Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On Submission

I made the mistake of saying to my husband recently, "I think I've been relatively submissive throughout our marriage." It's been 13 years this summer. I was met with awkward silence.

"I'd call you independent-minded," he answered at last. I began scrubbing counter tops. I know he doesn't like these conversations. He has said that I'm accountable to God, not to him. I appreciate that about him, and I know better than to ask, but I hadn't realized I was asking a question. I hadn't realized there was more than one answer. Which is a mistake indeed, but now I was scrubbing counter tops feeling as if all of my sacrifices were for naught.

If I'm independent-minded, doesn't that make any act of submission all the more valuable, all the more an act of love? Again, the sound of crickets. I found coffee splatters down the cabinet doors that needed attention and grumbled inwardly that even this was submissive and that he just couldn't see it.

He didn't like the conversation, to his credit, and he continued gently, saying that if he were to deliver an ultimatum, it would trigger a "Hell, NO!" response from me.

Perhaps. But we don't know that for certain because he's never delivered such an ultimatum. The Bible nowhere suggests that a woman should submit to all men, only her husband. So an argument that a different kind of leadership would not result in submission from me is about as valid as saying a different kind of submission would result in more or less or different leadership from him.

We married who we married. He leads the way he does in part because of his love for me and who I am. And my ideas about submission have changed over the years as I've seen his sacrificial love for me. Submission is not humiliating or low; it is simply mirroring his love and honor toward me back to him. It is the highest honor I can imagine to be the woman who receives and imitates his love.

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