I wish to be as gentle as possible here, for what good it will do since I am already persona non grata in several circles, however I have encountered yet another post on wives and submission from a ‘spherian, a post called “how do wives petition or win their husbands,” which just begs for some clarification, perhaps some edification.
First off, what is at the heart of faith is submission, surrender to Jesus Christ. That’s it. Not submission to husbands, not proper gender roles, not giving up lying, not believing in the correct eschatological interpretation. The first step, the prime directive, is to surrender to Christ and allow grace to take you where you need to go. That simple. Faith is a progressive thing. Like the bible, faith also builds precept upon precept, a little here, a little there. Keep Jesus Christ at the top always, and you just can’t go wrong. Everything else will fall into place.
Second of all, the ‘spherians can be a bit like a broken record, wives submit, wives submit, wives submit. Sometimes when we are hearing the same message over and over again, that message is not really intended for others but rather for ourselves.
There can be a whole lot of hostility, pride, and outrage coming from that quarter. I’m sorry to say, but you could marry a sweet, gentle spirit, with no will of her own, who lays across the door step so you can wipe your feet on her, and she will still lack the power to heal what is broken within you. Far too many of us go looking for a perfect spouse, as if that is the solution to everything. We seldom embrace the idea that there is someone for everyone, and if we find ourselves married to this deeply flawed, defiant, and cantankerous soul, it is always possible that God chose that person because they reflect what is actually within our own souls. Oh, ouch, but there is some real truth there.
Third, there is another part to the equation. Wives submit does not just float out in the cosmos somewhere, unrelated to anything else. It is tightly entwined with, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
Context is everything. Without the other half of the equation, we have a two legged stool that just falls over. Long term marriage, deep into the profound wisdom to be found there, works out just as scripture says. Wives submit comes so naturally, so gently, because it lives in the face of a love that would lay its life down for you. Of course it can be a struggle, of course as human beings we try to foul everything up, but marriage reflects Christ’s relationship with the church. What did Christ do for us? He took all our blame, shame, sin, accusation, condemnation, upon Himself and sacrificed His life on our behalf. That is what genuine power and authority is all about.
What will you never see in the ‘sphere? And article that says, “Husbands, take all your wife’s sense of shame, blame, accusation, condemnation, sin, and lay down yourself on her behalf. Intercede for her, plea for her, accept responsibility for her errors.”
I know it sounds insane, but I really think marriage is like that. A man who can say, “forgive her Father, it is entirely my fault, I have overwhelmed and distressed her,” is a man under authority, who has authority. What heart does not melt in the face of such love? Mine certainly does. Are spouses still responsible for their own behavior? Of course, but recognizing the symbiosis at play and having a desire to lift someone up rather than to tear them down, is everything. It is not about them anymore, now it is about you and what you have the power to do.
When you realize the implications of what it means to have someone willing to lay down their life for you, these other little things like, what color should we paint the living room, become, “Whatever color delights the cockles of your heart, my love.”
Let me just state that any man who believes wives must simply submit in order to somehow magically draw the attention of a husband to your needs or desires is operating on this false assumption that men are amazingly intuitive, highly emotive, and have great psychic abilities. As much as I love men, I believe thickheaded would be a more accurate description. Husbands often require direct and clear information. Gentle I would hope, but sometimes persistent. Sure, prayer, fasting, and submission, are great tools at our disposal, but sheesh, if simply explaining how you feel to the poor man is not in the equation somewhere, something is all wrong with that relationship.
As to the infamous wife, (the Kellers) who had to smash her wedding china to get her husband’s attention, y’all should get over your great offense and forgive her. It may not have been a graceful act, but she is a full human being with the right to express herself. She did not bounce the china off his head, which is what some of us more passionate wives would have done. Is that wrong? Yes. Is that human? Yes.
It may not always work out exactly as you like, or it may not work out at all, but often the same amount of grace you are willing to extend and grant to your spouse is the same amount of grace they will reflect back to you.