“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:18-19 NIV
“Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master. Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don’t take advantage of them.” Colossians 3:18-19 The Message
When I got married, our deacon and family friend told us that a marriage is not 50/50, it is 100/100. Each of us needs to give 100% to make it work. Well, he was right, but he left out a very important piece that I have since learned and I’d like to add to it. The husband needs to lead 100% and the wife needs to submit 100%.
I know, it’s the 21st century. Do wives even do that anymore? Submit to their husbands? Well, I think the vernacular idea of submit and the biblical definition of submit might be two different ideas. In our day, submit might mean being weak or indecisive. It might mean beckoning to his every call and it might also look like the husband is a big bully! However, in biblical terms, submission is respect and honor. It means stepping back so your husband can lead and standing beside him, not arguing with him. It means talking things out that you disagree with, not manipulating the facts to get your way. It means having an open, honest relationship where roles are distinctly defined and respected by both husband and wife.
I am a head strong girl. I think I was born that way, right from day one! I know I gave my parents a hard time and I had my own ideas about everything! It is part of who I am. My husband is extremely mellow and laid back. He is content in almost any situation. He has opinions and shares them when he wants to, but he is really easy going for the most part. Our relationship was strong from the start, although I can’t say that it started out with hubby as the “leader” and me being “submissive”. We didn’t fight, we worked fine and were happy. But, I definitely took control in situations.
However, 6 1/2 years ago, our son died of cancer. It was truly at the moment of his death that our roles reversed. He stepped up as the leader God needed him to be and I fell back into submission as God created me to be. We didn’t decide this, it was as natural as the Creation. I couldn’t function and my husband needed to keep our family going, if for nothing else than our marriage and our little girl who was almost 4 at the time. We completely switched roles. I couldn’t make any decisions at all, even if I should answer the telephone or not. He was now making every decision, breakfast, lunch, dinner, shopping, work, bills, etc.
As I came through the shock, grief, fear, and many emotions tied to our loss, we grew together as a couple. We worked even better with him in control. We shared more, talked more, and we were closer than we were before. It is 6 1/2 years later and while I have taken back control of many daily tasks, I feel now more than ever that my husband is the leader in our home and I need to honor and respect him and his decisions. If there are big decisions to be made, he is a part of them or he makes the decision. When it comes to the children, we discuss, but often times he will step in and have the final say on a situation. Purchases outside of our “needs” are always discussed, both ways. Meals and shopping are usually planned together and whomever is free will go shopping for the week.
Our set up works. It works well. I will admit that I have never thought, “If only I’d waited a bit longer before I got married….” or ” I wonder if there is anyone else out there that would be more like Prince Charming…” Never. My husband is who I chose and we have been through many, many rocky roads together. However, together is the key word. We did not stray, we stayed side by side. We supported each other so neither of us would fall and we continue to do this.
As I honor, respect and submit to my husband, he loves, cherishes and respects me as well. I don’t wonder why our marriage works. I know why. It is because we won’t have it any other way. For us, forever really meant forever. There is no escape door in our marriage. We are in it together, good times and bad. So, we can travel bitter, angry and trying to control each other, or we can enjoy each other, talk things through and live together as God intended us to be. We have chosen the latter and it is a beautiful creation!