Friday, May 4, 2007

Submission...dun dun duhhh....

I read Titus this morning. Random. But in it I found an interesting list. According to Titus 2:4, 5, these are the things older women are supposed to teach younger women:

to love their husbands and children
to be self-controlled and pure
to be busy at home
to be kind
to be subject to their husbands

I could go a number of directions with this post, but I've been reading a lot of places lately where women get all up in arms over phrases in the Bible like "be subject to their husbands."

Any of you who knew me before I was married know that I was a very independent type. I think because I knew what I wanted out of life, I scared off most guys. :) Even guys who would spend tons of time with me, and there were many, could never quite make the leap to calling me their girlfriend. Well, there was one who would have liked to, but that's another story. When Nick first saw me their was never any question in his mind. We were meant to be. :) Anyway, I would, and still will, defend women's rights to do whatever they want to do. I would defend that into the ground. Women are Capable of doing whatever they want to do. My only question - is it best?

A healthy relationship consists of a man and a woman. The traditional man's job is to protect and provide for the woman. The traditional woman's job is to nurture, encourage, and submit to the man. I think the reason most women rebel against that role is because there are far too many men who do their job poorly, or even miserably! Think about it: women want to be protected. Our romance novels that so many women are addicted to because there is nothing like it in their own relationships, constantly portray the woman in a terrible circumstance where a kind, strong man comes to their rescue. That is one essence of romance.

I'm not talking about submitting to a man who will dominate me - control me, tell me every move to make, criticize me and make me feel worthless. I'm talking about a man who will lay down his life to make mine better - ask my opinions and consider them, rub my back when I'm tense, hold me when I cry, help out as much as he can, uncomplainingly get up for work every day and make sure I have clothes to wear and food to eat. This kind of a man is not frightening to submit to. He has my best interest at heart.

I think the essence of the argument for and against submission comes to whether I ultimately know what's best for me, or whether he ultimately knows what's best for me. The Bible talks about the husband being the head of the household. I don't believe this is an antiquated idea. Even in a business partnership, somebody has to have the power of 51%. In any relationship there are going to be disagreements. It is my job to communicate my needs to my husband because he's not a mind-reader. From there, with my needs in mind, it is his job to decide how those needs should be met.

The nicest thing about this arrangement? If he makes a bad decision, it was his to make, not mine. I don't bear the burden of having made it. I think that's too heavy a burden for a woman to carry. Men carry it with much more ease. At the point of having made a poor decision, it's my job to brush him off, encourage him, and allow him to make the next decision as a wiser man. Criticism is completely inappropriate.

I have a very strong personality. Nick's is more laid-back, thank goodness. If we were both strong we might just kill each other. It took a while of being in relationship with him for me to figure out how to submit to someone like him. His ideas come more slowly than mine in discussions. He misses nuances of conversation that I never miss. He doesn't care much about a mess in the house. However, I determined even before we were married, that I did not want to "wear the pants" in our house. I make it a point to wait for his opinion about things. I allow him the final say in major decisions. I try to encourage him and build him up with my words rather than tearing him down. I do not criticize him in front of other people. When I do call him on something I do it privately and lovingly. He, in turn, can't wait to come home. He calls our home his refuge. He figures out a way for me to buy clothes when I need them. He loves our children, but he loves me more. When we argue, and we do sometimes, we speak to each other in a tone and using words of respect.

So, all of this to say: I'm happy to submit to my husband. It is a relief to me. I feel sad for women who are unwilling to do it and therefore spend their whole lives with a sense of fighting a war. That's not how we as women should have to live.

Now, I realize that not all women have the blessing of being in relationship with a man who will lay down his life for them. I don't feel sorry for them. Here's why: as soon as you begin to feel like a victim of somebody else's attitude, you lose all control. You can't control them, but you can control what you contribute to the problem. The Bible says that even unbelieving spouses can be won over by their believing spouse if they will exercise submission and kindness. Women, don't stay with physically abusive men. But, if they are really good guys who have just forgotten who they really are, remind them. Don't remind them by criticism, remind them by finding any little thing you can to compliment. Make your home a place he'll want to come home to, if you want him home and happy. Allow him the final say in decisions when you would normally battle to be "right." As long as he's not being abusive, allow him to make decisions about your children's health and discipline when he feels strongly about it. This kind of thing just may soften even a hard heart and rekindle something you thought was lost. And it's not easy - but women can do anything, right?

And another thing - if you are not currently married, please, please find someone who will live in these roles with you before you commit to them. I promise you'll be happier. Life doesn't have to be a continual battle - even women get tired!


  1. An older woman from my church did a study with girls and their mothers on Titus two when I was in College. My mom framed the verses about women and it hangs in my house today. You are so right, when you have a Christ centered partnership, each person's role is a joy not a burden.


    PS I just saw your reply from my last post. Its great to meet you also. Do you mind if I link to your blog from my page??

  2. Wow...this is hard stuff...but so so good....I know this what God desires from us as women, and for our benefit. He knows what we need and I think it actually creates a security for us when we allow our selves in a sense, to be taken care of by our husband.

  3. Kyla,
    I don't mind at all! Thanks!

    We women and our security issues... :) You're right!