The “S” word for Christian women…
Michael and I dated 7 years before getting married. Statistics say that is waaaay too long. For the most part, I agree. There are 3 reasons we waited:
- We started dating when we were babies.
- He wasn’t ready to commit.
- I wasn’t ready to submit.
He was ready to commit before I was ready to submit. He proposed. We planned the wedding. I started freaking out.
I was independent! I had a college degree! I bought a house on my own! Submit??? SUBMIT????
I was really struggling. I would get all the way through Ephesians chapter 5, and every time I got to verse 22, I would stop. I knew I needed to understand what it meant to submit before I walked down that aisle. I did a lot of soul searching in those months before our wedding. And I sought wise counsel.
“I’m just caught up on that one word, Mom. I just don’t think I can submit to anyone but God.”
And then she responded, ever so gently, “Honey, it’s easy to submit to someone who would lay down his life for you.” (pause) “Would Michael lay down his life for you?”
I knew the answer. It was clear, crystal clear. Of course he would; of course he had! If ever I have had an epiphany, that was it.
- He had sold his truck to buy me an engagement ring.
- He planned to rent his house to come live in mine.
- He drove to his dad’s house, hopped on his dad’s lawnmower, then drove to my house every other week to mow my lawn so I didn’t have to. (I may have exaggerated the whole “I’m independent” thing.)
- He literally lowered himself, by getting down on one knee, and pledged his faithful love to me forever.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. The best way to sweep her off her feet is by offering to wash them first.
He was already doing his part.
I had to do mine. Once my attitude and understanding were shifted, I saw the word submit in a whole new light. It’s easy to submit to someone who sacrifices so freely for you. As Christ did the church.
Now, let me be clear. It’s easy to submit to my husband because he lives out the Biblical model of a husband so well. He has never, never abused this concept in any way, shape, or form. He does not lourde over me. He does not coerce me. He does not think himself more highly than he ought. Christ’s ultimate sacrifice wasn’t contingent upon our response, our submission to Him. He showed His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, he died for us.
Ladies, if you are in a relationship and considering (a Biblical) marriage, ask yourself this:
“Would _______________ lay down his life for me?”
Answer honestly. Think of examples. Don’t enter into marriage with someone who would not sacrifice for you, lay down his life for you, love you the way you were created to be loved. If you can answer yes, then don’t enter into marriage unless you are ready to submit to him out of reverence for Christ. It’s easy to submit to someone who loves you, cherishes you, would lay down his life for you.
No greater love has any man than this, that he would lay his life down for his friends.
On January 16, 2004 I said ‘yes’ to a man on one knee because I loved him and couldn’t wait to plan a wedding. 7 months later I walked down that aisle fully prepared to enter into marriage. Three kids, a career change, a move out of state, deaths, grad school, family changes, health problems, and a seminary degree later – there have been occasions where I have had to submit to my husband (although not many…I’m rarely wrong…stay tuned for a blogpost on pride). I don’t feel less, inferior, or beneath Michael because of it. Because I know: 1) Michael first submits to God. 2) Michael continues to sacrifice for me. The concept that I thought would be so hard to adopt in my marriage has been one of the greatest blessons in my marriage.