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When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

 

This is such a serious issue. How I pray that God’s Spirit will be very much involved to help me write and to help each of us understand things clearly. I have had many women read a bit about biblical submission and conclude that submitting to our husbands means things like:

  • My husband is my absolute authority not God.
  • I have to do whatever he says no matter what.
  • I can’t voice any disagreement with my husband, that’s disrespectful.
  • I have to follow him into sin.
  • I have to treat his words as if they are always the very words of God even if he clearly goes against the Bible.

I don’t believe this is what Scripture teaches at all.

With almost every biblical principle, there is balance. If we veer to the right or the left of what the Bible teaches, we will end up with a destructive false teaching. So let’s always “test the spirits” as Scripture says. Let’s not just believe anything that any human teaches. Let’s compare everything to the Bible and pray for God’s Spirit to give us His wisdom and discernment that we might handle His Word rightly. It is impossible to delve into all that marriage means in one post – so please take lots of time to study this issue and to seek God’s truth wholeheartedly.

Note – There is a danger with a post like this that a wife who is not abiding in Christ and not seeing clearly spiritually may try to use this list to justify her own sin or selfishness. We are accountable to God for any sin in our own lives.

Let’s keep in mind that ultimately our submission is to Christ as Lord – as men and women. And let’s be sure we are hearing God’s voice clearly, not listening to the enemy’s lies or walking in the power of the flesh so that we can clearly discern God’s voice. Let’s ask God to purify our hearts and motives and to expose any sin or wrong thinking we may have. The goal is that God might say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant,” to each of us. Let’s desire obedience to Him above all else. 🙂

TIMES THAT I PERSONALLY WOULD NOT SUBMIT TO MY HUSBAND

I am posting this with my husband’s full support and knowledge.

Greg wants me to be sure to emphasize, “A wife will need godly discernment and the power of the Holy Spirit in some of these situations. Sometimes things are gray, not clearly black or white.”

We all need God’s Spirit to give us His wisdom as we seek first of all to submit to Christ as Lord. Ultimately, we will each answer to Him. I want us to handle His Word and our decisions rightly in His eyes. We need to be abiding in Him and we need to know His Word well and be seeking Christ far above all else so that we can hear His voice clearly. God gives us as wives a command to honor our husband’s leadership. I don’t want us to be always looking for a way out of obeying the Lord. That is not the point of this post. Our hearts should long to obey the Lord in everything.

This list is one that Greg and I came up with together for our marriage.

I Would Personally Not Voluntarily Yield to My Husband’s Leadership If:

  • He was not in his right mind
    • he had an uncontrolled severe mental illness at the time – psychotic, manic, extremely depressed, suicidal, schizophrenic, hallucinating, etc…).
    • he was on medication that was causing him not to be able to think properly (like he was not in touch with reality after anesthesia).
    • he was high or drunk or involved in a severe addiction that ruled his life.
    • he had significant dementia.
    • he asked me to do something truly foolish or reckless to endanger himself, others, or me – like asking me to get on the roof when I was 9 months pregnant, unless the house was on fire, refusing to go to the hospital when he clearly just had a heart attack and needed life-saving treatment, or saying we should strap the kids on the hood of the car and drive down the interstate.
    • he was obviously demon-possessed.
  • He was asking me to condone or commit clear sin according to God’s Word – not about my personal convictions – but clear sin. i.e.: He wanted me to get an abortion, to have a threesome, to watch porn with him, to lie on our taxes, to steal something, to worship someone/something other than the Lord, to be okay with him having an affair, to take the Lord’s Name in vain, to blaspheme against God, to turn from my faith in Christ, etc…
    • He demanded that he had absolute authority over me and was to be my primary “lord” instead of Jesus.
    • He wanted to lead me into a false religion or cult.
    • He wanted me to condone something illegal (unless it was to smuggle Bibles into a closed country).
    • He was threatening harm to me or my children, brandishing weapons,  or he had rage so out of control that I felt that I or our children might be seriously in danger.
    • He was truly abusing me or our children. (see note on bottom of post about abuse)
  • He was asking me to do something I literally could not do. (i.e.: drive a stick-shift that I have never learned how to drive, pick up a 300 lb couch, speak German fluently when I haven’t learned German, etc…)

Note – I haven’t been in such a situation with Greg so far, but if I did face something like this, I would not be able to just blindly follow him. God requires wives to be accountable for our decisions about when to submit and when not to submit. Check out what happened when Sapphira followed her husband into lying to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5. Abigail is a great example of a wife who honored God and who did not follow her husband’s disrespect toward David in order to keep the males of their household from being killed in 1 Samuel 25. For more on this issue of when it is appropriate to disobey a person in a position of God-given authority (in the home, government, church, or workplace), please check out the class notes on the post Spiritual Authority from a minister at my church.

There are some situations where a wife may be able to stay in the home and honor his leadership concerning non-sinful things. There may be other situations where things are so toxic that she prayerfully decides to seek a separation in hopes that her husband will repent and find the help he needs and that they can rebuild a stronger, more godly marriage in the future. Separation is not ideal, but it is acknowledged in 1 Corinthians 7 and sometimes it is very necessary.

I could still have a desire to be able to honor my husband’s leadership and a heart that anticipates being able to honor him again. But before I could honor my husband’s leadership in cases like the ones above on my list, I would need to see that he was back in his right mind. I would need to see clear repentance and fruit of repentance if he had been involved in major sin and trust had been severely broken. If wives are dealing with issues like this, I believe they may need godly, appropriate outside help to help them navigate these kinds of issues and find the help for their husbands that they need spiritually and medically – depending on the situation.

To me, this would be similar to a situation where my husband is driving the car. I don’t grab the wheel from him because I would wreck the car if he is driving even though I am a very responsible driver, myself. I can’t drive well from the passenger’s seat. However, if my husband were to pass out or become incapacitated, I would certainly try to grab the wheel then and bring the car safely to a stop, if at all possible.

We also need to be sure that we are not endangering our men, abusing them, sinning against them, trying to lead them into sin, or continuing on in unrepentant sin ourselves, as well. And if we are involved in addictions or we need help spiritually, emotionally, or mentally, we need to be sure to reach out for the help we need. I don’t want to ever see anyone in danger from family members! Home should be the safest place on earth, brothers and sisters!

WE ANSWER TO CHRIST ABOVE ALL

Ultimately, we must each study to “show ourselves approved workmen” before God. We will answer to Him alone for all of our motives, thoughts, words, and actions. So will our husbands. I want us to obey His Word above all else.

There are some who teach that submission/authority in marriage is about a husband lording power over his wife. That is not how Jesus describes authority in His kingdom to His disciples in Matthew 20:25-28. There are some who teach that husbands have no authority or that husbands and wives have “equal authority” to lead. I also don’t see how that is biblical when we read passages that clearly teach that husbands do have authority in ways that wives do not (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-19, I Peter 3:1-7). We do have equal value in Christ and yet we have different roles. But there is to be mutual unconditional love, and unconditional respect flowing both directions in marriage. We are to treat all others with honor, dignity, gentleness, 1 Corinthians 13 love, and respect if we love and know Christ.

Even though husbands have a God-given position of authority, it is not a position of absolute authority.

God doesn’t ever give a human a position of absolute authority. All authorities on earth answer to Him and He has put all authority in heaven and on earth under Christ’s feet. Human authorities often answer to other earthly God-given authorities, as well. Husbands answer to the church, the government, and the police, for example. If there is abuse going on, these other authorities are there to help stop that. Any human authority must have limits. We know that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” for sinful humans. Thankfully, God’s Word has answers for us – I share some resources below that may help, as well.

I pray you will take the time to really study this issue and seek to understand God’s teaching rightly. Misunderstandings on this issue lead to great dysfunction and harm to husbands, wives, children, and the Body of Christ.

WE CAN BE GODLY WOMEN NO MATTER WHAT OUR HUSBANDS DO

If our husbands are involved in unrepentant sin or are not in their right minds, that does not mean we get to sin against them. It doesn’t mean we get to treat them with contempt or disrespect. But it does mean that we may have to spend much time wrestling in prayer to discern God’s wisdom and direction for us and how to best handle these very difficult situations. There is not always a one-size-fits-all formula for what a wife should do.  I would encourage women with extreme situations to seek one-on-one, experienced, godly counsel and much prayer.

 

For More Clarification on Spiritual Authority and Biblical Submission:

NOTE – please compare EVERYTHING any human author says to the Bible, my precious sisters!

Spiritual Authority – by Rev. Weaver from my church

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – by Rev. Weaver from my church

What Does “Submit in Everything” Really Mean? The Nature and Scope of Marital Submission by Steven R. Tracy – Overall I agree very much with this paper, there is only one point towards the end that says if a wife ever disagrees with her husband on anything, the husband should always seek outside godly counsel before leading in that direction. I can think of some possible exceptions to that. If you want to talk about that, please let me know.

The Danvers Statement  – from The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Husbands Are Never the Absolute Authority

My Husband Gets Upset If I Respectfully Disagree with Him

What Is Biblical Submission?

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

Do I Condone BDSM or CDD? – (The short answer is – no, those things are not what I am teaching at all.)

Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband Is Always Right

What Biblical Submission and Headship Look Like at Our House

Husbands May Not Force Their Wives into Biblical Submission

The Pendulum Effect – men and women must avoid being dominating and avoid being passive

Godly Leadership

Healthy Relationships

25 Ways to Respect Myself

Do I Condone Abuse?

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

Secret Church – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – David Platt

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – April Cassidy  – There is a whole chapter on submission in marriage, after a whole chapter on submission to Christ as Lord.  I talk about what biblical submission is not, and what it is.

  • It is not an invitation to abuse.
  • It is not agreement.
  • It does not mean I can’t have my own opinion.
  • It is not mutual (in the way that many evangelical feminists describe it).
  • It is not absolute.
  • It is not related to value.
  • It demonstrates trust – in God but also in our husbands.
  • It allows God to work.
  • It promotes real romance.

 

DEFINING ABUSE:

I want to be clear about a definition of “abuse.” This term is so overused. Some women who truly have godly husbands claim their husbands are “abusive” because their husbands want them to check with them before the wives making purchases over $500 or because their husbands would like them not to show rated R movies to their young children. These kinds of things are not abuse! That is godly leadership. Other women don’t think they are being abused, but they really are and don’t recognize it. Other women truly are being abused, severely sinned against, and mistreated, but think they have to stay and take it. They think that is what “submission” means in Scripture and are told they are “bad wives” or “sinning against God” if they leave.

thelawdictionary.org’s definition of abuse – “Cruelty that causes harm to another.”

legaldictionary-thefreedictionary.com’s definition of domestic violence – “Any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another can constitute domestic violence.”

I would argue that all sin is abusive. All sin causes harm to those we sin against and to ourselves – as well as our relationship with God. But there is a continuum and  progression of sin where it becomes more and more toxic. There is a point at which it can be too poisonous for a spouse and/or children to stay with the abusive spouse. Sometimes both spouses are abusive.

What is the Biblical Perspective on Domestic Violence – by www.gotquestions.org

Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity is for women in very difficult marriages for them to find healing in Christ and to learn to think rightly about themselves and to learn healthy boundaries and biblical principles so that they have God’s wisdom and Spirit to know how to handle the marriage issues.

www.thehotline.org – a secular resource for those in physically or severely emotionally abusive situations

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

April - 01-2010
April – 01-2010

There seems to be so much confusion around the concept of biblical submission for wives. I’d like to discuss today something that biblical submission is not because a number of women think they hear me say that biblical submission means passivity:

  • I shouldn’t ever say how I feel or what I want.
  • I should have no opinions.
  • I should never disagree with my husband.
  • I should never share my insights, perspective, wisdom, or concerns with my husband.
  • I should be quiet all the time.
  • I should smile all the time.
  • I should let my husband decide everything in our marriage without any input from me whatsoever.

I am completely heartbroken to think that ANY wife would ever live like this!

This is not biblical submission. For a wife to give up all of her ideas, her personality, her influence, her identity, her personhood, her emotions, and her input would be complete passivity and inactivity – not biblical submission. I am not sure how I can be more clear than this. I don’t know ANY healthy husband who would want his wife to act like this. All of the remotely decent husbands who comment here want wives who can think and feel and be intelligent partners with them.

Instead of passivity, biblical submission means:

In our own human strength, apart from Christ, the best we can do as men or women is to be passive and uninvolved or dominant and controlling. We tend to swing from one sinful extreme to another. But there is this place in the center where we can soar far above human ability as God’s Spirit empowers us. That is where we must be as godly men and women – in the center of God’s design for masculinity or femininity.

John Piper (pastor) and Wayne Grudem (general editor of the ESV version of the Bible) define submission in marriage in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:

“Submission refers to a wife’s divine calling to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. It is not an absolute surrender of her will. Rather, we speak of her disposition to yield to her husband’s guidance and her inclination to follow his leadership. Christ is her absolute authority, not the husband. She submits “out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21). The supreme authority of Christ qualifies the authority of her husband. She should never follow her husband into sin. Nevertheless, even when she may have to stand with Christ against the sinful will of her husband… she can still have a spirit of submission – a disposition to yield. She can show by her attitude and behavior that she does not like resisting his will and that she longs for him to forsake sin and lead in righteousness so that her disposition to honor him as head can again produce harmony.” (pg. 61)

Real biblical submission begins when a believer (man or woman) yields control of his/her life fully to Christ as Lord.

We die to our old sinful self. We die to sin. We die to wanting our will more than anything else. Then we are living for Christ through His power in us. We embrace and promote His will. We become His ambassadors. We allow Him to love through us. We allow Him to influence and bless others through us. We take up His desires, His priorities, His goals, His wisdom, His heart, His mind, His power, and His Spirit. Christ allows us to keep our personalities, our personhood, our human emotions, our own free will, and our own thoughts and opinions. We do not become mindless robots. We do not unplug and sit like an abandoned, unplugged, old computer in a closet. We are intelligent, emotional, spiritual beings who are able to think on our own – but we willingly yield our lives to Christ, trusting Him to lead us through our husbands.

  • When He prompts us to be quiet and pray – that is what we do.
  • When He prompts us to speak up respectfully, that is what we do.

From this position of great strength in Christ, we submit to our husbands.

This means, we honor their God-given leadership and we treat them with genuine respect because they are our husbands and because God commands that we do this. We do it to honor Christ above all else. The main time that submission is an issue is if a husband and wife cannot agree. In fact, if we always agreed, there would be no need for submission. But we will not always agree – which is why submission is necessary in marriage – in order for one person to be ultimately accountable to God for the decisions and management of the family.

When I don’t agree with Greg, I share the issues I have respectfully as God prompts me to – and then I let Greg know that I trust him to make the best decision for our family as I pray for God to direct him and give him His wisdom. Ultimately, my trust is in Christ Jesus and His sovereignty to work in our lives – not in Greg. God’s wisdom is worthy of all of my trust. (By the way, there are plenty of things a biblically submissive wife will decide on her own, within the parameters of the loving leadership of Christ and her husband. She doesn’t need to run every single possible issues past her husband, usually just the bigger ones that they agree on.)

We are to share our concerns, our ideas, our feelings, our perspective, our wisdom, our desires, and our perspective with our husbands. We have “influence authority” just like a king’s advisor has. The king has “positional authority” and his advisor has “influence authority.” I may choose to use my influence authority to influence my husband to sin – like Eve did. Or I may choose to use my influence authority for God and to bring praise and glory to God like Esther did with the king, her husband.

It would be tragic for me to take the abilities and influence God has given me and bury it all in the dirt and do absolutely nothing with it. No! May it never be!!!

We are accountable to God to use the gifts, talents, abilities, and opportunities He has given us for His purposes and His glory. We are His servants and He expects us to influence our husbands for Christ and to shine for Jesus in our homes. Check out Proverbs 31 to see how industrious, intelligent, capable, wise, thoughtful, and useful a godly wife is supposed to be. We are responsible for our own spiritual growth in Christ. We are responsible for our own emotions.  We are responsible for our own sin and our own obedience to Christ Jesus.

We cannot shine for Christ if we lay down and become completely passive and do nothing. What is the purpose of us even being there if we are not being godly stewards of the position God has given to us as wives and mothers?

I hope that this might help to clarify some of the confusion some ladies have had and prevent women from attempting to become passive, inactive, and invisible in their homes and relationships.

Much love to each of you!

RELATED:

Submission is not CDD or BDSM

Submission Does Not Mean the Husband Is Always Right

Submission Does Not Mean Being a Doormat

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Godly Femininity

Godly Spiritual Leadership

What Is Biblical Submission?

How Respect and Biblical Submission Impacted a Husband’s Soul

Submission (to Christ) Means Holding Things of This World Loosely

Does Being a Biblically Submissive Wife Mean I Can’t Share How I Feel or What I Need?

A Wife Can Be TOO Submissive!

My Beliefs about Marriage – The Danvers Statement

How God Has Led Me Through Greg – and BOOK NEWS!!!!!!!

April - a month after God opened my eyes January 2009
April – a month after God opened my eyes January 2009

 

This is a follow up to the post earlier this week “My Husband Doesn’t Have a Calling from God, How Can I Follow Him?”

When I dreamed about being a Christian missionary as a teenager, there was no internet. I could never have imagined that God would use me and my future life story to reach thousands and thousands of women (and men) around the world from about 200 different countries from my living room. I eventually prayerfully decided that God was leading me to become a pharmacist. But I always longed to be a missionary for Christ, too. It just seemed impossible for many years – the same years that I was cherishing a lot of sin in my heart, coincidentally, and not fully submitting myself to the Lordship of Christ Jesus.

I could never have imagined in December of 2008 – when God first opened my eyes to what an ungodly, controlling, disrespectful, prideful, selfish, self-righteous wife I had been – that He would use me to reach anyone at all. Ever. In fact, at first, I just wanted to go live in a cave and hide by myself for the rest of my life. I had no idea how to stop all of my sin, control, and disrespect or how to become a godly wife. I couldn’t even think or talk without sinning at first. It all seemed totally impossible! And it WAS totally impossible in my own strength.

There were excruciatingly slow steps. I spent 2.5+ years practically being a hermit – studying, reading, learning, growing, and praying alone with just God, myself, the Bible, over 30 books (about godly femininity, being a godly wife, respect, submission, and godly marriage), and my notebooks – every day for hours and hours – begging God to help me understand and to change ME.

GOD LED ME INTO MINISTRY THROUGH GREG

Greg surprised me in April of 2011 when he looked into my eyes and announced sincerely, “I think you need to share what God has taught you with other wives.”

What?!?!?

WOW! I didn’t see that coming! What an amazing encouragement! That is one of the moments I cherish most in all of my life. Makes me cry tears of joy every time I think about that night. God led me through Greg as I trusted Him to do so – even though I had no idea where we were going. Greg did not have an elaborate long-range plan – but God led us one step at a time. He is the One who has the long-range plan.

Of course, every couple’s story will be different and unique. Different husbands will have different personalities and leadership styles. Maybe some husbands will have things planned out way ahead of time. That’s great if that is what God shows them!

HOW GOD HAS USED GREG TO CONTINUE TO LEAD ME IN MY BLOG MINISTRY OVER THE PAST 3 YEARS

First, I began to write emails for the women in my Sunday School class at church about what I was learning. Eventually, I started sharing my ideas on my personal Facebook page. In January of 2012, God clearly showed us both that He wanted me to start a blog through the suggestions of two friends of mine – something I had never done before and had no clue about how to even begin, at first.

Greg was very involved behind the scenes – researching blogging, helping me with the technical aspects that confounded me, finding guest writers for me (in the beginning), giving me his perspective and advice when I got stuck, protecting me when someone on the blog got out of hand, listening to me talk about people I was meeting online, giving me advice as I fielded difficult comments, suggesting topics for posts, and listening to me hash through ideas. It was very much a team effort.

I could not have done this without Greg – or without God, even more importantly.

I was floored when Greg decided to start his own blog, www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com for husbands. God completely blew my mind that day again! (Greg named his blog based on something I had said when I started my journey, “I don’t really know what all this respect stuff means, Honey, but someday, when I figure this out, I want you to feel like the most respected husband on the planet!”)

I started out on Peaceful Wife with about 10-20 hits/day – mostly from friends on my Facebook page and from my Sunday School class. I soon decided to leave the numbers up to God. I knew enough to know that I didn’t have much control over that kind of thing.

“Lord, just bring whomever You want to bring here. Speak through me by the power of Your Spirit. Flow through me like Niagra Falls. Use me to point everyone who comes here to Christ, Your Word, Your healing, and Your truth! Use me for Your glory. Use me in Your kingdom’s work. I am totally available and at Your disposal. I’ll do whatever You want me to do. I am not seeking money. I am not seeking fame. I just want You and Your will.”

That first year, there were about 100,000 views. Greg and I were very surprised. The second year, there were over 1 million views, and this past year, there have been over 2 million views – for a total of over 3.3 million views.  Peaceful Single Girl has had over 1.3 million views now, total, as well. My Youtube channel, “April Cassidy”, has had over 335,000 views at this point. I have had the honor and privilege of watching God draw thousands of people to Himself and change many, many women’s (and men’s) spiritual lives and marriages here.

Um. This is so obviously completely a God thing, not an April thing. I have to give Him all the glory and praise! I am extremely blessed and greatly humbled that God allows me to be part of this in any way!

GOD LED ME THROUGH GREG TO BEGIN TO WRITE A BOOK

Around January of 2013, God lead me – through Greg’s suggestion – to begin to write my first book. Yikes! I had never written a book. It was a bit overwhelming at times and VERY different from writing blog posts! The first book I wrote, I later completely scrapped and had to start over completely from scratch. God continued to lay His message on my heart and refined it over a year and a half as I constantly sought His wisdom, message, leadership, direction, and His words.

Last year, Greg encouraged me to slow down. I was still trying to email all the wives who wanted to email with me like I had done when the blog was much smaller. I was spending many hours per day just on emails. We prayerfully decided that I had to stop the emailing ministry (even though I loved it dearly) and that I needed to cut back on the frequency of my blogging. Greg helps to keep me grounded – and sane. I’m so thankful for him!

OUR JOURNEY TO PUBLISH MY BOOK

We weren’t sure how we should publish the book. Greg and I researched every possible option. There was a LOT of waiting and praying. Things moved at a snail’s pace, in my view, if they moved at all. But that was ok. God had taught me to wait and to be content in the waiting over the past several years. I knew that God would direct us in His timing if this was His will. I knew my tendency to run ahead and I knew that if I did that with this – I would make a big mess. I sure didn’t want to attempt to publish a book if it was NOT God’s will! And I didn’t want to rush things and miss hearing God’s voice and direction and publish a book that was not Spirit-led.

I thought for sure we would self-publish about a year ago,  but Greg stopped me – thankfully – after carefully researching the company we were looking into. He just didn’t find any positive information from authors who had used them. That was a God thing, too. I was disappointed at first. But then I was so thankful that God (through Greg’s wise leadership) kept me from leaping into something that would have cost our family thousands of dollars (during a time when my pharmacy hours had been drastically cut)  that may have not ended well.

Last February, I googled “Christian literary agents” and found the Steve Laube site at the top of the list. I liked what I read on their blog and their site. They seemed to be well grounded in God’s Word and well-respected in the world of Christian writers and publishers. I read about each agent and read everything I could about their expectations and how to present a book proposal. I prayed about which agent I should contact, then decided to submit a book proposal to one of the agents out of the blue.

I had never been to a writer’s conference. I had never spoken with any agent before. What I was doing was rather unconventional and not the “normal path” most writers take to finding an agent.

God led me to an amazing agent there, Dan Balow. I sent my proposal and was surprised to hear back from him quickly. I knew that it could be many weeks before he might get back to me if I ever heard back from him at all. Dan suggested that my book needed to be professionally edited, but that he might consider representing me if it was properly edited. That was great news!! But – whew! Professional editing was going to cost $1,000-$2,000. That was a challenge. I thanked him and prayed about God’s will and for His provision for this need.

A few months earlier, God brought a new friend into our lives who is a professor at the University in our city and a member of our church. She became a reader of my Peaceful Single Girl blog when we first met. One Sunday, I told her about my book and what Dan had said and was shocked when she generously offered to edit my book for free. She has publishing experience as a professor and did an incredible job. I am beyond thankful for all of her diligence and hard work. What a blessing she has been to me! I cherish her friendship greatly.

When the editing job was done, I got back in touch with Dan Balow. God opened the door for me to sign a contract with him last July. Then, there was more waiting and praying (on my part) as Dan pitched my book to various Christian publishers. What a blessing to be able to just rest in God’s peace and sovereignty during this whole process and trust Him to open and shut the right doors. I’m really glad that God prepared me to do a lot of patient waiting years ago at the beginning of this journey. That ability has been invaluable during this process!

God opened the door for me to sign a contract with Kregel Publications  in November!

And guess what?

My first book should come out sometime between this November and next January!!!?!?! God-willing, of course!

I don’t know the end of this story yet. I don’t even know the next step. I don’t know what all God has in store for Greg, our marriage, our family, our health, our finances, our vocations, our ministries, the blogs, or the book. Greg doesn’t have a written plan. I’m ok with that. I trust the Lord with all of it – every detail. I want to hold everything loosely in my hands and allow God to orchestrate things for His purposes. I want to be content in Him alone no matter what else may happen. I will continue to pray for God’s will and nothing but His perfect will. God is already in the future. He already knows what is coming. He is already lining things up for our lives. He already knows His plans for each of us. He is perfectly capable of orchestrating every detail.

This same sovereign God already knows His plans for you and your husband, too.

God could change things at any time. That is entirely His prerogative. Every day is a grand adventure with Him as my Lord. He surprises me constantly. It is such an exciting, fulfilling way to live in the center of God’s will!!! God reveals His will to us a step at a time, usually. All we really need is His light for today. Just like God can lead me through Greg, He can lead you through your husband.

We can trust God to work in our husbands’ lives and in our lives to accomplish His will and His purposes. We can rest in His sovereignty and ability to communicate with our men and with us. Yes, He can even lead a believing wife through an unbelieving husband! I have seen that happen many times. We don’t have to try to take over or run ahead. Our husbands don’t have to have everything all mapped out for months or years ahead of time.  Human plans don’t always work out when we make them 1 hour in advance, much less months or years in advance. God’s plan is what is most important! We can wait on God and His timing. We can serve, love, and praise Him as we wait. And we can pray for His wisdom and direction in our lives and our husbands’ lives for His greatest glory! I can’t wait to see what God has planned for your life and to see how our stories all come together for His glory!

NOTE: If your husband is involved in serious, unrepentant sin, is not in his right frame of mind (due to uncontrolled mental illness, drugs, or alcohol), or is actually abusing you and you are not safe – please seek godly, experienced, biblical counsel and appropriate medical, police, or legal help if necessary. It may not be wise to submit to a husband in such situations. If this is your scenario right now, please don’t read my blog but seek appropriate help. (The Salvation Army, Celebrate Recovery, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, a trusted pastor, a trusted godly wife mentor, a trusted Christian counselor, etc…)

 

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April and Greg – January 2015

Does Being a Biblically Submissive Wife Mean I Can’t Say How I Feel and What I Need?

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Nope.

We CAN say what we want, how we feel, what we think, what our concerns are and what we need.

(Please keep in mind that when I talk about submission, I am always talking about the biblical concept, not the worldly definition. For more about biblical submission, please read here.)

We have total freedom to do this! I don’t know a healthy husband who wants a wife who has no thoughts, no opinions, no desires and no feelings. In fact, I believe it is our responsibility and duty to share these things many times – but in a way that is respectful and honoring to God and to our husbands and in a way that doesn’t involve sin. We can have pure motive as we give God’s Spirit total control in our lives so that eventually our only motives will be to love,  please and glorify God and to love, honor, respect and bless our husbands.

Do I do this perfectly?

Nope.

None of us will be perfect until we are in heaven.

Can God give us victory over sin?

YES!

MY PERSONAL WEAKNESS

God is continuing to transform me. I can ask Greg for things I want and need. And I do that every so often. I do fine if I ask for what I want and then drop the issue in my mind and heart and resolve to be content with or without whatever I asked for. But, for me, if I allow myself to dwell on my needs or marinate on thoughts about what Greg “should” do, I can get into trouble and slide into sinful motives very quickly. I have to remember that I cannot FORCE Greg to do what I want him to do. Truthfully, I can be pretty insatiable emotionally and spiritually if I try to look to Greg to meet all my needs. Only Jesus can truly meet my deepest emotional and spiritual needs. (Please note – I am not talking about severe marriage issues here! If there are very serious problems in your marriage – drug/alcohol addiction, mental health issues, actual abuse, infidelity, please seek godly, experienced help in person from someone you can trust!)

I started to slip a few days ago into obsessing about wanting Greg to do something. Maybe you don’t have that problem. But I sure do. I must always watch and check my motives and lay every thought before God, shooting down any ungodly thoughts, repenting of any evil motives and asking God to purify my motives and fill me with His Spirit. I have to have serious time in prayer and in God’s Word often – to maintain spiritual nourishment.

The second I take my eyes off of Jesus and begin to expect Greg to make me happy and meet some deep spiritual need, I start to spiral downward. I know that there are some things I cannot put into my mind. Even one sentence in a book, blog or sermon about “what godly husbands should do” (that is not something my husband usually does for me) can be a trigger for me, a temptation into sinful thoughts – pride, self-righteousness, entitlement, idolatry of my husband or of being in control, selfishness, resentment, bitterness, etc…I have to catch those thoughts immediately and repent and replace them with God’s truth and set my eyes firmly on Christ alone to meet my needs. Then my feet are on solid spiritual ground again – the Rock of Jesus. I do much better if I just don’t allow myself to focus on what husbands are “supposed to do.” Maybe you can read a whole book about how husbands should be godly husbands and it doesn’t phase you. That is awesome! But for me – I know I can’t go there. I also like to avoid romantic movies and books to avoid temptation to compare Greg to some fictional romantic lead. That way, I can be content with what I actually have and thankful for my particular husband and his strengths without adding fictional or unrealistic expectations to him.

I cannot personally approach Greg  about my feelings and desires if I have my heart set (with sinful motives) on what HE should do for me. It will inevitably be a disaster!

If I realize I am getting trapped in that issue of thinking about what Greg should do for me, I have to go to prayer immediately, repent to God if I have sinned in my heart and begin to focus on all of my many blessings and all that I am thankful for and all the things Greg does do for me and all the things I do respect about him. I must focus on finding ALL of my joy, contentment, acceptance, love, identity, purpose and strength in Jesus. I know I need to concentrate on what God asks ME to do. Then God gets me back in balance – usually – before I even say anything to Greg. This time, I did say a few sentences that started drifting toward sinful motives after I asked for what I needed and wanted, then realized what I was doing and repented. I have to have God’s power to do this. I can do nothing good in my own strength!

SUBMISSION IN THE BIBLE, FOR THE BELIEVER, IN MARRIAGE

Submission in the Bible began with the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. The Son submitted to the Father because He loved Him. They were equal in value and equally God, in fact, they are One. But, Jesus submitted to the position of authority of the Father. Did Jesus share His feelings, desire, concerns and needs with God? Absolutely!!!! He was a man of fervent prayer. Did God listen to Jesus’ prayers? Absolutely!!!!!! But Jesus said, “not My will, but Yours be done.”

When there was a conflict between Jesus’ will and God’s will, Jesus voluntarily chose the Father’s will because He loved Him and because He loved us. (Please read John 17 to read how Jesus shared His heart, needs, desires and concerns with God passionately, intimately, boldly, respectfully and lovingly.)

Submission for a believer begins with our yielding to the Lordship of Christ Jesus. Does He allow us to share our thoughts, desires, concerns, emotions and needs with Him? Yes! He already knows all of these things, but He delights in us connecting with Him and loves for us to pray to Him. (Please read “How to Pray for Our Husbands So That God Will Hear” for more about how to pray. You can also search “prayer” and “pray” on my home page for posts that may be helpful about how to approach God and how to pray fervently and effectively.)

If there is a conflict between our will and God’s will, a believer is to submit to God’s will. Ultimately, that is what we are all to seek above all else, God’s will and God’s glory.

Submission in marriage begins with a wife voluntarily choosing to honor her husband’s God-given leadership. A husband cannot force biblical submission. This is something a wife chooses to do out of her love and reverence for Christ.. Not that the husband is God. A husband is NOT deity! Some people think that if a wife submits to her husband, she is worshipping him as a god. No! That is NOT AT ALL what the Bible teaches! He is just a human being – a sinful and imperfect one – who has been given the position of authority and leadership in order that he might protect, provide for, nurture, lead and guide his wife and family. For more on all the different kinds of human spiritual authority (pastors, church leaders, government leaders, police, military, bosses, husbands and parents), please check out this post.

A wife is free to share her heart, her thoughts, her concerns, her feelings, her emotions, her needs and desires with her husband. And, she is free to share all of these things with God, trusting God to ultimately be the One to meet all of her needs through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

 

If a husband and wife don’t or can’t agree, then a godly wife voluntarily chooses to honor her husband’s decision, trusting God to lead her through her husband.

SHARING OUR NEEDS AND DESIRES

The key for a godly wife is that she is sensitive to God’s Spirit and His prompting about exactly what to say, when to say it, how to say it, when to not say anything and what is worth talking about vs. what is not worth talking about at any given time.

When a godly wife does approach her husband to share, she does so from a place of:

  • spiritual strength – being filled with the power of God’s Spirit and all of His fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – Galatians 5:22-23)
  • God’s love motivating her – I Corinthians 13:4-8
  • refusing to use sinful motives or sinful words or actions to attempt to get her way (she does not resort to humiliating, criticizing, demeaning, belittling, making fun of, bossing, controlling, being violent, arguing, disrespecting, complaining or judging her husband. She does not allow herself to be motivated by resentment, fear, bitterness, hatred, apathy, vengeance or anything that would grieve the heart of God. For more details on the sinful nature, please check out Galatians 5:18-21 or II Timothy 3:1-9 )
  • knowing her old sinful nature is dead and buried with Christ so she counts herself dead to sin and her old self but alive to God through Christ Jesus (Romans 6)
  • total submission to Christ as Lord (James 4:7-10)
  • being ready to extend the same lavish unconditional love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that she received herself from Christ (Matthew 6:14-15)
  • God’s wisdom which is much higher than the wisdom of people (James 1:5-8)
  • seeking God’s will above her own (Luke 12:31)
  • seeking to honor, bless and respect her husband and to obey God (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Peter 3:1-6, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • leaning on God’s wisdom and not trusting her own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)
  • meekness – this is strength under control or “bridled strength.” The picture is that of a wild stallion who has been “broken.” His will has been broken so now he uses all of his strength to accomplish what his owner/rider instructs him to do. This is what we do for God. Our will is to be broken and we submit our will to His, allowing Him to control our lives, our thoughts, our desires, our actions and our circumstances and giving Him total access to everything we possess. (I Peter 3:4)
  • no fear, because all of her trust is firmly placed in Christ, so she overflows with His peace because she trusts in God with great faith (I Peter 3:6, Hebrews 11:6)
  • faith that God will use all things for her ultimate good and His ultimate glory even if she does not receive what she wants in a given situation (Romans 8:28-29)

There are times when a wife knows God is prompting her to wait and not verbally address an issue. This is particularly true when a husband is far from God. In such situations, God’s commands for wives are to win her husband without a word by their reverence, purity and godly behavior (I Peter 3:1).

There are times when a wife knows that God is definitely prompting that she needs to say something specific right now. There is not a formula for knowing what to say and when that I know of. This is about us growing in our relationship with Jesus and learning to depend on and trust in Him and learning to hear and listen to His voice alone. This means we have to spend TIME with God in prayer, seeking His presence, seeking His truth, asking Him to change us and feasting on His Word. THAT is where our power source is. If we try to do this without the power of God’s Spirit and His Word, we will not have the spiritual nourishment and strength we need and we will be much too weak!

SHARE:

How have you learned to share your heart, needs and desires in a godly way in your marriage? What are your temptations that trip you up? What approaches don’t work with your husband? What approaches do work and bless both you and your husband?

RELATED:

Stages of This Journey

Learning to Respect and Give Up Control Is a Process

Biblical Submission Does Not = The Husband Is Always Right

Submission Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

The Secret of Submission

Can You Overdo Respect or Submission in Marriage?

Fear Fuels Our “Need to Control

To Speak or Not to Speak

The Frustrating Quiet Phase (this is only a phase early in the journey, it is not a permanent thing!)

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

When My Spouse is Wrong

 

Submitting to Our Husbands in the “Small” Things

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FROM A HUSBAND (his response to a question for husbands earlier last week):

As to respecting me in “small things”, I have to assume you mean things that aren’t all that important.

My first thought is, that if it isn’t all that important, why not?

I don’t always know why I prefer one thing, over another. In asking me to justify my choice, it does show lack of trust, but more importantly, it makes me feel defensive.

Can’t I just have a preference? Do I really need a reason?

As to choosing where we sit anytime we’re out, my wife always asks, where I would like to sit, and I always take into consideration her needs, that particular day, convenience, in some situations I suppose security, does come into play, but this is something we are both extremely flexible on.

Something that is an extremely big deal to me, that seems to be a small thing to my wife, is our sex life.

This is an issue we still struggle with. It’s not so much a matter of frequency, or quality, but the fact that it IS a small thing to her.

Her desire for intimacy, to me at least, is a barometer of her level of respect for me.

(From Peacefulwife – I don’t know that all husbands feel this way. For those wives whose husbands are less interested in sex than their wives, this may be different. It would be interesting to know how husbands with lower drive feel about this issue.)

When my wife argues with me about small things, it makes it much harder for me to be loving towards her. It’s true that I ought to be considerate of her, and I’m commanded to love her. That does not mean I should cater to her every whim. In fact, it may be more loving, to not allow her to have her way (at times.) When a wife insists on her own way in things that aren’t that big of a deal, she is, in fact, being childish.

Not cooperating in “small things” is the equivalent of the dripping water talked about in Proverbs. It just wears you down over time, and feels like that is why they do it. To wear you down, to the point where, you don’t want to make a decision about anything, big or small. So then, they HAVE to take control.

Hope my answers were helpful.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I think that there are some really important points to talk about here.

1. What may seem like a small thing to a wife may be a big thing to her husband.

This is one reason why I believe God commands us as wives to respect our husbands and submit to them in everything as unto the Lord.

(If they are asking us to clearly sin or they are seriously trying to harm us, then we should not cooperate, we will have to respectfully refuse. If there are very serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced help ASAP! I am not ever condoning that a wife stay and be hurt physically or stay when there is real danger. I am not writing for those with serious issues like active addictions, infidelity, uncontrolled mental health issues or actual abuse.)

Sometimes it is easy to assume that my husband’s priorities must be the same as mine. But  reality is that his priorities are probably not the same as mine! We are different people. We are also different genders. We will have different ways of thinking and approaching things. That is a good thing! What I may think is something small may actually be huge to my husband, and vice versa. I would appreciate it if he desired me to be happy in things that are important to me. He would also appreciate the same courtesy.

If it is within my power to bless my husband, why would I not choose to bless him, even in “little” things?

2. What if honoring our husbands in small things isn’t oppression for us?

What if it is a way to greatly increase unity, intimacy and oneness with our husbands? What if it is a way to show we are on their team and that they are important to us, more important than anyone else in the world?

We are sending critical messages to our husbands by how cooperative or antagonistic we are. I don’t mean we have to agree or never share our opinions. Our ideas, desires, feelings, opinions and perspectives are invaluable sources of information to our husbands. We can be wise advisors and compassionate friends to our husbands. God never asks us to lay our brains, abilities, talents, personalities, ideas, needs, desires, emotions and wisdom at the door of marriage. That is not biblical submission!

We bring ALL of ourselves to marriage and we put all of our strengths, abilities and resources behind our husband in support.

My husband doesn’t “make me” do anything. I don’t “have” to do what he wants all the time.

I GET to honor him.

I GET to bless him.

I GET to do things he enjoys just because I can.

It is a blessing and a joy to me to serve this man God has given to me. It is my greatest delight to do things that make his job as the leader, provider and protector easier and more enjoyable. What if I am free to share my heart and desires with my husband – and he is also free to share his heart and desires? Then the Spirit of God in me gives me a desire to be selfless, generous, giving, kind, thoughtful, loving and respectful. If I know Greg likes a certain soft drink or a certain snack or has a favorite meal – what an incredibly wonderful opportunity for me to do something to bless my him by keeping those things on hand for him or making him his favorite meal fairly often!

Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. His Spirit is in me if I belong to Him. I am free to serve, not out of duty or drudgery, but out of the power, love, joy, peace and abundant life of God flowing mightily through my soul. I am not talking about pretending to be happy but inwardly seething with resentment or bitterness. I am talking about allowing God to radically change me and give me a new heart with new desires. I can receive that. God has a new heart and new Spirit and new life for all who trust fully in Christ.

I can say what I want, what I would like, what I believe would be best for us to do, what I don’t want, what my concerns are – but I don’t have to get hung up on the outcome of things. I can trust God in His great sovereignty to lead me through my husband, even when I don’t agree with him, even in the little things. I can hold everything loosely in my life except for Jesus.  I can be sure that I don’t let a little issue (which most things really are) to become more important in my mind and heart than my obedience to Christ and the unity and intimacy of my marriage. I can ask myself, “Is this issue worth fracturing the unity in our marriage about?” before I launch into a lecture or argument with my husband.

I can remember the command of God for all believers:

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:12-15

I can remember that arguing or complaining is not befitting of me as a child of God. If I am tempted to argue or complain, I know it is time to check my motives.

  • Why do I want what I want?
  • Am I being selfish?
  • Am I putting something above Christ in my heart?
  • Is this issue truly important in light of eternity?
  • Am I right with God?
  • Am I being materialistic or greedy?
  • Am I being prideful or self-righteous? Is there any sin in my heart?
  • Am I considering my husband’s needs and preferences and being thoughtful toward him?
  • Am I doing this because of my love for Christ and for my husband? Will they be blessed by what I want to do here?
  • Am I walking in the flesh or in the Spirit of God?
  • Am I being motivated by the love of God or by fear?
  • Am I concerned most with pleasing God and having His approval, or having other people’s approval?
  • Am I walking in obedience to God’s Word?

I have died to this world and the things of this world according to Romans 6. That is historical fact. God put me in Christ and I died with Him on the cross in God’s sight. I am now dead to sin and this world and I am alive to God in Christ. This world means nothing to me now. What do I care what color something is or what restaurant we go to? This life is no longer mine to live. My old sinful self is dead in Christ. Dead people don’t care about earthly matters much. Now what matters are only the things that matter to Jesus. I am no longer friends with this world. I no longer care about the carnal things of this world and the material details of life. I am fully submitted to Christ and all I care about is pleasing and honoring Him, abiding in Him, being filled with His Spirit, doing the work of His kingdom… my eyes are on eternal things.

 

 

“Why Should I Have to Submit to My Husband in the Little Things?” – Part 1

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms. 🙂

I am praying for extra comfort, courage, strength, peace and joy for those battling infertility, those who long for children but can’t have them for some reason and those who have lost a child.

FROM A WIFE (with her permission):

Hi April,

I’ve been lurking on your blog for a couple months now and have learned a lot about being a Godly wife. I haven’t been able to get this post out of my head though and I would like to share my thoughts.

It’s the little things that are harder for me to handle.

I am fine with my husband having the final say in the big decisions. I understand that he will answer to God for the way he has led me. I see the purpose of having one person ultimately in charge. I know God has wisdom in making him my spiritual leader. I am completely willing follow him if he had a dream he wanted to pursue. I think it’s because I can see the purpose behind the sacrifice in all these situations. (I’m not saying it’s always easy to practice, but I am at peace with my role in these instances).

But where I struggle is matters of personal preference. It’s the where we sit in the theater or what color to paint the walls type of decisions that always trip me up.

I can’t seem to work out why he should automatically get his way in these situations based solely on his gender.

Honestly, in your example about the husband getting angry because his wife wanted to sit somewhere different than he did; he comes across to me as spoiled and demanding – like a child pouting because he didn’t get his way. I’m sure there is history there so I am not judging that specific couple. I am just saying I don’t see it the same way you do. (God help me, I am trying to though).

It is in the issue of personal preference where submitting to him can seem so dehumanizing at times. It seems like he is saying that all his wants and desires have more value than mine do. That “might (authority in this case) makes right”. Is it just the case of rank having its privileges?

I know that I shouldn’t have to understand in order to submit. But in my flesh I can’t see that this is a valid form of submission. It seems prideful of a husband to demand all his preferences above his wife’s. Will this not just feed his ego? (“Absolute power corrupts” and all?) I have such a hard time when I believe something is “unfair”.

What I have been spinning around in my head is that maybe it’s just about what works in marriage instead of what’s “fair.”  My husband is actually pretty good about taking my wants into account, when I’m not demanding my way, at least.

He told me once that it is his job to look out for me, but he can’t do that when I am looking out for myself – that I am taking his job away from him.

I know fighting and demanding my way doesn’t work. In the end, I always cave (because he is incapable of it) and he still gets his way but so much damage has been done in the process. If I submit, he is more willing to consider what I want and even if he says no initially, he may reconsider later if I don’t fight him. Oh, it hurts my flesh so much sometimes but it is healthier for both of us in the end.

So is it just a matter of practicality? Is it just the way we are wired and that I should set aside what is fair for what works? Or is it deeper than that. I feel like I am missing something.

Any insights would be appreciated.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

At the end there, you actually explained why God’s wisdom works best in marriage quite well. Nicely done!

It is the little things that get most of us tripped up. We can get so focused on the little issue and how “right” we believe we are about it, that we inadvertently make the tiny issue bigger than our obedience to God and bigger than the unity of our marriage.

FICTIONAL EXAMPLE (based on the couple I described in the post this reader is referring to):
If I want to sit in the front on the floor during a children’s play and my husband wants to sit closer to the back. I share what I want in a pleasant, polite, friendly, positive and kind way. He shares that he would still prefer to sit in the back. I know my husband well enough to know that for him to sit on the floor for a long time would really hurt his legs, back and hips. Maybe he shares why he doesn’t want to sit on the floor, maybe he doesn’t.

Now I have a choice.

  • I could make this into a big issue.
  • I could demand to sit in front on the floor.
  • I could try to force Greg to do what I want to do.
  • I could refuse to care about what he wants or prefers and force my way.
  • I could pitch a fit.
  • I could make a scene.
  • I could yell at him, humiliate him or make fun of him about what a baby he is being that he doesn’t want to sit on the floor in the front.
  • I could argue.
  • I could complain.
  • I could hammer him and hammer him until he does what I want him to do.
  • I could tell him, “Go sit in the back by yourself. I don’t care what you do. I’m sitting in the front on the floor with our daughter.”

Then when Greg caves in and sits uncomfortably on the floor with me, I have VICTORY, right?

(Well, I doubt Greg would cave in to that particular demand, and I certainly wouldn’t expect him to sit on the floor for all that time, knowing about the knee injuries he has had. It would be very selfish of me to try to make him sit somewhere that would be painful for him.)

The more likely thing that would have happened earlier in our marriage would have been that Greg would have refused to do what I was demanding for him to do, I would have gotten very angry and he would have shut down and unplugged even more.

What many wives don’t know is that when they demand their way, refuse to bend or cave on small issues, they can, at times, destroy the intimacy and unity of their marriages and set a very ungodly example for their children.  I pay dearly in intimacy and unity in our marriage when I become inflexible, completely determined to have “my way” no matter what the cost and I tenaciously “stick to my guns” on the smallest of issues.

My husband may think to himself, “Wow. If she won’t cooperate with me on something so insignificant, if she won’t follow me or trust me on this, if she won’t place any value at all on my needs, my desires or my opinion here – there is no way she will trust me or will be willing to follow me in bigger things that actually matter. I have no voice in this marriage. I feel insignificant. I don’t mind her sharing what she would like to do – but it is so humiliating for her to cause a scene in public like that when I have legitimate reasons for wanting to sit towards the back.”

(Gentlemen, you are welcome to comment and let us know what you believe would be going on in a husband’s mind in a situation like this.)

Not to mention, if I refuse to defer to my husband’s leadership, even on small things, Titus 2:5 says that I malign the gospel of Christ.

What could possibly be worth that?

What real difference does it make if we don’t paint the wall the color I like the most? What real difference does it make where we sit for the play?

Jesus instructs His followers:

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20

– Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. I Corinthians 6

If those in authority are to be humble and servant hearted – wouldn’t the same words apply to those who are following? And if we can bring more glory to Christ by suffering or by being wronged – then isn’t that the more noble road to take, rather than pushing our own agenda and demanding what we want for ourselves?

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4

Why do I want what I want? Am I seeking God’s glory or my own glory? Am I being selfish (which is not of God) or am I seeking the kingdom’s greatest good?

Am I saying we have to be doormats? Not at all. It’s good for us and important for us to share our hearts, our needs and desires respectfully, humbly and with a sincerely friendly demeanor. And, for some couples, the husband may be fine with a compromise – he sits in back, she sits up front. But, if we do not get what we want, we must decide upon what our ultimate goal in this life is to be. There WILL be times we may need to gently, humbly, carefully, prayerfully, respectfully confront our husbands’ sin or harshness. Husbands are told in I Peter 3:7 that if they do not treat their wives with honor and understanding, their prayers will not be heard. Husbands obviously can sin, just as much as wives can. So, there will be times we must live out Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18:16-18. But – there are also times to extend grace and there are times when the exact outcome of the decision just isn’t that important in the eternal scheme of things.

Rev. H. A. Weaver says:

The world’s definition of freedom is – the ability to do whatever I want.

God’s definition of freedom is – the power and ability to do God’s will.

 For Part 2, please click here.

“Your Blog Made Me SO Angry!”

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An email I received from a dear wife.  LOVE this.  I receive a lot of emails in this same vein.  Many wives say things like, “I hated you and I loved you.”  The stuff I share is HARD to hear.  We aren’t used to being confronted with our sin as women.  That is PAINFUL.  And we aren’t used to obeying God’s commands for us as wives many times.  It doesn’t make sense to our sinful nature or our logic to do what God says to do.  In fact, His commands are counter-intuitive, counter-cultural and totally un-politically correct.  And yet, God’s way works.  His wisdom is infinitely higher than our own.  Thank you to this precious sister in Christ for allowing me to share:

I was looking for something totally unrelated to your blog and ran across it-I really don’t know why I am contacting you, but hear me out. This is not a negative email, but it may look that way at first.

I am a Christian wife and mom.

Now, I have read Laura Doyle’s “The Surrendered Wife” book – incidentally it was actually stolen along with my little red prayer book from my workbag one night when I’d left the van unlocked. Someone must really have been in need.  Anyway, I digress.

A few years ago I read her book and also did a challenge for 30 days.  At the end of all the encouraging emails and texts and effort I put in with my husband that month (I felt quite proud of myself and was certain he would also), all he said was

“You did all that because someone in a book told ya to?”

I was livid – plus hurt and betrayed and at that moment I was DONE with all the surrendering. Let’s just say I reverted big time.  

I had been arguing and fussing and nasty to my husband and being a holiday coming up, my disrespectful behavior was out in full force. Everything that didn’t go my way seemed to be my hubby’s fault, why couldn’t he just see that?

Monday I stumbled upon and read your blog, and

I read as far as I could stand it. My initial feelings were revulsion and disbelief.  

  • I couldn’t believe this just popped up when I wasn’t even looking for it, and who cares about this “Peaceful” wife and her playing the doormat for her husband?

I set my tablet aside in disgust and refused to read anymore.

Wednesday was bad and Thursday was worse.  I complained and fussed and was generally unbearable most of the holiday morning.  I can see this clearly now for some reason. I even called my mom to complain, she was Christian and loving enough to correct me right then and there.  After speaking with my mom, I felt bad – but not like condemned bad.

I felt convicted.  

I didn’t rehash everything with my husband, but I went to him and apologized.  I told him I was totally ashamed at my behavior and I would work on it.  He graciously and lovingly held me and whispered that everything was alright.

We ended up having a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.  That night,  I started to analyze events over the past week.  For some reason, I picked up my tablet again and read more of the blog.

I began to see that this wasn’t me and my hubby as much as it was me and God.  About my inability to trust God.  

If anyone asked me, I would say God gave me my husband, made just for me.

  • So did I or did I not believe God?
  • Was I really so prideful that I couldn’t see any other way but my way?
  • Just what was I so afraid of that I try to control everything to save my feelings and what I thought was right?

I began to see that when I was anxious and complaining and afraid things wouldn’t turn out like I wanted, I wasn’t trusting God.  Wow.  Just like that. So I was being prideful, willful, arrogant. I hadn’t realized I was behaving in opposition to the way the Lord wanted me to.  I hadn’t before grasped the seriousness of that thought.  I thought I was being a great Christian and quite frankly, my husband was the one who should be working to get right.  When I read this line in the about section of your blog “Apparently, I was extremely spoiled, selfish and spiritually immature but I didn’t know I was“, I felt as if that was written about me!

  • How could I not have known?

It wasn’t revealed to me until that moment, when I unconsciously had cried out to God that I wasn’t happy, He showed me why I was unhappy and gave me the means to start anew.

So my initial feelings did turn into shame, but morphed into resolve.

I began to see that I didn’t go about surrendering before for the right reasons. Then I wanted pats on the back, I wanted to feel like a “superior being” endeavoring to be good to my inferior husband because I was so “good” and he was “so beneath me,” really.

Now I want to be the wife God wants me to be since he gave me this husband just for me.  I just wanted to tell you how I almost cannot put into words the feeling for God this revelation gives me. How He loves me enough to give me the understanding about this.  The wisdom He has I cannot fathom but me coming across your blog written in a way that I can identify with at just the right moment feels so awesome.  It feels how “right” feels. I know this was a long email but I felt like I had to tell someone and I felt like you would understand.  I am on the right path now, I think and just wanted to let you know how God used your blog to help me when I needed it.

Thanks so much for listening (reading).

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

PRAISE GOD!

What an incredible answer to my prayers to see God change women’s hearts, bring them to conviction and true repentance and then see them set out on God’s narrow path that leads to life!  WOOHOO!  It just doesn’t get any better than this! 

The Powerful Concept of Submitting Under Protest – Part 2

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Click here for Part 1

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Submitting under protest is not something I think we should need to use often, (hopefully).  But if we strongly disagree about something, then it can be important for us to use this concept.

*** If our husband is asking us to clearly sin or to condone clear sin, then I believe we must have a spirit of submissiveness toward them and toward God (desiring to honor their leadership), but respectfully refuse to cooperate with blatant sin (this is addressed in the post, Spiritual Authority).

*** If your husband is committing severe spiritual, emotional or physical abuse against you, or is actively addicted to drugs/alcohol or has an uncontrolled mental health disorder or is involved in major sin – please seek godly help!  This blog and this post are written for wives who tend to dominate, try to control or be in charge and who try to enforce their way on their husbands, not for wives who are victims of severe abuse and I cannot possibly begin to address marriages with severe problems in a general post.  You will need godly, experienced help, precious wife!

*** I only write for wives.  I don’t write about what husbands should do. I spent 14+ years focusing on what “my husband should do” and that didn’t lead me anywhere good. Submission is something that cannot be forced or coerced, it is something a wife does out of reverence to and obedience for Christ, just like a husband cannot be forced to love his wife.  God commands wives to do certain things in marriage and God commands husbands to do certain things in marriage.  He does not command husbands to enforce their wives’ respect and submission and He does not command wives to enforce their husbands’ love.  I am responsible for my part and for my sin and my obedience to God – that is where my power is in marriage and in my walk with Christ.  My husband is responsible for his part, his sin and his obedience to God. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

In submitting under protest – we are not usually being asked to sin or condone clear sin here – we simply disagree, maybe strongly – with our husband’s decision.

Submission in God’s Word is a military concept – similar to the First Mate on a ship and the Captain.  The Captain is ultimately in charge, yes, but it is the First Mate’s duty and responsibility to share her wisdom, ideas, perspective and concerns respectfully.  Ultimately, the Captain has the authority and responsibility to make the final call on a decision.  The First Mate can share her concerns and then can “submit under protest” if she does not agree with the Captain’s decision.

How does that work?

A wife presents her feelings, her desires, her concerns and her perspective respectfully – which is her duty and responsibility if she feels strongly about something (A Husband’s Authority and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage).  If the husband still does not agree with her after she has shared all of the relevant and necessary information she has, she calmly shares with her husband that she will submit to him out of reverence and respect for him and for God’s Word – but that she does not agree.  Then she supports her husband, prays for God’s will and trusts God’s sovereignty.

Some theoretical examples to prayerfully consider – but keep in mind – nothing takes the place of seeking God for ourselves and hearing and obeying His voice:

  • If a husband believes the family should move to another state for him to take a job, for example, and the wife does not want to go.  She can say, “I am excited for you about your job offer.  I want to support you in every way I can with your career.  I know this promotion means a lot to you.  I am REALLY proud of you for landing this opportunity!  I am feeling sad about the idea of moving.  I really would rather stay here for the following reasons…”  But if her husband decides this is what would ultimately be best for the family, if the wife strongly disagrees with this decision, she can say, “I will submit to you out of reverence for your position of God-given authority in our family and out of reverence for Christ.  I am submitting under protest.  However, I will support you, I will trust you and cheerfully cooperate with your decision and will do everything I can to bless and empower you to do what you believe is best for us.”
  • If a husband believes that they should discipline their child in a certain way, and the wife strongly disagrees, she can say, “I believe this would be the best route for us to use to handle this situation and here is why…”  But then if the husband still disagrees, she can say, “Out of respect for your God-given authority in our family, I will honor  and submit to your decision, knowing you are ultimately accountable and responsible before God for this decision, not me.  I don’t agree with this course of action, so I am submitting under protest – but you have my full support and willing cooperation.  I pray for God to give you His wisdom.  I want to do everything I can to stand with you in unity in front of our child.”

Here is a real life example I received about this concept yesterday:

This was me for the first six years of our marriage. I was so prideful and wanted my way and there were times my husband became passive and unplugged. He recently shared with me that He did this to avoid me exploding, it was just easier to let me have my way. BUT there were also many times he would respond in anger and now I see why, my disrespect was crushing him and no man wants their authority usurped.

GOD has been so faithful to convict me of my sins cleanse me and fill me with His Spirit and enable me to respond in gentleness and kindness. This is huge I never thought my husband and I could have a conversation without yelling sadly I accepted this as normal :( Praise God for His word and this blog.

Just this past weekend I had a chance to apply this.  Since beginning this journey God has showed me how my daughter has begun to pick up on my controlling and prideful attitude toward God given authority. LADIES THIS IS SO SERIOUS.  We are training our children how to respect authority as they see the way we interact with our husbands. they will learn by watching us more than anything else.

Well since I have stepped down as the main disciplinarian and let my husband lead in this area, he has really stepped up to the plate. I thank Him so much though I still correct and discipline my kids I’m not carrying the whole responsibility alone and it feels wonderful.

This weekend my eldest kept getting in trouble for her disrespect toward her father. After one particular incident he sent her out of the room and was preparing to discipline her in a way I felt was unnecessary for a certain offense and she had been in trouble all day.

When she was completely out if ear shot I asked him if he had a second to talk and explained how I felt. He listened to me told me thank you but he felt that He was gonna handle the situation the way He felt led. He was able to do this because he has begun to feel it is safe to disagree With me now. Though it was hard I submitted and trusted God. I may not be right, just because he doesn’t do things My way doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Later that day my daughter came to us with tears and her eyes and said she thanked us because she knows we discipline her because we love her. WOW what fruit I would have missed out on if I would have continued to fight my husband on this. And we have seen such a dramatic change in our children respecting both of us since I began to respect and submit to my husband like Christ desires.

  • If a husband decides, “We are not going to visit my family/your family this year for Christmas.  They are a toxic influence on our family, and I don’t want our family to have to endure that.”  A wife may disagree.  She may say, “I really want us to try to go to visit our family.  I hate for there to be conflict and for us not to be speaking to anyone in X family.  I wish we could try to reconcile with them and have peace.  I am so sad to think we might not go.”  But then if the husband says, “I believe this is something we have to do this year.  I know it is hard, but I believe this is the right thing to do to not go.”  A wife can pray for God to give her and her husband wisdom.  She can pray for reconciliation between the families.  She can say to her husband, “I don’t agree with your decision.   But I do respect you and your leadership.  I respect your decision.  I am sad about it, but I will submit to you under protest.  I will cooperate with you and do all that I can to stand with you on this decision and to make Christmas a blessing for you and our children.  Thank you for wanting to protect us.  Thank you for your leadership and for doing what you believe is best for us.”

This would be usually a one time thing for a wife to say to her husband.  After that, he knows her feelings and concerns.  There is usually no need to bring things up again.  Then she will trust God to work in his heart and to direct his path.

If God is not pleased with what the husband is doing –  He is able to change her husband’s mind and heart.  He can convict people – we cannot.  He can change people.  We cannot.  It is extremely important for me to “get” that I am not the Holy Spirit for my husband!

Sometimes husbands will make mistakes – in those moments, we have the incredible opportunity to bless them and offer grace – to not rub it in their faces, but to show faith that they will do better in the future and that we trust them to learn and grow and we will continue to stand beside them in support and respect.  Sometimes, it will turn out that the husband was actually listening to God – but as wives, we will only be able to see that in hindsight.  This is where we trust God’s sovereignty and trust Him to lead us through our husbands.

RELATED:

My Husband Wants to Go Where?!?!?

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

E.V. Hill’s funeral service for his wife – what an incredibly godly example of a wife who blessed, protected, respected and honored her husband.  I pray ALL of our husbands might be able to have such praise for us when our life on this earth is over. (Please listen to the first 4.5 minutes in particular)

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“Do I Say What I Want – or Not?”

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From a dear wife.  I love her heart to please God and honor her husband.  A big “thank you” to her for allowing me to share her questions. 🙂

Dear PeacefulWife,

Since I found your blog, I have been reading it and watching you on YouTube (channel = “April Cassidy”) as well. I have learned much and try to apply it to my marriage. I can say that though I am new at this, I am reaping fruits already and it is very exciting.

I’ve always wanted my husband to be a strong leader in our home, but I realized that often, for little things, I always tell him no. I figured, maybe if I often say no, he won’t know how to be a leader. The other day, he told me: “Go take a shower; we are leaving in half an hour”. I wanted to say: “No. I want to stay in bed longer. Anyways, I will be ready in time.”

But, this time, I paused, I looked at him and he looked at me. I was surprised, as I found myself saying, “Sure”. And at the end I said, “I want to be ready in half an hour, just like you asked me”. He didn’t say anything, but I know him well enough to know he was very pleased.

Yet, sometimes, I am not sure. Should I voice my opinion, like this woman who told her husband she didn’t want him to go to Vegas, or should I pray that (God) would change his mind and not say anything?

Here are 2 incidents that happen to me last weekend and I would like to have your take on these:

1. My husband said he wanted to buy me new shoes because my sneakers were almost dead. I agreed. When we went to the store, he pointed me to a pair that I didn’t like. I felt bad because he wanted to be nice to me and I wanted to be submissive. I said ok to the pair, but let’s just go see other styles. Finally he found another style, a much nicer one and so did I. So, my husband told me to pick between the 3 pairs of shoes. I picked the one I liked the most and asked him if it was ok with him. He said yes. My question is this. I want to do what he says, but, I felt awkward almost buying ugly shoes. I am happy it worked out, by the grace of God. But,

Is it ok to say: “I don’t want this pair of shoes”?

2. For an unknown reason to me, my husband hates to tip properly when we go to the restaurant. Last time we went, he ask me for a certain amount for the tip. I offered to give more. I don’t know if I was going against his leadership. I just know that I didn’t nag him, but in a sense, my actions were clearly saying: “You give too little, I will do better.” Is it ok? Should I just let him tip how much he wants and just pray about it? I do that with other thing in the house. I don’t talk or nag (any more). I just pray and hope. It’s hard, but makes me feel much better.

——————————————-

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

(I am not an expert, a psychologist, a counselor or a pastor. I am an ordinary Christian wife. I’m going to share my ideas and suggestions -for whatever they may be worth. Ultimately, each wife must prayerfully decide what she believes God desires her to do in her unique situation.)

I LOVE how you didn’t argue with your husband when he asked you to get up and get ready. That was a blessing you gave to your husband to be cooperative instead of argumentative.

I think you bring up a very important point about whether to say what you want or not on different issues.  When we are first learning submission and respect, we sometimes swing too far one way, then over correct and swing too far the other way, and it can take some time to figure out where the right balance is.

Here are some of my suggestions to prayerfully consider.  This is not the only way to show respect. You don’t have to use my exact words.  But this will give wives a place to start and to get into the ballpark on the respect concept.

TELL HIM WHAT YOU WANT/YOUR PREFERENCE

When your husband:

  • wants to do something for you, to make you happy (buy you something, take you out to eat, take you on a vacation, etc…) 
  • asks for your opinion.  It is totally fine to say what shoes you prefer and what you desire!  He is buying them for you – he wants you to enjoy them.
  •  if you have very strong feelings about something – especially something that involves you or your children, respectfully, calmly tell him what you want or don’t want. Usually just once.

Being submissive is not about having no opinions, preferences or desires.  It is important to say what you want and how you feel about things.  You can absolutely share your wants and feelings (without demanding what you want or trying to force your will) in a way that honors your husband’s God-given leadership. 

If he already bought a gift for you, try to show appreciation and gratitude for his thoughtfulness and generosity even if it is not your favorite color. Criticizing a gift he picked out may make him decide to quit being generous with you. And you may find that you end up enjoying what he picked out if you give it a chance. :)  But if he hasn’t bought the item and is asking what you like – tell him what you like.

Husbands are not mind readers!  Most of them greatly appreciate knowing our perspective.  Our input helps them make the best decisions for our families.  It is not necessary for us to give up our voice.  We are going to change our approach (to suggestions and requests instead of orders and demands) and change our response when there is a conflict to show our faith in God to lead us through our husbands.  

Then, if he decides against what you want, then graciously accept his, “No” and trust God’s sovereignty.

***   If he is asking you to blatantly sin or condone sin, you must refuse. God’s authority and the authority of God’s Word trumps your husband’s God-given authority. So if he asks you to have a threesome, you can’t do that!  Or if he asked you to lie for him, or cheat on your taxes, abuse drugs or disown Jesus… You would have to firmly refuse. ***

THE TIPPING ISSUE

If your husband is feeling pretty well-respected and the two of you are relating well, you may say something sometime, when you are not at a restaurant, about

  • “You know, it means a lot to me when we tip 15%. I really love it when we can do that.”
  • “I really appreciate it when you tip 15%. I respect/admire a generous tipper.”

Then maybe drop it and don’t mention it again. And pray and allow God to speak to his heart.   Let God and your husband carry the weight of the consequences.

If your husband is paying, just thank him, and maybe don’t look at what he is tipping! Let that be between him, God and the waiter. You are not responsible to make him tip properly. He is a grown adult and he can make that decision himself.

By the way, if a wife approaches her husband by saying, “Do you know…” Or “Don’t you know…” Or “Why would you…” That can feel disrespectful to a lot of men.

 

WHEN TO NOT SAY WHAT YOU THINK:

(These are my suggestions to prayerfully consider – these are not rules and my words are not the gospel!)

– If your husband  has a decision to make for himself, let him ask you for your opinion before you share it.  It is best many times to show faith in his ability to come up with solutions to his issues at work or the frustrating handyman project.  Men often interpret unsolicited advice as disrespect.

Let him choose how he uses his time, how he relaxes, what he watches, how he eats, how he takes care of his health, what he wears, what time he leaves for work.  Let him make his own choices about his life.  He is a grown adult.  If you try to control his decisions, you will seem like an angry mother.  Men are NOT attracted to their mothers!  Allow him the freedom to be an adult.   He will face the consequences of his choices.  You will live with the consequences of your choices. (If he has an uncontrolled mental health issue, an addiction, issues with violence or is involved in infidelity, please seek godly help ASAP!!!!  I am not addressing those kinds of serious issues in this post or in this blog.)

– If he asks your opinion, then offer him suggestions, but show him you trust him to make a great decision.  ie: “Hmm… I wonder if X or Y might work.  I’m sure that you will definitely make the right decision.”   “Maybe X could be something to think about.  I’m not exactly sure what the answer is, but I have total confidence that you will figure it out.”   Offer your ideas as potential things to consider, not “the only right way” to do things.

– If your opinion is going to be full of negativity, criticism, pride, self-righteousness, condemnation and/or disrespect – those things do not need to be shared!  Pray and ask God to give you wisdom to share respectfully and to be very wise and to have discernment about what is actually important to share and what would be destructive.

If you have already shared your perspective about a decision, it is usually wise not to share it again… Unless you realize you left out very critical information the first time.  In that case, it may be wise to say something like, “Honey, I just realized that there were some important things I forgot to share about the decision we were discussing.  I’d like to mention these things, too, if that would be ok.”

If your husband has already listened to you and made a decision, explaining yourself more and questioning him will probably feel pretty disrespectful to him.

– If your husband asks the children to do something, please try not to contradict him in front of them!  If you disagree, talk to him respectfully and briefly in private.  Undermining his authority in front of the kids is very disrespectful to him and it teaches the children not to respect Dad’s God-given authority – or any God-given authority.  NOT GOOD!  Be very purposeful about trying to support what your husband says to your children unless there is sin involved or very serious and real danger.  Then approach him privately about your concern.  And thank your husband when he supports what you say to your children, too.  When you are united in front of the children, they will usually be much more respectful and obedient.  They know they cannot “divide and conquer” the two of you.

IN GENERAL

Say what you want respectfully, simply and usually briefly – without blame, manipulation, pressure, guilt or condemnation and then allow him the freedom to make his own decisions.

  • You are accountable to honor, respect and biblically submit to your husband.
  • He is accountable to God for the decisions he makes.
  • He will answer to God for his tipping habits, his obedience to God, his sin and his decisions.
  • You will answer for your obedience to God, your sin and your decisions.

It is actually a huge relief to realize that my husband will bear the responsibility for the decisions in our family, not me!

 

My husband is totally responsible to God for the decision he makes for our family, not me.  I tell him what I want and how I feel, then I have done my part.  He bears accountability for the rest.

What a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders!!!!!

I almost always say what I want (if it is a decision that involves me) – unless it is something I truly don’t care about.  But I usually only say it once.  I don’t pressure, coerce or try to verbally force my way anymore.  And – I don’t seek “my way” now, I desire to seek God’s way and His glory.

FROM A CHRISTIAN MAN (I love this!!!!):

The Captain/First Officer model speaks well to this. A good First Officer will always voice her opinions, suggestions and advice to the Captain, so long as it is appropriate and there is time. If he acts on them, great. Otherwise, she obeys and carries out his commands. But unless there is a reason not to voice her opinion, a First Officer should generally offer it in a respectful manner. The key is to be respectful.

RELATED:

The Frustrating Quiet Phase

Control and Boundaries

Won’t I Lose My Voice if I Respect My Husband and Submit to Him?  Youtube video

Why Using Guilt to Motivate other People is Destructive

How to Ask Your Husband for Things So that He Wants to Say “Yes.” –  A Peacefulwife Youtube Video – MOTIVES are KEY in this approach.  If we are doing this to manipulate our husbands to get what we want, that dishonors Christ.  Our motives must ultimately be to honor Jesus and please Him.  I give some practical examples of asking for things respectfully.  But then we respond graciously if our husband says “no” and we don’t try to force or coerce our husbands to do things our way.  Our marriage and obedience to God are much more important than whether we get what we want on a particular issue.

Biblical Submission Does Not = The Husband Is Always "Right"

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Ladies,

I would like to attempt to clarify a common misunderstanding about biblical submission.

For me to submit to someone in a position of God-given authority does NOT mean that person is “always right.”  No human is always right.  NOT EVEN ME!!!! 🙂  I know!  It is a shock, isn’t it?

There are many kinds of God-given authorities:

  • kings, presidents, government leaders
  • military – over the citizens
  • military officials over the officers under them
  • teachers, professors, principals, administrators
  • bosses, managers, supervisors
  • pastors, deacons, elders, church leaders, Bible teachers, older men in the church (younger men are supposed to submit to the older ones)
  • older Christian wives are to teach the younger (Titus 2:2-5)
  • parents (for children who are not adults yet)
  • husbands

When disciples of Christ do not submit to God-given authorities over them, the word of God is maligned (Titus 2, I Peter 2,3)

SUBMISSION AND AUTHORITY ARE EVERYWHERE

  • A bus driver has authority to drive his bus, the passengers do not have that authority.  They submit to his authority and trust and respect him to drive the bus.  They don’t push him out of the driver’s seat and take over.  If they do, that is called a “hijacking” and it is a criminal offense.
  • A nurse in a hospital has the authority to give medication to specific patients, other people don’t have that authority – even a nurse from another hospital in the same city does not have authority to give medication to patients unless she is given authority by the hospital administration.  Her patient must submit to her authority and she must submit to the doctor’s authority over her.  The nurse also submits to the Board of Nursing and the doctor submits to the Medical Board of his/her state.  The nurse and doctor also must submit to those in authority above them in the hospital in administration.  There is a line of authority in place to keep patients safe.
  • Only the licensed driver in the driver’s seat has authority to drive in a car.  The person in the passenger’s seat may be an awesome driver and have a license to drive, but it would be insanely dangerous for the person in the passenger’s seat to grab the wheel and try to drive.  They would likely wreck!  The only time it would be appropriate for the passenger to take control would be if the driver fell asleep and wouldn’t wake up quickly enough or was unconscious and the passenger was trying to get them to safety.

God put husbands in the “driver’s seat” in marriage.  1 Cor. 11:3  The husband cannot remove himself from this position as long as he is in the marriage. God holds him accountable. The wife cannot move him either.  God says, the husband IS the head of the wife as Christ IS the head of the church.  It is not that he “should be” or “could be” the head.  He IS.  God put him there.  If I try to grab the steering wheel from the passenger’s seat, I will most certainly wreck the marriage.

PEOPLE IN AUTHORITY ARE NOT PERFECT OR “BETTER THAN” OTHERS

  • All people are plenty capable of sin, mistakes and error. (Romans 3:23)
  • There is no human leader or person in an authority position who is always right or who is perfect. (Only God is good. Luke 18:19)
  • If a human authority asks us to clearly defy God, “We must obey God rather than men!”  Acts 5:29
  • Authority has NOTHING to do with a person’s value. All people have equal value in the sight of God (Galatians 3:28).  God created men and women in His image.
  • Authority is not earned – it is granted by God.  Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me if it were not given to you from above.”  John 19:11

AUTHORITY AT WORK

I had a job as a pharmacy manager one time at a grocery store chain. My staff pharmacist, Tiffaney, was “under my authority.” She checked with me before making decisions because I was ultimately held responsible for the decisions in that pharmacy by my company and by the Board of Pharmacy in SC. I always listened to her great ideas and then tried to make the best decision I could.  She was a dear friend and a wise advisor.  I cherished her insights.  Many times I did what she suggested, sometimes I didn’t.  She wasn’t upset about that, she respected my authority as the manager.

A few years later, both of us were working for a different retail pharmacy chain. Tiffaney was the pharmacy manager and I was the staff pharmacist “under her authority” this time! So I always checked with her and did things the way she thought was best because she was the authority in that situation and I submitted to her authority.

  • Was one of us “better than” the other?  Nope.
  • Was one of us perfect or “always right?”  Nope.

The question was – who had been granted the position of authority by our company and  who carried the responsibility and accountability of being the manager?

(Unfortunately, there are sometimes leaders and people in positions of authority who abuse those who are under them and who mistreat those they are sworn to protect. That is not ok! God will repay those people. They will stand before Him and give an account and He will dispense justice unless their sins have been covered by the blood of Jesus. If a leader is abusing his/her authority, there are supposed to be be other leaders in place in the church, work environment, government who will discover this abuse and punish the guilty.)

I have heard many wives say,

“I can’t submit to my husband! He’s not always right!”

Your submission to his authority is not about him being right.  It is about trusting God and submitting to Him.

My understanding of Ephesians 5:22-33 is that a wife submits to her husband IN THE LORD.  The Bible teacher I studied under at my church teaches that it is a principle of the doctrine of spiritual authority in the Bible that if a spiritual authority attempts to force a believer to severely violate God’s commands, we are to obey God rather than men.   But, if we choose to obey God rather than men, we must be prepared for the consequences of our actions.  Some examples of this are Daniel, who refused to bow to the king’s idol, and faced the lion’s den and his three friends who refused to worship the king and were thrown into the fiery furnace.  The apostles all refused to stop preaching in the Name of Christ, and 11 of them were martyred, all of them we severely persecuted by the Jewish religious authorities.  Resisting our husband’s God-given authority does not mean we will experience capital punishment, thankfully.  But we had best be VERY sure that we are in line with scripture before we dare to go against our husbands.  I would certainly not personally resist my husband for something minor like whether we tithe or not.  I would personally have to believe my husband was asking me to commit very egregious sin for me to be willing to refuse to submit to him.  Such a situation has never happened in 5 years in our marriage since I have been practicing biblical  submission..

  • If your husband asks you to blatantly defy God’s Word and clearly sin – then my understanding is you must obey God.  Only God’s authority is absolute. (Acts 5:1-11 Ananias and Saphira, she was killed by God, too, because she followed her husband into lying to the Holy Spirit.)  ie: if he says to kill, steal, commit idolatry, commit adultery, lie, do something illegal, molest children, cover up a crime for him, lust with him by watching porn, have a threesome, worship him as god … you would have to refuse and obey God instead.  This should only be in very rare cases where what he is asking you to do is very obvious sin.
  • If it is just that you don’t agree with him, or it is a difference of interpretation in Scripture you share your heart, your perspective and feelings and then trust God to lead him to make the best decision.  Just because I don’t agree with my husband does not necessarily mean he is wrong.  And if I don’t agree with him, that is not an excuse for me not to obey God’s Word to submit to my husband’s leadership.
  • Submission does not mean you must agree with him and change your mind and not have your own opinion.  If you always agreed – that wouldn’t be submission, now, would it?  You are your husband’s most important advisor, and he will likely cherish your ideas, feelings, insights and suggestions if you respect him and cooperate with him.
  • We as humans are not in a position to always be able to see clearly what decision “is right” at a given time.  Our wisdom and vision is flawed.  Only God can see the whole picture.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding  Proverbs 3:5

In God’s economy, exercising God-given authority is about:

  • responsibility for those precious people entrusted to the one in authority
  • accountability to God
  • seeking God’s wisdom
  • protecting God’s people
  • providing for God’s people
  • defending God’s people
  • providing order instead of chaos
  • accomplishing God’s purposes, His will and His glory

Biblical submission to any God-given human authority is primarily about respecting, reverencing, honoring and trusting God in His sovereignty and living in obedience and submission to Him.

THE TRUTH IS:

  • No human being is always right.
  • God alone is always right.

Those little details and individual little decisions often aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes we try to make little issues more important than the marriage, or more important than honoring and obeying Christ.

Submission and God’s Sovereignty:

  • Submitting to our husbands in a biblical way is the biggest test of our faith in Christ, in my view, as godly wives.
  • Do I really trust God’s sovereignty enough that I believe that He is able to lead me through my human husband? Even if he messes up? Even if he sins?
  • My goal is not “to have my way” or to prove how “right” I am anymore.  It is all about Jesus.  Life is not about me anymore.  It is not about what I want.  It is about Him.

***  I am not called to follow my husband into clear sin that expressly violates God’s Word. We are to submit to our husbands “in the Lord.”  If a husband is committing major sin, infidelity, has an active alcohol/drug addiction, has an untreated mental disorder, is physically abusive – those serious issues go WAY beyond the scope of my blog.  PLEASE seek godly, experienced help ASAP!

MY HUSBAND WILL SIN AND MAKE MISTAKES AT TIMES AND GUESS WHAT?  I WILL BE WRONG AND MAKE MISTAKES AT TIMES, TOO!!  WE ARE BOTH HUMAN.

We will both need lots of grace, forgiveness and mercy from one another.

It takes TIME for a man to learn to be a godly leader. One  decision is not a true measure of my husband’s leadership.  Learning to be a godly leader is a long process – just like learning to be a godly follower is.

He will mess up sometimes.  (We BOTH will!)  That is going to have to be ok. God will help him learn from those things and he will grow as a leader – especially if I can continue to support him even in those difficult times. If I turn on him, give him the 3rd degree, and heap contempt upon him – he may just become paralyzed and stop trying to lead.

MY RESPONSE when my husband’s decision doesn’t turn out the way he had hoped is CRITICAL to him learning to become a better and more godly leader. If I can support him, respect the good in him, stand with him, show faith in him, continue to trust him, and not take over – my husband will probably get back up and learn and become a stronger and stronger man of God and grow in wisdom. It is REALLY important that I DO NOT TAKE OVER but show him that I know HE can do this.

Sometimes my husband will be right and I will be wrong!!!!!!!    But I may not be able to see that until later.  This is part of trusting God’s sovereignty.

FIRST I AM SUBMITTED TO CHRIST

Every disciple of Christ is called and commanded by God to submit their lives 100% to Christ first. We are to die to ourselves (THIS REALLY HURTS!), and our old nature. We are to put on our “new man in Christ.” We are not to be controlled by the sinful nature any longer, but by the Spirit of God. (Galatians 5:19-23)

Because I have died to my old self – I am dead to what I want, my will, my rights, my goals, my dreams, my plans, my priorities, my wisdom. That is all nailed to the cross. Now, I live as a living sacrifice for Jesus. I am alive to His Spirit, His will, His wisdom, His goals, His dreams, His plans, His priorities.

My only purpose in this world as a disciple of Christ is to honor Him and bring Him glory.

My life is not about what I want. It is about what Jesus wants. That is what it means that He is not just my Savior, but He is my LORD. I do not say “no” to my Lord.   He is my Master now.  My whole life is about Him. More than that…

Jesus IS my Life.

Nothing else matters.

RELATED POSTS:

Biblical Submission

A Real Life Example of Respect and Biblical Submission

Submission is not slavery.

When She Surrendered – my husband’s take on how my respect and submission directly affected his attitude towards me, God and his leadership

How a Wife’s Submission Inspired Her Husband and made him a better man

A Wife’s Great Faith and and Old Truck (God worked little miracles in this situation)

My Husband Wants to Go Where?? (AWESOME example of real life biblical submission and how God intervened and changed a husband’s heart and plans!)

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