I have a question for submissive wives. Don’t you ever miss your freedom? Your rights and privleges under the law? I think of a “head”/submissive relationship as a master/slave type relationship. Do you get any rights or privleges from your “head”? Are you able to make at least minor decisions for yourself, or must you always ask your “head’s” permission for everything you do? Does he get his own way on everything? Does he order you to do anything that you know is the wrong thing (not against the law-but just wrong)? Has he ever sacrificed his life for yours? Would you expect him to?I’m doing some research on this subject, and would really appreciate any responses. Also, do you feel inferior, superior, or equal to your head? Thanks.
Here is my answer:
Great questions! I realize that at first glance, it must look like a wife gives up and sacrifices a lot in order to empower her husband’s leadership. This is not a politically correct concept right now. It’s not popular.
Let me tell you my perspective, and then maybe I can find some other wives to also answer your questions.
I used to try to run our marriage. I am a pharmacist. I made all A’s in school. I was very take charge and I was always “right” about everything. When I tried to be in charge of our marriage, the results for me were: my husband was very emotionally distant and unplugged. I was very stressed out, anxious and worried all the time, trying to MAKE everything happen the way I thought it should go. I was afraid. I was very lonely. My husband didn’t talk with me much. He didn’t look at me when I came in the room. He didn’t touch me much. I was miserable! So was he. Then, I read Love and Respect by Dr. Eggerichs and he said that men need respect like women need love. That was new information for me. I thought I was being respectful since I didn’t hit him, yell at him much, throw things or call him names. There is A LOT more to respect than that – it turns out! And I was very uncooperative for the first 15 years of our marriage. If my husband wanted to do something, I would argue him under the table and verbally attack him and try to show him I was right. Many times, he wouldn’t even tell me his opinion on things because it wasn’t worth the conflict. So I thought he agreed with me about a lot of things, but he didn’t. When he did put his foot down, I would argue, whine, pout, cry and try to demand my way. I am NOT proud of my behavior those first 15 years of our marriage. Our emotional/spiritual/physical intimacy suffered GREATLY. WHen I saw how disrespectful I had been and how I had taken over the marriage and didn’t really care about his feelings – I was mortified at the damage I had done.
Biblical submission is not about being a slave or doormat AT ALL! A lot of people think that. It is actually a military term that describes rank. So the husband is a higher ranking officer – not the highest ranking officer! He must submit to Christ and God’s Word. And if he asks his wife to do something that goes against God’s Word, the wife must resist him. But the way it works for our marriage is, I tell my husband what I want and how I feel. I don’t criticize him, nag him, lecture him, belittle him, make fun of him, boss him around, tell him what to do or argue at all anymore. I praise anything I see that is good. I tell him what I admire. I show him that I trust his leadership – but it is actually my trust in God to lead me through my husband that is the critical thing. I trust that God in His sovereignty will guide my husband, even if he makes mistakes, so I can’t lose! I don’t really get focused on the outcome of individual decisions. I focus on my intimacy with Christ and with my husband. I don’t make the little issues the priority over my marriage anymore. I say what I want and I say how I feel, then I tell my husband, “I trust you to make the best decision for our family.” And as I started doing that, he started standing taller and becoming a better and better leader. He also became much less selfish because he knew I was trusting him and counting on him and he didn’t want to let me down. Men need respect to care about the feelings of others. If a man is disrespected, it is VERY hard for him to love his wife, or care about her feelings. When he feels respected, his instinct is to serve his wife. He wants to see her happy more than anything. I have not given up power – I have GAINED HUGE AMOUNTS OF POWER! I get what I want MUCH more now than i ever did before! He only goes against what I ask for if he believes that what I want isn’t best in God’s sight for us and our family. There are very few times that actually happens. But when it does, I support his decision willingly and I don’t pout. That lets him really feel the full weight of his responsibility and want to make the best possible decisions. You can read about how it affected him on my home page “When She Surrendered” – my husband wrote that post. Now, my husband looks at me, compliments me again, hugs me for no reason, does the laundry without me asking, spends much more time with the kids, is plugged in to our marriage and our children, helps me write this blog! I have the marriage of my dreams! And so does he! I feel loved, adored, cherished, protected and well-provided for. He feels respected and trusted. It works! We haven’t had any tension even in 2 years. We don’t argue. There is no yelling. If he asks me to do something that is wrong, I would have to refuse. That hasn’t happened in 4 years. IN biblical submission, the wife and husband are of equal value in GOd’s sight and in the marriage, but they have different functions and roles. The husband represents Christ’s loving, self-sacrificing leadership and provision and the wife represents the church’s adoration and cooperation. The husband is NOT God. But he is to represent the selfless and unconditional love of Christ to his wife and family.
I have peace every day now. I never feel anxious or lonely. What I gave up was garbage, and what i have gained is treasure. That is why I blog about this. So many women have no idea how to have a fulfilling marriage. We have been doing this all wrong!
My husband allows me to do just about anything I want to do. But I do check in with him before spending more than $250 or before committing my time to teach at church or volunteer at school or change jobs. And if he thinks something would put too much strain on my time and energy, then I decline that opportunity and thank him for keeping me sane! We have the physical/emotional/spiritual intimacy I always wanted. This is not slavery at all. I am not oppressed. He has sacrificed himself in many ways – he hasn’t literally died for me. I hope that doesn’t happen! But he gives up things he wants so I can stay home more with the children – so he sacrifices having nicer things. He drives a very old car. He gives up his time now to be with me and our children, when before he was always watching tv or working on projects around the house.
Thanks for the questions!
When we obey God’s Word – He gives us ALL PURE JOY. I know it doesn’t make sense from the world’s perspective, but the world’s ways lead to divorce, hatred, fighting, anger, bitterness, resentment and all the mess you see daily around you. God’s ways lead to abundant life and all the fruit of the Spirit.
May you find the path God has for you!
I hope to get that other post about how to handle it if your ex calls you and you want him back – tomorrow! Ran into time constraints last night! My apologies!
Also -for some other wives’ views about submission and answers to these questions – check out my Peacefulwife Blog FB page today! Great discussion going on there!