When Independence and Submission Collide

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I distinctly remember being 19 years old and watching my first close friend get married.  I remember thinking how incredibly young she was.  I remember being appalled that her paster read the “submission” passage at her wedding, and being even more appalled when my friend vowed her submission to her husband just before she said, “I do.”  We were strong independent women, what was she thinking?!?!  Though I hadn’t yet met the man I would one day marry, I silently pledged those words would NOT be uttered at MY wedding.  And sure enough 5 years later when I said, “I do” to the love of my life, there was no promise of submission on either part.  What’s more (I am no longer proud to admit) there was no act of submission within the marriage either.  
It’s not that I wasn’t a Christian, I was, so was my husband.  And it’s not that I didn’t know what the Bible said about submissive wives, I did, so did he.  But we both kind of thought that part of the Bible was a little outdated.  That it no longer applied or was relevant to our current culture.  “Perhaps these words made sense when they were written but they don’t REALLY apply now, do they?”, thought my much younger self, “These verses had their place in the first century but NOT in the twenty-first.”  My husband and I were two strong independent Christians united as one in front of God and our families, equals in all things, one was not “submissive” to the other.
We had a good marriage.  We had a good house and good Christian friends.  We were going to have good kids.  But as the years went by we began to realize that “good” wasn’t good enough.  Our first 2 children came within 18 months of each other (whoops!) and I, just I, made the decision to stay at home with them.  Yes I discussed it with Erik, but honestly, the decision was mine.  What I didn’t realize was how profoundly this would impact my marriage (ultimately for good).  You see I am a selfish person, incredibly, horrifically selfish.  I could sugar coat it for you and call it independent or self-sufficient or set in my ways, but truthfully, for me, it’s just pure selfishness.  This is the primary reason this whole “submission” idea seemed SO awful!!!  To fully submit to someone, to NEVER get my way???? You’ve got to be kidding???  Who came up with THAT idea???? (Must have been a man!)
Learning to let go of that innate selfishness, because kids simply don’t allow you to be selfish, taught me how to put others first.  At this same time, I was also drawing closer to God, studying His word more than I ever had.  Erik and I were fully invested in a small group of AMAZING Christians who modeled Christ in ways I had never seen anyone else do.  And as I grew in my faith, I started to see how God’s way really was the best way in so many little (and big) things.  Once I started to see that God’s way truly was best in the little things I started to consider the possibility that God’s way just might be the best in this area too.  And I thought maybe I should give it a try.  
And you know what?  It turns out God got this one right too! I know, you’re not surprised, but honestly, I think I was a little.  I think I was a little surprised by how letting Erik be the man of the house, the final decision maker (after I have put my 2- or sometimes 12- cents in) has moved our marriage from “good” to GREAT!  I haven’t become some rug he walks on, we discuss all decisions together.  I am still his equal, I still run the checkbook and month by month finances.  I do most of the scheduling and planning for the family, I still have a voice and opinions and desires that are heard and considered, but for big things I submit to him.  
I know that in all things Erik will always do what is best for our family.  He will carefully consider how I feel, he will weigh all the options, consider all the angles, and when he makes a big decision, I can trust in that decision (even when it’s not the one I would have made, even when it means I now drive a mini van!) knowing it is the best one for our family.  Because I know he loves us, and he will always chose what is best for us.  That, my friends, is pretty easy to submit to.

Do you struggle with submitting to your husband?  Do you question how to be a successful, independent woman while still submitting?  Join us for a live on air Hang out on Feb 16.