helpful companion and partner to their husbands. To me, that sounds like a fairly equitable arrangement. Unfortunately, a snake and a piece of fruit got into the mix and things were not as they should be and because of that:

Gen 3:16  To the woman He (God) said, … your desire shall be toward your husband, and he shall rule over you.

Sin entered and changed the structure of the relationship between a husband and wife, from a partnership to a “ruling over”.

God reiterates this structure in the New Testament:

Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be (subject) to their own husbands in everything.

Eph 5:33 But also let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife that she defers (reverences, respects) to her husband.

Does God have a purpose for a wife submitting unto her husband?

1Pe 3:1,2  Likewise, wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, so that if any do not obey the Word, they may also be won without the Word by the conduct of the wives, having witnessed your chaste behavior in the fear of God.

Wow – that’s pretty powerful stuff! Ladies, we have a VERY important part to play in our husbands’ lives. Our submission can lead them to salvation! Surely that is worth any discomfort we might feel about the idea of submission!?

I want to be completely honest with you about my own struggles with this issue. It was VERY,VERY DIFFICULT! It is extremely difficult to submit yourself to someone who is often selfish and irresponsible; a husband who is not able and/or willing to be a husband as God designed husbands to be:

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,

1Pe 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live together according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel, the female, as truly being co-heirs together of the grace of life, not cutting off your prayers.

If you are a wife, and you find yourself in that difficult place, I pray that God will grant you wisdom, knowledge, strength, comfort and peace as you continue to walk in obedience to His word.

To summarize, I think that submitting to my husband means that I give him respect, that I seek his advice and opinions, and that I obey his decisions. It doesn’t mean that I allow him to abuse me physically, verbally, financially or mentally. It doesn’t mean that I am helpless and brainless. It doesn’t mean that I can’t have my own personality and interests.

I believe that when wives submit to their husbands, and husbands love their wives as God has commanded, then we will truly see “the two become one flesh” as God originally designed.

So how am I doing in my own marriage? Well, my new hubby read my post “Two Sides of the Coin” and he actually giggled out loud when he read the part about my submitting to him! I guess I am still a work in progress!

Blessings

 

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Sweet Submission

  1. estherdwumaa says:

    Thank you for your article and I understand that you believe that you are doing what God has commanded. However I have to strongly disagree with you in very important ways, especially in relation to what God is reported to have said and how God is presented-we have to remember that God ‘Himself’ is presented as male and that this has a lot of consequences for how we perceive men and women and their relationship towards each other. I have to say that the decision to believe that because God created the man first, the man must have been appointed by God to be the leader of the woman, may be founded on the wrong premise entirely! God shows from story to story that He does not care about first or last when it comes to leadership. The story of David and his older brothers demonstrates this, the story of Joseph and his brothers demonstrates this, the story of Jacob and Esau demonstrates this, the story of the Jews and the Gentiles also illustrates this! I believe that when it comes to relationships between men and women, there should be no difference! I understand that there are passages in the Bible that would cause you to believe that God has commanded what I perceive to be a gender hierarchy, but I also think that there may be misinterpretations and perhaps mis-translations in the Bible which have perhaps caused a lot of damage to people’s perception of God and Christian doctrines which have been preached as God’s Word but are unfortunately not and I suggest you read my articles at dwumaaesther.wordpress.com and estherdwumaa.wordpress.com

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    • Hi Esther, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and send me your comment. I know that not everyone who reads my blog will agree with all that I write. I don’t pretend to have all knowledge or understanding of God, His Word and His ways but I do a lot of research as I write and I pray that God will guide me to say what He wants me to say.

      My gold standard is the written word of God and his holy spirit is my guide and interpreter. I try to keep an open mind if somebody presents something with a different understanding, but I always go back to searching the scriptures: Act 17:11 … gave serious attention to the word, searching in the holy Writings every day, to see if these things were so.

      I am sorry if my writing about Adam was ambiguous or confusing. The Bible does not say that because Adam was created first, he was the leader over Eve. What it does say is that Eve was created to be a “helpmeet” which means she was created to be a companionable partner. The word “partner” does seem to makes us think that it was a fairly equitable arrangement.

      However, the Bible also says that when sin entered into the world, that special relationship between husband and wife was affected, altered and changed from what God had originally intended.

      As for the gender of God – I think that will be an ongoing debate until Jesus comes again. John 4:24 tells us that “God is spirit”. When you study the word “spirit” there is no definition of male or female. In the Bible, God always identifies Himself with being male, but whether that is because of a cultural thing in which God presented Himself in a manner that was acceptable to the culture of the times – I don’t know. All I can go by is what is in His Word and God always identifies Himself as male. His spiritual “seed” was placed inside Mary and God calls Himself the Father of Jesus.

      Does our gender have importance/status/favouritism/ hierarchy in the Kingdom of God? I believe that the answer is no. Acts 10:34 tells us that God is no respecter of persons. Gal. 3:28 says that in Jesus, there is neither male nor female. Matt. 22:30 says that in the resurrection “they neither marry nor are given in marriage”.

      However, we are still living in a sin-tainted, imperfect world and I believe that in order to maintain some semblance of order and function, God has put into place, certain leadership roles, with God being the ultimate head of authority. I believe that one of those roles is that of the husband and wife. But if in saying that, you think that I mean that we as wives are to be puppets and doormats for our husbands, (I in no way advocate for women to put up with any kind of abuse!) please re-read my blog and the previous blog “The Other Side of the Coin”. When husbands behave as they should and wives behave as they should, love, joy, respect, peace and harmony reign in the home.

      Esther, I pray that God continues to bless you as you seek to continue growing as a woman of God.

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  2. estherdwumaa says:

    Thank you very much for this and I am sorry if I was abrupt when suggesting you read my articles. May I please ask where to find your previous article?
    Blessings

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  3. Hi Esther, I must admit that I did find that your suggestion about reading your articles did sound a bit abrupt but I know from personal experience that it is very hard at times to understand the emotional context wherein a comment is written. I will read your articles so that I may better understand where you are coming from. Am I correct in sensing that you have had negative experiences in the area of male/female roles? I know that I have, from both without and within the church.
    My other article is called “The Other Side of the Coin” and was posted on February 24 at http://www.heartshabitation.wordpress.com
    God Bless 🙂

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  4. estherdwumaa says:

    I’m very sorry about my tone! Thank you for considering reading my articles despite that- I really appreciate that!
    I’ve had no personal external negative experiences in the area of male/female roles but I have battled internally for a while with these seemingly expected roles. For example, I know I have battled with the expectations of male leadership in the home and female submission, as well as having to encountering seemingly non-inclusive gender language in the Bible and more recently encountering misogyny in the imagery of the Bible (for example in Lamentations), especially misogynistic metaphors or sexist metaphors. I have had a mind battle with the expectations of me as a woman (e.g. as one who innately cares for others, or works in the kitchen, although these roles are wonderful), whilst also being told at the very same time that because I am a woman my say must take second place (and I know that if I get married all these things will be very likely be expected) and that I must feel guilty for being a woman (Eve). All these things have played a part in this emotional journey (which I think started at the age of about 13 when I think I decided that God was neither male nor female), and perhaps even before that. These ideas of women (including Christian women), seem all at once good and bad at the same time and it makes it very puzzling and frustrating to perceive who I am as a woman in Christ.
    I did go over your article a little bit and I saw that you clarified that it was sin that got in the way of the equal relationship with men and women, but I think that God said what will happen as a consequence to their disobedience as opposed to what should happen and, I do appreciate that hopefully in the Kingdom of God there will be no gender hierarchy, but I believe the Kingdom of God is a work in progress as opposed to something that we should wait for and not work towards.

    Thank you for the link to your other article and I will read it.
    Blessings

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  5. estherdwumaa says:

    Thank you, I did have a look at your article ‘The other side of the coin’ and I found it encouraging that husbands and wives have a duty to love and respect each other.

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  6. estherdwumaa says:

    God Bless

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  7. estherdwumaa says:

    Your personal story is encouraging and thank you for sharing it.
    Blessings

    Like

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