Submission and Respect
I am currently reading a book “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerich. So far I am not particularly enjoying the book, because in my opinion Eggerich is not as funny as he attempts to come off, and he has a tendency to overkill the point, going on for chapters and chapter about something that could be summarized in one sentence. Despite my dislike of his writing style, I do agree with his point, which is that wives are to respect their husbands.
God revealed to me a cycle of respect while I was talking about it on a trip with my sister-in-law. Before that trip, I had a solid understanding that I needed to respect and submit to my husband, even in the tiniest, most seemingly insignificant requests, but this was my “aha” moment as to why. And it wasn’t Eggerich’s “because that will help him love me like Christ loves the Church” take. Neither was it “because God says so,” although that should have been enough. It was this: a man who is given his wife’s respect through submission, despite perhaps being undeserving of it in her eyes, will eventually rise up to be a man deserving of everyone’s respect. Here is how it works in practice:
God leads the family through the husband. This is something that us christian women agree with in theory. When it comes to practice though, it gets interesting. After getting married, I was shocked to find out that actions that I knew were truly wise (as opposed to wise in my own eyes, because there were plenty of those as well, but that’s not what I’m talking about here), no longer applied in cases where my husband happened to have a different opinion. Even if all logic and experience pointed to him being wrong, the end result would always prove him right! It worked to the point of absurdity. My husband checks in on our finances once a month or so to gain perspective and set direction. I, on the other hand, am constantly on Mint.com, categorizing every transaction from every account, every single day. In a recent discussion about how to pay for our hospital bills, my husband claimed that one of our low-interest credit cards has a limit of a certain random amount. I KNEW that the limit was lower, and frantically corrected him, being annoyed that he didn’t remember the correct limit and was not as panicky as I about paying all of our bills. I checked on that limit just hours before. I knew that limit was lower. I knew we couldn’t count on that credit to pay for the large hospital bills. All he responded with was “Really? Weird. I thought it was higher,” and restated what he thought the limit is. The next day I went to pay the bills and to my utter astonishment discovered that the bank has increased our credit limit on that card. Yup, you guessed it. Exactly to the random amount that my husband claimed the limit was! (And no, he didn’t know, and hasn’t checked on it before our conversation).
I don’t know why or how it works, but the point is, it does, and the faster wives get on board with God’s plan for the family, the better off and easier their lives will become! When we first got married, my husband has kindly informed me that he has a problem with most of my clothes. Of course, being 26, and having a very carefully constructed and quite pricey wardrobe, I was not exactly ecstatic to hear that, especially from someone whose style staple, for the most part, has been sweats. Nevertheless, I stepped over my fashion convictions, pulled out everything I owned, went through it piece by piece, and promptly took everything he disliked to Goodwill. Then I told him I had nothing to wear. And I was not joking. The “obedience purge” resulted in a trip to the mall, initiated by my husband, during which I found out that the sweats guy actually has quite a sophisticated sense of style. Turns out he hasn’t shopped for himself in ages because he has been concentrating on giving pretty much everything he made to his family. I could have stood my ground, as I am still convinced that there was nothing wrong with my clothes, and that perhaps my husband was just testing his stance as the leader of the family. However, my submission has resulted in the following: 1. I found out that my husband has a wonderful taste in clothing — something I would have never known have I insisted to keep all my clothes. 2. I found out that my husband has a sacrificial heart and is willing to give up everything for family. 3. Knowing that solidified my trust in his leadership. 4. My obedience solidified his trust in me. 5. Because he knows that I will submit to his leadership, my husband is more likely to make wise decisions in the future. 6. I got a brand new wardrobe.
I know a few wives who have been fighting their husbands on small issues for decades! The fights ate away at the closeness and peace in the home, making husbands withdrawn, and wives longing for love. In the beginning of the marriage, new husbands are likely to perform “tests” like the wardrobe one above. Unfortunately, many wives utterly fail. Devout in their convictions, whether about mothering, setting the standards of righteous appearance, or something else, they trample their husbands opinions, and with that, many chances for the husband to grow into the man who God intended him to be. It is important for a man to know that his wife is behind him on any decision that he makes. That forces him to think twice about his actions and decisions, and consider whether or not they are foolish. If through his “tests” he figures out that his opinion does not matter, and that no matter what he says, the wife will do her own thing, he will have no motivation to become wiser or think about the consequences of his actions. The wife will have her own way in the immediate, but lose out in the long run, wondering all along why her husband is not as respectable and loving as she would like him to be.