Sometimes a Woman Wears the Pants
Before my husband and I could be married by my pastor, we had to meet with him for a pre-marriage counseling session. The session was very basic as far as counseling sessions go, and there was really only one thing that stuck with me from that session.
The husband is the spiritual leader of the family. He isn’t the lord and master, but when it comes to final decisions his word stands.
That was the jest of what was said.
I nodded as if I agreed because it was expected and necessary for us to proceed, but in the back of my mind I’m like, “Whatever! If the car we’re buying is going to be mine and I want silver, but he’s pushing for green, well, if I’m the one driving it I get the final say!”
It really didn’t matter to us as a couple. This wasn’t a sticking point for us personally.
Fast forward a few years. I am serving as youth leader in the church. Typically this is a position for a man, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I had served in this capacity for a year or so when all of the sudden someone, a male, needed experience.
Without much input from me, they were just “put in” with me. Basically, they took over and I sat in. I knew these kids. I grew up with their older siblings. I knew their parents very well from many different perspectives.
One night during youth group the topic of choice was who should be the spiritual leader of the home.
Seems like a good topic to address like teenagers. Actually I believe it is and would confidently address it any day of the week. I would have that day, too. Just maybe a little differently.
Barely moments into the lesson a question was raised.
What about my house? My mom does all the bills, makes all the rules, to be honest, she’s the reason we’re all at church. My mom is the leader of our home.
It’s a perfectly normal response. Lots of teenagers live in a home like that. It was a valid question and a great real-life teaching moment.
Except what happened next was more like a real-life train wreck where even I, the other adult in the situation, wanted nothing more than to escape the situation and pretend it never happened. Why can’t life have a rewind or fast forward button?
Instead of using the moment to reassure a teenager that every household needs an adult to be in charge and that sometimes husbands don’t step up and do what God has asked them to do so mom’s step up and fill both roles, well, it turned into a sermon on the mom being in direct opposition of God’s will. You know, sinning.
Wow. You want to make an impression on a teenager tell them a parent who makes sure all their needs are met, submits (albeit in a non-traditional way) to their spouse by meeting their needs, and meets the spiritual needs of every one in the household is a sinner in God’s eyes because of their efforts.
It took everything within me to stay in that room that night and not quit. I loved those kids too much to walk away when things weren’t going the way I wanted them to go. It broke my heart to see some of them so broken and beat down that night.
To make matters worse, I think the lesson was for me. The woman in the room trying to do a man’s job.
Guess who was still there doing the job when that person moved on? Yes, it was me, and yes, I was still a woman.
I have grown spiritually by leaps and bounds since those days. I’m absolutely embarrassed by many of my thoughts, actions, and words from that season of life. However, it was part of my journey and I am still learning.
Had you asked me then if a woman should be submissive to her husband, I would have emphatically insisted under no circumstances should that ever happen. Now, I feel differently.
It’s almost as if I crave a different attitude, a submissive attitude.
Does this make me a doormat, the weaker sex, or a second-rate citizen in our marriage?
Nine meals out of ten, my husband fixes me a plate and brings it to me. If I feel strongly about something (Um, I feel strongly about most everything.) I speak up and out every time.
There are things I’m better at than my husband. He wouldn’t want to do those things or even make decisions regarding those things. It would be silly and a waste of time and energy for us to swap roles regarding those things.
Now tell me based on scripture that a submissive wife is a doormat. Tell me she is a mandatory stay-at-home-mom (Not that there’s a thing wrong with being one! Stayed home while my kids were babies.) who waits on her husband hand and foot while he doesn’t find her capable of making simple daily decisions.
Can’t do it, can you?
The Proverbs 31 wife is an amazingly strong woman. Yes, she is submissive. However, she is also an entrepreneur. She is a very shrewd business woman. She can run a household with no problems. She’s a hard worker who takes care of others first. She is full of wisdom and gives good counsel.
Are you a woman doing these types of things? Have you been wondering if you can be considered a submissive wife?
Submissive is an attitude, a lifestyle. It isn’t a set in stone checklist of things you must or must not do.
Christian woman, take heart! Stop beating yourself up and holding yourself in bondage because you’re strong, efficient, and at times needed to be the wearer of the pants in your relationship.
Just as we will never be perfect Christians here on this earth, we won’t be perfect wives. This is a journey. My path won’t look exactly like yours. That doesn’t make my path wrong and your path right.
God is working in me to bring me into His will. Becoming more submissive in my marriage is part of that process. I am not a finished product yet, and neither are you. We can find freedom in His grace to try again tomorrow!
Other posts in the series: