Submission 2

So I had a mini rant about the world’s misunderstanding of what Biblical submission means….and then I read Lainey Gossip’s post on the same topic.

Sigh.

Ms PR is right…the world will probably just never understand what Biblical submission means and will think we’re crazy. Lainey questions whether the wife will have to ask permission from her husband for everything she does to make sure he’s ok with it first. Seriously? That’s NOT what Biblical submission is about. It’s not about the wife leaving her brain at the altar when she says “I do”. Remember, Biblical submission is for husbands AND wives…and all believers. It’s built on a relationship of mutual love, care and respect for each other.

I imagine in Candace’s case, she and her husband would’ve already talked about what they are comfortable with her doing in her acting career. With Biblical submission, she would respect what they had discussed. Maybe the line is no nudity…or no kissing. So if there’s nudity or kissing in the script then right away Candace already knows what to do. She doesn’t have to ask further. And it’s not just one way….I imagine they would’ve also talked about what she’s comfortable with her husband doing. Maybe the boundary is not having any one-on-one meetings with someone of the opposite gender. So he would respect and submit to her back. This mutual submission would build trust and respect in their relationship. They wouldn’t have reason to second guess/suspect/doubt one another. How refreshing! Makes sense right? Not too crazy right?

But it’s an interesting question Lainey asks about whether Candace would still submit though she’s likely the main breadwinner. Or whether her husband would still lead if he’s not the breadwinner. My question is what does money have to do with it? Or why should money have anything to do with who leads? But that is a crazy concept in this world where money talks and money is power.

I asked Skywalker for his perspective…if he made less money than me, would he find it difficult to lead our marriage and household? He replied, “No. But, if I wasn’t working at all…and had no good reason to not be working (i.e. wasn’t on disability of some sort)…then I would feel like a non-contributor. And a capable but non-contributing man should probably not be leading…since he isn’t even leading himself.” I married a wise man. =)

And maybe, as Ms PR suggests, all this talk is just to promote Candace’s new book.

At the end of the day, respectful submission and loving sacrifice (from both husband and wife) is what makes a marriage solid. Not sure why people wouldn’t want that. *shrug*

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Submission

HuffPost published this recently on what Candace Cameron Bure said regarding “submission”. I think she described it well enough but Huffpost only presented half the picture. Or maybe only a third of the picture.

The Google definition of “submission” is the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person. Nearly all the images related to submission was some kind of submission hold in wrestling…or some images of women in bondage. That is NOT biblical submission.

When the Bible instructs wives to submit to the husband, it’s not because he is superior to his wife. Or because the wife is weaker-willed, though physically and generally speaking, she is weaker. God made husbands and wives (men and women) to be equal in worth and value. Submission is yielding your will, voluntarily, by choice, to another individual out of respect and a cooperative spirit. And God intends that Love be a part of that relationship…because without it, submission could be an abusive thing.

To look at the quoted passage more completely…check out Ephesians 5:21-33 …there are three parts:

  1. Submit to one another. Not just wives to husbands. Or husbands to wives….but everyone in Christ should seek to cooperate with one another and not selfishly insist on or exert your own will and way. There is no hierarchy here. Christ is the only head.
  2. Wives submit to your husbands. This is out of a difference in ROLE in a household. Ms PR put it this way, “The husband is the head and the wife is the heart….but you need both to survive.” Just as the President and Vice President play out their roles in cabinet but have equal worth and value….or how a Captain and First Mate have their roles. One isn’t weaker than the other. They’re filling in the role that makes the household or cabinet or ship run in the most efficient and effective way.
  3. Husbands love your wives. Specifically, love them as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. More specifically, Christ DIED for the Church to give her life. The instructions continue, “make her holy, cleansing her…and present her without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless…husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.” And I thought submitting was hard!

It’s much easier to do the wife part and submit don’t you think?? Honestly, when a husband seeks to care for and love his wife the way God intended for him to, it’s so easy to submit to him. And just because he struggles to do his part has husband doesn’t mean the wife can ignore what God has asked her to do. As God holds the head of the household accountable for how he has led his family, I would be held accountable as his wife, for whether I have done my best in my role. We are a team and need to work together, ultimately submitting to each other as unto Christ. If either of us tries to do it all, we exhaust ourselves and just strain the marriage.

So, let’s not freak out about submitting.
It’s part of a bigger picture where everyone wins as we do our parts.

DON’T “Be true to yourself”

(Image Not Mine)

“Be true to yourself”
We hear that a lot as a guide for what decisions to make in life. One definition on the web says it “means to act in accordance with who you are and what you believe.” Is that really the best way to go? Is being true to yourself going to give the best result?

I think it sounds very encouraging when we say being true to ourselves is to know and love ourselves and not to do something that goes against our values just to gain acceptance from others. It’s mostly true. But because we are each fundamentally flawed, starting from when Adam and Eve decided to be true to themselves, our best intentions will be clouded by selfishness, self-preservation and self-righteousness. Being true to a flawed “self” will mean those decisions made will also be flawed…because at the very core of it, “being true to yourself” is self-seeking.

@RevTedNg was sharing that if you are married, then your first concern is to be true to your spouse and to put yourself aside. If you were true to yourself, you couldn’t be true to your spouse. Being true to yourself would mean you put your concerns, beliefs and happiness and well-being above your spouse’s…and we know that is a quick way to tank that relationship. Or any relationship. You might say, “but one of my values is to be faithful to my husband, so being true to myself includes that.” Yes, but is one of your values also that you deserve happiness and to feel loved? What if someone else makes you feel happier or more loved? Which value will stand? Our culture advises, “Listen to your heart!” But the Bible warns “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” (Jeremiah 17:9) I think God knows our hearts more than we’re willing to admit. And so He warns us that we CANNOT trust it to lead us in the right way.

And if you are Christ following, then the top priority is ultimately to be true to Christ. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) Being true to Christ is to live in a manner worthy of bearing His name. It is to give entirely of yourself to God, submitting to whatever He might want so that you can be made more Christ-like. It is daily choosing “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” and to “not conform to the patterns of this world” (Romans 12:1-2) ….patterns that tell you to “be true to yourself”, “listen to your heart” or “you know what’s best for you”.

With eternal rewards in mind, I think we first need to be true to Christ for the best outcome in everything else. God’s values and principles are unchanging, unfailing and comes wholly out of His LOVE. When we line our lives up to be true to HIS values, then, and only then, could we be true to our spouses and true to ourselves…in the way God designed His goodness to be lived out in us.

Question: Do you think God wants people to stay in miserable marriages?

Staying married is part of God’s best plan for us. I think staying miserable is a bit of a choice. =P

I partly come back to this thought, “If an arranged-marriage can develop into a lifelong relationship with deep respect and love for each other….then ANYONE who has chosen to marry the person they did should be able to do the same thing.”

I think we’ve become more a culture of throwing away things that don’t work the way we want, instead of trying to fix it. (Yes it’s a two-way street…and I’m not talking about unrepentant unfaithfulness or abuse here.) A marriage doesn’t suddenly become miserable. Something triggers a slow slide towards “miserable”. Maybe it’s that time you felt under appreciated. Maybe it’s a word or action that makes you not feel loved or respected by your spouse. That little seed takes root. And every time your spouse “did it again” or “failed to do it again”, it adds to the tally, which waters that little seed. Then that seed starts to grow deep roots of apathy, resentment and bitterness….before finally producing the fruit of a miserable marriage.

Each step towards misery is a choice to NOT communicate honestly. It’s a choice to NOT forgive or extend grace. It’s a choice to not admit wrong. It’s a choice to hang onto your pride. It’s a choice to keep records of wrongs. It’s a choice to believe the worst in your spouse instead of the best. It’s a choice to not find out what makes your spouse feel appreciated/loved/respected. It’s a choice to insist your way is the right way. And it’s a choice to keep your own interests/comforts/priorities #1. These choices build walls. So it’s hard to see how a couple who actively seeks to do the opposite to the above list won’t have a great marriage. I’m not saying it’ll be easy…but I’m pretty sure it won’t be miserable.

Granted sometimes you might not know HOW to do the opposite or even realize that it was a choice…but does it ever get to a point where it’s impossible to undo? That I don’t know. Could a clean break and fresh start be the only solution in certain situations? I don’t know. We live in a broken world….as broken people. What I DO know is that God can take a broken marriage and make it whole again. He can take a broken person and make him or her whole again. I think that’s ultimately where God’s heart is and as we submit to that, “miserable” will be a temperary state.

It’s not about it getting better

(Image not mine)

A story was shared about a nice doctor husband who, as a surgeon, is always on call at the hospital, doesn’t see his wife or young child often, and when he IS home, he’s so tired he just sleeps most of the time. The wife recently decided she’s had enough and left him.

It’s not like he cheated. It’s not like he was abusive. It’s not like he had harmful addictions.
It’s just that his work was very demanding, and perhaps the wife had expectations of what being a wife/mother should look like and that wasn’t being met. Is that grounds for leaving a marriage or is that a lack of understanding what marriage is?

Other than family doctors who can pretty much run their clinic hours however they like, one of the main reasons I didn’t want to marry a doctor was because of how demanding their work could be. I didn’t know (and still don’t know) if I can handle not seeing my husband days at a time or having to cancel plans if he gets a call or going on separate vacations or trying to have meaningful interaction with someone who just wants to sleep on his days off. But that’s given my personality and emotional needs…some people have done it successfully. Regardless of profession however, EVERY marriage will have unmet expectations where one or both feel like they’re getting something other than what they signed up for. What then?

If things are going through a rough patch, am I thinking, “We just have to make it through the next couple years until ____ is done“? What if after those couple years something else comes up. Someone loses a job. Someone gets sick. Something happens. And marriage continues to not be how I imagined and it continues to be hard. Year after year. What then?

I was reminded of one of my favorite books, “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” Marriage is about a covenant; it’s so not about falling in love. A friend said it really well, “It’s not about it getting better, it’s about how you’re going to learn to support each other.” I would add, “No matter how hard it gets and no matter how long it stays hard.” (Granted I’m not talking about abusive or dangerous situations here.) This really resonated with me. I can’t imagine it now, but I think  it’s realistic to expect there will be times where marriage or life could be hard for what seems to be a long while. Changes to health, employment, having or not having children, etc can really spiral a relationship downwards…and I want to have at least thought about the possibility. How will we support each other through it? How will we keep resentment or bitterness from starting or taking root if one seems to be “giving up” more than the other? How to keep ourselves from focusing on how we’re not getting anything out of this and look for an exit?

Anyone have any experiences to share?