Monday, 17 November 2014

Submission - does it mean being a doormat?

Submission certainly gets a bad rap from non-Christians, as to most it seems the perfect way to keep women below men and isn't that what the feminist movement worked so hard to alter? However, there is an enormous difference between Biblical submission and subjugation. 

I am struggling in this area, without a doubt. My husband has made some life changing decisions lately that are against everything I believe in and everything I thought we were working towards for the last 20 years of marriage and I am struggling with submitting cheerfully to this. 
Also I was brought up in a non-Christian family and still have no Christian family members, including my husband. So how does Biblical submission work if your husband is not Christian? Do you need to bother at all?
I have been doing lots of reading in this area, including The Excellent Wife by Martha PeaceA Virtuous Woman by Ruth Mast and A Wife After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George.

This article called Unbelieving Spouse from Christian Broadcasting Network sums it up for me.

In other words, you can stop trying to change your spouse, which causes strife in your home, and start believing for a miracle instead. God is working to convert your spouse through you, but by your actions much more than by your words. In fact, God may prefer to do the work without your words.
 "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." (1 Peter 3:1.2)
The wife of an unbelieving husband is to biblically submit to his headship regardless. In fact, it is probably more essential as you will provide the living example of Christ to your husband, probably the only such example he will see. This can be extremely frustrating as he may not have the same values as you. In my life, this frustration often comes out in angry words, which are later regretted but cannot be undone. I found the points made in Elizabeth George's book helpful here. She has a checklist of actions to follow when frustration starts to set in.

learning to pray - at the first hint of frustration or self-pity
learning to say nothing - this is what I am struggling with
learning to wait - the emotion will dissipate if we can wait it out while saying nothing
learning to make a list - while waiting, list the items you need to discuss
learning to make an appointment - rather than discussing in the heat of the moment
learning to write it out - plan what you need to say
learning to 'take the blame' - come to the discussion with a meek and quiet spirit

So who should we look to for inspiration? Forget the celebrities on TV, sportspeople, superheroes. I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman when I grow up! I will admit, the Proverbs 31 woman scares me - how could I ever hope to be like her? But I figure if I strive after her ideal, something will be achieved just in the trying. Even if I just focus on one verse at a time, it will still be an improvement.

I found this article at Ordinary Inspiration blog called Practical Ways You Can Become A Proverbs 31 Woman. It goes through the chapter and for each verse lists something you can do to enact that verse in your life. Very simple, very effective, very useful.

I am trying hard to lay my frustrations at the feet of Jesus. And always remembering this verse at the moment. 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Linking today with Darling Downs Diaries for Good Morning Mondays.


  1. Oh Jayne, this is such a hard situation but be assured that God knows what you are all going through and He is in control. Well done on your reading and research, may you be blessed because of it. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings.

  2. Thanks so much! I have not been able to attend a church so have found the internet has to take the place of 'real' fellowship. Not the same, but it is all I have at the moment, so I really appreciate your supportive comment. I am a fairly new believer so am trying to work this out by myself (well not by myself, with God's guidance) so hope I am on the right track.

  3. I think you are on the right track. As hard as it may be at times you must keep honouring and respecting your husband, it really is the key. I will be praying for you and your family.Blessings.

  4. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your kind and supportive words.

  5. Hi Jayne, just wanted to let you know that this post was one of our top 4 this week at Good Morning Mondays and I have featured you this week. Thanks for sharing. Blessings

  6. Thanks - that is a bit exciting!