Today is our 29th Wedding Anniversary. Yes, I know, most people don’t get too excited about #29; we celebrate 25 or 50 but not 29 so much. The past 16 months have seen a lot changes in our lives, all good but not always smooth. I am excited about this anniversary; God has pushed, pulled, nudged and carried us every day for the past 29 years. He has brought us to a good place to live and a good place in our relationship – it has cost something to get here. It has not always been easy or fun but it has been worth it.
A blogger I read and admire is “Insanitybytes”, her blog is titled, “See, there’s this thing called biology…” A recent post dealt with that polarizing subject, Submission. Her post, combined with our anniversary has made me think about marriage and my own challenge with understanding and living in Biblical submission to this man God has given me.
My husband and I are both the first-born in each of our families, we are also both strong, opinionated leaders who lived independent lives before being married. With two determined personalities in one small house someone had to be in charge or our crazy train would have derailed long ago.
Like it or not we are ALL under authority and we all must submit; someone has to be in charge, has to have the last word. We all have supervisors, teachers,’ bosses, ,police, and government officials that we submit to in order to get our work done and to maintain an orderly society. In our household, my husband is the authority. In God’s Biblical design for the family, it is the husband, the male head of the household who has the last word. And that is the clearest way to explain submission – the Greek word is actually, “hupotasso” which means to place in order, to come under authority; SOMEONE has to lead.
In a Jesus-centered and loving marriage, both husband and wife are equal and both should be able to voice their opinions and thoughts on all matters and both should be always be heard and their opinions seriously considered and discussed. The wife is accountable to God to honor and respect her husband; the husband is accountable to God to LAY DOWN HIS LIFE for his wife. The husband’s calling is much more serious and carries greater responsibility; he is responsible to love and protect her and to sacrifice his own needs and wants for her.
In every marriage, there are disagreements and some of them are serious. Submission comes into play when couples reach in impasse on these disagreements. A decision needs to be made. Whose will or opinion will prevail? Unless my husband is choosing something that is in clear violation of the Word of God, he decides. I trust that he has been listening to and seeking God’s will, I accept that he is the God-appointed leader over me, I have faith that God has a plan and purpose and I submit to my husband. Most disagreements are not about matters that are contrary to God’s Word; we disagree about money, about jobs, about how to discipline (or not discipline) the children. Even when a husband is not a Christ-follower, the wife is to let him lead the household; she is to submit.
This has not always been easy, in fact there were many times when it was incredibly difficult. I am grateful that God gave me a husband who truly wants to be a good husband, who wants to do it God’s way and whose intention towards me has always been good. He has made decisions I did not always agree with and I kept silent as we slogged our way through; some of his decisions were good and right, but, not all in my opinion. He has respected my opinion and often taken my advice. We each have our strengths, weaknesses and preferences and are content to let the other lead in their area of strength or preference. A good example of this was parenting our young kids; I was and am much more patient and able to stay home, dealing with tantrums and endless viewings of Disney classics; he was much more adventurous and took them to the park where they could climb and get muddy.
It has been 29 years of learning, adjusting, discussion, compromise, laughter and tears. A sense of humor and commitment to making it work, never, NEVER allowing the “D” word, and prayer have sustained us through some pretty tough times; we truly are better together. Has it gotten easier? Yes, but there are days we each retreat to our corner of the house, cool off and then re-group, re-visit, discuss again. And that is key, don’t stay in your corner, be willing to admit to being wrong, to making the first move to reconciliation, to look for the log in your own eye.
I recognize that what has been true for me is not true for everyone ; even in those households where both husband and wife say they are following Jesus. If you are in a situation that is abusive, none of this applies to you – you need to be in a place of safety and your husband needs to be held accountable for his actions.
If you are struggling with your marriage and/or the whole idea of submission, talk to God, search His Word and seek wise, Biblical counsel. Don’t use your differences of opinion as a loophole to abandon a difficult marriage but as an opportunity for personal growth and closeness to God. Marriage is not for everyone and it is certainly not easy but, for me, I would do it all again and am hoping for another 29 years!
Happy Anniversary, Honey!