I have pumped gas once in the last 15 years. I don’t even look at the gauge.
When I get out of the shower in the morning, my coffee is sitting on the bathroom counter.
I am the frequent recipient of a “love blanket.” (I’ll explain that later.)
Sometimes submission is really easy. Sometimes not. It is always a hard concept to swallow.
Ideally, submission naturally flows from a relationship where the wife is highly valued, respected, and loved. The husband considers the wife’s needs and opinions as he leads his family, and she trusts fully in his ability to make wise and advantageous decisions. While some marriages come closer to that ideal than others, none are perfect.
When we think about submission, it is easy to imagine a world where a dictatorial husband makes decisions without considering how it will affect his wife at all. He issues decrees about how the house should be run and even how his wife should behave. The wife is deprived of dignity and identity.
So, how should godly couples handle decision-making?
Truthfully, submission is less about the mechanics of decision-making and more about faith. We are commanded in Ephesians 5:22 to submit to our husbands as to the Lord. Submission to our husbands is submission to the Lord. We struggle enough to trust the All-Knowing, All-Powerful God of Creation with the details of our lives. How in the world are we supposed to trust the guy who can’t run the washing machine or empty the trash? The world might spin off its axis if we don’t intervene!
We submit in faith. The good news is that our faith is not based in our husbands’ fallen nature. Our faith is in the Lord. When I trust that the Lord is able to redeem any difficulties we face because my husband made a bad decision, I am submitting to him as to the Lord. I believe that the Lord does indeed work all things together for good.
Submission applies to more than decision-making.
With years of experience listening to couples talk about their problems, I can readily spot two ways that wives fail to be submissive in their day-to-day attitudes toward their husbands. We tend to “mother” our husbands, and we fail to recognize the importance of encouraging our husbands.
We mother our husbands when we nag them, belittle them, and try to control them. My mother-in-law insists that men do not really grow up until they are thirty-five. I know some men (and women if we are being honest) struggle with adult responsibilities. Our husbands will forget to pick up their laundry, mail the utility bill, and take out the trash. We fail when we assume that we need to teach our husbands to do better. He knows he needs to do better. The Holy Spirit tells him regularly that he does, just like the Holy Spirit tells you that you need to do better. Your husband is a grown man being sanctified by the God of the Universe. Treat him like grown-up, and let God work out the details.
Encourage your husband. Men are fragile creatures. Their wives hold an enormous amount of power over them. A man’s success in life depends a great deal on how his wife views him. If you ask him (and he is willing to answer honestly), your husband will tell you that your opinion of him matters more than anyone else’s in the world. I promise. What you think about him and how you speak to him can make or break your husband. Men have slain dragons for the love of a woman. Your husband could conquer the world if he knows for sure that you believe in him. I want to tell you to choose your words carefully. Don’t. That is not enough. Change your heart. Whatever is in our hearts comes out of our mouths. Trust that God is making your man into a dragon-slaying beast, and watch your husband succeed.
Treating your husband like a grown-up and believing in him are two ways that you submit to him and to the Lord. Because the Lord is infinitely wise, our submission to our husbands is how we respect them. Respect is the thing they need most. God commanded them to love us because we need it. He commanded us to respect them because they need it.
In romantic movies (which I hate, unless they are Christmas movies), we all realize that the guy loves the girl when she falls asleep on the couch, in an airplane, on the floor, in the car, etc. and he gently puts a blanket on her. In our house, we call this a “love blanket.” The bestowal of a love blanket is a sign of affection. Almost every day, John gives me a blanket. It means I can sit down and stay there. And I know I am loved. How does he know that I believe in him? That I respect him? I treat him like an adult. He knows what needs to be done, and I trust him to do it. I believe in him more than I believe in myself. No matter what he says he wants to do, my response is always, “Yes! You can do that!” Because he can do anything God calls him to do.