Earp Takes Aim | Faith, Culture, Life

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Submission

So ladies, what does it look like when you love your husband by SUBMITTING to him? 

Well, let’s start by explaining what that blasted “S” word doesn’t mean.  Okay?

  • “Submit” doesn’t mean that the wife is inferior and that Bubbles-the-Chimp sitting beside you is superior. 
  • Neither does it mean that the wife is hubby’s emotional doormat. 
  • And it has absolutely NOTHING to do with who does what when it comes to household chores.
  • “Submit” is not about obedience nor worth nor intelligence. 
  • Neither does it mean that a wife must never confront her husband’s bad behavior and can only have an opinion if he gives it to her.

No…”submit” simply means that she lovingly RESPECTS her husband by deferring to his leadership for the health and harmony of their relationship.  That’s the essence of submission.

 

And that’s exactly the explanation Michelle Bachmann gave when she recently got publically skewered on this topic.  And she’s right!  Wives, Paul isn’t saying that you can never disagree with your husband or that your views must never be expressed.  What he’s saying is— there is a way that you can take your hubby to task so that even when he knows you’re nailing his hide to the wall, he doesn’t really mind!  Cuz you’re so doggone sweet and respectful about it…why should he care?  And “way” is with the deepest respect.

God’s plan, ladies, is that a wife willingly acknowledges her husband’s God-given authority— and then responds to his loving leadership in precisely the same way Christ’s church acknowledges Jesus and freely responds to His loving authority.

Now before you stomp outta here, lemme ask you something:  how does the church submit to Jesus?

JOYFULLY, right? 

We don’t submit to Him with a grumbling and moaning and irritation.  Neither do we submit fearfully, cuz we don’t trust his predictability or fairness.  Cuz Jesus is NEVER domineering.  He never bangs us over the head with Bible verses declaring that He, after all, is the all-powerful one and the one who calls all the shots— so you better get in line!

Cuz that’s not loving leadership. 

No, Leader Jesus primarily relates to His Bride, the church, with a heart for humble service. 

If our feet are dirty, He washes them. 

If our hearts get soiled by sin, He’ll get nailed to a cross to cover them.

And when we can’t seem to overcome our weaknesses— He’s patient with us…not wanting any of us to perish, but ALL of us to come to Him for strength— not for punishment, not for rebuke, and not to hear all over again every stupid thing we’ve ever done!  But so that He can shelter us and care for us and cherish us…without limit and without end.

So wives, your submission must flow outta your respect for him— but within the context of his gentle and even sacrificial leadership.  Something we’ll get to in just a moment.  But before we do, I’ve got a couple of other things I’d like to add. 

 

Wives, “submit” also means that you love your husband with, and I realize this may sound a bit perverted, but you are to love your man with A BROTHERLY LOVE.  No, I’m serious!  Did you know, that’s right outta Scripture?[1]  There it is!

I point that out, cuz I used to believe that agape was the most important love for a successful marriage.  Because agape love is the highest form of love, right?  It’s that sacrificial, generous, and giving kinda love…not based on feelings or “are my needs being me?”—  agape love is based on commitment. 

And agape IS vital for every marriage.  But it’s not the MOST important love in marriage.  Through the years, I’ve known way too many Christian couples that somehow remained INTACT, but what they never became was is ONE.  Okay, maybe they didn’t get divorced, but they never had a real relationship, either. 

Another kind of love is eros, that wonderful, passionate love.  The kinda love we ALL wanna have— cuz physical chemistry really is a vital link for every great marriage!  But even the luckiest married couple has to leave the bedroom eventually. 

What Paul’s telling Titus is this:  Phileo love could likely be THE most important love of all…and that’s what’s translated here as “brotherly love.”  Commitment and chemistry are key ingredients you DO need to fold into your marital batter, but without friendship?  You can’t ever hope to bake the cake! 

That doesn’t mean, ladies, you gotta take up paint ball.  But you’d better find something you can share.  Cuz if all you DO share is a checkbook, a house, and maybe a slice of the same bed— what you won’t ever share is your husband’s heart. 

See, marriage is meant to be done with your best friend— the person you can’t wait to talk to about your most exciting victory OR your most discouraging defeat.  The person you can’t wait to get away with [and not from]— hopefully to some remote destination where the two of you can be entirely alone. 

Brotherly love is about being with the person who makes you feel good about being you.  Who affirms your best qualities, especially when you’re feeling insecure and wonder if you even have any best qualities. 

Brotherly love is bringing out the best in me— but it’s also calling me out when I reveal the worst in me. 

Brotherly love is extending grace when I’m grumpy or listening to my same, old, boring stories for the 43rd time, and speaking well of me even when I’m not around to hear.

And ladies, that’s YOUR job to make certain that kinda love happens.  And at the risk of sounding self-serving, can I tell you the way you can most likely get there…?  You need to be really careful about what comes out of your mouth.  Cuz nothing wounds a man more than his bride’s careless words.

But don’t take that tidbit from me.  Here’s how the Bible describes it: 

“…a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.[2]

That sounds pleasant. 

“…better to live on a corner of the roof than share a [whole] house with a quarrelsome wife.”[3]

Easy, guys.  I got this one.  Just walk away. 

“Better to live in a desert [It’s better, Solomon says, for a man to live in a panting, parched, and thoroughly dehydrated existence where vultures swoop down and gnaw your carcass away from yours bones than to live] with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.”[4]

Get the picture, ladies? 

Friends don’t do that to each other.  And because our admittedly fragile male egos can be so easily damaged, you need to use the breath God has given you to creatively tell your man that you think he’s okay.  I mean, sometimes the very thought that he’s nothing more than your pet project— and that once you get him remodeled into the person you want him to be— then and only then will you affirm him and respect him and fully love him…? 

You need to know— just wondering if that’s where you coming from scares the living daylights outta your man! 

So brag on him occasionally— in public, but make sure he can hear.  And even when he does screw up, he probably already knows it so choose your words of correction with great care.

And let him fix something in you every once in a while.  Not just stuff that’s broken in your house, but whatever is broken in your heart.  And even if he does make a mess of things, go with it anyway.  Cuz he’s a man— and we men are wired to be fixers.  After all, God made us to be His representative caretakers over creation, remember?  So toss him a bone occasionally!  Give him a problem to solve…and even if he doesn’t, pretend he did! 

 

So that’s your God-given role, wives.  You are to loving submit to and demonstrate respect for your husbands.  And because he may never find the words to tell you this, I’m gonna tell you for him:  Your respect will always be his most powerful motivation for wanting to be a better man. 

Not your passion…although every man in the room just flinched and wants me to quickly tell you that he’s really all over that one, too.  I mean, wives, we LOVE your passion, but we LONG for your respect.   

The most current research on marriage reveals that when in the middle of marital conflict, most husbands will most often react when they’re feeling disrespected.  In fact, 7000 husbands were surveyed and asked:   “When you’re in conflict with your spouse, which do you feel most intensely?  Unloved or disrespected?” 

83% of the men responding said that feeling “disrespected” is the most painful feeling they have. 

Please!  Hang on to that, ladies.  I understand:  You want respect, too— maybe every bit as much as your man.  But there IS a difference. 

And I’m gonna try my best to unpack that difference. 



[1] See Titus 2:4

[2] Proverbs 19:13 and 27:15

[3] Proverbs 21:19a and 25:24

[4] Proverbs 21:19b

This is an exerpt from "Make Your Marriage Amazing. Part 2

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