Submissive or Crazy… Or a Little Bit of Both

I’ll admit as a young woman I was extremely stubborn.  I was determined that it may not be such a great idea for me to ever get married.  I knew several couples who had gotten married too young, had children too early, and argued a lot. None of these appealed to me.  The “good” marriages I observed, you know the ones who stuck it out for years, didn’t seem all that blissfully happy.  I couldn’t imagine signing up to be unhappy for the rest of my life.  And underneath my decision was that whole idea of having to answer to a man. Not a chance!  I remember stating with boldness, “I’m never getting married.  No way! That whole having to submit thing is nuts, crazy if you ask me!”

Well of course God had a different plan.  Though I painted the picture for you of my strong-willed nature (which is still strong but exceptionally more under control these days), I was a girl who desperately wanted what God wanted for me.

I met David Douthit during one of his annual trips to visit his family in NC.  I was in college, and for the first time in my life no way, changed to  hmm… maybe. Three years later I not only married him, but I moved from NC to CA.  It proves the verse that says many are the plans of a man’s (or woman’s) heart , but it’s God’s purpose that prevails.  God’s way was bigger and better than mine, and it prevailed for sure.

The first years of our marriage were good but could’ve been so much better.  I was a handful!  Looking back, there were a lot of attributing factors to my difficult behavior:  a new state, new home, new job, new friends, even new family (some of whom had not accepted me), new church, new, new, new… which equaled stress.  I was insecure, emotional, demanding, controlling, and immature to say the least.  Oh I had my list of good qualities too, but my nagging made for an interesting start.  At the root of it was control and selfishness.  There were so many things in my life that felt out of my control, I think I wanted to compensate by controlling my husband.

Remember I said I wanted what God wanted for me?  Yes I wanted to live a life pleasing to Him, but in my marriage I conveniently left out the parts about love and respect.  Love, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Respect, we are to esteem others above ourselves.  My words and strong will didn’t reflect the love of Jesus.  Praise God I’m married to a patient man who did exemplify Christ in the way He loved me.  I was in no way surrendered to God in the area of submitting to my husband.  I was so afraid of becoming his doormat, I turned him into mine in some ways without realizing it.

I’m different now, not perfect but different.  Some of you may think the same way I did, like this whole submitting thing is crazy.  I admit, I don’t have it all figured out, but here’s what I’ve learned.  Submission to my husband is as much a picture of my earthly marriage as it is a picture of my relationship with Jesus.

While the Bible clearly says, Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord, God pointed something out to me that gave me much relief.  Yes the husband is to be the head of the home as Christ is the head of the church.  But before Paul addresses married men and women, he encourages us to know what God’s will is, then goes on saying submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  This one another is for all people, a yielding to one another in every direction.

He tells men to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.  Which means husbands love your wives over your own bodies, with relentless, unconditional grace and favor.  And wives, in the same way we love Jesus because He first loved us, so shouldn’t we also love and submit to our husbands simply because they love us?

Eve was created to be Adam’s helper, his help-meet.  Most of us would think nothing of helping an elderly person cross the street or serving at the nearest soup kitchen.  Building our children up and serving them in every way is no problem for us.  So why then do we find it so difficult to serve and love on our husbands?  It’s sad when we are more kind and attentive to the needs of strangers than we are to our God-given life partner.

Control is so overrated!  It’s frustrating, exhausting, and unfulfilling.  Why, because we aren’t living the life God created for us as women if we aren’t helping meet the needs of our husbands.  When we trust God and release control in our marriage by letting our husbands lead, we empower and encourage them to be the men God designed them to be:  the head of the home, our lover, provider, and protector.  It’s no wonder men aren’t the spiritual leaders of the average home, we don’t allow them to be.  We don’t encourage it by letting go.  And if we do encourage it, most of the time it’s with nagging, and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping, annoying!  Girls, don’t nag!  And let me say again to myself, Rivera, don’t nag!

The privilege of being a woman is beautiful and powerful.  We have great influence over our men that should never be misused as manipulation.  If you don’t believe me, read the story of Adam and Eve or Samson and Delilah.  If you’ll try to meet your husband’s needs from the kitchen to the bedroom and everything in between, you’ll be amazed by his response.   You’ll become your king’s queen, so to speak.  Treat him like a king and begin noticing your queenly treatment.   Now I’m not referring to exceptions such as abuse.  Don’t allow yourself to be trampled on, you’re worth more than that.  But love deeply, and you’ll be changed deep.  We worry about being liberated, powerful  and modern women of this millennium.  Trust me, it’s most liberating to give way to a little crazy and love him reckless.

Associated Verses:  Ephesians 5:15-33;  Genesis 2:18-25; Proverbs 19:13; 1 John 4:19; 1 Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 2:3

33 thoughts on “Submissive or Crazy… Or a Little Bit of Both

  1. Kaylee says:

    Rivera,
    I just found your blog, and I’m so glad I did! I’m a new Christian, still trying to navigate everything.. I’m reading up on what marriage is supposed to be (considering it with my boyfriend of a year and a half), and the issue of headship and submission is key. I initially reacted much like you did – submit? What?!

    But that book and your post here make it clear that it’s not a dominating, mean kind of headship/submission. It’s reflective of Christ and the church. I love the way you wrote about it here – thank you! 🙂

    Kaylee

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Wow Kaylee! I’m so delighted you found me. And glad God spoke to you through it:) Hope you get to stop by often. Be blessed. And anytime you have questions as you navigate through your new life with Jesus, feel free to ask. Send me an email. Or ask here. I would be glad to help in any way I can. 🙂 Blessings new friend, and sister in Christ:)

  2. peacefulwife says:

    I just came across your blog. I LOVE IT! Submission done God’s way and respect bring such freedom, peace, joy and power for good in our marriages. What seems so counter-intuitive, counter-cultural, backwards and like oppression actually becomes pure joy, freedom and blessing when we obey God and trust Him. I love your description of marriage, submission and respect. Thank you for sharing your beautiful understanding of marriage with other wives! May God richly bless your walk with Christ and your marriage for His greatest glory!

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      April, thank you for your extremely sweet and encouraging comment. Your words bless! I agree with you, there is so much joy when we obey God, and honoring our husbands through submission is just part of it! I visited your blog today for the first time. It looks wonderful, and I look forward to visiting often and staying in touch. Blessings!

      1. peacefulwife says:

        Thanks, Rivera! I look forward to visiting your blog often, myself! THank you for what you are doing. I have been praying for God to raise up many women to teach Christian wives these precious secrets of God’s design for marriage and all the blessings obedience brings!

  3. lifeofaministermom says:

    Rivera, you have no idea how much this has blessed me! I haven’t been by in a while, but God knew what I needed to hear! Within the last few days I’ve come across some discouraging posts on this topic that swung the pendulum from one extreme to the other. One author stated that being a help meet pigeon-holed us as being weak, while the other said that we are not to have any other role outside the house! I, too have that strong personality and am working on balancing it with respect to my husband and all that God has called me to do and be for him! Our spouses deserve our best, and when I find myself slipping I’m reminded that my hubby is a child of God and should be treated and spoken to as such. Sorry for the long response, but this was so candid and scripturally sound. It’s much appreciated and I’ll be bookmarking it for personal reference!

    God bless!
    Patricia

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      No need to apologize for the length of your response. I welcome people sharing their thoughts. It’s good to know God used it to bless you:) Thank you for letting me know. Please feel free to bookmark, pin, share, tweet…whatever God leads you to do with it. This is what writing is all about for me… encouraging people with truth and grace in their marriages, single-ness, relationships with God, and so on. So, please, use it, share it, re-use it:) Thank you Patricia!!

      1. lifeofaministermom says:

        I absolutely will! This is also my desire in what I write. God has so much for us and we can be such and encouragement to one another! Please free to visit often and do the same if you are so led. Have a wonderfully blessed day!

  4. Denise Kelly says:

    Rivera, I was nodding my head alongside you:) Yep, that was me too…the feminist! I’m still working out how to be the best wife God intends me to be, twenty years later. Thank you for sharing, as always. ❤

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      We’re all works in progress, aren’t we? It’s that whole “sanctification” thing, right? Allowing the Holy Spirit to change us along life’s journey with Him, eventually becoming more and more like Jesus:) I’m just enjoying the journey:) Thank YOU for sharing Denise! Blessings!

  5. Mary says:

    Great read, Rivera! I know this will minister to women…Like you, it took me quite awhile before I saw God’s wisdom in wives being submissive to their husbands. It went “against the grain” of CULTURAL thought, which stresses “equal rights” for women in all areas of life. I can still remember singing Helen Reddy’s song, “I am woman, hear me roar…”, and the thoughts I had at the time about how (when and if I got married) my spouse and I would CO-lead in marriage. Sadly, I tried this approach…and, needless to say, it backfired in a BIG way! But I am blessed, both by GOD and the great HUSBAND He gave me. They were faithful to, and patient with, me as I endeavored to grow emotionally and spiritually. I’ve grown to trust them both for my well-being, and I’ve never been happier!

  6. devanebeaver says:

    Perfectly written for my first month of marriage! I appreciate your honesty, and great advice! It’s defiantly something I’ve thought of… I have never wanted to be a “submissive” wife, but I wouldn’t mind being the submisse wife God wants me to be! Thanks again, God bless!

  7. Jimmy Proulx says:

    Awesome post! I have to share that my wife keeps me grounded when I am running and thinking at 100 miles an hour. She is my best friend, my lover, my partner in ministry, my discernment when I try to make decisions too quickly, and she is my greatest source of encouragement.

  8. Lyn Leahz says:

    Thank you Rivera for such an informative post…and much needed! God bless you! I enjoyed reading it. I really can’t add anything in this comment area to your work here, because you’ve outlined it all quite well. 🙂

      1. Lyn Leahz says:

        Thank you! And same here! If you have time to read some of my posts, please feel free to pass them on if you come across something that you think would bless someone else. God bless you!

  9. Daniel says:

    DUDE! Very solid insight! I appretiate the time you took to formulate your thoughts. Its been a while since I have heard such a clear and objective (unbiased) presentation of this material. Thanks for being a light to both men and women.
    -Daniel Moss-

  10. Dana Ward says:

    I remember sitting in your bedroom with you talking about your future. You had a desire to have a singing career with no attachments. I also remember you saying you would probably never get married because you did not want a man telling you what to do. Wow! How things change. But, I have to admit you have done well. I am so very proud but most of all thankful for who you have become. You can only be what you are with the Lord in your life and the support of a loving and caring husband and I am very thankful you have both. I’ll just say, a home is what you choose to make of it. We make choices and then have to live with the consequences of what we choose. Work on being that Proverbs 31 woman and all will be as it should be. God bless!

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Yes mom, you got to experience my strong will first hand, didn’t you? How fortunate! Thanks for hanging in there;) And I am who I am today in part because of you and dad, and the foundation I was given growing up:) Thank you and love you both!

  11. Kristie says:

    Beautiful Rivera! A well written way to explain the word “Submissive”. That word is not in the vocabulary of MANY women. We don’t like it. We are strong empowered women and we will NOT “Submit”.
    But, when you break it down biblically, it can be a beautiful thing!
    Thanks!

  12. Pamela Nogueira says:

    Bravo!!! Well done, Rivera!!! Thank you for such and honest and inspiring message to all of us women! My husband and I were just talking about submission in the car the other day! God made men and women differently and each have important roles. As I said to my hubby, “What country do we know of that has 2 presidents, 2 kings, or 2 dictators?” None. That’s why a marriage thrives when there is one leader (and a very good support person to help him!).

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Yes Pamela, it’s just the way God designed it and such a blessing when we live by it:) Thank you for reading, commenting, and “sharing” with your Facebook friends:) Blessed by your friendship!

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