Even as Zack and I walked through premarital counseling and a season of marriage preparation, I would nod my head agreeing with pastors and counselors as they explained this expectation. All the while, in my head, I would be pounding my fist on the table, thinking, “I will never be down for that.”
My first test of this came later that year when Zack asked that we move to Myrtle Beach for him to pursue a football coaching career at Coastal Carolina. My close friends and family watched as I so miserably failed. I had dreams of moving to DC and working on Capitol Hill. I had goals of working with my dad in his small business. I had desires that didn’t include a move to one of the most tourist-saturated cities on the East Coast. With this move, I battled confusion and questions like, “does this mean my goals are not as important as Zack’s?” I questioned whether the Lord’s purpose for my life was less valuable. I didn’t understand why God would call me to give up so much and let Zack have it all.
Nonetheless, I made the move, kicking and screaming all the way down I-20.
Now, almost 5 months later, I feel as though I have a better grasp on this whole “submission” thing. I thought I would meet bitterness and anger here by the sea. I thought that every time something went wrong I could respond with a, “look Zack, see I told you this would happen.”
Instead through submission, sacrifice, trust and expectation, I have found freedom and an immeasurable joy. I found friendship and family. I found the Lord’s provision here waiting on me. I found prosperity and beauty.
Don’t get me wrong.
I don’t think submission calls for wives to give up everything to follow our husbands. Instead it calls us to give up everything to follow Christ.
I don’t think submission allows for abuse, emotional or physical. Instead, Ephesians 5 explains, submission expects “Husbands [to] love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
It doesn’t not imply that we put our husbands in the place of Christ. Instead, we are called first to love our God and then to love His people. (Mark 12:30-31)
I don’t believe it means we as wives cannot influence and at times guide our husbands. Instead, we are called to pray over and for our families. We are called to move as Mary, Esther, Rehab, and Ruth were called to do the same.
I don’t believe the Lord’s plan for our lives is to simply obey our husbands. Instead, this call prompts us to trust our husband’s leadership and guidance over our family.
However, more than that, submission to our husbands calls us to trust God. It means we must have faith that He will provide, protect and guide our husbands in the direction they need to guide us.
As illustrated by the life of Sarah and her relationship with Abraham, “‘Be submissive to your husbands’ means making a choice to affirm your husband as leader within the limits of obedience to Christ.”
Submission is a tough concept to buy into, especially in this midst of this third wave of feminism. Women across the world are making claims that marriage is a modern form of slavery and these misogynistic roles are oppression.
And, I will say, it is not all our faults. Many husbands are missing the mark too.
But, I think the humility and sacrifice we find in loving and trusting our imperfect husbands is a freedom that cannot be found through new legislation or political movements.
In Miley Cyrus new song Malibu, she sings,
“I never came to the beach or stood by the ocean
I never sat by the shore under the sun with my feet in the sand
But you brought me here and I’m happy that you did. ‘Cause now I’m as free as birds catching the wind.”
In a perfect world, perfect submission would be easy. And our perfect submission would result in the most perfect delight. But, this isn’t a perfect world. So, I’m going to keep trying, and probably failing, to submit. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting here, with my feet in the sand, feeling as free as a bird, and delighting in this place God and Zack brought me.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”