The Other “S” Word: Submission

Speak graciously to your husband.

Speak well of him.

Sex is a good thing – enjoy it!

What a week we’ve had around here, huh?   I’ve so appreciated all your comments and tweets and shares on Facebook.  Marriage is hard and we need all the encouragement we can give one another!  

submission in marriage

Today, we’ve hit that other “s” word:  Submission.

A few years ago I wrote this:

The bottom line in submission is an attitude of our hearts … a desire to treat our husbands with respect, to place his best interests at the forefront of our thoughts, actions, and words.  {Practical Submission}

I spent some time in 2010 contemplating the question:  What if submission begins with simply being polite?

Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
Ephesians 5:21

You may be more familiar with the NIV translation:  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

But that phrase, courteously reverent, has resounded in my soul.  I looked up the definitions.

Courteously:  Having or showing good manners; polite.
Reverent:  Deeply respectful.

{Courteously Reverent}

Here we are again, looking at this word, this idea, this command … to submit.

Maybe the most volatile word in Christian circles.  We spend a lot of time arguing about what it means and how serious we should take it.    I’ve written on submission when we disagree.   But the reality is for most of us “modern” women, it’s a tough pill to swallow.  We live in a culture that values independence, personal freedoms, and “rights.”    We’re taught to stand up for ourselves and assert our points of view.

The truth is – all of these cultural values fly in the face of biblical teaching on the disciple’s life.   Married or not, we’re called to “consider others better than ourselves” {Philippians 2:8}, to “put on … humility” {Colossians 3:12}, to “clothe (ourselves) with humility” {1 Peter 5:5}.

If the expectation is that believers will indeed “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” then what greater example of that humility, that submission, is there than in the home of married believers?

Perhaps, just perhaps, we’ve made much of the word submission so that we can do little in living it.  We’ve changed the conversation from how can we serve others to why should we be less.

Just like sex, submission a gift.  A gift we give to our husbands when we consider their needs and desires (physical and otherwise) ahead of our own.  And it’s a gift we give to our Heavenly Father when we choose to model the humility of His Son.

And I’m still convinced of this truth:  Submission begins with simply being polite.

What are your thoughts on submission?  How do you see our cultural values oppose this biblical instruction?

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


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