PRIORITIZE THE “S” WORD IN YOUR MARRIAGE
Ah ha….I got your attention! The “S” word I’m talking about is one that is rarely used in our generation. In fact, it is seen as weakness but in reality brings strength to relationships, especially marriage. That word is SUBMIT. I would like to tell my young married self to be more intentional about laying a strong foundation of submission. Now that I am 45 years into this relationship I am thankful I learned what that word meant early on because I didn’t understand then the profound effect it would have on my marriage now. Although it was difficult to do when I was young, it would be even more difficult to do at my age.
Early on in our marriage I realized I had better figure out what this word meant if I was to be a happy and content wife. I knew the scriptures from Ephesians but as I studied them I realized they were usually only half quoted. The real reason for the teaching was for everyone (not just wives) to understand that we are all under authority and that submission has to be a part of all relationships if they are to be successful. Paul says in Ephesians 5:22 that we should “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” I also read a book after we had been married about 5 years that changed my whole way of thinking about submission. (Of course I don’t remember the name of the book!) It focused on my attitude toward my husband and the importance of honoring and respecting him. I learned that he is responsible to God for me, his wife. My responsibility is not to make sure he makes the right decisions or to constantly correct him, but to support, honor, respect, give my advice and input, and then pray for him. Even if he makes a wrong decision I know God is going to take care of me if I am doing my part. I began to be intentional about putting him first and encouraging him to lead, not worrying about how things were done or if they were done my way. It was a painful process, being that outspoken, first child that I am, but after a time I began to see that my responsibility in our marriage is very important!!! I support, encourage and give advise and all the responsibility is on his shoulders. Well, not ALL but we are a Team and we each have our place!
What I didn’t realize then is how important that foundation of submission with honor and respect in our marriage really is. I am writing this at a time when there are shootings in our schools, higher than ever teen suicides, and the basic family structure in our society is falling apart. Honor and respect, let alone submission, is laughed at and ridiculed. Men are made to look stupid and women are supposedly the answer to everything. Kids these days don’t really know what a home is supposed to look like. We started out together almost 45 years ago, just me and him. And now we are once again just me and him. If we hadn’t taken the time to prioritize our life together and build our marriage on submission with love, honor and respect for each other we would have nothing now. We have had to travel some bumpy roads and have struggled with big decisions. We know each other better now than we did 45 years ago. Honoring and respecting doesn’t get any less challenging, but it does build a strong marriage. As I make him my priority, he makes me his priority. Our lives are full and we still have each other!