Last night, my husband and I sat down and had a long, much overdo discussion about some decisions that we are going to have to make in a few weeks. He and I do this occasionally, but I have to say, to some who look in from the outside, they see our marriage as different, some have even said it was broken. And I would be the first to admit that there are areas within our marriage that could use some work. (What marriage doesn’t need work?) But overall, I think we are content with the way things are- we are both happy, and have peace about our marriage. Of course, I could be a much better wife and he could be a much better husband, we both could be better Christians, but- in the end, the only One he and I need and desire is Jesus Christ. If we have that, then God can do anything in our lives.
However, as I was reading my bible this morning, and going over the scriptures for this weekend’s women’s study, I became convicted, again! In Ephesians 5:22, Paul tells us “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” How many times have I heard this, studied it, prayed for help to complete it and taught other young women how to submit. But God took me to a whole other level this morning- one I was not quite ready to go to in regards to submission.
Since the Garden of Eden, and that fateful day where our mother Eve took a bite of that poisoned apple, we as women have had a desire, a deep centered sin within us, and it’s name is “control”. If you are a woman and you tell me you do not need to be in control, then I would have to say you are living in pure denial! The curse that happened on that fateful afternoon, with the beauty of the garden now diminished by sin, was the one thing we as women struggle with in every area of our lives, not just our marriages. The ultimate root of all our issues, all our struggles, all our worries and fears derive from this simple word named “control”.
In Genesis 3:16 God spoke the curse to Eve, saying, “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you." The word desire in this context is the same word to describe control. It has a similar context when describing the desire that sin has over our lives. Eve, her immediate desire was to rule and control her husband, Adam. Which she did, almost immediately after eating the apple- go back to Genesis 3:6, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” Eve saw that the apple was good, and that it was pleasant, so she gave it to her husband, because obviously- Eve knew better than Adam did! Her way was much better, in fact, it had to be right because she saw with her own eyes, and tasted with her own lips the wisdom and the goodness- so of course she would want her husband to share it with her. (Does any of this sound familiar yet?)
In Ephesians 5:22, however, Paul tells us that we are to “submit to our own husbands as to the Lord.” The word “submit” in this context means “to yield one’s admonition or advice”. I have a very hard time with this one. I want my husband to know my opinion about a matter- I mean, we are a team, and we are supposed to be one heart, one mind in Christ! I have the right to be heard in this marriage, I have the right to speak to my husband about what I think is best for this family. Just like Eve did, for after all, I am her daughter. Yeah, that’s not what the Lord says we are to do. In fact, He tells us in 1 Peter 3:1-6 that we are to be silent, winning our husbands via our chaste conduct, the hidden person of our hearts that our husbands see first, just like Sarah, who despite her husband’s wayward thinking and poor decision making, she obeyed, without a word and called him lord.
Sarah did one time go to her husband and say, “Abe, listen, this is not what God wants for us, I know because I have been praying about it and I just know that this is not right. I don’t have peace about it.” (Remember, the servant girl she gave to her husband so that she could have a child...Sarah tried to control the outcome instead of being "quiet". That didn't turn out to well, either, if I remember correctly) There is nothing wrong with us speaking to our husbands openly and honestly, giving them the sincerity that is in our hearts, but it is when we try to sway their minds to our way of thinking that we get caught in the same trap that Eve did. When we try to “control” the outcome of a decision that our husbands have made, when we try to “control” behind the scenes, when we try to “control” the direction our families are going, when we try to “control” we walk a very thin tight rope.One we are bound to fall off of and get hurt.
We are to submit, we are to yield (bow down) our own admonitions and advice to our husbands, as we would to the Lord. I once had a very wise lady tell me, “You gave up the right to be right when you gave your life to Jesus Christ.” To submit, to yield to our husbands “as to the Lord” literally means “he to whom a person or thing belongs, the deciding power.” Our husbands are to have our submission just as the Lord has it. Which in the application of it in our lives means, that we will hold our peace- even when we know he’s wrong; we will keep our judgments, rebukes, “gentle probing” to ourselves, even when we know he is walking down the wrong path. Why? Because we are to have faith and trust in the Lord whom we belong, to whom has the deciding power over our lives. No matter what our husbands do or don’t do- it is not up to us to try to fix them. We are to be in quiet submission, praying for a heart of submission, even when our flesh is screaming- “my husband’s an idiot!” (I know you have all said it at some point- we all have, and let’s be honest, sometimes our husbands do act like idiots! So did Adam and Abraham, David, just to name a few!)
Some of you may be reading this and totally disagreeing- and that is okay. I am still fighting this one a little myself. The Lord is not saying that we are not equal partners in this marriage, that we do not have a voice or an opinion. What He is telling us is that we need to know when to back off and realize that our one true desire is to control every aspect of our home- when we are to submit under our husband’s authority, as he leads the home. We were not called to be the spiritual leaders of the home- if you feel you have to be- STOP! Stop trying to control the outcome and let us trust God to do what He needs to do to bring our husbands to that place where God wants him to be. (Another area we try to control- we try to “tell our husbands” what is wrong with their walk- “I don’t feel you are leading me, I don’t think you should have talked to our boy that way”, etc. We all are doing it, in some form or fashion!) Peter tells us, “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-2. That our husbands may be won without a “word”! We are not the Holy Spirit, so let’s stop trying to be.
This is a hard lesson for me to learn today, Lord. I know that you want me to bow here and let You do the work that You desire to do. I need to get out of the way, I need to stop trying to control the outcome of every aspect our marriage, our children, our families. You are in control, I am not. My trust is in You. In Jesus Name, Amen.