Well I don’t think that it is any secret that the Biblical theory of automatic submission from a wife to her husband is one of the things that I have found most off-putting about marriage for my entire life. But then this idea occurred to me over the course of the week – and in a crazy way it’s kinda liberating! It’s simply this: that whether I like it or not, God apparently created women to submit to their husbands. Fact! Because God created me as a woman, then with everything that I am, He created all that to submit to a man. This is actually kinda obvious, but it is so radical for me to think of it in this way. I guess the reason I’ve been so worried or anxious about submission is because I have thought of it as a lessening or a diminishing of who I am; that I would have to give up my dreams, give up my goals, give up my everything for the sake of submitting to a man. OK, I did not really think this. However this was always the worst case scenario that was threatening away in the back of my mind.
Actually, now I think about it, I think that this more positive attitude to submission has also been quietly waiting in my mind, waiting to be recognised and acknowledged, and embraced. So this is what I am thinking: that yes God made me as a woman with all my legitimate dreams and goals and ambitions and so on, and He simultaneously made me to submit, so that the submission does not necessarily contradict the goals, because these are both legitimate aspects of my life, given by the same God. If I did not want to get married, that would be a different thing. However I do want to get married, very very much so! So it could be in the fact of submission itself that the goals are most deeply realised, and that I find greatest fulfilment of myself as a woman! Furthermore, it could be that there is an incredible man out there who I was born to submit to. It might be precisely because of our different characteristics and the way they fit together, he in servant leadership, and I in gracious, supportive submission to his leadership, that we both find our utmost fulfilment, as husband and wife, and as man and woman, and a union that is deeply nourishing and satisfying to us both.
I guess I could also think of it this way: that somewhere out there there is an amazing man who God created me to submit to, to whom God will give the necessary wisdom to lead our lives, and to interact with me. And through this submission both of our lives will be full of joy. It does not mean that I am any less of a person, it just means that this is the way that God created it. Because I am real, and I exist, so too it must follow that he also must exist; there must also be someone out there whose life will find its fullest and most joyful fulfilment in serving through leadership a beautiful, resourceful, wise and holy woman – though maybe sometimes a little headstrong!!! And it will be an absolute pleasure to him to serve me, as it will also be a pleasure to me to submit to him, in faith that this is the way God has ordained it, and God will work through our mutual obedience, knowing that “Huggie-Wuggie” is also doing his utmost to love God, and to serve me.
Thinking of it, another way of saying submission is “support”. Support your husband ladies! Support his dreams, be full of encouragement for who he is, and who he wants to be; put his goals first. Man, I could do that! I could so do that! To be honest submission does go beyond support, because submission involves not only being supportive and encouraging in whatever he is doing, but also obeying him in whatever I am doing. Here is where faith comes in. He will undoubtedly get things wrong sometimes. However, I have to trust that even through it all God will be making things work out beautifully. I have to be obedient to God and to my husband and to submit. In all, it is in a way ironic that I have struggled with the idea of submission for so long, even while confidently expecting and planning to be the most supportive wife on earth!
So now the most important thing to do is to make sure I marry an excellent man, and then just trust God! I’m actually really excited about this now and really eager to show him just how capable I am of submitting to him! “For with God, nothing shall be impossible” – Luke 1v37 – only this verse could describe this change of attitude within me! So now Huggie-Wuggie, all you have to do is bring your wonderful self along, and give me a chance to show you just how capable of submission I am!