Uh, oh. There's the dreaded S-word. Right in the title. I said it. And I even implied that I might be dabbling in it.
Today this word is so loaded with different meanings and emotions that we shy away from discussing it. So let me clarify, to me submission is not about being mute, used and weak. I love the definition my pastor uses: submission is knowing the heart of the one you love and seeking to honor it.
Elizabeth George's A Woman After God's Own Heart recently convicted me to discover what it truly means to be my husband's helper. While her words were not new to me, they gently reminded me of my role as wife. Two phrases returned to me that I heard early in my marriage, "Remember, you're playing on the same team" and "As the homemaker, your role is to make your house a place your husband wants to home to." Since M has been born, I - as many women do - fell into the trap of spending all of my time focused on her. What little time I might have left over, I typically spent on myself. I had forgotten to place my husband first...even before my daughter. The tyranny of the urgent so easily overtakes us moms.
I set out to figure out how to be a better helper to my mate. I prayed that I could find ways to better serve him and be a better wife. The next day, a magazine came in response. I immediately spied the two page article on "Ways to Encourage Your Husband", filled with ideas submitted by women from around the globe. As I read the ideas, I was amazed that these women - most of them with 4 or more children - were able to pull off feats like having dinner ready when their husband got home, stopping their day an hour before Daddy got home to prepare for his arrival and encouraging him to take time for himself on the weekends doing thing he enjoyed. I realized I had no excuse.
I picked a couple of the ideas (the three I mentioned above) and implemented them immediately. I was amazed to find that having dinner ready wasn't too difficult, as long as I did just a little bit of planning in advance. And it wasn't too hard to plan in that extra hour before my husband got home. In fact, it made the getting dinner ready part easier. The weekends were a little more of a sacrifice, but I actually enjoyed doing it.
I found that my husband was extremely responsive. Our conversations had more depth, both of us acted with more grace and love toward each other, and even intimacy (physical and emotional) came naturally. I was thrilled with the results. I realized that this must be what submission is truly all about. It was fulfilling to be serving in the role God had designed for me, and it felt so right. My husband noted the difference, and I divulged my experiment. He told me that week he had felt more empowered, more confident and more like a leader.
The holidays came, and it was more difficult to walk in my new found role. I definitely noticed a difference in our relationship. Now that things are back to "normal" (whatever that is), I immediately implemented my experiment again. We'll see how it goes...and hopefully this time I can sustain it through whatever wrench might be thrown into our schedule.
Submission is a choice, ladies. And it's one I definitely recommend.
Photo: On the beach in Cape Town, South Africa, 2004