This post has been on my mind for a while now. I have been pushing it back further and further in my schedule because it is not an easy topic for me. Perhaps if I were closer to mastering the art of pure, joyful submission, I would have an easier time talking about it. I have made it abundantly clear to my readers that submitting to my husband has not been as easy as I thought it would be when I was a blushing bride. I was so excited to share my life with him, and I expected to be one of those awesome wives that gave her husband little trouble.
Well, it did not take me long to soil my good name. We were not back from our honeymoon before I failed miserably in the submission department. In no time, I was twisting and writhing at the idea of having to follow my husband in our marriage – at least in those moments when I wanted to march to my own drummer.
Let’s face it, in our culture, the idea of a woman following a man, submitting to a man, or not being equal to a man in every way is harshly frowned upon. Wives sometimes even receive disgusted looks when we dare say, “I will need to discuss that with my husband first.” Since the beginning of our marriage, I have wrestled between what culture tells me is right in a relationship and what the Bible tells me is right. Obviously, I am more concerned with what the Bible says… though it is easier to flow with our culture than to swim against it.
I Need to Let My Husband Lead More
A popular phrase I have heard among Christian women is, “I need to let my husband lead more.” Another variation of this is, “I need to step back and let him be the leader.” There may have been a time when I would have used a similar phraseology, but not anymore. In fact, I have quit letting my husband lead our family completely.
To say that I need to let Eric lead would state that I am truly the one in power and leadership. When we let children help us cook, we are in charge, and we are allowing them the experience of cooking. When we let someone pull out in front of us in traffic, we are choosing to stop our vehicle and allow them into our space. Anytime we let anyone do anything, we are the supreme. We are the controlling factor. To say that I let Eric lead our family would be a misrepresentation of who I am. God has graciously given me the role of caring for my family, being a helpmate, and encouraging my husband; and I am thankful for this role. It is not demeaning. It does not devalue me as a human being. And, frankly, I would not want the awesome responsibility which falls on husbands.
If I take God at His word (and I do), Eric has been ordained by a holy God to be the leader of our home just as Christ is his leader. No, he is not at liberty to cause me harm – quite the opposite. He is called to serve me even if he has to lay down his life for me (Ephesians 5:25). This is where our culture gets confused about headship. The phrase, “a man is the head of his house,” comes across as, “I am in charge, and everybody better serve me and do what I say! Now get me a beer!” True Biblical headship looks nothing like this. Yes, sometimes Eric has to make difficult decisions for our family which I may not fully agree with, but he is also the one who has to stand before God as responsible for those family decisions.
Please God, Free Me from This!
I wish I had a dollar for all the times I sat in my car, furious with my husband, crying out to God for change. I have even searched the Scriptures looking for a loophole to this whole submission idea. Surely this is not what God meant! Surely there must be something in here that tells me I do not have to listen to this man. God could not have wished this on my life.
And, while I was in the car pleading with God, Eric was probably in the house thinking “God, do I really have to lead this woman? At some point You are going to let me get out of this, right? She is so difficult to work with sometimes!”
But, in each and every one of those instances, the sun began to shine again. No storm lasts forever. And, God is faithful to remind me of how blessed I am to have a man who takes his role in our home seriously and cares about our well-being – spiritually, financially, and in many other ways.
Sometimes, I wonder what our clients think about our marriage. Do they assume we never have conflict? Do they think I am a shining example of perfected submission? Can they imagine us arguing or me sobbing in my car, pleading with God to convict the tar out of this man? It makes me smile. Working in the relationship coaching industry has changed my view of pastors, counselors, coaches, and others in the helping profession. We all have struggles, and none of us have arrived. We can only strive to be better and thank God for the improvements He gives us the grace to make. It is because of our many failures, and the lessons we have learned from them, that we can better coach others as we do.
So, yes… I no longer let Eric lead… because I realized that whether I like it or not, he is the leader of our home. He can be a great leader, a poor leader, or even an abdicating leader, but he is the leader. Nothing I do can change that because God decreed it (Ephesians 5:23). God gives Eric the strength and ability to lead. God called him – not me. So, I can sit back, rest, take a deep breath, and trust in God’s plan for our family and families at large. Eric does not need my approval to fulfill his role well. However, I can make it much easier for him by praying for him, approaching him with a sweet spirit each day, and being available to encourage and advise him when he needs it.
I cannot let him lead any more than he can let me follow and submit. ~smile~
Have you ever heard someone use the phrase, “I need to let my husband lead”?