Submission. That dreaded word. Many women hate it. Most men love it. It’s even implied in my website name. Most of you have read how this blog got its name. Being under someone’s thumb is NOT submission. But what is it? Really?
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines submit as “to yield, resign, or surrender to the power, will or authority of another;” also “to acquiesce in the authority of another; to be submissive, to yield without murmuring.” (Ouch) God commands that we wives submit to the authority of our husbands (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18). It’s not a suggestion. It is a command. But notice it is not a command to submit to all men in general. In both verses you are commanded to submit to your own husbands.
Let’s take a look in I Peter 3:7. Here the Bible is talking to husbands about their responsibilities to their wives. It uses the phrase “as unto the weaker vessel” referring to the wife. Some people love to take this out of context. “See? Women are to submit because they are weak.” Ahhhh, not so, my friend. Here is where my love of English grammar and my Classical Conversations Essentials nerdship kicks in. Weaker is a comparative adjective. In order for a vessel to be weaker, there must be another vessel, a vessel that is weak. You can’t look at a single cow in a field and say “that is a fatter cow!” Fatter than what? There is nothing to which to compare it. “I am older than she is” actually means “I am older than she is old.” “He is taller than she” actually means “He is taller than she is tall.” “My husband is crazier than I am crazy.” It doesn’t say “as unto the weak vessel.” That would be a totally different meaning. So for the Bible to say “weaker” it must be deduced that the first vessel (the husband) is weak, the woman is simply weaker.
I like submitting to my husband. Is there a decision that needs to be made? My husband and I discuss it, I give my input, and he makes the decision. What if he makes the wrong decision?!? He may make a decision I completely disagree with. God doesn’t hold me accountable for that. God holds me accountable for submitting: to yield without murmuring. I think women have the easier job here. I leave the decisions up to him (after we discuss things, of course) and God doesn’t hold me accountable if he messes everything up. Do I always agree with his decisions? Nope. But I don’t answer for him. I answer for me.
Submission is NOT my husband lording over me. We discuss things, we bounce ideas off each other, he asks my input, but then he ultimately makes the decision. (Unless it’s “where do you want to eat?” or “what do you want to watch?”) Submission is NOT me cowering to his every command. (“Woman, go make me a sammich!”) Submission is NOT me losing my identity and becoming a spineless wimp. Submission is not weakness. Do you know how much strength it takes for an independent woman to submit to her husband’s authority? Let me answer that for you. It takes a lot of strength. When a wife looks at her marriage from a right spiritual, biblical viewpoint, there will be submission.
One of my former students once wrote a song about submission. I don’t remember the verse with the melody, but the chorus begins with Jerry Lee Lewis style cluster cords and a voice that is loud and angry, “Submission is a dirty word!” It makes me laugh every time I think of it. She is now married, and if I know her like I think I do, she is happily submitting to her husband and enjoying the life God gave her. But her husband cares for her and respects her. (If he doesn’t, Elizabeth, let me know. He’ll receive a visit from my cousin, Guido.)
So, ladies, don’t be afraid of that silly word submit. There is security in that word. And I believe the more I submit, the more my husband trusts in me. The more he trusts in me, the more he shows it. The more he shows it and appreciates me, the more I submit. See how that works? It’s a wonderful life God has given me. So, go. Submit, woman!!