For wives, submission is actually a warrior’s stance. Women who submit in marriage must be willing to fight against their flesh to allow God’s spirit to thrive in their marriages. This requires unquestionable strength and the courage to do what others may not understand for the sake of obeying Christ. This type of woman is rare.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31: 10-12
In all honesty, I have only come across a small handful of women who live this out (but I want to be one of these women).
Whenever you find a submissive wife, you will find an extremely happy husband. This man is being loved in the way that God created him to be loved. He feels honored and respected inside of his home by the woman he loves the most. There is no greater accomplishment for a man to experience (outside of his walk with Christ) than to be adored by his wife as the leader of their home.
“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all’.” Proverbs 31: 27-29
In the book Love and Respect, a study of four hundred men was conducted; each man was given a choice between going through two negative experiences. They were asked, “If you were forced to choose one of the following, which would you prefer to endure?” The choices were A) to be left alone and unloved in the world, or B) to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone.
As a woman, the results shocked me to the core. Seventy-four percent of the men said they would choose to be left alone and feel unloved (if they were forced) over feeling disrespected. One man said, “I would rather live with a wife who respected me but did not love me than live with a wife who loved me but did not respect me.”
Wow. I just cannot wrap my mind around that. Most woman would choose the first option because we are created to show and receive love.
In absolute transparency, I want to share seven practical points that the Lord has taught me in my own experience as a wife (and from observing others). My hope is that many women reading today that share in my struggles will be encouraged by what God has shown me.
1. Refrain from criticizing how your man drives. Even if he is taking up multiple lanes (by accident of course), don’t insult how he maneuvers the car, how fast he chooses to drive, or how he should park. Unbeknownst to me, I have learned this can make husbands feel incompetent and disrespected. God actually designed him this way, so there’s no room to critique his desire to lead well (even when driving us around). If his driving behaviors are truly unsafe, think about how you can confront him with compassion in love.
2. Avoid making fun of your husband in front of others (or really any time). If there is something that your husband does that you find hilarious, and you share it with everyone else (before asking his permission), this can be perceived as disrespect. He can view your innocent act as hurtful and belittling.
3. Avoid challenging his decisions in front of others. If others are watching, you can add your thoughts in a gentle way. However, if you really disagree with his decision, it’s wise to wait until the doors are closed to have a deeper discussion.
4. Avoid dismissing his concerns as irrelevant. Because we don’t always think the same things are equally important, this is significant. For example, you might be driving alone at night. Your husband asks you to lock your doors while driving, but you think that’s ridiculous (especially if you’re in a safe neighborhood), so you don’t do it. If the topic comes up and you share that you dismissed his request, he will feel disrespected.
5. Refrain from assuming you are always right and he is always wrong. God made you both different for a reason, and we can learn from one another. Instead of seeing your personality differences as annoyances or stumbling blocks, look at them (including spiritual and intellectual differences) as tools for character refinement.
6. Avoid speaking to your husband like he is a child. God entrusted you to him as his wife, not his mom. Lecturing him on how to live his life may not be the most respectful way to encourage your man (which I know is the intent).
7. Don’t discuss his salary or other work-related issues with other family members or friends (unless he gives you permission). I can remember one specific woman (and I’m sure this was unbeknownst to her) that completely humiliated her husband by openly complaining that he didn’t make enough money. She then began soliciting advice from others on new career opportunities for her man. Although she thought that she was being helpful, he felt like the smallest man on the planet.
My hope and prayer is that you have been encouraged, admonished, and challenged, just as I have been over the last few years. May we learn to love our husbands well – in the way that most glorifies our Creator (in obeying scripture) and sets our men up for incredible success as they lead through Jesus Christ.
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