Sometimes a Woman Wears the Pants

Before my husband and I could be married by my pastor, we had to meet with him for a pre-marriage counseling session. The session was very basic as far as counseling sessions go, and there was really only one thing that stuck with me from that session.

The husband is the spiritual leader of the family. He isn’t the lord and master, but when it comes to final decisions his word stands.

That was the jest of what was said.

I nodded as if I agreed because it was expected and necessary for us to proceed, but in the back of my mind I’m like, “Whatever! If the car we’re buying is going to be mine and I want silver, but he’s pushing for green, well, if I’m the one driving it I get the final say!”

It really didn’t matter to us as a couple. This wasn’t a sticking point for us personally.

Fast forward a few years. I am serving as youth leader in the church. Typically this is a position for a man, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I had served in this capacity for a year or so when all of the sudden someone, a male, needed experience.

Without much input from me, they were just “put in” with me. Basically, they took over and I sat in. I knew these kids. I grew up with their older siblings. I knew their parents very well from many different perspectives.

One night during youth group the topic of choice was who should be the spiritual leader of the home.

Seems like a good topic to address like teenagers. Actually I believe it is and would confidently address it any day of the week. I would have that day, too. Just maybe a little differently.

Barely moments into the lesson a question was raised.

What about my house? My mom does all the bills, makes all the rules, to be honest, she’s the reason we’re all at church. My mom is the leader of our home.

It’s a perfectly normal response. Lots of teenagers live in a home like that. It was a valid question and a great real-life teaching moment.

Except what happened next was more like a real-life train wreck where even I, the other adult in the situation, wanted nothing more than to escape the situation and pretend it never happened. Why can’t life have a rewind or fast forward button?

Instead of using the moment to reassure a teenager that every household needs an adult to be in charge and that sometimes husbands don’t step up and do what God has asked them to do so mom’s step up and fill both roles, well, it turned into a sermon on the mom being in direct opposition of God’s will. You know, sinning.

Wow. You want to make an impression on a teenager tell them a parent who makes sure all their needs are met, submits (albeit in a non-traditional way) to their spouse by meeting their needs, and meets the spiritual needs of every one in the household is a sinner in God’s eyes because of their efforts.

It took everything within me to stay in that room that night and not quit. I loved those kids too much to walk away when things weren’t going the way I wanted them to go. It broke my heart to see some of them so broken and beat down that night.

To make matters worse, I think the lesson was for me. The woman in the room trying to do a man’s job.

Guess who was still there doing the job when that person moved on? Yes, it was me, and yes, I was still a woman.

I have grown spiritually by leaps and bounds since those days. I’m absolutely embarrassed by many of my thoughts, actions, and words from that season of life. However, it was part of my journey and I am still learning.

Had you asked me then if a woman should be submissive to her husband, I would have emphatically insisted under no circumstances should that ever happen. Now, I feel differently.

It’s almost as if I crave a different attitude, a submissive attitude.

Does this make me a doormat, the weaker sex, or a second-rate citizen in our marriage?

Absolutely not!

Nine meals out of ten, my husband fixes me a plate and brings it to me. If I feel strongly about something (Um, I feel strongly about most everything.) I speak up and out every time.

There are things I’m better at than my husband. He wouldn’t want to do those things or even make decisions regarding those things. It would be silly and a waste of time and energy for us to swap roles regarding those things.

Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. Shi is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. She makes garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:10-31

Now tell me based on scripture that a submissive wife is a doormat. Tell me she is a mandatory stay-at-home-mom (Not that there’s a thing wrong with being one! Stayed home while my kids were babies.) who waits on her husband hand and foot while he doesn’t find her capable of making simple daily decisions.

Can’t do it, can you?

The Proverbs 31 wife is an amazingly strong woman. Yes, she is submissive. However, she is also an entrepreneur. She is a very shrewd business woman. She can run a household with no problems. She’s a hard worker who takes care of others first. She is full of wisdom and gives good counsel.

Are you a woman doing these types of things? Have you been wondering if you can be considered a submissive wife?


Submissive is an attitude, a lifestyle. It isn’t a set in stone checklist of things you must or must not do.

Christian woman, take heart! Stop beating yourself up and holding yourself in bondage because you’re strong, efficient, and at times needed to be the wearer of the pants in your relationship.

Just as we will never be perfect Christians here on this earth, we won’t be perfect wives. This is a journey. My path won’t look exactly like yours. That doesn’t make my path wrong and your path right.

God is working in me to bring me into His will. Becoming more submissive in my marriage is part of that process. I am not a finished product yet, and neither are you. We can find freedom in His grace to try again tomorrow!

Other posts in the series:

Wives Submit?
Throw a Fit, Nag, or Submit?


7 responses to this post.

  1. That's so sad, I will be honest this is the exact reason I left religion behind…looong ago 😦 Keep up your efforts, the church will need people like you in the future! Silly man…


  2. I've been wearing pants for too long. I miss the short skirts of my youth.


  3. Bunny~Thank you for your response and for being honest! This is exactly the kind of conversation I'm hoping to spark here.

    I don't seek to be religious. I can be a religious fisherman. I can be a religious alcoholic. I can do anything religiously.

    I seek to love people like Christ loved people. I actually have love for that man, and, he has grown a lot. I would absolutely let my own teenagers sit under his teaching.

    The world is full of people who have been hurt by “religious” people. I encourage people to go to church in spite those religious people who've hurt them. You may have to go somewhere else, but find a body of believers where you can worship and feel comfortable.


  4. st~LOL! I don't know if I should AMEN your comment because it's exactly what I'm trying to get across or just keep giggling.

    Back in the day I could rock a mini skirt! LOL.


  5. This post is hard for me to digest. I became a Christian at the age of 16 after leaving a broken home. I chose a career in college that demanded respect and commanded men. I started going to a church near the campus that disagreed with women in any role like this. Most of the women at this church, just due to the strong beliefs, dropped out, married a college guy and had babies. I didn't do that. Having left a home of abuse by a man, the last thing I wanted to do was subject myself to a man's will.

    Now I am married, the mom of two boys, and a stay at home mother for the time being and I do see myself in a subjective role like this, but this is what has made it so hard for me to stick with a church. I join a church, join a small group, it starts getting deep like this. I question it, and then suddenly I'm despised. Nothing will ever change my love for God or the fact that he died for me on the cross, but I have very strong views that each person is their own, and no person ever should tolerate abuse. When I talked to my pastor about the abuse I endured as a child, I was told what my mother did was wrong for kicking him out and that she should have simply “prayed for him to change”. My mother was not a Christian, so when I told him this, he just had no response. So basically he made me feel like women were born to endure abuse. I just can't take that answer, nor do I believe that my God would want me to live with that. I am torn with wanting to take my children to church and bringing them up going to church, with what I feel inside.

    Yes I feel like a victim and I feel like “church” squeezes the life out of me, but God did save me, so that is the one thing I'm holding on to.


  6. Hi, Heather! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post on a topic that brings up such painful times for you.

    This is where I am probably very much in difference to what many denominations preach. Abuse is abuse. There is a fine line between staying and bringing salvation to your home, and staying and causing way more harm than good.

    There are certain areas of my personal life I don't blog about because of the ripple effect my perception of the events could have on other people involved. I will tell you that it is NEVER ok to knowingly allow someone to remain in a situation of abuse. Whether that someone is a wife or a child, it is the church's job to intervene and seek help for the family when necessary.

    I myself feel very strongly about people who see abuse and say nothing because it should be dealt with behind closed doors within a family. NO!!!!

    I wish you were here by me. I'd take you to my Women's group meeting and you'd leave with wide eyes. You would most definitely NOT be despised for your questioning!!!! Applauded, maybe. Joined? Definitely. Prayed for as you seek? Without ceasing!!! And, you'd roll on the floor laughing at the sheer idea of ME or any Christian female I hang out with considering themselves “submissive”.

    Can I ask predominantly what denomination(s) of churches you are sitting in? Perhaps I can make some suggestions…


  7. Newest follower here! I found you though the blog hop 🙂 You have such a cute blog, I can't wait to read more! You can find me at at

    -Melanie @


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