I don’t know about you, but I was raised to be an independent thinker and a leader. I was told that being aggressive and bold were good qualities. I was told that it was better to be informed so that I could have an opinion and then to not be timid about sharing that opinion. I was told I could be anything I wanted to be and more. That was going great for a while.
Then I got married.
Do you know what I found out? God has a different plan for women, for me. He wants me to be strong but gentle. Confident but meek. Diligent but submissive.
Wait, what was that last word? Submissive! Even in the year 2011 women are expected to be submissive to their husbands?
That’s right. It’s right there in God’s word.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. [Ephesians 5:22-24]
Is it getting hot in here?
I know, this is hard. It is hard to feel like you know the right way to do something or the what seems like the better direction for your family to move in, and then for your husband to have a different idea and just because he is the man of the house, he wins…..ugh! That’s hard! Let’s be reminded (excerpt from the Excellent Wife book by Martha Peace) that there is true joy in following God’s command to submit:
Joy results from trusting and obeying God’s Word.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments,
and His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3
Joy results from knowing that God is working to accomplish His purpose even in difficult circumstances. Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials… James 1:2
Joy results from following the example of the Lord Jesus in difficult times.
Jesus, …who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame… Hebrews 12:2
Joy results from a Spirit filled life.
Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20
Just a reminder, God does not think men are more important than women.
For there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11).
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17
So here is an application point. As we start making plans for the school year ahead (school plans, extra-curricular for the kids and/or parents, ministry and service opportunities at church, home fellowship groups, bible studies), let me remind you wives to submit to the choices your husband makes for your family.
It is certainly ok to voice an opinion (Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22), but in the end, it is your husband’s decision.
How about we look at a couple of examples?
Your husband may tell you that the men from the home fellowship group (small group) are deciding to meet on a morning when you typically go to the gym. What to do? Gently remind him (and I do mean gently and lovingly) that you normally have plans that morning, but if that is the only day they can meet, you will figure something else out. Who knows? Maybe God has a special blessing in store for you that you might have missed if you had forced your own way. Maybe you will find out another friend goes to the gym on a different day and you can go together.
A couple of your girlfriends have mentioned they will be in the same small group. You love them and all your kids are about the same ages and play wonderfully together. But your husband decides on a different group. What to do? You might mention in a loving manner that you would prefer to be in the other group. With an open mind, you need to also ask him why he has decided on a different group for your family. Lovingly, you need to respect the decision he has made, without trying to manipulate him into changing groups (you know what this means – pouting, yelling, crying, silent treatment, sleeping on the couch). God has a plan for your family and God has placed your husband (and mine) as the leaders. The safest place to be is in God’s will and that means submitting to your husband’s decisions.
Little Bobby really wants to play baseball in the fall and you think that the extra practice will help him prepare for the spring season. However, your husband remembers that Bobby had problems keeping his mind focused on school last year and decides that it is best for Bobby to not play ball in the fall season. Being the Mom, who is home with Bobby most of the time, what do you say? You see how disappointed he is when he talks about how much his friends are having fun at practice and how they are winning the games. You support your husband. You need to encourage Bobby to focus on school and maybe this will not be an issue next Fall. If you do not have the same opinion as your husband, then pray that God will open your eyes and give you a submissive, humble heart to follow and support your husband’s decision.
Last year was very rough for you and lil Jenny. You were homeschooling her and there were many discipline issues. She was very argumentative and disrespectful and after much prayer, your husband decides to send her to the local public school this year. What to do? What to do? Wow, this makes you so anxious! Meditate on "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6) and know that God may have an extra blessing out of this change. Maybe there is a little girl that will be in Jenny's class that needs a friend and desperately needs to learn about Jesus. Maybe this will cause an attitude change in Jenny and she will grow in her love and respect for you since the teacher/student conflict is removed?
There is safety and security when we are in God’s will.
This is difficult. Therefore, I encourage you to read your Bible and look for encouragement right out of God’s word. Meditate on scriptures that describe how God designed the Christian family to look (Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, 1 Peter 3). Pray for God to show you the areas where you might be failing to submit, confess these as sin and then pray for the wisdom and strength to humbly follow your husband’s lead. I also greatly encourage you to find a faithful, trustworthy Christian girl friend that will hold you accountable and encourage you in this walk. Having the ability to see that other women share in the same struggles, encouraging each other to fight the good fight and lifting each other up in prayer is a blessing straight from heaven!
And lastly, I want to remind you to do this out of a spirit of love. We need to do this because we love God, we love our husbands and we love the testimony this presents before the world. Without love –
…I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:1
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