I recently sat down with some close friends of mine, and we got on the subject of submission, and why it is hard for some of us ladies to submit. Believe me when I tell you my conversation with my friends became really deep at certain points. Now try imagining me having this same type of conversation with other single ladies, particularly if I’m their mentor, and they haven’t fully accepted the submission “thing” yet. I usually can tell this based on their facial expression as they gasp and proceed to give me the “evil” eye.
There are many debatable topics in the Christian and non Christian communities, and the topic of submission is definitely a contender. I must put in this disclaimer to say the submission I’m talking about contains and acknowledges Jesus. I knew if I decided to tackle this topic, it would mean that I would have to get a little personal in sharing my views and approach about my future husband. If you knew me on a personal level, my close friends would tell you that I am an extremely, extremely private person when it comes to certain areas of my life. I accept that the role that God uses me in to share and serve other singles comes with a certain level of openness, and I’m ok with that. I guess I just never thought about opening up on a personal level to you about this controversial topic. In my mind, my relationship with my future husband just always fit into the protection category, because I sincerely believe that what happens between my future husband and I will just be between me, him, and God. See although I still believe this, I am willing to step outside my comfort zone to share hoping this will help someone.
The word submit is a Greek word that means military rank under one person. It also refers to taking the mindset of a servants heart. As Christians, the Bible calls for us to submit ourselves one to another (Ephesians 5:21-22), because it is our duty to do so. It is our duty to bear one another’s burdens as we seek the Lord. To be encouraging and not condescending. To submit ourselves to advance God’s kingdom and not our own agenda. See the whole premise of submission whether in marriage or towards another fellow believer is based out of knowing one’s duties in servanthood. No matter who we are, where God places us, or who He places us with, we must have a servant’s heart.
Whether you thought about it that way or not, ladies, the seed of submission is with you already, and it’s not something you acquire only in marriage. The key here is cultivating your seed of submission so that by the time you get married, you’re not fighting against your future husband but you are fighting for and alongside your future husband. Many of you ladies have gotten use to serving in your respective places. Maybe you work outside the home? Maybe you are a stay-at-home mom? Maybe you help the elderly? Maybe you are a greeter at church? Maybe you work with the youth? Maybe you are a teacher? Maybe you serve the homeless? The point here is that the seed is there within you, and you should be familiar with what it’s like to submit to someone else already whether in the church or in the marketplace.
Among the many things my friends and I discussed about submission, I was interested in a few of their points-of-views. The first one was, “Why on earth would a woman marry a man she doesn’t think is capable of leading their family?” Well, good question, and depending on who you are talking too, you may get some pretty interesting answers. You and I both know that unfortunately people marry for all sorts of reasons, and God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit may not be their main reason if you know what I mean. People marry because they’ve been dating for a while and getting married is the next “logical” step. Some people marry, because they want to be in a certain family. Some people marry, because they want a trophy spouse hanging on their arm. Some people marry to please their parents. Some people marry, because they have been waiting on the person to leave their current spouse, so they can now have them all to themselves. I know these examples are a little “in your face,” but it proves my point that not everyone has the right motives toward their future husband. To them marriage is layered with the superficial and not God’s supernatural powers. With these types of motives showing up at the start of a marriage, how could a woman submit to her future husband?
Digging deeper into the points-of-views, another friend stated, “Submitting is harder to do than you think when you haven’t had godly examples in your life.” I can certainly attest to that. I had some strong women in my life growing up, but I can’t remember a time where I saw submission God’s way in action if I can be completely honest with you. I hope we all know that just because you didn’t have godly examples in your life, it’s still not an excuse to put forth the necessary steps to get wisdom in this area. James 1:5-8 (NLT) tells us, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” Surround yourself with women who have what you are seeking and figure out what you need to do to change. Be active in your pursuit of submission.
What about the point-of-view how there are plenty of Christian women who have good intentions towards submitting to their future husband, but there are conditions attached. They believe their future husband has the potential to be their family leader, but the moment he messes up, their submission is tossed out the window. I call this situational submission. Some would tell you that this type of situational submission will be quick to not only confuse your future husband, but will make him close up his heart toward you, and he will not want to share his hopes and dreams with you anymore until you change.
Since many ladies have different things they feel would be impacted by fully and totally submitting to their future husband, I will use some of my personal life viewpoints hoping you can relate to them. I personally view submission as my duty in my future marriage. As I mentioned before, I was one of those women who didn’t have godly examples in my upbringing, but I found great mentors in my adulthood who have and continue to teach me how to be a better woman. As many of you know, I am a mom who is busy working and leading a ministry, and God continues to use me in different areas and assignments all the time. I believe I am a hard worker, and I love being a part of seeing a person experience the love of Jesus Christ. So for me these are some pretty big deal breakers that God would be asking me to refocus as I begin my new role as a future wife. My child alone is an area that is my most protective and to have to refocus in this area would be hard but not impossible. All the things I have worked hard at for many years now must be laid on the altar as God would be asking me to not only cleave to my future husband, but to submit these deal breakers under my future husband’s authority. Do I say WOW, OUCH, NO WAY, YOU MUST BE KIDDING, or simply GET OUTTA HERE? How could this man, whom I’ve known for less time than I’ve been a mother or ministry leader, for example, just be able to handle all of me? See you didn’t think I could be this real but I am. Do I believe that my future husband is capable of handling me and what I bring to the table? YES! I say yes, because I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has the right man for me just like He has the right man for you. How do I know this, because I spend time with God. I read His word, I pray, and I’ve been training my ears to know His voice (John 10:27). So that when He says, “Tracy, that’s your husband,” I’ll be able to distinguish His voice above all. God knows what He’s giving me to do, because I’m suppose to be doing it for His glory anyways and not my own. He knows the matters of my heart concerning my child, because He gave my child to me as a gift. He knows my responsibilities as a ministry leader, because He birthed this through me for His service. He knows my deepest, darkest secrets, because He was right there when I was doing wrong things and when people did wrong things toward me. See, I won’t mind submitting to my future husband, because I believe I will recognize God’s voice. I am fully aware of the potential changes that I may need to make, and I will embrace these changes, because of what I will gain by saying yes to God! I view submission as gaining and not losing. Okay, so I’ve shared with you a few personal thoughts about submission that I will be embracing in my future marriage. I’m glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone, and you know what, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Ladies, at the end of the day, if you love Jesus and accept the Bible cover to cover, what choice do you have in being obedient? Now God wants you to be happy in all areas of your giving (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). That’s right submission is giving up your version and definition of being a strong woman the way you’ve been use to operating all these years. Submission is about removing the notion of just one, and replace it with one plus one equals two. Submitting to your future husband will not only fuel him, but it will affirm to him that you fully trust him. When your future husband knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will not undermine his decisions, he will soar. Because you make the decision to submit to your future husband, he’s accountable to God for your family. If you let God do His job through your future husband, then your husband can do his job even better with you by his side, and in the end EVERYBODY wins. Change your thinking about submission and get wisdom, because it’s not about being a weak woman, but a strong woman God’s way and by God’s design.