Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Submission (Part 2)

This continues our submission conversation. See yesterday's post for the first segment. Again, thanks to Kate at Teaching What Is Good for discussing this with me.

Me: Ok, here's my problem. I actually get the overall idea, and can see how it should work. But, there is a key part missing to me - respect for the wife. Yes, ideally, the couple would discuss their issue, and the husband would have only the best thing for the family in mind. But we are still human. Pride and egos don't go away. To me, it seems like an idea of a pat on the head and "be a good little wife and let the man make the hard decisions" and hope he makes the right one. In a marriage, a partnership, shouldn't the husband respect the wife enough to listen to her, also? And not just on everyday things like what's for dinner or whatever. I guess my problem with this submission idea is that no matter how educated the wife is, no matter how thoroughly the couple discusses something, no matter how right she may be, ultimately because she is the woman it doesn't matter. If the husband wants to override her, that's it. She goes from capable, confident, and empowered to "good little wifey" role just because he says so. I just cannot comprehend giving up that part of myself. It would make me into someone different than the woman my husband fell in love with.

Kate: Christine, that is ABSOLUTELY the issue (and our struggle) with submission. I have 2 thoughts on this:

  1. If I married a man who loves and respects me, who gives me honor and sees me as an equal partner, this issue of submission may come up a handful of times in a lifetime of marriage. I've been married almost 27 years and there have been 3 times where my husband made a decision I had differing views on. BECAUSE he respects me AND my insight and wisdom, he holds my counsel and opinions sometimes more highly than his own. Either we work and pray to come to agreement or one of us CHOOSES to defer to the other one. And those 2 things have worked very well this past quarter of a century!

    Of course if you do NOT have a husband who respects you that is another matter and would probably call for marital counseling to help work through this. This is one reason why I feel it is VITAL to know  who you are marrying and what they are like, how they treat and care for (nurture and cherish) you BEFORE you ever say, "I Do." A harsh, demanding and disrespectful boyfriend will turn into a harsh, demanding and disrespectful husband, and that is a whole 'nother kettle of fish!
  2. The idea of "giving up that part of myself" for me is at the heart, not of submission, but of my relationship with God. When I came to the Lord at my conversion, I CHOSE to give up myself, to live in submission and surrender to Him. I CHOSE to let Him create me anew and to live my life for Him.

    • Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant...Phil 2:3-7
    • Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." Matt 16:24
So, you are right in that I, as a wife, have just as much value and honor in the marital relationship as my husband. And scripture speaks to that as well:
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Pet 3:7)
Our husbands are COMMANDED here to give us consideration, respect and honor as joint heirs of the promise of salvation. This is not something we get either because we are intelligent or educated enough either. It is not something we earn by our vast wisdom. It is something that God demands because of His choice, just like God requires us to submit when an ultimate agreement cannot be reached between the two of us.

If both parties are walking in obedience to the Lord, the husband WILL be respecting us, considering HEAVILY our views and perspectives and will give us honor as a partner with him in the marriage. And we wives WILL submit to our husbands in those few times in our marriage when we just cannot come to agreement on an issue and a final decision MUST be made.

I'll let Kate's segment conclude the discussion. She has many valid points, and is a pleasure to talk with. (Visit her blog, too - lots of interesting things there!) But like I said earlier in the discussion, while I do understand that view of marriage, I just can't let myself do it! It seems to go against my very core being. I did learn a lot about myself over the course of this discussion, though, and I hope Kate did as well.

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