At our wedding rehearsal dinner, my Auntie Bellie (that’s her nickname), Ben, and I, were sitting at a table chatting about the excitement of getting married. She asked Ben, “How do you feel now that you are soon to be married to this strong woman?”
He exclaims, “I’m excited! I love that she is a strong woman!”
My aunt clarifies, “No, no, no. I mean strong in the sense that she’s incredibly stubborn.”
I cannot remember how the conversation went after that, I am sure it involved a few laughs and chuckles from all parties. But, whether Ben realized it or not on that day before our wedding, he was about to marry a very strong and stubborn woman.
I knew today’s blog post was going to be on submission. But knowing this, led me to procrastinate writing on this topic. I am actually just finishing this up a few hours before I am to post it.
The question we are attempting to answer today is this, “How does a strong and stubborn woman submit to her husband?” I am speaking as a strong and stubborn woman who has floundered and not necessarily mastered the art of submission. While I have shown great improvement in this area, I have a strong feeling this will be a marital quality that will require constant prayer, Holy Spirit guidance, and evaluation.
Let us start with an example of what Biblical submission is not. We often hear this quote from Maria Portokalos in the original My Big Fat Greek Wedding movie. She says, “Ah, the man is the head of the house! Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.” I still get a crack out of it because it is funny and creative. But, it is not a healthy representation of a Biblical marriage.
“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:23 (NIV)
Do you know who exemplifies this concept well? My dogs. We have two dogs, a male and a female Boston Terrier. Nani (pronounced Nah-nee), our female, is bigger, faster, and stronger than our male, Louie. But, when I walk them, Louie, despite his size, always takes the lead. Nani could easily pull him around wherever she wants to go, but instead Louie decides, and she follows his lead.
So, while I may be a strong, stubborn, and opinionated woman, it does not mean I can use this strength to be a bully in our marriage. While, Ben is the head of the household, it does not mean I am to undermine his positional authority by controlling him. The issue with the word, “submission,” is that we back-read our cultural worldview into it. Our cultural definition has imprinted this idea of weakness and slavery into the word, “submit.” So, by the world’s standards, this idea of submission is archaic and irrelevant in today’s society. But, God’s Word is living and active. God’s commands back then, are just as applicable now. While movies, such as the quote above, egg on this idea of mischievously controlling your husband, we as Christians abide by a different principle.
God made me a strong and stubborn woman. Instead of using this strength irresponsibly, I have chosen and will daily choose to submit to my husband, Ben. I would argue that strong, stubborn women, in fact, make great wives. Why? Because when a strong, stubborn woman puts her mind to doing something, like mastering the art of submission, she will be unstoppable.
So, join me, you strong and stubborn wives out there, and let us choose to be stubborn about submission.