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