By my dear friend and sister in Christ, Nikka, from the Philippines. You can find her blog at www.peacefulwifephilippines.blogspot.com
Let me begin this post by saying that I am an “ALL or NOTHING” person.
My husband usually teases me that I may be “bi-polar”.
I am either TOO HAPPY or TOO SAD.
I am either TOO INTENSE or TOO UNPLUGGED.
I either LIKE something or HATE something.
I have to give it my 100% best or I don’t give it my time of day.
There is usually no middle ground with me.
I am awful at MODERATION.
Trying to find a BALANCE is an art that I am constantly trying to master.
So, given this “character flaw”, can I overdo this submission bit?
Can a wife overdo submission?
The answer is YES.
A wife can overdo submission and cross over to being a DOORMAT.
Thank God, I do not desire to be anybody’s foot rug, so on this particular important life-changing decision, if I am to err, I will err on the side of caution — caution against being an abused wife.
First, let us define some terms once more.
Biblical Submission, according to reason4living.com is:
|With 3rd baby, Reuben|
The submission of a godly wife is a glorious thing that is intended to help her and her husband to have a contented life together. Problems in life and in marriage are more or less inevitable but when a woman is submissive to her man it is much more likely that those problems can be resolved harmoniously, without unpleasant quarrelling and without bitterness and resentment. Those people who look down on biblical submission as if it were something demeaning, degrading or humiliating are merely showing that they have no understanding of what biblical submission is and that they are quite ignorant of its power.
(Italics and bold letters are mine.)
Sadly, I was one of those “ignorant detractors of submission.” I did not have any godly role models to follow and no godly marriages to pattern my own marriage from, that’s why “submission” to me was an alien, scary and outdated concept.
Had I known then what I knew now, I would have saved myself from a LOT of heartache in our nine years as husband and wife. Three of those years from 2009 to 2011 were the most difficult emotionally. They were when I was most controlling and my heart was at its “fullest” in terms of bitterness, resentment, fear and fault-finding. 🙁
What then is a DOORMAT?
According to Merriam-Webster.com a doormat is:
– one that submits without protest to abuse or indignities or
– someone who is treated badly by other people and does not complai
April explains it well in her blog post on “Doormats Don’t Glorify God Either”. I will share with you an excerpt of that article:
“It is true that being bossy, condescending, controlling, scolding, critical, negative, nagging, argumentative, contentious, etc… as a wife is extremely dishonoring to God. But having NO thoughts, NO opinions, NO dreams, NO feelings, NO input, NO personality, NO contributions to the marriage and family as a wife – well, that doesn’t honor God either!
To label being a slave or doormat as being a ”submissive wife” will also repel many people from the gospel of Christ! A wife MUST be her own full, strong, vibrant person in order to properly complete and complement her man! There may be specific situations where we keep our thoughts to ourselves and allow our husbands to make decisions on his own – we must be sensitive to God’s Spirit, of course. But most of the time, our input is extremely valuable in our marriages – it is our motivations, and our respect for God and our husbands that are the key.”
(Italics are mine.)
To add, Nancy Leigh de Moss, author of ‘Lies Women Believe’ wrote that there are four LIES ABOUT SUBMISSION.
Lie Number 1: “The wife is inferior to her husband.”
The Scripture teaches that both the man and the woman are created in the image of God, both have equal value before God, and both are privileged to be subjects of His redeeming Grace through repentance and faith (Genesis 1:27; Galatians 3:28; 1 Peter 3:7) The responsibility of the wife to submit to her husband’s authority does not make her any less valuable or significant than her husband.
Lie Number 2: “As head of his wife, the husband is permitted to be harsh or dictatorial with his wife.”
Husbands are commanded to love their wives as they love themselves, in the same selfless, sacrificing, serving way that the Lord Jesus loved His Church and laid down His life for it (Ephesians 5:25-29)
God created the woman to be a “helper suitable” to her husband. That means, he needs her help. He needs the input and insight she is able to bring in various situations. It also means that once a wife has graciously and humbly expressed her heart on the matter, if her husband chooses to act contrary to her counsel, she must be willing to back off and trust God with the consequences of her husband’s decision.Lie Number 3: “The wife is not to provide input or express her opinions to her husband.”
Lie Number 4: “The husband is always right.”
The apostle Peter specifically addresses women whose husbands “do not believe the word.” The husband may be unsaved, or he may be disobedient to God in some area(s)of his life. According to 1 Peter 3:1, the number one means of influencing such a husband is not through tearful pleading, irresistible logic, or persistent reminders; rather, it is through the power of submission:
1 Peter 3:1-2
So, to the question, can a wife overdo submission, the answer is a resounding YES.
Can a husband overdo dominance? The answer is YES too.
To somebody like me who is an ALL or NOTHING sort of gal and who finds it hard to stay on middle ground, you might think that now that I am being submissive, I might risk becoming ‘TOO SUBMISSIVE.’
One good thing, I think, from being used to getting my way AND being bossy (hehe), is that I couldn’t for the life of me imagine having no opinion, no say, no input on anything. I have never been a doormat and I am not going to start now. 🙂
But to those wives who are more passive than aggressive, who may have problems with self-esteem, of questioning authority or of simply speaking their mind, I pray that you find it in yourself to come out of your shell and be that significant other of your husbands. You are significant! You are important! Your thoughts and feelings matter!
If you have given up your influence on your marriage, you might want to read April’s post on that. She gives some practical tips on how to move from becoming a DOORMAT to becoming a wife who MATTERS to her husband. Click the link here.
I guess in life, for us to be able to function at our most comfortable and healthy level, one really has to find the right BALANCE. That, I am learning now as a former controlling and now converted peaceful wife. 😉
There is one passage though in the Bible, wherein being neither here nor there is considered contemptible, and that is with regards to our FAITH.
So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Kaya sapagka’t ikaw ay malahininga, at hindi mainit o malamig man, ay isusuka kita sa aking bibig.
(For a more detailed explanation on this verse from Revelations, please click this.)
Finally, and here, I am overjoyed to know that I can use my ALL or NOTHING nature to its maximum capacity – giving it my ALL rather than NOTHING….
I can go OVERBOARD with my LOVE FOR GOD! 🙂
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This one I can NEVER overdo. 🙂
This one I can give my 110% best! 🙂
May we all be richly blessed! 🙂