Dangerous Woman as Wife
When the Bible speaks directly to and of wives, it speaks of two things we tend to see as unrelated: submission and fruitfulness. These are the two areas the curse addresses and the two things the world wars against. They are the two things we need to pay close attention to.
- Submission is not “the husband gets the swing vote if we have a disagreement,” so that happy, compatible marriages never have to worry about submission. Submission is a wife’s character, demeanor, and her filter.
- Submission saves us from our endless comparisons. Our standard is not Suzie Q., nor is it our imagined ideal of “perfect wife,” our standard is our own husband. There is no elusive ideal to “how clean should I keep my house,” or “should we homeschool” or “should we have another baby” or “should I do mega couponing” or “should I weigh less or more.” There isn’t One Right Answer to these issues of daily practice that applies across the board to everyone. The way we find out the right answer for ourselves is to talk it through with our husbands and honor him through all these practices.
It is not that he is infallible or that he is the Boss, but that God has ordained the family to work this way, and even if your husband is wrong (and it’s not a morality issue), you’ll also be wrong to subvert your head (unless, of course, he wants you to sin). If you don’t know if it’s a morality issue or not, talk with your pastor or an elder or a wiser woman — someone who can be part of a solution, not an ear to listen to complaints.
Submission is a protection for the wives, because women tend to want to be in charge and direct their husbands (part of the curse, subverting of God’s order) and because women tend to compare sideways amongst themselves and get trapped in envy, guilt, or pride. We also tend to put our identity into our methods: mega couponing, homeschooling, bread-baking, cloth diapering, gardening, house cleaning, sewing, etc. etc.
We should be doing what we’re doing to bless our own families, not to prove something to others. You can be confident in your choices if you are in line with your husband’s desires. You don’t have to be defensive or evangelistic about your practices if your answer is, “My husband wants me to _____.” You submit to your husband and you allow your girlfriends (or women online) to submit to theirs.
Your role as wife is to put legs on your husband’s ideas for your family and make it happen.
Of course husbands and wives discuss and work out their ideas together, but if you know your husband’s wishes, how are you reacting to it? Which is more important, your husband’s desires or your facebook status or your blog entry or what your friends will think? Whose vision are you making happen — yours or your husband’s? Are the visions at odds? Are you setting yourself above him or under him? Are you trying to lead him down the path you want? Submitting is following him down his path.
Submitting to your husband is obeying God, and God will bless your submission. Don’t look sideways at other women, look to your own husband and your own God and trust and obey. Think: What would bless your husband?
Submission is how godly women adorn themselves. It is lovely and it is our clothing, our character. If you don’t do what your husband would like simply because you don’t want to, you are worse than a feminist, you are a feminist calling herself a biblical woman; you are a hypocrite.
God sees fruitfulness differently than we do; it is not about numbers (widow’s mite) it is about faithfulness with what God has measured to us.
Don’t compare your fruitfulness to other women’s, keep your eyes on your own business. God made all kinds of plants (people), fruit (deeds), and soil (conditions and circumstances). God delights in variety.
You be fruitful where you are with what you have, and don’t cast sidelong glances to see how you are measuring up to other people or how they are measuring up to you — that’s not the way God measures.
God makes straight, orderly wheat as well as runner beans, God makes tomato plants that pop up in unlikely and unfavorable places and tomato plants in well-composted and tended gardens. Don’t worry about what God made other people to be, worry about yourself and being faithful.
Produce fruit and let God have the fruit — who knows where the seeds will fall or what will happen to them. That is God’s business, too. Your business is to produce the fruit and to glory in fruit of all kinds.
Fruit (yours and other people’s) should make you rejoice, not wonder, not compare, not be guilty or envious or proud. Be grateful for all fruit.
Fruitfulness and submission are related
A seed has to go under (the literal meaning of submit) the ground and die. It gives itself up, it doesn’t seek glory, it goes into the dark, moist, hidden ground and dies. Then, and only then, is it resurrected and made something beautiful and glorious and far better than itself.
Submission is letting go of your own ways and letting God do what He will and accepting what God brings. Then he resurrects and you bring forth fruit — primarily, first and always, the fruit of the Spirit.
If the fruits of the Spirit aren’t a part of the fruit you’re bearing, your fruit is just fake styrofoam fruit you tied on so you look good. Genuine fruit is of the Spirit and is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. No genuine fruit can be born apart from these, apart from the Spirit.
Tying fake fruit on your tree for appearance’s sake will get you nowhere and do you no good. The fruit of the Spirit abounds to more and more life, more and more fruit. But to get to this wisdom and this fruit, you have to go through the hard part, the dying part, the submission part, the letting go of your self-created identity.