When I was first married, I was encouraged by a grandmother in the Lord never to have an argument with my husband that lasted long. She told me to get it settled and be at peace with my husband by the end of the day. I thought that would be easy. In fact, I doubted I would ever disagree with my husband. We are very similar in almost everything. And I felt I was blessed with no difficulty in submission. Besides, I admired him far to much to disagree with him.
Well, a few years passed, and we still did not argue. I thought we were never going to have a spat. We had been married six years when it happened. We ended up with chiggers in our yard. They didn’t attack me much, but my husband and children were getting terribly itchy bites every time they went out. My husband got the worst of them when he cut grass, and he was mildly allergic to their bites, so he loaded up on allergy medicine while he itched. He was pretty miserable. Finally, he had enough and called an exterminator to spray the yard. He didn’t ask me first. I lost it. Pesticides all over the grass where my children played? We would put them at so much health risk! Cancer…nerve and development problems… I was upset. I had a gut wrenching opinion on the subject. Looking back, it seems ridiculous the things we become so troubled about. But at the time, I could not sleep, my stomach was tight, I was upset; our relationship was strained over a tiny little critter we couldn’t even see. Jim signed a contract, but was able to back out of the yard spraying, and simply got the perimeter of the house sprayed for the summer. Although we had compromised, I had not learned submission.
A few years later, our third daughter was born. After I nearly died from a hemorrhage after her birth, my husband decided we were not going to attempt to have any more children. I ached with pain at the thought. I felt very strongly that we should have more. He said we were done and wouldn’t budge. I felt unloved. He felt it was for our best. My struggle with his decision lasted months. I sadly allowed it to distance my heart from his. In time, he did reconsider and allow one more baby, but again, my heart had not learned submission.
One day, Jim’s work car died. When a car dies, it is never a good time. We had nothing saved to purchase a new one, and he needed to get to work. I felt we should live with one car or get something old for a few hundred bucks. Jim found a reliable, used Subaru Forester, for a bit more than a hundred bucks. He chose to get a small loan and bought it. I felt it was unwise. I let him know my thoughts for a good while. I still had not learned to submit.
Then we moved. Our move brought trial after trial. Financially it was a strain. Finding a church was long and difficult. It seemed like moving had been the wrong decision and I let Jim constantly know that I believed we should have never moved. Even though at the time, I too had felt it was God’s will. I thought that if God led in a decision, than everything should be going well. My theology was not only a bit askew, but I still had not learned submission.
Summer 2017 brought another little creature into our lives. I had an odd rash that was diagnosed as scabies. No one else had evident symptoms, but the doctor prescribed medication for our entire family. Whether we were misdiagnosed, or had an early stage of scabies, I will never know, but we were led into a very bizarre trial which, combined with postpartum left me in an indescribable mental state. My husband wanted me to get a prescription to help calm nerves. I was totally against it. I flt he did not have my best interest in mind. He felt he did. It was probably the strongest moment of discord in our marriage. I was livid. He was hurt. In the midst of that crisis, I called my mentor in desperation for guidance. She is an incredible, biblicaly sound lady. By God’s grace, that phone call changed everything. It did not change immediately, but my thinking was set on the right course. I was learning how to submit.
My mentor directed me to Genesis 12:10-20.
“Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, ‘I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.’ When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.” But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said, ‘What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.’ And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.”
Then my older, wiser friend explained that Sarah submitted to her husband, even though Abraham was making a poor decision. She did not fight him, she obeyed and she TRUSTED GOD to protect her, even when her husband was making what seemed like a bad choice. And guess what? God came through for Sarah.
Genesis twelve is still a passage I rest in often. If I am going to truly submit to my husband, I must first relinquish my control, my desires, and even my strong feelings to the Lord. If I am not surrendered to the Lord, I am unable to submit to my husband. With a surrendered heart, I can rest in God’s sovereign care in every decision my husband makes. It is okay to voice my opinion and thoughts in matters. Jim always wants to know what I think about things. But I am not submitting, if I disagree with my husband and try to manipulate him with words, cause a verbal or silent rift between us, or hold my husband’s decisions against him. I must allow my husband to make mistakes. It is okay. My gut feelings are not biblical. Often my husband chooses the right decision for us. If not, I can depend on God to bring about His sovereign best for His glory in our lives. God can use poor decisions and difficult situations to glorify himself. But I sin and do not bring God glory if I am un-submissive toward my husband. That is a biblical crime, not my husband’s poor judgement.
We women feel things strongly. And it is easy to let our passion in a decision to overrule our biblical role. We must rest in God’s sovereignty. Let our husband’s lead. Let our husband’s make mistakes. Let our husbands prove us wrong. And let God bring about something amazing through it all. I am still on the journey of learning how to trust God with my husband’s decisions. Surrendering to whatever God brings through the decisions of my husband is a place I long to be. The more surrendered I am to the Lord, the easier it becomes to submit wholeheartedly to the dear, sweet, loving husband, God gave me.