I come from a family of strong women, so strong that most of them were single mothers. When your mother is divorced, and your grandmother is divorced and your great-grandmother never even married, it leaves the impression on you that marriage is not something to be excited about. I’d heard more stories about the unhappy side of relationships than the happy side.
Aside from sporadic slumber parties with friends from 2 parent homes, I had very few firsthand experiences with seeing how a husband and wife interact with each other. So, in a sense, I was on my own to figure out marriage. But only in a sense, because by His grace, I have the indwelling of the one true God living in me which means I am never on my own.
The “S” Word
Soon after becoming engaged, someone mentioned the S word. The S word that can sometimes feel like a curse word in the defining of a woman’s role in marriage. Yes, I’m speaking of submission. Gasp, inhale, exhale, breathe. Yes, submission.
Every time I choose to submit to my husband’s leadership, it is a fresh beginning. A fresh reminder of the position that God has given him in my life. A renewed reminder that I am called to help my husband lead well. His leadership is a reflection of my follow-ship. Easy, it is not.
Barely a week goes by when a disagreement of some sort arrives. And when it does, I have 2 choices. Fight or flee. Fight my husband by arguing my point into the ground and then give him the silent treatment if he still chooses to do it his way. Or I can flee to the position of submission by voicing my opinion in a respectful way to my husband while listening to his side and then affirming him by letting him know that I will stand by whatever he decides. Easy, it is not.
Just last month, my husband and I and our 3 kids were at a Christmas party for under-privileged youth. My son ended up winning a prize during a game we were playing. One of the kids at the party asked my son if he was willing to trade toys. My son said no. I pulled my son close to me and asked him if he would be willing to give this toy to this youth since it might very well be the only gift that this boy receives at Christmas. I reminded my son that he was, for a fact, getting many gifts. I told him that it was his choice. At which point, my husband then promised to buy my son the toy that he would be giving away.
Sound the alarm! That was not in my plan. I did not agree with this set-up. I did NOT voice my opinion in a respectful tone, either. Easy, it is not. None-the-less, I let my side be known (and then I hushed.)
My son did end up giving the toy away. My husband did end up buying him the toy that same day. I had fought, and just as I was about to give my husband the silent treatment, by God’s grace I was able to flee.
Later that day when I knelt to ask God to help me understand my anger, I saw clearly that my husband and I had two totally different lessons that we wanted to present to my son. I wanted my 5 year old to see giving away something we truly want to someone else is a trait and habit that honors God. I was wanting to train my son in being generous. My husband wanted my 5 year old to see that God rewards us when we sacrifice our wants for others. He was wanting to train my son in seeing God as a loving father who gives freely to His children. 2 very valid lessons for my son to gain, but one had to lose.
By God’s design, it was my lesson that had to lose. Submission. Easy, it is not. Refreshing, it is, every time.
A Fresh Beginning
Perhaps we can all use a fresh beginning when it comes to understanding submission. Tony Evans says that “submission is ducking so that God can smack your husband.” That’s one way to look at it.
The fresh perspective that God is opening my eyes to concerning the “S” word is normal to get mad at my husband when we have two opposite ideas on how to solve an issue. But to stay mad at my husband means that my anger has shifted to God.
It is God who gave my husband to me. It is God who made my husband the leader. It is God who wrote the story of my life and knew that my husband was going to choose this route. The truth of the matter is that while I can say that I am mad at my husband, the way God’s providence is set-up, I am actually mad at my Creator. Thus submitting to my husband has become the least of my problems because I am now in opposition to submitting to my God.
Slow down, that is pray. Mash the brakes, that is confess. Take the next exit, that is repent.
Tanisha’s the name. Being independent’s the game or it was before I asked the Lord to reign and rule over all my decisions 15 years ago. And that reigning and ruling includes submitting to my husband. Easy, it is not. Simple, it can be. Refreshing, it is that and much more.