It’s a word that stirs up controversy, instigates fights and causes a “good Christian girl” to get downright mad. You may be thinking that I’m referring to a four letter expletive, but I’m actually talking about another word that’s equally as loaded: Submission. Say the word to some women and you’ll hear talk of feminism and liberation. Say the word among some African-American women and you’ll encounter twitches, eye rolls, puzzled looks and blank stares.
Submission is one of those topics that can easily cause a woman to read you your rights and give you a quick snap of her fingers. And it’s a subject that I’ve struggled with myself. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am head-strong, determined and borderline stubborn on some days. Ask my mother and she’ll tell you that I’ve been opinionated and bold as can be since age 5. These innate characteristics of my personality are completely opposite of what a submissive wife is supposed to be. So it made me wonder, “How can I be ‘me’ and submissive at the same time?” It took me a few years, but the answer requires one simple thing of me: dying to myself.
Everyone knows that submission is discussed in the Bible, but most people don’t know why. It’s very simple. Submission is about divine order. In the same way that a corporation has a Board of Directors, CEO, President, and then Front Line Workers; so, does a family have God, Christ, Husband and then Wife as the Divine Order. The Bible says it this way, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23). It’s the chain of command that God established to keep things flowing and just because you don’t agree, doesn’t make it a bad system. It’s the system that creates accountability where (when done right) every party is accountable to a higher authority. In this system of accountability, the wife submits to the husband; the husband submits to Christ; and Christ submits to God. Submission is not for boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, but it is a cornerstone of marriage and it’s what God desires, so it is up to you to make a choice.
How do you Submit?
There is a portion of “you” to give up.
That doesn’t mean you should be a Stepford wife or a “Yes man”. But, it does mean being able to show respect and realize that as opinionated as I am, every thought, every opinion, or every idea does not have to be shared. That’s the “gentle and quiet” component of being submissive that often gets distorted. It’s not that you should be silenced or void of thought or feeling. You shouldn’t lose your voice and become docile. But you should learn how to filter and use wisdom on what to say.
Learn to Follow.
Express your thoughts on a matter and then lay back and let your husband lead. That can be the hardest thing in the world, especially if you don’t agree. But it’s an acquired skill that can facilitate peace in your marriage and empower your husband to be all that God has for him to be. Most women want their men to rise up and lead, but that can be stifled if you get in his lane to lead the family. If you’re a quick thinker and a get-things-done type of gal, it can be agonizing to sit back and resist taking charge. But the reward far outweighs the sacrifice. When you submit to your husband’s leadership, you are in effect communicating that you trust him, that you believe in him and that you have confidence in his ability to lead. And when you don’t submit, you communicate the opposite: that you don’t think he has what it takes to lead, that you doubt his capacity to get things done and that in effect, you don’t think he measures up. And that can have a devastating impact on his ego and his manhood. This is so damaging because once a man gets discouraged, he slumps down and accepts mediocrity. He never rises to the occasion because he doesn’t feel that he can. Your role as wife is to encourage him and one component of that is submission. If your man is not everything he can be, ask yourself if you’ve contributed to that?
Tap Into Divine Power.
Most times, the reason why people loathe submission is because not everyone does their part. Submission is mutual because husbands and wives are called to submit to each other. Respect is not a one way street and it is to be mutually extended. In fact, husbands are called to love their wives. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Love and respect should be a hallmark of the marriage. The following scriptures communicate that: “Let the husband render unto the wife the affection due [to] her (1 Cor 7:3) and “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands” (1 Peter 3:1). Ultimately, the wife’s submission to her husband is a act of submission to God. And by honoring your husband, you are honoring God. However, it will be virtually impossible to submit to your husband if you don’t tap into God’s power. Having a gentle and quiet spirit; giving up a portion of yourself, reverencing another and resisting the urge to dominate are things that may not readily come to some. So, it’s important to gain the required strength to successfully submit to your husband.
I want to hear from you. What does your heart say about submission? `
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