Submission in marriage, and my own experience

About my own marriage, I don’t want any family reading my last blog post to drive down to my house and try and smuggle me out because I’m being abused. I wouldn’t use a lot of the language I used in that blog post in everyday life to describe my marriage. I wouldn’t call myself submissive, because of the modern-day implications of that. We’ve all seen marriages where this idea has gone incredibly wrong. We associate the word “submissive” with wives who can’t decide what to wear, or what to eat, or what to do with their day. We think of wives who don’t have ideas, passions and preferences of their own. I am not one of those wives. Futher more, my husband would not want to be married to one of those wives.

If you asked him, my husband would not talk your head off about how much better it is to be in a marriage where the man controls everything the woman does. He would not even tell you that he is the head of the household, and that I am submissive to him.

What he would tell you (and I know because I ask him, and I’ve heard him tell others), is that I respect him. He would tell you that I allow him to make him own decisions in our marriage, and that he doesn’t feel restricted.. He would tell you that he appreciates the freedom in our marriage.

And, on any given day, I might be a little more honest about the wording if pushed, but I would tell you that my husband is very easy to respect. I would tell you that he has never, ever not allowed me to do something that I want to do. I would tell you that he paid for me to go to the South Island at a week’s notice (without him) because I’d never been. I would tell you that I used our money, several months after our wedding, to go to Melbourne. I would tell you that on the rare occasion that he’s said “No” to something, he’s been right.

Repsecting him, and more importantly, resolving to respect him for the rest of our lives, makes our marriage easier. It makes me see things from his point of view, and allows me to make decisions based on what he wants, not just on what I want. When we argue, my respect for him reminds me to back off when he says “That’s enough” because I know that he knows himself, and what he’s really saying is “I’m getting too angry, and am scared I won’t be able to control myself.” It reminds me, after an argument, to think about what he was really saying, and to go back later and discuss it calmly, having realised where he’s coming from.

In our wedding vows, I promised to love and respect him, while he promised to love and cherish me. That’s how I would word it, rather then submission and headship. I respect him, he cherishes me.

(For the record, he respects me and I cherish him too, but that’s the easy part – we give what we want).

“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Ephesians 5:33


3 thoughts on “Submission in marriage, and my own experience

  1. Thanks for writing so honestly on this topic.
    While I am still of the view that we need to be cautious about taking on the cultural views of the first century church with regard to marriage and gender relationships, I think you have drawn out some very insightful teaching from these passages about the what it means to be in the roles of authority and submission.
    This is something I think we have lost sight of in our struggles for social equality. Authority has become a dirty word with a result that result that relationships fail because no-one is prepared to accept that ultimately someone has to take responsibility. Also that submission is not about being weak, but about having the strength to adequately support those in positions of responsibility.
    I have contemplated both your posts in a range of situations this week and particularly loved your dancing metaphor.

  2. Pingback: Top 12 of 2012 | Mourning. Heaven. And you

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