"Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord." ~Ephesians 5:22
I'll never forget the look I turned and gave to the congregation on the day of our wedding when the pastor spoke of submitting to my husband. I looked back over my shoulder and rolled my eyes. At the time, it was funny. Now, it makes me sad and half sick in my stomach. I unknowingly made a mockery of God's plan for a wife in front of everyone who knew us. For years, I continued to believe the lie of the enemy that says "wives can be in control of their husbands"..."there's no harm in the wife making most of or even all of the decisions" "husbands should help their wives"...I could go on and on. For years I've not submitted to my husband. For years, I've been confused as to why I was frustrated most of the time.
When God started speaking to me about submission, I listened, but with my eyes half-closed and with fingers shoved in my ears. It's like when you go into a haunted house. You want to experience it, yet you're afraid of what you'll see and hear. Thankfully, God's ways are good (Psalm 119:68 You are good, and what you do is good...") and not scary.
God has been showing me His best for me as a wife through the last few months. He's been speaking to me through His Word, by conviction of the Holy Spirit, in listening to other wives and husbands, and through experiences in my marriage. I feel as though I'm on the submission roller coaster. I submit. I take charge. I submit. I take charge. And the pattern continues. There are times of great hills and times of deep valleys. Last night was a real winger of a night. I was wallowing in self-pity. I was going on and on in my thoughts and in my actions of how miserable I was. "I'm so hot, Lord. Why can't we have central air like we use to or like so and so." "I'm tired of cleaning up after everyone, especially my husband." "I'm tired of doing the same thing over and over with no signs of appreciation from my family." I stood in my laundry room, remembering the words of a friend, "Find something to be grateful for." I started listing them one by one, and the list could go on forever. Yet, my mind kept going back to MY misery, My sacrifice, My suffering. There's good reason that God tells us to "Fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."(Hebrews 12:2). I don't claim to know or understand all the reasons God tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, but I do know that when my eyes are on Jesus, they're not on me.
"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." ~1 Peter 3:1-2
When talking with women about submission, some have said "Submit..ha...you don't know my husband." Women of unbelieving husbands often say they don't know how to submit to a man who doesn't follow God's ways. I personally don't think it would be easy either, but the verse above from 1 Peter, makes it clear that if your husband does not believe the word, that he may be won over by your behavior. (By the way, my husband and I came to know the Lord as adults.)
How do we submit to our husbands during the times we don't feel so loved, even if it's most of the time? We pray. We trust. We lay down what we believe are our "rights" and things we think we deserve. We trust that God is ultimately in control, and He wants what is best for each of us.
I'm learning that marriage isn't meant to make me happy. It's meant to make me holy. There are times of wonderful joy in marriage, and there are times of suffering, too. My husband will not complete me. My husband will not make me happy. Neither will yours. Only Christ will complete us. Only in Christ will each of us find our deepest longings fulfilled.
(I would love to insert scripture here, but babies and older children await. I encourage to search out God's Truth in His Word.)
I don't claim to be the expert on submission. I'm just a wife, trying to learn how to love my husband the way God intends, and ultimately to love Him more and more through my marriage. Hold what I'm saying up to scripture, please. Feel free to leave comments or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), even if you don't agree, as I grow greatly from hearing from other women.