When I was growing up, I watched my Momma disagree with my Daddy about a number of issues. She would tell what she thought should happen, and my Daddy would listen to her. Sometimes, he wouldn’t agree with her, and he would just full-steam ahead with whatever he had decided. My mother would close her lips then, sometimes tightly, nod her head, and keep silent. I knew she really disagreed if she also closed her eyes. And it would all make me mad.
When I went to middle school (on a military base), my teacher told us that girls were just as important as boys, but that we had been oppressed by men for far too long. We needed to stand up for our rights, dang it! We shouldn’t be told there are “girl jobs” and “boy jobs” or tell a child they couldn’t play with a toy simply because it was created for a child of the opposite sex. Why should one (or two) little body parts dictate your entire life? (This was actually said in school.) Right, right?
So, in my little sixth grade mind, I watched my male-dominated family. And I fumed. My dad wanted me to help my mom clean dishes in the kitchen while he taught my brother to cut the grass. How dare he. I refused to be classified, grabbed a rake, and headed outside to help out anyway. Every job I was given was seen as a threat to my rights as a girl, and I was as rebellious as I could be.
And then there was the problem of my mother. How could she take it? How could she just give in when she did NOT agree with my dad to do this or that? Was she so incredibly WEAK? Why didn’t she make herself be heard? She was just as important a person as my father!
Years passed. I grew up, still with these ideas swimming around in my mind. I got married. Arguments happened. I was good at standing up for my rights and making sure we had equal responsibilities. I excelled at letting my voice be heard.
It was during these early years of marriage that I heard a wonderful, godly, believing woman (Mrs. Mary Mohler) teach that God made men and women as separate but equal. They were different, both physically and in the jobs they were to do. But they were both of equal value in God’s sight. A woman was to be the help-mate of her husband. She was CREATED to be his helper. And she was to be submissive to him. (“What?” I screamed in my head. No way. How could I be submissive to someone that repeatedly made what I thought were bad/wrong decisions? No way! How would we survive?) But she wasn’t done. She taught, from scripture, mind you, that it was not showing WEAKNESS for a woman to be submissive. However, it is the opposite. In a woman’s STRENGTH, she trusts that her husband is responsible to God for the decisions he makes for the family. And God will take care of them all. The wife only has to state her opinion, talk things over, and let her husband lead. Then, all burden of the results of the decision is removed from her and placed on her husband’s shoulders. In STRENGTH, she stands back and trusts. In STRENGTH, she has faith that God will provide.
I thought over what I had heard. I believed the Bible was truth, but I had never understood these teachings before. My worldview had been so shaped by my feminist teacher that it didn’t recognize the Biblical truths were in opposition to my own understanding until it was pointed out clearly. After the initial shock wore off, I so loved this truth I was now hearing. How I longed to let my husband lead. How I wanted to be his helper and let him be the strength in our family. I was tired of carrying the burden of feeling I must win every fight and stand up for my rights. I was ready for peace.
And now I “got it” about my mother. All those years of watching her “cave”. She wasn’t weak at all. She was STRONG. Rock solid. The easy thing would’ve been to argue and win, to get loud and fuss until she got her way. The hard thing was to stop herself, close her lips, and nod and let her husband lead and God provide. That was strength. I am now in awe over my incredibly strong, submissive Momma (that my Daddy adores, by the way). I so wish I could turn back time and appreciate her strength in my youth and imitate her ways in my early marriage. As it is, I am thankful to have learned the lesson early enough to pass it on to my four daughters. Hopefully they will have wisdom to listen.
There are many longer passages about how a husband’s duty to his wife is to love her. They were written for and directed at our husbands and are to be between them and God. It is comforting to know that God knew we wives needed most to be loved and knew the men needed respect most of all. His plan is always best for everyone when followed. We are happiest when we live the way God planned for us to live without trying to change it or assert our “rights” as we see them. I am happiest living as helpmate to my husband. My family is happiest when I am submissive to him. My children are blessed when they see Daddy lead.
Thank God for my incredibly strong, wonderful Momma (and gentle, loving leader in my Daddy).
Genesis 1:27-28 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them.”
Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 5:22-24 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
Ephesians 5:33 “…let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Colossians 3:18 “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”
Titus 2:3-5 “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
1 Peter 3:5-6 “For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”
****Side note- We are to be submissive wives when our husbands are making decisions for our family, but NOT when the decisions they make would be sinful. We are not to stand back and let him abuse us or our children or commit other heinous acts against God in the name of submission. Submission, rather, is a way of peaceful living with the two leaders of the home working in harmony together.
*****Another side note- Your submissiveness may not look like mine. And that is perfectly fine. You were created to be the helpmate of YOUR husband. If you are walking this life together, and you are helping with him leading, that also is good.