I try to be a nice person. Really, I do. But periodically I bite. Proverbs tells us to add sweetness to our speech and to speak softly. Sometimes I don’t speak very softly. I am loud.
My husband and I almost never fight. But on the occasion we do, I am usually loud and sharp. I need to add more kindness to my words. My speech is not sweet. It is acidic. It eats away at everything, burning it. I ought to have a gentler and quieter spirit, which is beautiful to God. God does not look at a woman and find her beautiful for her clothes and her figure and her makeup. He finds women beautiful who have gentle and quiet spirits. (Not that it isn’t okay to wear nice clothes and makeup.)
He expects us to cultivate what is on the inside, not the outside. He values the gentle, the grateful, the obedient, the modest, the submissive. He wants sweet speech and soft words. How can I practice these things? How can I be a woman after God’s own heart? Here is a list I have come up with. Many of these things I already do – I just don’t do them enough. If you think of anymore, comment or email me.
- Never raise my voice. You can not have a gentle and quiet spirit if you are yelling.
- Pray regularly to tell God what I am thankful for.
- Listen for the Holy Spirit as I write, pray, and think. Follow the voice of the Holy Spirit. Be obedient.
- Try to cover up any low cut dresses with my infinity veils when I go out. Showing some cleavage is okay when I’m at home, and practically unavoidable at formal events, but for the day to day I should be well covered. It is hard not to buy things that show a lot of cleavage when your breasts are as big as mine, but by wearing the right kind of veil I can buy all kinds of dresses and still be modest.
- Obey my husband. When a woman obeys her husband, she obeys God, who has place her husband in authority over her. This doesn’t mean I can’t lobby and petition for what I want and need. I can and I do, rather vigorously at times! But I am my husband’s helpmeet and God has ordered me to submit. So ultimately, my husband has final say.
- Be less prideful. God hates a haughty heart. I need to search myself for pride and tear it out. Am I too prideful when I get a pretty dress? When I have a day that I feel I look extra good? When I add to my book collection? When I learn new things as I study? There is a fine line between appreciating things and feeling good about yourself, versus being prideful. Maybe one way to combat this is to give thanks to God for whatever I am proud of, whether it is a publication credit, a day of good complexion or hair, or my awesome library. And not to focus on it. Take a picture of me or my clothes or my library, and then move on. Be humble and remember that anything good that I have or achieve is through the Grace of my sovereign God. Enjoy the beauty in my life, but remember from whom it comes.
- Dive into the Word. A gentler, more peaceful spirit is a natural byproduct of being immersed in the Word.
I have a lot I need to work on. The Christian walk is a never ending journey, a constant refining of gold from dross.
I am reading a book widely read and often recommended by other Christian women. It is called “The Excellent Wife.” And in it is some rather ridiculous BS about submission. It says wives should submit to their husbands in everything that isn’t sin. On the surface, this is true. But then the book started giving examples, even saying that your husband has the final say on home decor. While I’m not advocating spending 10,000 on a living room suite your husband hates, it is also ridiculous to suggest that a man should be the one decorating the home.
Wives are to subject themselves to their husbands in everything, but at the same time only a man who is an absolute tyrant would tell a woman how she can and cannot decorate her home. The beauty and atmosphere of a home is a womanly thing. If your husband micromanages you to the point of telling you what decorations and colors you use, here’s a newsflash ladies. Your husband is either an overbearing tyrant, or he’s gay. So which is it? Because a straight man without serious control issues doesn’t care how his wife decorates. He just thinks it’s nice she did something with the place. Making a house a home is a woman’s thing.
Some women, and these dreadful women’s devotional writers, take it too far. It says you should submit to every decision your husband makes, no matter if it is bad for your family or cruel to you. That you should submit and submit joyfully. So it isn’t even enough to accept bad treatment – you have to smile about it.
Obviously, submission involves submitting to things you don’t like sometimes. If you are only submitting when it is a decision you like, you are not submitting at all. Within reason, you should submit even when you don’t agree with something. But those are the key words – within reason. If your husband is a selfish, stupid SOB you don’t need to follow him into stupidity, poverty, and misery. These women miss the verse that comes right after the verse that tells women to submit to their husbands; they miss that verse that says husbands must love their wives like Christ loves the church and lay down his life for her. Every husband will make some selfish decisions. Your husband is, after all, human. And for the most part, when he does you should submit in love.
But if your husband is a selfish, arrogant prick who never puts his wife or his kids first, it is time to break free. You are a person with equal value to your husband, and your own mind and common sense. Don’t let your husband run you broke, drag the family miserable places for selfish ambition, treat you like dirt, be an absentee father and husband, and totally consume your life. If your husband micromanages everything you do and say, pretty soon there won’t be a you anymore. The verse in the Bible call men to be leaders, not micromanaging tyrants. A woman who needs her husband’s permission for everything is a woman in an abusive relationship.
The book has other gems too, such as saying that if your husband ignores you, be grateful for whatever small attention he does give you and thank God. Personally, I didn’t get married to be alone. I am not going to be grateful for table scraps. If my husband ignored me I’d tell him to move out until he decided he was interested again. The book also says that if your husband comes home from work in a bad mood and takes it out on you that you just need to remember he may have had a stressful day and you should be extra kind. Are you kidding me? If your husband just comes home in a bad mood, you should be extra kind and try to make him feel better. BUT if he comes home and takes that bad mood out on you, you shouldn’t stand for that. You get stressed and have bad days too. But interestingly it doesn’t say that it is okay to take out your frustrations on your husband and he should be understanding and rub your feet. Why? (aside from the double standard) Because it isn’t ever okay to take out your bad mood on someone else, let alone to expect them to respond by kissing your ass and thanking God for whatever treatment you are willing to give them.
It rather turns my stomach sour to see Christian women advocating for this. Submission is a beautiful, spiritual, loving thing. But what these women are advocating for is not submission, but abuse and slavery – an indentured servanthood (you get out of it when he dies) and total whitewashing of personality and healthy desire. And I bet you that almost every single woman in these women’s ministries that advocate for that life for women are women who themselves have loving, responsible husbands who do what is best for the family 9 times out of 10. So it is easy for them to talk about total submission in all circumstances, because they aren’t micromanaged and controlled. If your husband only requests submission in the small things or the female things once in awhile, that is okay. But if it is all the time, that is abuse of power. And rare (and brainwashed) is the woman who actually is living through that that would write an entire book telling other women to do the same. I read this book because of my profound interest in gender studies from a Christian perspective, in marriage, and submission. But many of the women I’ve seen this book recommended to are women in bad marriages who are searching for advice. This book is full to the brim with terrible advice. There’s a couple of good chapters, such as a chapter on homemaking. But most of it is dreadful.
I write about submission a lot because it is something that has been laid on my heart by God. I have learned a lot from it, and I think my marriage is stronger for it. I like to study the subject and pray on it and learn more to draw closer to my husband and to God. But my husband leads me – he does not terrorize me. I wouldn’t tolerate that for a second. i have a good marriage to a good man, so I can trust him and submit. And when I talk about how women should submit to their husbands, I mean most women. Most women in good or decent marriages should be submitting to their husbands. It will increase the joy in their marriages, bring them in line with God’s commandments, and give them security. But I would never, ever say that every woman should submit to her husband. That is dangerous. There are a lot of men who should not be submitted to – a lot of men that shouldn’t even be husbands. Women who write books like this lead women to tolerate abuse and mistreatment and tyranny.
My husband is the head of our household and our spiritual leader. I submit to his leadership. But what does that mean on a practical daily basis? Well, today for instance, I asked online for church recommendations and someone recommended a church that interested me that had a service this evening. I wanted to go so I immediately asked my husband. He looked up the church and decided he did not want to go. The church is calvinist and he doesn’t believe in Calvinism and the church is perhaps more charismatic than what he is comfortable with. My husband prefers to keep us at Methodist churches.
I was sad. I was disappointed. But I obeyed. I wanted to go to church tonight. We have not been to church in quite a while and we don’t even have a church to go to out here. And I like Saturday night churches because I have a hard time waking up on Sunday mornings and if I force myself to wake up I sometimes have panic attacks at church from being surrounded by so many people when I’m tired. So a Saturday night service would have been really nice. And my beliefs don’t perfectly align with my husband so I agreed with some of what this church had to say. I might have liked it.
But at the end of the day I am not the spiritual leader of the household and it is not my decision to make. If my husband feels that churches like that are not appropriate for our family then I will not go. But I don’t always feel like I get the sort of spiritual sustenance and conservative, upright teaching that I am seeking from the kinds of churches that my husband chooses, so while he’s at work during the week I will try to find Bible studies or something where I can find what I’m looking for. But ultimately I have to trust that God is speaking in the ear of my husband and that what he is deciding for our family is what’s best. I may not always agree with him theologically, but I must remember that in the garden it was Eve who was deceived and not Adam. I may not always be right. And what kind of example would it set for our daughter if I went to church against her father’s wishes?
Still I am lonely tonight. I wish I’d had Church Fellowship. I wish there was somewhere I could get plugged in and really feel at home.
Women are supposed to love and serve their husbands. Husbands are supposed to serve their wives as well, but that is not the topic of this post.
How do you serve your husband? Do you get up to get him a drink? Do you serve him food? Many women seem to be uncomfortable with this idea but I would argue that doing these things is a good. It is probably something I need to do more often in my own marriage. That’s not to say that your husband can’t ever get up and get you a drink, but ladies, when did we become so turned off by the idea of serving our men?
Yesterday I gave up. Craig had had a bag that he brought home from the ship that had been sitting in the laundry room in front of the dryer for weeks. I had been waiting for him to take the time to organize his stuff and put away the bag. But I just gave up and took the bag out of the laundry room and put away as much of his stuff as I knew how to put away and put the bag in an inconspicuous place out of the way. And it actually felt good. My husband is a very busy man and he does a lot. This was one less thing for him to have to do. Now I’m not great at organizing so the stuff that I didn’t know what to do with and left in the bag he’ll have to address eventually, but I put away everything in the bag and sorted out the trash to the best of my ability and now I don’t have to bother him about the laundry room. And our laundry room looks nicer.
When Craig cuts the grass, one of the ways in which he serves me and our family, I always go out and bring him a glass of ice water. I think this is important. Yes he could walk back into the house and get himself a glass of water but as his wife I want to get one for him.
I wash my husband’s laundry, but do I put it away for him? Most of the time the answer is no. And while I don’t think that I should have to put it away for him since I am already washing it for him, wouldn’t it be nice if I put it away out of love sometimes?
What am I overlooking? How can I serve my husband better? Is there anything he doesn’t like doing that I can take over instead? Can I do housework in such a way as to serve and honor my husband? What do you do to serve your husband?
The sun salivates.
What I know about the submission?
I’m all hardware and no market.
Art to me:
My rib, you know the war.
What nation can be fed by my fall?
A salivating sun
licks a sailboat lost from harbor.
What do I know about submission?
All steel and no magnolia.
Eloquence runs from me.
From my rib you can take a war.
What nation can be fed by my falling eyelashes
that this fluid angel warps around my form?