When I was a young girl, I was often labeled as “shy and timid.” I didn’t speak unless spoken to and rarely voiced my opinion. I was so timid that I wouldn’t even speak up to tell someone what I really wanted to eat. I am thankful God has since brought me out of my shell, because it’s exhausting keeping your true opinions and thoughts to yourself!
One might think that, with a personality like mine, I would have an easy time being a sweet, submissive wife who never spoke up to her husband. However, one would be wrong in assuming so. In fact, in our early years of marriage, I was quite the opposite of a sweet and submissive wife. Because of living most of my life not voicing my opinions, I decided when I got married I would finally take a stand and not let someone push me around. My poor husband had no idea what was coming to him.
Though I had this new freedom of telling my husband what I wanted, I still lacked the ability to communicate to him in a way that he could understand. I would withdraw and give him the silent treatment, while he would want to confront the situation head on and deal with it. His confrontation intimidated me, so we spent most of our first year of marriage fighting and being very disconnected.
I began to pray about this struggle of having something to say yet not knowing how to say it in a way that others could understand. That’s when God led me to a small group at our church that was teaching biblical truths about how to be a wife. One week the topic was submission, and it ruffled my feathers in a good way.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 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 5:22-23)
As I researched more about submission in God’s Word, I learned that it does not mean I have to lay down like a rug and let my husband walk all over me. Instead it means that I should submit my needs and desires to God and my husband, rather than taking matters into my own hands.
The definition of submission is “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.”
I began to see as I submitted, or yielded, to my husband to hear his heart on a subject before I voiced my opinion, that God’s favor and blessing was upon us in that area. That does not mean I never tell him my opinion, but it does mean that I commit to letting him lead. When I disagree I take it to God before I take it to my husband. God either changes my heart to line up with Matt’s, or He changes Matt’s heart to line up with mine. It all sounds great, but let’s talk what that looks like practically.
Submission in the bedroom. That sentence alone may make your hair stand on end. Because we have seen and read so many twisted truths about sex outside of marriage, this can become a very confusing topic within marriage. Submission in sex has nothing to do with actions, but instead with heart motives. When we first got married, I had the hardest time understanding the deep need my husband had to connect sexually. At times I thought there must be something wrong with him. But as I submitted to God and my husband in this area, I learned that God made men visual beings and that my husband’s need for sex is what draws him to me. It really is a gift from God that is so beautiful to unwrap when both husband and wife are submitting to one another’s needs above their own.
Submission in recreation. It is common for a couple to have their own separate life for recreation. While my husband and I still have things that we do alone, we have at least one common activity that we both enjoy: We love to exercise. The truth is, if it weren’t for me submitting to my husband in this area, I wouldn’t do most of the things I do today. He has encouraged me to do more than I could have ever imagined. We now run Spartans and are currently training for a marathon. Without his encouragement in this area, I would have never believed in myself to do more.
Submission in our future. There have been many times in our marriage when I have been running full steam ahead, pursuing something outside of the home that just involves me. When I get running in those directions, God will often ask me to stop doing what I am doing and go support my husband. Every time I have laid down something that was a dream of mine, God has richly blessed our family for it. In addition, when the time was right, God gave me something even better to pursue that His blessing was all over. There is a peace that comes into our home that is inexplicable when we are in the will of God.
These are only three areas, but this list could go on for a while. When I reflect on these areas, I love to see the common thread that when I submit to my husband, and he submits to God, there is beauty that is born. Dreams and gifts emerge that could not have come alive without us pulling them out of each other. This is what God’s original design for marriage has always been – that two come together as one and become an individual that no power in hell can stop from what they will accomplish. It is impossible to truly become one if we are always fighting to see who will be in control.
Do you have an area of your life that you need to submit to your husband or God today? God will open doors for you that you never dreamed would open and He will release blessing over your marriage if you submit to His authority in your life.
About the author:
Rachael is a former Oklahoman turned Texan by her husband, homeschooling momma of 3, business owner, and exercise physiologist. She loves Jesus and likes to run Spartans, half marathons, and other races with her husband. She is passionate about seeing women walk in freedom in all areas of their lives! You can follow her at Rachael Gilbert.com or on Facebook.