Marriage and Submision–What’s on My Heart

I read this really good article on Biblical submission that I saw first at Chrysalis, and it got me thinking.  I heard this story one time about a wife who wanted.  Just wanted.  Mostly she wanted what her friend had.  Her friend was married to a lawyer.  She was married to a teacher and, although he was a very good teacher, he would never make as much money as the lawyer.  Still, his wife wanted.  And the teacher, because it is innate that most men want to please their wives, worked himself toward an early grave to try and give her what she wanted and, no matter how hard he worked or how much he gave her, she was never satisfied.

Now, maybe this story touches my heart so much because my dad was a teacher.  He and my mom married just after they turned eighteen.  They grew up together.  We never had much money.  In fact, I remember Mom and Dad waking me up when I was ten or so to show me that they actually had $100 left after payday.  Despite the fact that we didn’t have a lot of things, though. we had each other and we had our needs, so I never really felt deprived.  My dad worked three jobs all during the time I was growing up to meet our needs.  (Teachers don’t make a lot of money.)  He was out sick only three times that I can remember.  He took his role seriously.

My mom did, too.  She did everything she could to streamline my dad’s life, something I know that he misses now that she is with the Lord.  I don’t remember any mornings when I was growing up that she did not get up to make his breakfast and make sure he had a lunch.  I don’t remember his ever leaving for work without kissing her good-by at the door.  She did his wash, she kept his house, she watched his kids, and I don’t remember her ever saying she resented it.  Now I know that there are people out there who would say that modern wives are not called to do the same things for their husbands, and maybe they aren’t called to do some of them. My mom didn’t work outside the home, so she was more free to do things at home than a working wife might have been.   My point is that she looked out for Dad as he did for her,  and I think that, whether you work or not, married couples should look out for each other.

Obviously, since I am a wife, that is the area that I am addressing, but I think what I watched growing up was my mom submitting to my dad’s authority as she would to the Lord’s.  They had some hard times, but even during those, I saw her submit to him in his God-given role whether she agreed with him or not.  And I respected her for doing so.    My mom was a very Godly woman, and what I saw her model was keeping her eyes on Jesus as she lived, not on herself.

The reason that I bring this up is that I was thinking about FIREPROOF, and I can see how some women would misinterpret that movie, pointing out to their husband that he should be doing nice things for her like Caleb did for his wife in the movie.  And he should.  The point there is, though, that they should have been doing nice things for each other, and if that’s all you come away from the movie with, that you want someone to do for you, you have missed the whole point, I think.  The love and respect thing has got to be mutual.  I know that, in my own marriage, there were some hard times when I had my eyes just on me.  I was pretty sure the hubby wasn’t doing what he was supposed to.  God worked in my heart at those times–they have happened more than once–and when I looked to him, then, and began to respond accordingly, I was able to, I don’t know, react appropriately?  Respect my husband’s position?  I’m not sure how to describe what happened, but things got a lot better and I was the one who changed first. As my relationship with my husband improved, I saw parallels with my relationship with God, and I believe I grew closer to Him as well.

I’ve been married for thirty years, so you can take what I have said however you want.  I just wanted to get it all out.  What I will leave you with, though, is the ending from the article I read.  You know how I said I was afraid people could take the wrong message away from FIREPROOF or other media about marriage and point to what their spouse was doing wrong instead of looking into their own hearts?  This is how the article handled that so it’s the way I want to handle it, too.  I think it says enough:

…you need to keep your focus in the right place. It would be natural for you to dwell on the ways your spouse is not living up to his or her responsibilities. But when husbands focus on the “submission passages” and wives focus on the “gave himself up” passages, they are reading each others’ mail. God meant these passages primarily for the persons to whom they are addressed. Therefore, pay attention to the passages addressed to you and work to get some “logs” out of your own eye. As you do so, your spouse may see your progress and begin to change as well. With time, you will hopefully be able to encourage and help each other in carrying out Paul’s excellent instructions:

“Each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself,
and the wife must respect her husband.”


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