Submission in Marriage

In Gals, Guys, Home and Family on November 17, 2011 by The Spillover

Mary Kassian at the Girls Gone Wise blog shares some thoughts in response to this question: “How has submission worked out practically in your marriage?”:

I’ve been married for 29 years—“just getting going” says my mom, who’s been married for 62.

“What it looks like” is a difficult question, since submission is not something foreign—not something “other”—to the character of a redeemed woman. Submission is not as much an “action” as it is an “attitude.” So it can’t be dictated by behavioral prescriptives. Submission boils down to a having spirit of amenability. It means being soft, receptive, responsive, and agreeable. Because of the misconceptions surrounding the definition of submission, I actually prefer to use the term “amenability.” Amenability comes from the French amener (to lead). An amenable woman is “leadable” as opposed to “ungovernable” She’s responsive to input and likely to cooperate. Amenability is part of the three-fold womanly disposition of 1 Peter 3:4-5, which includes gentleness, calmness, and amenability—which works itself out in a married woman’s life in submission to her husband.

So “what it looks like” on an on-going basis, is that I am soft, receptive, and agreeable toward my husband. I love responding to his lead. I respect who God created him to be as a man—and support his efforts to provide godly oversight for our family. I respect the position of responsibility that goes along with being a husband and father. “Respect” is probably the best word to describe what submission looks like in my marriage.

For me, submission is one of those things that is far more easily identified by its absence rather than its presence. I know that I am struggling with it when I am critical, impatient, defiant, and “snarky” toward my husband—when I refuse to cooperate and am unresponsive to input, when I rush in and take control, when I fail to “provide space” to allow my husband the opportunity to be a man and provide godly oversight for our family. In other words, it’s not readily apparent to me when I’m submitting, but it’s painfully obvious to me when I am not. I sense that I am disrespecting/ disregarding my husband, taking control, and pulling against him rather than for and with him.

(The full article has some other good stuff.)

5 Responses to “Submission in Marriage”

  1. This was a great look at the beauty that can be had when two people joined together, understand their roles and use them to the Glory of God. He is the author of this and we have unique responsibilities in our roles that can be used for kingdom work. Not sure we ever realize how important our role is, in supporting our husbands, so they can do what God is leading them to do.

  2. Amen Kristine. I can vouch for the fact that, as I’ve told my wife, I am hard-wired to need her support. It’s a crucial element in my life, and whatever venture I’m undertaking. Thanks for your perspective here. It’s a crazy thing…but for a man to have the full support of his wife makes him feel like he can accomplish anything.

  3. And likewise, for a woman, I can only imagine what it feels like to have a husband who is willing to submit to the command to love you like Christ loves the church, and to give his life for you.

    Ahh…biblical marriage is such a rare and beautiful thing.

  4. As an aside, I have no idea why WordPress likes to change my avatar pic at random 🙂

  5. I think it is because it is so easy to let life get hectic. From this, being intentional about loving our wives sacrificially and/or being the powerful helpmate to our husbands by our deference – well, honestly – it can be lower on the list. Unfortunately, human nature runs like a wheel. Less feeling loved rolls into less desire to respect/submit, while less respect/submit rolls into less passion to love. It is amazing that God made it this way. The fervor with which we intentionally fill our marriage roles, actually spurs or diminishes the power of this union. God knew what he was doing. No surprise there.

    What an amazing force God makes us, when the the two become one, completing each other’s needs and weaknesses, to accomplish that which God has set before us to do. Satan only attacks what threatens him. Even he knows the incredible power of a marriage on fire – So.. shouldn’t we have one?

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