“Gentleness (meekness) is strength under control.” This quote came from the book The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, and I strongly recommend it for you ladies. Eric loves this book too… though, he’s never read it; however, he loves the effect it’s had on me… and, in turn, our relationship!
One huge issue in the church, especially the American church, is the issue of wives submitting to their husbands. Submission is a four letter word for a lot of ladies. And this is not surprising for in Genesis 3:16, after Adam and Eve had fallen into sin, it says, “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’” When it says that her desire will be for her husband, it does not mean that she will desire him in a loving, peaceful way; rather, it means that she will desire to overpower him and usurp his authority.
The fact that ladies struggle with this topic is a result of the Fall. When we bring our desire to rule over our husbands to God and ask Him to work in our hearts in order to give us attitudes of submission, we are glorifying God. It is a sign of godliness in a woman when she submits to her husband with a good and gentle spirit… but it is not natural. Even if you do what your husband says, but you’re complaining, pouting, and attempting to manipulate him… it is not submission. Remember, the Lord looks at the heart of a person as well as at their actions. In regards to submission, a husband generally looks at his wife’s attitude more than her actions as well. Men, answer this question to your girlfriend or wife: “Would you rather have a woman that occasionally slips up in the area of submission, but has a meek and gentle spirit – or, would you rather have a woman that always does what you say, but does so with a bad attitude?” Comment below!
After Eric and I had been married a while, we got into an argument (even relationship bloggers argue!). While I don’t recall what we were arguing about, I do remember that my attitude was terrible. In fact, I didn’t want to be around my own self… and yet angry words were seething from between my clinched teeth. In anger I said, “Write me a list of everything you expect of me so I can be sure to do them!” My tone of voice was not sincere and I was trying to give off the impression that he had too many expectations of me (which is simply not true). After leaving the room in a huff, I came back to find a “list” that said “gentleness and meekness.” In essence, what he was saying was that more than me completing any task, he wanted me to be kind, gentle, and loving towards him. Though that was not a fun experience in my life, it is one that I would not trade since it taught me so much.
Few things in my marriage have impacted me as much as that note. Since then, we’ve still argued. We have completely different personalities (and I mean completely different), so it is natural that we are not going to agree on everything. However, I’ve seen such a huge difference in our relationship when I respond quietly, gently, and with meekness than when I do so with anger, retaliation, and contempt.
For the next week or two, when you are tempted to bring out your less-than-gentle side, purposefully (and powerfully) restrain yourself and write down the circumstances – the situation, how you felt, your desired reaction, and your actual reaction. Also keep track of what you learned about yourself and others as well! If you feel comfortable, let us know in the comments below how that exercise went!
“Meekness” sounds like a quiet, scared, inferior woman trying not to anger her overpowering, irate husband. However, as mentioned earlier, gentleness/meekness is a controlling of strength. Submission is not for a weak person. When weak people succumb to pressure, they become a doormat on which others will walk. Submission, in contrast, is a righteous choice that a strong person makes. After having been married for a while now, I know that submission is difficult because women are strong-willed… and it takes a strong woman who can bridle that power and passion and choose to graciously, calmly, and lovingly do as her husband says. When you submit to your husband, as long as he is not asking you to sin, you are glorifying God. Your husband won’t always be perfect and therefore it won’t always be easy to do what he asks you to do. However, God is perfect, loving, and always has good will towards you.
What do you think of when you think of a gentle, submissive wife?