Submit: To surrender; to yield one's person to the power of another; to give up resistance. Websters 1828 Dictionary
Obey: To comply with the commands, orders, or instructions of a superior.
Obedience: Doing what your told, when your told with a good attitude
On more than one occasion I have heard that we can think of this life as the training grounds for eternity. This has always sounded reasonable to me, but I have never really thought on it much, until today. As I was talking with a friend about submitting to our husbands the thought struck me that our submission in our earthly marriage is our training ground for our submission to our eternal husband. In addition it is one of our most obvious pictures of God's relationship played out in an earthly relationship.
As believers in Jesus Christ we have many opportunities to speak for him and to model his love in action. Perhaps the most striking models of His love and character will be in our marriages and parenting. On our own we can have his traits and show them, but in our relationship with others we truly reflect the relationship principles of the Lord. God is always working in triune relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In most relationships on earth their is a triune as well. If you have a healthy relationship under God it will reflect the beauty and freedom of living within a chain of command and triune.
Marriage is an excellent example of God's order. At the tip of the triune triangle is God, one corner is the husband and the other corner is women. Man and women both point toward and live under God, with women taking direction and submitting to God and man. When each component of this model is in the proper place amazing things happen. Men are free to be who they were created to be and are able to live up to God's commands. Women are protected and free to do what they were created to do without struggling to usurp power. God is honored and enjoyed!
Often times when we speak of submitting to another sinful human (our husbands) I hear the underlying attitude of, "how can I submit to HIM, HE can't do anything right and will surely lead me into ruin, my agenda will not be considered and things will just not work!" or perhaps there is the blatant statement I've heard as well, "well, he is just not the leading type, he just doesn't do anything, what am I suppose to do nothing?" I think it's interesting that God in his divine word does not put exceptions on women respecting and submitting. He doesn't tell us that we only have to submit to a natural born leader, or a decisive man. He simply tells us to respect and submit to the man He has joined us with. Our job is not to be judge of whether our husband's are capable of leading, it is simply to follow and obey no matter what the circumstance or situation save if we are asked to go against God's laws.
When we do get the courage and power from the Holy Spirit to submit to the sinful man He's joined us with how do we start? I clearly remember when I chose to start submitting to Pete no matter what the outcome would be. It was a trial for me to truly believe that things would work out for the best. In my heart I was not able to see how submission would work, but I chose to believe God's word and submit anyway. When a decision needed to be made I wouldn't make it. When something needed to be done I wouldn't nag I would try and sweetly as possible mention it and then I chose at every opportunity to believe that my husband would do well and to encourage. The results were astounding. My mild mannered, quiet go with the flow man suddenly turned into a vibrant, more confident man who got things accomplished. I don't recall the individual items that he did that didn't get done before or the specifics. I just recall how my attitude changed towards him. Where I had not had hope in him, now I did and where I thought he was "not the leading type" I realized he was!
After several years of growing in submission to my husband I can truly say that God's way works. I believe that God blessed my submission and Pete's willingness to lead. With great conviction I believe that God will take a poor decision made by a husband in his effort to lead and bless it. If his wife submits and is humble to the husbands leading, again I have seen the Lord blesses the situation. It is a true comfort and need of mothers and wives to have a man who will make the decisions and shoulder the responsibility. I can't count the times I have struggled with a parenting issue, teaching problem or relationship dilemma where Pete has been able to step in and shed light and wisdom on the situation. Guaranteed if I was to proceed on my own there would not be nearly as much success. I simply have too many emotions that lead me astray, my husband brings clarity!
I love the lessons that I have learned over the years in submitting to Pete. However, I know that I have only begun to see what a true heart of respect and obedience looks like. I have so far to go, yet I trust that God will continue to grow me in this area as I choose to obey and submit moment by moment.