This week my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary and I was once again struck by the wonder of marriage.
I recently talked with the women of Military Wives Connect in Stafford, Virginia about this very topic. The funny thing is, I didn’t put a lot of thought into the title at the time. I was just trying to give them something to put on a flyer.
But as I began to study, God did some heart work in me that changed my perspective on myself and my marriage. And if they expected me to deliver some sappy sentimental speech on how wonderful marriage is, I totally let them down.
**One caveat before we begin. The content of this post is not necessarily for everybody. If your marriage is dangerous or destructive (these are different than difficult or disappointing), proceed with caution and please seek professional help.
I have always prided myself on being a strong, independent woman. As a Veteran, a military spouse, #boymom, and entrepreneur I need to be. Heck, all women need to be strong and somewhat independent to survive this dog eat dog world.
But that strength isn’t always an asset.
I have been guilty of taking it too far. Of not seeing the strength in surrendering. Competing and demeaning. Proving I’m right. Of not submitting to the authority God gave my husband.
As a strong woman, that word makes me cringe. Submit. I know it makes a lot of us squirm.
The Battle of the Sexes
He showed me the battle of the sexes has been around since the fall in the Garden of Eden. It didn’t originate with women graduating from Ranger School, burning bra’s, demanding our right to vote, or our quest for R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It was raging long before Ginger was doing everything Fred could do backwards and in high heels, or a woman named Billie Jean King beat a man at tennis.
Our desire to control was a consequence of original sin. And we still feel the ramifications today. Not just in marriage but in all our relationships.
Instead of getting tangled up in the text, read the context.
That is what Paul is trying to say in Ephesians 5. But we strong women get all tangled up where he talks about marriage instead of reading the whole context. Just a few verses before the famously misconstrued, “wives submit to your husbands,” we read,
“…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of the reverence for Christ.”Ephesians 5:21
And if we read beyond “wives submit to your husbands,” we notice Paul continues with, “as to the Lord.”
Paul challenges all who call Christ Lord to submit to one another. This isn’t anything particularly peculiar to husbands and wives. And he doesn’t say we are to do it because they deserve it, but because Christ deserves our reverence.Does the word submit make you stumble? Discover the real strength in submission! #wonderofmarriage Click To Tweet
The Wonder of Marriage
That to me is the Wonder of Marriage. That God uses this messy institution we so often fail at to be the human example most closely modeling Christ’s relationship to the church. That is a high calling for this mere mortal. And if you keep reading, husbands ought to give their lives for us wives. When I look at it all in context, submitting to my husband seems like the easier gig.
But it isn’t.
Because I’m a sinner.
And so is he.
The Strength to Submit
That’s where finding strength in the Lord comes in handy. Submitting to my husband (or any other sinner for that matter) is often the ultimate test of my trust in God. And not much else gets me on my knees pleading for God to guide my husband as when I place my life in his hands. Trusting God to lead my husband so he can lead our family. Trusting God to give my husband wisdom to make decisions for our family. Trusting God to inspire my husband to love our family well. Trusting God to bring peace, comfort, redemption, and reconciliation if things don’t go the way I think they should. Trusting God enough to let my husband fulfill his God-given role of head of our household.
Heart Work Before Hard Work
This humble heart posture is the place where God works transformation in all the other messes in marriage. My humbled heart brings honor to my husband and our home and glory to God. This is what I wish I had known before writing When Marriage Gets Messy or the Marriage Maintenance workbooks. Because all that great to have advice isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on if my heart isn’t in the right place. God desires to do heart work in us before we take on the hard work.
And wouldn’t you know, it just so happened… while God was teaching me for this talk, He also gave me a practical application in my real life. And I was wonder-struck by the way His wisdom worked in my marriage!
Now, God has given me a passion to share this message with all the strong women He calls His own. If your women’s group would be interested in challenging themselves to dig beneath the surface of marital discord and seek true strength from the Lord to submit in a biblical manner to their men, contact me! I would love to chat with you!
The Wonder of Marriage Challenge
I challenge you to put this wisdom to work in your own marriage. Consider a situation you or your family is currently facing. How willing are you to let your husband take the lead? Pray for God to show you how you can surrender and submit to your husband. If you’ll bravely share in the comments below that you’ve taken the challenge, I’ll pray for you and your husband, too!