There was once a time I would shrink back if you spoke the word aloud to me.
Submission. A dirty word so misunderstood.
I would’ve assumed you were a part of the Westboro Baptist Church, that you wore your hair feathered and donned a denim jumper. You made casseroles every night. You could sew and your home was spotless.
In other words, I would have had trouble finding much in common with you. It’s not that I would have disliked you. But if friendships are born on a common-ground, we might still be searching.
I’ve always thought of myself as a modern girl. A Jesus follower, yes, but a contemporary one that didn’t align much with Pharisee-like behavior. I held legalism at a very-far arm’s length. I didn’t ever want to get caught-up in putting rules above people.
So until recently, I glossed over those scriptures that talked about submitting to my husband and pretended they didn’t pertain to a modern-girl living out the Bible in a modern-way.
Hello, pride. We meet again.
It wasn’t until Jason and I were blessed to be a part of a local ministry, in which submission in marriage was explained in a way that actually made sense to me for the first time ever, I began to seriously examine this whole submission thing.
And the first thought I had once I started to learn about what it really is? Man, we are so not getting this as a culture.
Myself very included.
Back in the day, I thought women who were submissive didn’t have a voice. They were doormats. They buried their opinions, desires and feelings so they could “submit” to their husbands and keep the peace because if you weren’t keeping the peace then you weren’t truly submitting. This, by the way, is not accurate in the least.
I read books about submission – some really good ones and some really bad ones.
It was through reading the good and the bad that I concluded the sweet spot was actually somewhere in the middle. As is the case in most situations.
When we decide to pick up the cross and follow Jesus, we commit to die to ourselves.
This doesn’t mean we stuff everything and never speak-up. Instead, it means we become slow to speak (James 1:19). We do our best to live at peace with those among us as long as it depends on us (Romans 12:18) We forgive (all over the Bible).
But when we marry, we continue to commit to the above and THEN.
We become one (Genesis 2:24).
Somehow, some way, we become one. If you’re like us, you are continually in the process of figuring out what “one” is.
We’ve had some wicked arguments, my husband and I. We’ve said horrid things to each other. I’m certain there have been times when I was the last person he wanted to see and I know there were times when I felt the same.
We were no longer on the same team. We were allowing the “Me Monster” to rise-up in us both and it suddenly wasn’t about the issue at-hand anymore. We had not truly died to ourselves.
It became about who was right. Who was in the lead. We focused on who was doing what and how much more we were doing than the other person.
After Eve ate the apple and God doled-out punishment, we heard mostly about pain during childbirth.
But the other one not discussed as often? She will desire to control her husband (Genesis 3:16). Oh, boy.
Anyone else with me on this?
And yet while I’m fully-aware this is a struggle for me, there’s another side to this whole concept of submission, too.
Submission doesn’t work if you, as a wife, are not being treated like the bride. You are to be treated like Jesus treated the church, sister.
And when I lay-down my desire to control and be in-charge, when I stop trying to run the show and dictate everyone’s time, when I get the message through my thick skull that it isn’t actually all about me, then I see the beauty of two who have become one.
When he chooses to love rather than argue back, when he reacts with tenderness when he wants to answer in anger, when he cherishes and honors me even when I don’t deserve it, when he continually makes choices with my best interest at heart, he is treating me like Jesus treated the church.
We experience the dance of submission the way it was intended to be.
True submission doesn’t work well when you don’t become the “one” you’re intended to become after marriage. It gets misunderstood. Vandalized. Abused.
But when you do?
You begin to taste true submission. Submission in which two who have become one are now submitting to EACH OTHER.
There’s a rhythm playing that’s all their own and their waltz is very specific – and danced only by them.
Because when submission is done the way it’s supposed to be done there’s not a more beautiful dance on the planet.
What about you? What do you think about submission in a modern-day culture? What struggles have you had with submission?