Sshh… I’m gonna tell you one of the secrets to a happy marriage. It is a hot, touchy, and controversial topic – I used to feel like even saying the mere word was offensive and degrading somehow. Others feel like it’s old school, repulsive, and comes from a system of male dominance. But knowing what I know NOW I realize how distorted, misunderstood, and maligned it is in our culture.
What’s the secret?
Please… keep reading. Let me explain.
In the book When a Woman Loves a Man, Pursuing His Heart by James Ford, Jr. he gives this beautiful visual of what submission really looks like in its proper form:
We learn from Scripture that a wife is supposed to reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:33 KJV). The word “reverence” literally means “to bow down”. Now get the biblical picture! The corresponding action for the husband is to show her love and honor by putting his wife on a pedestal. While she is elevated by the manner in which he treats her, the only way they can have face-to-face rapport is if she voluntarily bows her head downward in his direction. When you envision this image you will see that it is a beautiful way to be in a marriage relationship. (emphasis mine) (When a Woman Loves a Man, Pursuing His Heart, James Ford, Jr. pp. 73-74)
So picture that. The husband loving his wife and putting her up on a pedestal (girls, who DOESN’T want to be up on your husband’s pedestal?!) and then the wife humbly and elegantly bowing down to give her husband reverence. Or “submitting” if you will. I picture an Olympic gold medal winner. Standing high on the podium, but leaning down humbly to receive her reward. And didn’t you know… there IS a reward for obeying God’s Word! It is the foundation for a beautiful, rewarding marriage!
Still complicated? Still stuck in the negative light the world has given this word? Let me see if I can help.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m trying to wrap my head around something, it’s far easier for me to determine what it ISN’T so that I can figure out what it truly IS. I can only speak for myself here, but..
Here is what I know Submission ISN’T:
1. Fear- Based
If your husband is using fear as a means to coerce your submission, he’s way off track. We are free in Christ and when we submit to our husbands we must be able to do it in freedom, not out of fear.
2. My Husband Becomes My God
My husband doesn’t replace Christ to me. He is not King. And his job is truly to point me towards Jesus.
3. Second-Class Citizen
I am not inferior to my husband because I submit to him. We are equal in the sight of God and scripture says so: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” -Genesis 1:27. It might not be “equality” like the world screams, instead it is a perfectly created equality in the eyes of God. Not better or higher or more worthy, just different.
4. Silent Doormat
If anything, I’ve gained an even stronger voice in my marriage, thought it’s much QUIETER, if that makes any sense. Because I choose to happily submit to my Hubs out of reverence for Christ and for him, he makes sure to include me in all conversations, decisions, etc. Submission doesn’t mean quietly agreeing with everything your husband says and does.
To tell the truth, once I began to respect my Hubs and submit my will, I’ve been raised up on a pedestal! True love in Christ calls us to submit to each other, not just the wife is called to submit. When we do this, Christ begins to take hold in our marriage walk and amazing things begin to happen!
(More on this topic coming soon!)
Now You’re Cookin’,
This post originally aired on Periscope ChefAlli@maketakebake in January 2016.
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