I read a post from a friend of mine where she was pointing out some major flaws in a religious organization and in some of its ideologies. While I agreed for the most part about the complaints she was making there was one point that led to a lengthy email exchange where I cleared up some misconceptions about a well-known Bible verse.
“Wives, submit to your husbands.”
Unfortunately, when taken as a stand-alone phrase and out of the context it was written in, it sounds pretty horrible. Over the ages domineering men has used it as a way to “put women in their place” and establish themselves as the “head of the household”.
The thing is, that is not at all what that passage is about. The very next sentence says, “And husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church”. A little history lesson here: Jesus died an excruciatingly painful death for his church. Whether you believe the Easter story of resurrection or not, the history records do not dispute his crucifixion.
Any good pastor worth his salt will explain what the passage means. The bulk of the entire passage is written to the husbands - they are to take care of their wives, to cherish them, to be willing to die for them. And submission does not mean “ask permission”; it basically means to trust your husband (The guy who has been instructed to put your very well-being before his own) if he has any qualms about decisions you are making. He loves you and wants nothing but the best for you.
How does this work in our relationship? Well, we talk about anything and everything with each other. My husband is my biggest cheerleader and spurns me on to fulfill my dreams. As we talk about options laid out before us he will express reservations if he doesn’t think something is in my best interests (Like when I say YES to everything people ask of me). He doesn’t “forbid” me to do anything; he just loves me and wants to see me flourish.
Because I know that he loves me and that he knows me like nobody else does, I trust his judgment. For the most part. If it’s something that I really want to do he never stands in my way. And if things don’t go the way I hope he never throws an “I told you so” but instead picks me up, brushes me off and holds my hand.
So, yes, I submit to my husband because his dreams for me are far better than my own. And he loves me with a fierceness that is indescribable. That is how marriage was intended to be, in my opinion, Bible verse aside.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.