EST. READING TIME: 8 minutes
Submission is a dirty word these days.
We live in a “girl boss” society that idolizes being 100% in control of your gold-foiled, butt-kicking, name-taking, instagram-ready life. To even suggest the idea of being submissive in marriage is frowned upon and is considered by the “thinking-woman” to be insanely taboo.
I have had girlfriends VISIBLY cringe when I’ve tried to explain my desire to “submit” to my husband, as the church submits to Christ. I can even recall one friend in particular saying something like “ I am scared for you! You sound brainwashed! This is just so unlike you to not do it yourself.”
And to her credit she was right!
I have always been a go-getter, do-it-myself, I-know-what-I’m-doing kind of a girl. And to be submissive to my husbands wisdom is an ACTIVE CHOICE of obedience to the LORD through trusting the choices of my husband. #notmynorm
And in case you were curious, being submissive to your husband is as insanely challenging as it is taboo.
As if submission wasn’t repulsive enough we are faced with an increasingly passive generation of men. So lets just add that little cherry to the "CONS" list for this idea!
But scripture would say that what makes submission so tough is exactly what makes it so lovely!
Done well it becomes the unfathomably synchronized image of the trinity… God himself makes this comparison in scripture and I don’t know any other metaphor he equates his holiest of being to.
So suffice to say, its important to learn and enact regardless of whether or not you deem your husband worthy. God sees him as worthy and it would serve you well to align with the holiest of holies on this one.
So what does this submission word really mean?
The simplest way I can explain it is this, in agreeing to the covenant of marriage God has called me to be the helper, not the leader.
Notice I said “THE.”
Meaning I am A leader in our marriage. I am just not THE leader in our marriage. I am THE helper! My role is to lead my husband into better leadership practices as his counterpart and encouragement through the humble are of encouragement & prayer.
So how do we, some of the most educated, developed, do-it-yourself women in the history of the world step into the role of A leader in our marriage with out usurping THE leader in our marriage?
Here are some suggestions I have prayerfully jotted down:
1. PRAY FOR YOURSELF, THAT YOU WOULD RELEASE YOUR UNHEALTHY EXPECTATIONS OF HIM TO THE LORD - Colossians 3:12
a. Confess your frustrations to the Lord NOT just your friends OR him
b. Spend some major time petitioning the Lord on his behalf and taking stock of the Lord’s ultimate influence in his life
c. Challenge yourself to only talk good of your husband, even when you’re talking about his bad habits
2. RECOGNIZE & PRAISE HIS CURRENT AREAS OF GREAT LEADERSHIP - Ephesians 4:29
a. Make a list of the things he is doing well, write them on a post it note, put it some where you can both see it & remind yourself of those things twice as often as you are frustrated
3. CLEARLY COMMUNICATE YOUR HEALTHY EXPECTATIONS OF HIS LEADERSHIP - Romans 12:1-21
a. As you make this list, ask yourself if you can find scripture that would back it up. If you can’t then take caution on how to approach the issue as a preference not a universal God spoken truth. If you can, then be very gentle as you direct him to God’s word and will for his life as husband.
b. Once you’ve vetted whether or not the issue is worth bringing to the table and you’re sure it is a topic that needs to be shared for mutual growth, ask him for some time to talk through the issue you are wanting him to take the lead in. DON’T JUST POP-OFF THE MOMENT YOU ARE FRUSTRATED! It will seem like you’ve been piling up ammunition against him, and that is an act of war in any country.
i. NOTE: DON’T NAG! No one likes a know-it-all who never lets up… they suck! And you don’t want to be a sucky wife! -Proverbs 21:19
ii. NOTE: DON’T EMASCULATE! Calling him to MORE doesn’t have to be a rant about where he has been LESS.
d. Focus on the opportunity for growth NOT the laundry list of pains. He doesn’t need a reminder that he isn’t perfect or living up to your expectations… He needs wind to carry him higher so he can be better! THAT is what Christ would do, and that is what we should do.
e. Explain the importance of the task to him.
i. If he can’t see its value he will be less inclined to do it so do your best to gently and lovingly impress upon him why this task carries value to you!
ii. Don’t go off seething into the task at hand, that isn’t helping anyone!
iii. You WILL be come a NAG if you do things out of bitterness and the fun in your marriage will turn into anger and again you’ll be in danger of being a sucky wife! And no one wants that, including you!
4. SPEAK LIFE INTO THE PERSON YOU YEARN FOR HIM TO BE - and then wait... - Lamentations 3:25
a. Don’t just go off and DO the things you’re asking him to do. Let their be a void and gently ask him to step into that gap for you, ALONGSIDE YOU.
i. EX: If you want to pray more as a couple, “ hey babe, this would be a great time for us to pray, would you get us started?”
ii. EX: If you want him to do the bills, “ Hey hot stuff, WE need to get some money stuff sorted, could we carve out some time to do that together tonight?
iii. EX: If you want him to do the laundry “ Hey good lookin’, We need to get the laundry done & I am swamped with work, could we talk about sharing that responsibility this week since I won’t be able to get to it?
b. When possible, and when not over stepping, take the opportunity to act out the items you’d like him to do and call him INTO it
i. EX.: If you need him to do the bills and he jsn’t doing them, “Hey babe, I have our budget up and running but I need you to take a look at things,I want your wisdom?”
c. Ask him for feedback on how you did the task so you can not only learn his thoughts but show him how to invite your opinion into things
i. ONLY DO THIS WHEN YOU HAVE A CLEAR AND KIND HEART AND REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER. This could be done REALLY poorly if you’re not careful so pick and choose when this would be helpful for you guys. If used wrongly this can be snarky, manipulative, and hurtful.
5. BE READY TO MOVE OUT OF THE WAY & LET HIM DO THINGS HIS WAY - Proverbs 14:1
a. Talk yourself off the idealistic ledge of perfectionism you’re so desperately seeking that quietly whispers to you “ I’d do it better.” And be ready to accept his hard work as it comes.
b. NOTE: DON’T IMMEDIATELY TELL HIM HOW HE CAN DO IT BETTER NEXT TIME enjoy that he did anything THIS time.
6. AFFIRM AFFIRM AFFIRM when he even remotely takes steps toward leading the situation - 1 Thess. 5 :11
a. Be unafraid to gush over him. Fawn over him. Be HIS BIGGEST FAN even over the small things! You’re his best friend and biggest ally right? Act like it! Act like he’s the leader singer of Coldplay and you just got done listening to his concert front row!
i. You may not be into this last part but I will tell you that I frequently do this and my husband loves it! He KNOWS I am his biggest fan, because I act like his biggest fan!
7. PRAY FOR HIM, PRAY HARD, REPEAT - Mark 11:24
a. At the end of the day all of these things might find you back where you started… hurting in your marriage because your leader won’t lead. And the God of the universe would advise you to do one thing… KEEP PRAYING! God is for you in this endeavor and he WANTS to see your husband flourish in his manhood, while you dazzle in your femininity! So pray for exactly that! Never stop asking the Lord to be the center of your life, his life, and your marriage. The results will vary but God’s Love will not. He hears you, sees you, and is there to fill all the gaps of imperfection your husband has, because honestly HE is your true Groom, and he will never fail to lead you.