Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lie No. 24: If I Submit To My Husband, I'll Be Miserable

This is another one of those biblical principles that the church tends to shy away from because it's simply unpopular. So many of us have a negative view of what it means to submit, and rather than try to understand it, we reject it. I have actually heard friends say before that they didn't want to use the words "honor and obey" as part of their wedding vows because they just didn't like the idea of having to obey or submit to any man. I am woman, hear me roar... or some other junk like that.

I will say it again, as with all of these previous issues, the goal is not our happiness, but God's glory and honor. Marriage was not designed to make us happy. There is nothing wrong with being happy within a marriage; it is a wonderful thing. In fact, if we are living out that marriage the way that God intended, we will be joyful. Remember that joy comes from obedience. So how are we obedient?

"For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:22-24

"But wait a minute," you say. "You left out the part about husbands loving their wives. They have a responsibility too in all of this. Why should I obey if he isn't loving towards me?"

Husbands do, indeed, have a responsibility to love their wives, and he should love her and sacrifice his own needs for hers unconditionally, whether she obeys or not, simply because God commanded it. His obedience to God is not contingent on his circumstances.

Having said that, the same goes for wives. We are so quick as a society to say that men are just supposed to love their wives. They are supposed to be happy and content, no matter how much or how little respect they get from their wives. But when the tables are turned, we flip on the feminist switch, stomp our foot down, and say "I don't have to submit to anyone or anything. Just you try and tell me what to do."

Wives, no matter the condition of your husband's heart, attitude, and actions, down to every single infraction, short of forcing you to denounce God, you are bound by God's command and your husband's leadership. His act of being unloving does not give you a free pass to then branch off on your own and take the reigns. Our response should be, "Lord, I choose to submit to and obey YOU, and as a result, I will submit to and obey the husband that YOU have given me. I will do so ALL the time, in ALL circumstances, not just when I feel like it, not just when he 'deserves' it, not just when it's convenient, not just when he makes the 'right' decision... ALL the time, unconditionally, and for no other reason than that you have asked it of me."

It is important to remember these truths that DeMoss discusses on pages 147-148 of her book:

  • Wives, you are not inferior to your husbands. Submission to authority is an act of obedience to God, and does not indicate that your worth is any less than that of the person you are submitting to.
  • Husbands are not permitted to be harsh or dictatorial with their wives. They will be held accountable for their actions just as wives will be for theirs. Your obedience to your husband is not a free pass for your husband to abuse you, though his harshness is not a free pass for you to abandon your responsibility to God through marriage. If you or your children are in physical danger, I believe it would be wise to separate yourself physically from the situation. As this is not the case for most of us, however, we should not use these extreme cases as an excuse for all women to be rid of the shackles of marriage and obedience.
  • Wives, you are to provide input and opinions about the issues you and your husband face. You do not need to sit back and keep your mouth shut in the home. God gave you a brain for a reason; he does intend you to use it and be a "helpmate" to your husband. Share your opinions with him privately. Express your concerns and ideas. Then trust him to take the information and make the decision that he believes to be best for your family, and allow him to do so. Never publicly criticize or argue with your husband.
  • Husbands are not always right. When God told wives to submit to their husbands, he didn't say "because they are perfect and they will always make the right decision." They are human, they will fail at times, they will not always make the right decision. Our obedience to our husbands has nothing to do with whether or not they are right.
That last statement there is a tough one for many women to follow. How many times in your own marriage have you thought, "My husband has no idea what he's doing with our finances. I'll just do it myself." "He never even reads his Bible or goes to church. What does he know about leading a marriage. I'm better off just doing what I think is best and leaving him out of the picture." But think about these words from 1 Peter, and I will leave you with this:

"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." 1 Peter 3:1-2

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