I have to say I am extremely impressed by my husband’s post: Biblical Submission: A Man’s Point of View that he wrote last week. I am one lucky, lucky girl!! I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am to have such an amazing husband!!!
Biblical submission is a very intimidating phrase to most people. I have to admit I was not very fond of this word in the beginning of our marriage. As a result, I have scarred my sweet husband’s heart. And these are wounds I am still trying to heal. Thankfully, I have a forgiving husband. And thankfully, I have a forgiving Savior too.
When we first got married, we moved to a small town in West Texas. Both of us were in school. I was in nursing school and my husband was in grad school pursing his phd in mechanical engineering. I was hesitant to move 850 miles away from my family, but I did it. And I swore I would get back to Missouri.
My husband believed he could finish his phd in 2 years. Anyone who has attended engineering grad school knows there is nothing realistic about that! In my head, we would be heading back to Missouri in 2 years where Dr. Smartypants would magically find the perfect job. But then the semester came to an end and he wasn’t anywhere near being done. Another year went by and he still hadn’t graduated. I began to build up some resentment because he had set up these expectations and then, in my eyes, wasn’t following through.
Looking back, I was so very wrong in feeling this way. He was working so hard and trying to finish his research, but sometimes experiments fail. Sometimes papers take forever to get through the publishing phase. Sometimes he has to take off time from working on his dissertation to speak at conferences or work on a research grant. There was so much more to his schooling than we thought. We really believed he could finish in 2 years, but there was just no way. Because we set up those expectations when he first entered school, we were emotionally doomed to begin with.
My husband knew my desire to get back to Missouri. And every time another semester rolled past, I would express my disappointment. I knew he was working hard, but I also knew how badly I wanted to get back to my family. I wanted to raise my future children in Missouri.
In 2010, we were sure he would graduate. So we decided to start trying to have a baby. In 2011, E was born. And we were still in Texas, still in school. I struggled with postpartum depression and negative body image for the next year. Praise God for his deliverance from that evil place!
In 2012, I realized how far God had brought me from the depths of that dark place, and He began to open my eyes to alot of things. He revealed to me how much He loves me. He revealed how beautiful a post baby body truly is. He revealed to me that I had damaged my husband’s heart and that I was lucky this amazing man put up with me. Each time I expressed disappointment when yet another semester went by, I hurt his heart just a little more. A Godly man want’s to please his wife. He want’s to lead his wife. And he want’s to provide for her. And although he was doing these things for me, I made him feel like he wasn’t. It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, and now I fully regret making him feel that way.
Something changed in me in 2012. I began to understand what I had done to his heart. I began to see the damage I had caused. I had completely taken away his ability to lead because I had decreed it that no matter what, we would move back to Missouri. I was having a really hard time with the concept of cleaving.
Cleaving can have two meanings, depending on its context.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24
If you look it up in the dictionary, it means to split from. And if you look at it that way, it would mean to separate yourself from your parents. This doesn’t mean you forget they exist and never speak to them again. It means that your new union becomes the priority. Cleave can also mean “to join” which is what it means in this verse. A man joins his wife and they become one. Priorities become rearranged. God first, marriage second, children third. A relationship with Christ and a healthy marriage will help lead to healthy children. Cleaving to your spouse takes sacrifice, time, energy and a Godly attitude. Cleaving is work. I understand this now.
Dr Smartypants and I attended a marriage conference last week by Jimmy Evans, and loved what he had to say. We listened to his Marriage on the Rock cd on our 14 hour road trip and it’s pretty amazing. In the segment “The Most Important Issue,” he speaks about the “principle of transference.” This is when you place your deepest needs in someone else other than God. Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can meet our deepest needs of acceptance, identity, security and purpose. When you place those needs on someone else, you set yourself up for disappointment, and you will become cynical and bitter. And this is exactly what happen to me.
Yes, my husband can meet some of those needs in a marital sense from an earthy perspective, but only Jesus can meet them wholly and fully.
In the past year, that little phrase “biblical submission” has kept popping up in sermons, in devotionals, and in conversation. And then, just at the right time, I was invited to be a part of Sara Horn’s launch team for her new book My So Called Life as a Submissive Wife. Obviously God was trying to tell me something.
Let me tell you something. Not only has God opened my eyes to the hurt I caused my sweet husband, but He’s shown me how to fix it. I have Sara Horn to thank for this beautiful phrase: Love HIS way.
Honor– Men need praise and crave respect from their wife. Their ego’s are fragile, and that is why biblical submission is the key to their heart. If they feel loved and respected, they will show more love to their wife. How do you show this in the terms of honor? He needs to be allowed to fail without fear (eh hem…yes, I was terrible at that). Most importantly, faith needs to be the motivation. Jimmy Evans in his Marriage on the Rock book says it beautifully: “give him the honor at the level you want him to be, not where he is at.”
Intention– As wives, we need to be intentional towards our husband. This means praying for our husband; making the house a home; being his helper; working on your relationship with Christ and asking him to work in you to better your marriage. Work with your husband as a team.
Selflessness- Our priority in life is our relationship with Christ, with our marriage coming in at second. Priorities are proven by sacrifice, time, energy, and attitude. Marriage was designed for sacrificial people and the family is built around the marriage.
There is one question that Jimmy Evans asked at the conference that has stuck in my head: “what kind of legacy do you want to leave for your children?” The way my husband and I interact, solve conflict, show affection and work through things, will all influence our children and their future relationships. I want my son to see his dad being the spiritual leader. If I have a daughter, I want her to see how beautiful the role of a wife is. I want my children to see a marriage with God at the center of it.
In the past year, I have come a long way in my understanding of biblical submission. I have apologized to my husband for the damage I caused. I have apologized for not allowing him to lead. I have apologized for not giving him my trust.
In my heart, I really believe that my husband is the leader of our household. I’ve felt this way for about a year, but it has taken a year for my husband to believe me! He had felt like I had been “disappointed enough times” from him not graduating that I had given up. He felt like I was just going with the flow and whatever happened would happen and I just gave up hope in him. Ya, I’m telling you, when you don’t show confidence in your husband and you don’t allow him to lead the family, it will damage his heart.
He graduated in May (whoohooo!). He is currently teaching at a local university while we wait to hear from about 20 places he has applied to. He is continually applying to new jobs, but its just a very slow process because most of them are government jobs.
I am honestly okay with moving wherever my sweet husband believes God wants us to go. If it isn’t Missouri, that’s okay. Sure, I would absolutely love to live closer to my family. But if God puts it in my husband’s heart to lead us somewhere else, I will follow. And I will follow happily. The biggest thing I’ve learned about biblical submission from Sara’s book is that if my husband is the leader of the household, and I trust in God, God is going to lead my husband. In trusting my husband, I am trusting God. And I really, really feel that deep in my heart. I am really embracing biblical submission.
I absolutely do not lose my identity by being biblically submissive. In fact, I enhance my identity to what God calls it to be. God knew both of us before we were even born. He had our marriage planned long before we were even thoughts in our parents minds. Our marriage was a divine plan. I want to do all I can to allow my husband to embrace his God given call as a leader in our household.
I’m realizing that to understand God’s desire and design for my role in my marriage, for my role in my relationship with my husband, I have to focus on Him and what scripture says, and then be confident enough in his strength and his understanding to just keep going. -Sara Horn
That’s exactly what I am going to keep doing. I am working on mending that hurt I caused him. I am working on being a better wife, a wife that loves with honor, intention and selflessly. I have to say our marriage is the best its been in our 6 years. We have always been in love but right now, we are both trying to embrace our roles as husband and wife as God intended. We are focusing on loving in each others languages. I am working on allowing him to lead us and being his “helper.” We are both making God our priority so our other priorities are falling into place.
I am so incredibly grateful for such an amazing husband! Cory, I am making a commitment right now to continue to study in God’s word to better myself as a wife. I commit to trusting in God, and in you. I want you to be the leader and I want to follow you. Thank for letting me be a part of that and always listening to my input with a willing heart. I apologize for not being biblically submissive in the past. I want to fulfill my role as a wife to you as Christ called me to. I commit to work on that! I love you with all my heart!
Thank you for listening to my story. Stay tuned for next Thursday! Christian author Sara Horn will be guest posting on the blog and we will be giving away a free copy of her new book: My So Called Life as a Submissive Wife!
This post is part of a series. Here’s what you missed!