I Choose to Submit to You
February is National Marriage Month. So for the next four weeks, I will post excerpts from my book, I Choose You Today: 31 Ways to Make Love Last. We’ll look at submission, commitment, and pursuing your mate. On March 1, I’ll draw a name from all who have commented on any of the posts for a free copy of the book!
“Did you see the reviews on that new movie we’ve been waiting for? The one we’ve been talking about?” my daughter-in-law asked. “I was kind of surprised. I heard . . .”
“Me too!” I cut in. “I was really disappointed, because it sounded so promising, something we’d all really like,” I continued. “The film got really low marks in several areas, like . . .”
Ron gave me a nudge with his knee.
I glanced at him and continued, “The reviews I read said it plodded along and was hard to follow at times. And such a predictable ending . . .”
He nudged me again. I turned to face him, and he gave me the look, along with another nudge.
I rolled my eyes at him. But I stopped talking and turned my attention to Penny. “What did you hear?” I asked. She was eager to tell me.
The next morning, as we lay in bed contemplating the jump from the warmth of the comforter into the start of our day, Ron said to me, “So, did you understand why I nudged your knee last night?”
“Yeah, I got it; I interrupted her and hijacked the conversation. Thanks. You were right. Irritating, but right.”
He laughed; I smiled. That’s how it works most often. After forty years, that’s where we usually land. Usually. Still, it’s not always easy.
I will admit the concept of submitting to each other was a tough pill to swallow when we married at nineteen. Ron and I are both strong willed, opinionated, and unafraid to express ourselves. On occasion, it has resulted in what we call an intense moment of fellowship. Sometimes it’s loud. But neither of us will ever be able to say to the other, “Wow! I didn’t know you felt that way!”
There have been occasions when our spirited debate crossed the line and our expression of love and respect slipped—times when neither of us would yield to the other. On those occasions, we had to seek forgiveness from one another, and from God as well.
Submission can be tough. It has been discussed a great deal throughout the life of the church. I’ve heard some really excellent messages about it, and some that weren’t so great. And by not great, I mean they weren’t based in Scripture.
The Bible is clear: we are to submit to one another. Early on, God said it was not good for man to be alone; he needed a help meet. The word for help meet in the Hebrew of Genesis 2:18 is used nineteen additional times in the Bible, all in reference to “aid in battle”—aid that usually came from God. Standing with your spouse against the attacks of the enemy to establish and protect your marriage is an important role. And it’s always a choice.
God created a specific pattern for marriage so that disputes are never left undecided or one-sided: “Wives, submit to your own husbands as you do to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22 NIV). “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25 NIV). God placed the husband at the head of the home, a position not to exalt him but to create order. My mother would say that anything with two heads is a monster. I’ve seen husbands and wives vie for headship in marriage, battling for top spot, and it’s not pretty. Often the monster devours the marriage, and even if the union is not dissolved, peace and unity vanish.
God established the order: my husband is to love me (as Christ loved the church), and he is held accountable as the head of the home. That’s God’s plan, not my husband’s. If I am submitted to God, I will submit to God’s plan. It doesn’t mean I have no input in decisions or the direction for our life together.
“I don’t want a servant for a wife,” Ron says. “A silent partner might work in business, but it’s not helpful in marriage. I need a wife who will pray with and for me, offer insights and ideas, and share her heart as God leads her. I want a partner in making decisions. God knows me, and the world should not be exposed to me without her influence!”
The concept of yielding to one another has become important in our marriage. It ensures we each have a voice. Yielding is a voluntary process, a choice to agree to or accept something that you have been resisting or opposing. The choice to yield may come as a result of influence, position, affection, or respect for another.
There is a second meaning for this word: yield also describes the outcome or result of a choice or action. The farmer’s careful oversight of his crop yields a fruitful harvest. Godly, biblical choices yield a productive and favorable outcome. Insisting on our own way and refusing to submit will produce an outcome too, just not one Ron and I care to live with.
Sometimes I am able to influence his heart, and at times he has influenced mine through open, respectful dialogue. We submit to one another. Do we always find full and complete agreement on every topic? Of course not! In those instances, I choose to submit to God’s plan and order and yield to my husband. After all, he will have to account to God for the choices he makes.
What will you choose when the opportunity to yield comes knocking? Will you resist the temptation to bully or campaign to get your own way? Will you demand submission? Or will you create dialogue to allow understanding? It’s not always easy, but it’s always a choice.
Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and submit to each other out of respect for Christ. – Ephesians 5:20-21
Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship and conflict resolution. A writer and popular professional speaker, Deb focuses on topics related to the family and women. Kregel Publications released her first book in November 2013 entitled, Related by Chance, Family by Choice. Abingdon Press published I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last in June 2015 and Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight in June 2016. Read Deb at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond and My Purpose Now.