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Who’s Driving – Are you a Submissive Wife? 3 Questions for Your Heart.

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I went to lunch with a young lady who was engaged to be married.  “My husband WILL NOT be my head, ” she said with conviction.  The statement troubled me and disturbed me.  I was quiet a moment then asked, “Then why get married?”

Single women drive themselves.  If driving is your thing, there is a place for that.  When you marry, you are saying I will let you drive me.  I will help you, but I won’t harm you.  I will willingly serve you and serve alongside you, but I won’t injure you with my pride.

Who is Really Driving? Some years back I had a crazy dream.  There was a big yellow school bus.  A bunch of people were on the bus, both adults and children.  I can remember the noise of laughter and fun chatter being so loud.  My husband and I were sitting next to each other and we were in shock.  We were terribly aware of something that was so dangerous and so life threatening that was happening but the rest of the bus seemed oblivious.  The bus was in motion, all the passengers were excitedly happy and not the least bit concerned that the husband was behind the wheel, but his wife had his eyes covered and was attempting to drive by yelling out, “LEFT, Right, A little more.  STOP! and other random  directions.

When sharing the dream with my husband I asked him, “Why doesn’t she just let him drive the bus?  It would be safer.”  He replied, “Because she thinks she knows better.”

Who are You Fooling? A wife that thinks she knows better than her husband, but creates a facade as if he is in charge is not fooling anyone.  It is very easy to see who is calling out the directions and making the decisions.  And that is a dangerous place that the wife puts her self in.  The dream showed me the danger.  You can shout out directions and call the shots, but God has called the husband to drive.  In order for the wife to appoint herself as head, she must limit her husband’s abilities.  You have to hurt the one that God ordained for you to help.  If you limit his leadership, you cut your own potential short.  The consequences – unhappy lives, unfulfilled dreams, broken families, broken hearts.

Who is Riding With You? “Why would all those people stay on the bus and not even say anything?  Their lives were in danger.”  Sometimes you don’t know the truth about who is driving, so you just go along for the ride.

There are people following you.  There are people depending on you for guidance and leadership whether they tell you or not.  The folks on the bus in the dream were happy just tagging along, not knowing that the ride could lead to hurt, harm, danger – even death.  Your children, your family, your younger cousins, the friends you’ve made along the way – they are following you.  When a wife is unsubmitted she puts everyone who watches her in danger.  God’s reputation is tarnished by an unsubmitted wife.

If you can’t promise to follow, can’t promise to allow yourself to be driven, can’t promise to submit – then you are recklessly living and heading for a crash that could hurt you and everyone else on your bus. Sure there will be times when your husband empowers you to drive, there will be times when he pushes you to lead – but you have to allow him to make that decision. 

What does it matter to God?  “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as you do to the Lord.”  Would you tell the Lord what to do?  Would you reject His direction?  Would you question His judgment?  Would you criticize His decisions?  If you treat your husband this way, then chances are you are treating the Lord the same way.  At the end of the day submission isn’t a power issue – its a heart issue.  The husbands have received their mandates from the Lord on how to lovingly care for a wife.  Wives we must decide to show our love for Christ by respecting the man He has given us in marriage by submitting to him as you do to the Lord.

HEART CHECK:  Are you submitting to your husband?  Are you submitting to the Lord?  Dr. Juli Slattery said, “Marriage is God’s chosen metaphor to describe the relationship that He desires with His church.”  Are you representing that picture by following your husband’s lead? Have your prayed for help in that area?  

Pray with me:

Dear Jesus,

Give me the discernment to see when I am limiting my husband’s leadership in favor of my own pride or selfish ambitions.  Lord place a reminder in my heart from Your Spirit that will remind me that You have called him to drive our family’s bus.  Lord help me to support his decisions, encourage his development, pray for his weaknesses, serve him with zeal, and love Him unconditionally.  Let me see You in Him.  Help me to agree with Him in prayer and embrace the one accord we find – only in You.  Guard my tongue that I my words will nourish him.  Guide my hands that they will never cut off his sight.  Bring my heart into joyful submission to him, and keep his heart in humble submission to You.  Help me to confess quickly and repent when I have fallen short of Your call to submit.  Keep me mindful of the eternal implications of blocking the rebellion of unsubmission.

In Jesus’ Name I Pray,

Amen

 Please leave a comment:  Why is submission such a difficult topic for women?  What questions or advice do you have for single women about submission?  What questions or advice do you have for married women about submission?  

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36 Comments

  • Sometimes we find that the Scriptures meant something different when they were written than they do now. I don’t know about this one but it is food for thought. thanks.
    • Hi Carol, It is a complex topic that one blog post can’t do justice. I’m still exploring ways to invite women to the conversation in ways that are safe and informative to our heads and hearts. Thank you for your comment.
  • I think this is an interesting perspective. I think I understand your intention that both men and women must bring something to the marriage for it to be successful and bountiful. I’m not sure that I agree with the verbiage of “submissive”. That word tends to have a derogatory connotation for me.
    • Hi Jessica, The term submissive through the years has taken on somewhat of negative connotation, but in the context of a Christ-centered marriage it really is a blessing. Would love to chat more with you about it.
  • I also do not like what the term submissive insinuates. But I do believe that a marriage is 50/50 in all ways for it to be truly successful.
    • Hi Carmen, The term submissive through the years has taken on somewhat of negative connotation, but in the context of a Christ-centered marriage it really is a blessing. Would love to chat more with you about it.
  • Marriage is 50/50 my husband doesn’t run me or tell me what to do. We are individuals that are together as a pair, but we arent one. I am also not “submissive” and I doubt he would want me to be either!
    • Hi Jeanine, What do you do when you run into a disagreement? I would love to hear from you. Thanks for your comment.
  • Nope, not at all. Actually, I am married to a submissive man 🙂 Maybe laid back is a better word for it…..
    • Hi Robin, You can still submit to a laid back husband. I’m sure there are some areas where he is more involved in the decisions and others that he empowers you to make the decisions. Submission looks different in every relationship. Thanks for your comment.
  • So good! Thank you for this great reminder. <3
  • This is food for thought. We try to be even in things to balance each other out.
    • Hi Britney, That is great. When you consider each other it makes for a blessed relationship. What are your thoughts on submitted to your husband when you disagree?
  • I think submission sounds scary if we don’t trust that our spouses are themselves in submission to God. But being in Christ, we have no excuse! Not to mention, it’s so good submit to a man who loves the Lord and His family! It’s safe!
    • Hi Maria, It is refreshing and safe to submit to a Godly man. We have to pray for more men to raise up more men in Christ so submission is not scary, but welcomed.
  • People still don’t get it, do they? The word alone, “submissive” scares women. Like they’ll be slaves, and these days ladies be like, “I ain’t letting no man tell me what to do…” They don’t get it. When I finally got it, and understood what it meant, our marriage got soooo much better. I can still disagree, but never in front of other people…humiliating my husband is disrespectful. When he makes the big choices, with my input, I can also say, “my husband said no” and the burden is off of me and he takes it on. I LOVE IT! Women just don’t get it…this is who God created us to be, He has a plan and when we follow the plan, we’re happier, healthier and love more. Yes, I submit, in a way people still don’t understand today, and I’m better for it! Not to say I don’t get obnoxious at times, I totally do, and I still go my own way sometimes…but I do it in a better way then I did the first few years of our marriage
    • Hi Sharon, I think alot of women have negative experiences with past authority figures. Submission seems scary to those who have been hurt by leaders, parents, husbands and the like. My husband has said there is a need for more Godly men so that submission is not so scary. God’s plan is best, so we must pray for women to seek healing and also require Godly men for their husbands. I appreciate your comment.
  • I think that we’re all called to different paths. While my husband is called to lead the family, I don’t feel that his decisions are the end all be all, nor do I “submit” to all of his leading. We’re all human, so we are all imperfect and make judgment errors.
    • The Bible is clear that when a man leaves his family and a woman hers, the two become one flesh. Their destiny is now entwined and they do not have separate directions they are headed. The man has his direction and the woman is there to help. It’s not a popular belief but it is a Biblical one. And as hard as it is to submit to our husbands (especially when some of the choices they are making are stupid), there are consequences in our relationship with God and life in general when we deviate from God’s command to submit. God was aware that human kind is fallen when he gave the command to submit to a husband and yet he did not give an addendum. It’s one thing if they are seeking to make a choice that is unbliblical and another if they are making a stupid decision. Yes, we can give our opinion and even state it strongly but in the end, we submit to their authority and in the end when you two stand before the Lord it is your husband that will be called to give an account for those decisions not you. It will be him because that is his God given responsibility. Men and women are equal, yes, but the Bible is clear we have different roles to play. When we try to play the husband’s role there will be consequences because that is outside of God’s design. Just like if the earth were closer to the sun there would be consequences because that is outside of God’s design.
    • Hi Elizabeth. You raise a good point. We cannot submit to leading into sin. Colossians 3:18 says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” We can’t submit without submitting fully to Christ. Our husband is not God. He will make mistakes. Thanks for pointing that out. Thank you for your comment.
  • Being submissive doesn’t mean women do not have a voice we both in a couple have equal responsibility to make it work.
    • Hi Adriana, You are right. Submission does not mean silence. It simply means to come under the authority of someone – by choice! No one can force you to submit, it is a free will thing. Both the husband and wife have to work together. No one is off the hook. Thanks for your comment.
  • I think this is so personal and individual. I don’t want to offend anyone who believes one way or the other so I’m going to refrain from stating my opinion.
    • Hi Liz, This is a judgment free zone. Even if you disagree your voice is welcome here. I appreciate your comment.
  • i struggle with this. I want to honor my husband and God. It is something I definitely have to keep in check.
    • Hi Mama to 5 Blessings, I think it is an area that has been just a statement without alot of guidance from our local churches about what it truly means. We have also seen a great deal of abuse of headship both in the church and marriages. The word of God has so much to say about how to honor our husbands especially when it teaches us how to love. 1 Corinthians 13. Praying for you.
  • I am glad that it helps you keep a strong marriage. I just don’t follow that belief.
    • Hi Beth, I love the blog that you posted on Monday. I would love to hear more about your beliefs. I am glad that you commented here.
  • It’s an interesting perspective. Some things work for some people, but not for others. I’m glad it works for you, but it’s not something I can agree with.
  • It might be a personal thing but God’s word is very clear on the subject. Wives are to submit to their husbands. God has created this world to function a certain way. If the earth’s rotation were off even a little bit catastrophic events would take place. It’s the same way with how God has designed us to live out the marriage relationship. Our culture is very offended by the idea of a wife submitting to anyone, especially her husband but that is the way God designed things to work and when we deviate there are consequences. And those consequences do affect those around us. What an amazing dream. Glad that the Lord is using you to speak truth into this world. We need to hear it even if we don’t always want to hear it.
    • Hi Grace, So extremely grateful for your comment. You are a blessing. One of the things I was talking about with my husband is the need for more God following men. Then submission wouldn’t be such a scary idea. Thanks again for your comment.
  • What a wonderful post! The driving story hit me hard. I need to let my husband lead more and need to work on my heart. So glad God is there to help me.
    • Hi April, When we live according to His Word then we get His biblical results. Things won’t be perfect, but it will work for our good. Thank you for your comments April!
  • I have a question. What if your nonbeliever husband wants to let the kids watch rated R movies? Or doesmt mind if the kids say bad words or are uncaring to each other? Am I just supposed to let him decide unchristian rules for my children? I would gladly be submissive to my husband if I thought he was really looking out for the best for my children.

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