As I mentioned yesterday, this week, I’ll be sharing my thoughts and experiences regarding marriage ~ it is National Marriage Week after all. The first in this five part series is all about how David and I structure our marriage.
We’ve been together for 20 years now, married for 14 years in June. I can, with all honesty, say that although we started out as completely enamoured young loves, each year, month and week since then has been even better. Just when I think we can’t possibly grow closer, we do. I believe in my heart of hearts that the structure of our marriage is an essential part of that closeness.
Some have said that the “wives submit to your husbands” bit has been one of the most misunderstood parts of the bible. So today, I am going to try to elaborate a bit on the issue and see if I might paint a clearer picture, based on my understanding of it and how we have applied it in our lives. I’ve touched on this issue before, but I think it may be something of a mystery to some in this age of feminism and political correctness. “How can a woman possibly submit to her husband? A woman is not a possession, not a slave.”
Right! And nowhere in the bible does it tell us she is! On the contrary in fact! I love this translation from The Message:
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting. 26 Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, 27 dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. 28 And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor – since they’re already “one” in marriage.
David is the unequivocal head of this household. I know it and the children know it. This doesn’t mean that I don’t make any decisions for the family, but it does mean that the ultimate decision power rests with him. He has made some decisions in the past that I had some trouble with, but as his wife, I knew I had to follow him and support him in his decision. Because he is following God I need to trust that he is making the right decision for all of us. Submitting to him is not meant to be a difficult thing. It’s an attitude of love, respect and trust.
But it only works because he loves me more than himself.
I can’t stress the importance of that. If he didn’t put me before himself, the role would be used as a position of power, which is not as it was intended.
It is when things end up out of balance that they tend to fall apart. Think of the broken marriages you know. More often than not, there is an imbalance. Perhaps the husband is completely full of love and amazing respect for his wife, but she is not allowing him to lead. Or perhaps the wife is submitting to the husband, and he is not considering her more important than himself. There is imbalance either way.
Maybe the difficulty for some people lies with the practicality of this model we were given. “But how can you just let him make all the decisions?”
I don’t. A great many of the decisions are mine to make. It just makes sense as the Manager of our household. I’m not going to confer with David on every little thing we do because it’s just not practical. But for the big decisions, you bet I will!
When a big decision needs to be made, we discuss it, we pray about it, both separately and together. We discuss it some more. David tries to understand my point of view because he respects me, and my opinion is valued. We continue praying. Sometimes answers don’t come when we want them and so we just sit in a holding pattern for a while. Patience is tough, but necessary. Through it all, I make sure that David knows he is loved immensely, and trusted without question.
I’ll leave you with this commentary from Matthew Henry:
“The woman was made out of Adam’s side. She was not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”
Is that not beautiful?
This series is intended to get you thinking about marriage, perhaps, in a way you have not thought about it before. I welcome your comments and questions and I’m big on discussion, so feel free to fire away. 🙂