Throw a Fit, Nag, or Submit

Yesterday I approached the topic of wives submitting to their husbands. Approached.

I didn’t dig deep. I didn’t cover the topic in it’s entirety. I approached the topic. Today I want to talk about it a little more.

Perhaps I should start with the fact that this mini-series is for me. I am not proficient in this area. As a matter of fact, if you were to ask my husband if I were submissive, well, I imagine he’d probably laugh outright.

What does it actually mean to submit to my husband?

Scripture says several times that wives are to submit to their husbands.

To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” Genesis 3:16

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 11:3

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:22

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Colossians 3:18

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5

Five times I listed there without searching the scripture in depth at all. Why is this so important?

Let’s imagine that Jane is a born again Christian. Let’s also imagine that Jane’s parents have promised her in an arranged marriage to John who is not Christian. Based on her culture, Jane cannot get out of the arranged marriage regardless of the difference in religious beliefs. She must fulfill her parents wishes.

Does Jane have to submit to her husband who is not a Christian man?

Or what about Cindy who married a Godly man who has lead their family with Christian values for many years, but now he has become enslaved to a life of sin. He is involved in affairs, pornography, and she fears illegal activities. Her family and friends are counseling her to file for divorce and cut her loses.

Does Cindy have to submit to her husband who has backslidden so far?

These are exactly the kind of scenarios we find addressed in 1 Peter 3.

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husband, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting fine apparel–rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. 1 Peter 3:1-6

Should wives submit to husbands who don’t currently obey God’s word?

1 Peter tells us that if they do, their husbands may be won to the Lord by their conduct without a word.

I may want my husband to change. I have that right. J If I want to see him change I have choices.

I can:

choose to tell him what I want, give him a timeframe to make the adjustment, nag him everyday about said changes, and then be surprised when he fails on my deadline.
choose to continue to submit to his leadership, pray continually for God to make the change within him, praise him when he demonstrates the adjustment I’m hoping to see, and then thank God for His blessings when the change becomes permanent.

I’m ashamed to admit how many times I have chosen that first path. Can you guess how that path works out?

Let me spell it out for you.

It works out with a very hurt and angry wife. I mean, if I’m willing to be vulnerable enough to tell my husband exactly what I need from him, what I need him to do, then he should be willing to do everything in his power to make it happen, right?

I’m a make it happen kind of person. Once I come up with a plan, I’m like a steamroller. You aren’t going to stop me. I have a plan, I know where I’m going, and I’m not going to be happy until I can put a check mark in the “done” box.

My husband is not like that.

He hears my request. He listens to my suggested plan to get to the end results. He may even initially seem to agree with my ideas. He is not, however, a steamroller.

My husband is a thinker. He needs time to process an idea. He needs to fully understand not just my feelings and wishes, but how the whole thing could play out.

I want him to jump into something wholeheartedly full-out right out of the gate. He likes to try things in stages.

Do you see where I might get into a little trouble here? I move at the speed of a speeding bullet and he likes to meander through the meadow.

I’m a bit pushy when I don’t get my way immediately which can lead to nagging.

But I’ve asked you repeatedly to xxxxxx. Why can’t you do this one thing for me?

Somewhere in this process I decide that my husband must not love me. (What?!) Then I decide that two can play at that game. If he isn’t going to do what I want, then I won’t do what he wants.

Go ahead. Sing the song. It won’t hurt my feelings. I’ll even get you started… “You’re so vain. I bet you think this song is about you.”

Submitting doesn’t mean delivering glasses of tea, washing my husbands feet, or kissing his backside in general.

Some days it means not being a nag. Other days it simply means not throwing a fit if I don’t get my way immediately.

Being submissive means that I let him have time to process before I start pushing.

I’m actually really enjoying this topic, and not getting as far as I’d like each day before I run out of “space”. This is something I’d personally like to become better at. I’d like to be more submissive.

I feel like such a traitor to my gender saying that, but on the other hand, I feel like it is what God wants from me. Perhaps this journey will become a frequent topic here on my musings.

In closing today, do you know a woman who epitomizes a submissive Christian woman? What sets her apart from the rest of us? What characteristics does she exhibit that makes her different?



4 responses to this post.

  1. I think communication is key and knowing your husband and working together to build a good life. Everyone is different and responses differently to requests etc. I know my husband is very thoughtful as well and needs time to think things through. He is definately not the jump in the lake with both feet kind of guy.


  2. I am reading these posts out of order, but enjoying them. The idea of submission has such a negative connotation in today's culture. But I have seen it work in my marriage, when I can be adult enough to submit. God works when we let him. Submission is about stepping out of his way, not about being weak or letting your spouse rule you. It is about letting God rule in your relationship with your spouse. Great post. Keep it up, I'll be looking for more.


  3. Winnie~Glad you stopped by again! Communication is absolutely key to a successful marriage. My husband is slower than molassess when it comes to change! I've made a request that he's still processing almost two years ago. LOL.

    Every once in a while I mention it again. He's still trying to wrap his mind around how it works. I wanted to start trying it immediately.

    What's that they say about opposites? 😉


  4. I'm really surprised I didn't get stoned when I started this series. LOL.

    People hear wives submit and think about women walking behind men, staying home barefoot and pregnant, sitting on opposite sides in the church, being silent…

    Um, anyone who knows me knows I'm the absolute opposite of ALL of those things. And yet I seek to submit. I actually want to do this (which has NOTHING to do with the list of things above) to a deeper degree.

    You are so correct. Submission does NOT equal weak in any way shape or form!


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