Okay now, some of you probably already have your soapbox pulled out and have your gloves on… but give me just a minute before you get all jersey-girl-taking-off-your-hoop-earrings on me.
Okay, so what about this 50 Shades of God thing?? I recently read the book series 50 Shades of Grey. I really spent a lot of time praying about this choice. I knew what the book was about, and I knew that I didn’t agree with the concept of S&M. But, I also knew that many of my friends were reading it and I wanted to be prepared to talk to them about it if something came up. I didn’t want to make a blind judgment about the book without knowing what it was really about. So, after several weeks praying, I did read it. Before reading the book I asked God to show me something in this book that would glorify him… a prayer I pray often in various situations.
As I was reading this book the idea of submission kept popping out at me. One passage in particular (and I’m paraphrasing) states that the entire basis of being a good dominant is dependent upon knowing your submissive… knowing their limits and taking them just to the limit, but not over. It also includes the submissive having enough faith in their dominant to allow them the control, with the understanding that they will not take them farther than they can go. At first I didn’t think much of this, however, since reading the book I have thought back to this particular passage several times. Of course, in the book the character, Christian Grey, was talking about an S&M relationship… but, I think this same concept applies to our relationship with God. (I can hear your gasps now… but, please hear me out.)
God tests the limits of our faith. He takes us to a point that stretches our ability to rely on him, then just when we think we can’t take it anymore, he brings us back. Without these tests, we are unable to build faith in God, in his ability to take care of us when things really get bad. We are unable to trust in his ability to provide for us. We’ve all heard the saying, “God won’t lead you through anything that you can’t handle.” I used to disagree with this statement. I thought, “sure he will. That’s how he strengthens our faith.” But, I think that I didn’t understand that before. God doesn’t give us more than we can handle… he gives us just enough that we have to turn to him and say, “Okay God… um, I need you to take control here.” THAT, is how God builds our faith in him. Being submissive allows God to test our limits and it strengthens our faith in him.
But, what about within your marriage? Can you be submissive to your spouse and not be a doormat? Can you be submissive to a non-believing husband? Can a non-believer be submissive to their spouse in a Godly way?
In the last few weeks I have had a few conversations with friends and relatives about being submissive. I’m talking about Godly submission to your spouse… not whips-and-chains-tie-me-to-the-bed-submission. But, what is Godly submission? Here are some of the things I have heard from friends and family over the years when it comes to the topic of submission…
“I’m NOT a doormat!”
“I can’t be submissive, I’m just too strong willed.”
“When my husband is more Godly, then I will be more submissive.”
“When my husband starts to treat me with respect, then I will be more submissive.”
“When my husband has a heart for God, then I will allow him to be the head of our family and I will be submissive.”
Sound familiar? If you’ve ever wrestled with the idea of submission, you probably have thought or said these things. I have a few ideas on this topic that I want to share… my thoughts, what God has spoken to my heart, and how we can be more submissive in general. I will address all of the above comments in the next few paragraphs.
First… you DO NOT have to be a doormat to be a submissive wife. If you are seeking Godly submission, the Bible says, “wives be submissive to your husbands.” It doesn’t say, “wives lie down and let your husbands walk all over you.” Nor does it say, “wives be submissive to your husband if he _______.” Now, I will admit that I struggled with the concept of being a submissive wife when I was first married. I was young, I had been hurt in the past, and in my mind there was no way on Earth that any man was going to make decisions for me. However, I have learned, through my husband’s love, that being submissive is not about letting someone control me.
In my marriage, being submissive means that in big decisions my husband has ultimate say for what happens to our family. We have a partnership, we respect one another, and we generally make decisions together. But, if something comes up and we disagree, I default to him. Rarely, does my husband say “NO” to me, and the same goes for me with him. But, he is the head of our family… spiritually we are on different paths, but regardless, my husband is the head of our family. That means that in day-to-day tasks I decide what the children wear, what we eat for dinner, etc. But, when it comes to big decisions, he makes the choices. I am not ALLOWING him to be the head of our family… he has been called by God to be the head of our family, and he is. Plain and simple. My husband may not have the same heart for God that I do, but if I am not obeying God’s command to be a submissive wife, then I am not seeking God’s heart either.
Being submissive is not about one partner expressing control. It is about understanding that your spouse loves you and makes decisions with your best interest in mind.
Submission isn’t a concept that is strictly for Christian marriages. Our best-friends have an amazing example of a submissive marriage, and they are both unbelievers. If I call her to say, “hey you want to go and eat lunch?” or “hey, wanna come over?” She always says, “let me check with the boss first.” (or sometimes she jokes and says the wife. ha ha…). She respects his place as the head of their family, she respects his opinion. If he were to say, “no, I would really rather you didn’t do that.” She would respect that, and follow his lead.
Being a submissive wife is not about being walked all over. I want my children to be submissive to me, in the fact that I want them to respect me. To come to me when things get too hard for them. But, if I am not modeling a good example of submission, how can they learn it? Also, if my husband and I are not modeling for our children what a great marriage with Godly submission looks like, how can we expect them to understand that concept.. whether or not they choose to honor Godly submission? So, go – get your 50 Shades on… learn what true submission means. 🙂