After 12 years of marriage, I’ve finally heard it. People had told me about it, they said it was something I should have known about from day one. I guess I missed it all these years; that dirty little word in marriage: submission.
You may be thinking that you should stop reading now, but don’t! I’m going to share with you about me and submission; and I think it will entertain you because it’s amusing to me.
My husband, Shawn and I married in 1999; I was 29 years old. Now, to me, when I heard teachings on submission, I understood it. No more explanation needed; "I got this. I’m not actually going to do it, but I got it.” You see, it was my husband who had the issue, of course it wasn’t me. Shawn wanted me to submit to…what? I needed a vision, a mission; submission means to come up under the mission of another; so I’m looking at him like – what’s your mission? Ah, but no worries, my years of singlehood had taught me well. "I got this, I don’t need any help ~ I will define your mission.” Is there any question in your mind how this has fared over the years?
Shawn and I have a good marriage, but Jesus did not die for our lives to be good, average or mediocre. He came to give us life and life more abundantly (Read John 10:10). So, after 11 years and 3 months of marriage, God is helping me to understand that dirty little word. Here is what I am learning:
First, submission is not a dirty word! It is God’s divine plan for the Body of Christ so that the will of God is established on earth as it is in heaven. God only has goodness for us and submission is part of that goodness.
Second, submission to God is first before you can submit to your husband. My obedience is to God and therefore I willingly submit to my husband. Finally, whether my husband submits to me or not (Read Ephesians 5:21-33), provides a mission for me or not, I don’t have the liberty to disobey God.
The fact is Shawn has his own personal relationship with God and He is able to work in my husband just as He works in me. My obedience to God demonstrates more to my husband than my demands, attitudes and sarcasm.
I’m still in the baby steps of submission, the little things: Get Shawn a drink if he asks, help him work on his resume, etc. Not that I wouldn’t do those things before, but in my heart I would be grumbling. Note: grumbling is not a mark of submission. Submission is not just getting under the mission; it is a willingness to get under the mission. It’s an attitude of the heart. Again, I am learning, so it’s a process and sometimes I mess up. I’m fortunate to have a loving, forgiving heavenly Father and a loving, forgiving husband. I’m pressing in for the abundant life in our marriage.
Onward and upward in Him!
As Joneen stated, we got married in 1999; I was also 29 years old. That’s 11 years as an adult, learning and forming my opinions as to what marriage is all about. 11 years deciding what kind of husband I wanted to be and what kind of wife I wanted. Some of my thoughts lined up with the Word of God and some didn’t.
Our former Pastors would preach about submission and get lots of applause and Amen’s from the men in the congregation. Of course they would teach that the men should also submit themselves to their wives. I can’t speak for the other men, but my un-renewed mind didn’t receive that part of the teaching. I would think: "What is wrong with this woman?” Because at times, it seemed like I was in a fight with Mike Tyson (the 20 year old Mike Tyson). I felt like no matter what I said or did, there was always a counterpunch, a comment, or just plain resistance; so I would eventually just shut down. This went on for many years; I now realize this is not how to lead or submit.
God doesn’t contradict Himself, His word says, "Whoso findeth a wife, findeth a good thing and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” (See Proverbs 18:22) I didn’t see my favor or my good! I knew enough to know that God wasn’t the problem and that His word is the truth, so it had to be me.
As I have matured as a Christian, I have realized that obedience is not optional. As a husband that wasn’t totally submitted and obedient to God first, I was struggling to lead my wife and family. I’m sure she felt like she was being led over a cliff. God to the rescue!
As I commit myself wholly unto God’s will, God’s plan for my life, He is continually leading and guiding me. Teaching me to be the Husband, Father, the man of God He has called me to be. I can now submit myself to my wife, taking no thought of protecting myself or my authority as the "Head of the Household.” I am submitted to God first, so I can receive my wife as the blessing that God gave me and partake of the favor that is already set aside for me.
Joneen and I have a good marriage, but we are pursuing great. We will not settle for anything less than what God says our marriage can be.
Keep going forward!