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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Submission and Offering it Up (in Which I Don't Want Chinese Again.)

"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 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." -Ephesians 5:21-24

We don't really like the "S" word, do we? 


It's a dirty, dirty word in our culture. And why should that be a surprise to us? Look at our culture- we've been taught that backing down is always weak and wrong, that our opinions and feelings matter above all else. 

Which, of course, is exactly opposite of what God says here in Ephesians. 

I'm a bossy person, generally speaking. Submission does not come easily to me. 

Trust me when I say this- submission is God's plan for marriage. My marriage runs much more smoothly when I make the choice to yield to my husband. We've only been married for two years, but I've learned that much already. Putting it into practice is another issue, of course. 

Submission is just that- a choice. You have to choose to submit to this man to whom you've linked your life. And honestly, it's hard.

Especially when you think you'll do something better than he can. Or when you have a big opinion about something. Or when you feel that he's putting his own desires first. 

When we try to control the men God has given to us, the men He's decided are best to lead our families, aren't we also trying to control God?

I've struggled with submission. I have a husband who takes charge of our little family- Zeke's a natural leader, and a good one. I know I'm blessed. But sometimes, can't I have things my way for once?!?! There have been plenty of times that I've been upset, and confused about why I'm upset, only to realize that I'm angry because I don't want to follow my Zeke's lead on something. 

I wish I had known, before getting married, how to submit.

Unrelated pretty flower picture.

Offer It Up

In Catholic circles, there's a practice called "offering it up." When faced with something unpleasant, or painful, or difficult, they offer it up. They deal with the pain or annoyance or difficulty by offering up the situation in prayer- an intention for someone or something else. 

Even the smallest of children can be taught that things are sometimes unpleasant, but it can be used for good. Hungry? Offer it up for those children who have no food- "God, I offer up my hunger right now- please be with those people who are starving, Lord. Provide for them." Simple. Powerful. 

And I never learned that. I deal with unpleasantness by whining and complaining and bearing it until it's over. 

I did that in my marriage, too. I submitted to my husband, but with rolling of eyes and becoming the whiniest of whiners. 

(To which you ask, "...And what's really improved, here? Adrie's still the whiniest of whiners!" True, friends, true. But His grace is good.)

After learning how to "offer it up," I've come to a stunning realization. 

Things don't always go my way. 

I'd like it if I didn't have to deal with that annoying work situation. I didn't want to get that cold sore. It wasn't in my plan to struggle to conceive.

Submitting to a situation that doesn't go my way- that's part of life. We can use it for good- to pray for someone else and be thankful for the blessings in our own lives- or we can allow it to make us miserable. Sort of like what we discussed in this post. 

Okay, that's all well and good, but what does that have to do with submission in marriage?

Submission sometimes means that things don't go your way. Whether it's going to the Chinese buffet for supper again, waiting on welcoming another life into your home, or deciding Christmas plans, you may need to accept a role of submission to that guy who leads your family.

You have a choice. You can complain and suffer for it and make everyone generally unhappy, or you can offer it up. Offer up your discomfort or disappointment with the intention that your marriage will grow strong. For those who are waiting for that right person and wondering where he is and would he just hurry up and get here, already. For those who have lost a spouse.

It makes that submission, giving up that bossy role, a little easier to accept. It helps me to trust God's plan- that He put this man (the one who always wants to go to the Chinese buffet) in my life for a reason. To trust that this man's decisions will lead me closer to God, to good things on this earth.

Right now, you don't have that husband to whom you submit. But you will, and you will disagree with him. Maybe about Chinese, maybe about something much bigger. When you do, you'll want to be well-versed in offering up your struggles.

So start doing it now. Hang-nail? Offer it up. Parking ticket? Conversation with a difficult sister? Demanding co-worker? The more you offer up your struggles now, the more natural it will become.

This post is part of a series- make your engagement a time of intentional growth to prepare you for marriage, not just a time of planning for a wedding!

"Like" A Little Wife's Happy Life on Facebook to catch more Intentional Engagement posts!

Other Posts in the Intentional Engagement Series:


  1. Love this! I struggle with knowing when to submit and when to speak up for myself. I don't think they have to be opposites, though. I know it makes my young marriage stronger when I ask my husband to make a decision for us... and then abide by his words.

    I was raised with the phrase "offer it up" and find comfort in it. Praying this way helps me to feel like my pain is not useless. Like somehow in a way i can't understand I am with Jesus on the cross. This is particularly true as we wait and wait for a child. Because of course, He triumphed. Thank you for sharing your struggle and prompting me to think of my own differently.

    1. I agree that speaking up and submitting aren't necessarily opposites. Submission doesn't mean being a doormat or never expressing our opinions- it means recognizing our husbands' leadership in decision-making. I have a great hubby- he is a wonderful listener and always welcomes my input, but ultimately, the final decision is his. And sometimes, his what he thinks is best isn't what I think is best.


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