Men and Women: A Common Sense Look at Submission

Why are men all in favor of a submissive wife but are attracted to women who know their own mind and are capable of making decisions for themselves?

This may seem contrary to the “Scriptural view” of women submitting, but I think that the supposed “Scriptural view” is really more of a “Man’s view on Scripture.” I agree that women should submit to their husbands, but I also agree that men are supposed to treat their wives as Christ treats the church. How’s that? Well, Jesus “submitted himself even unto death” for the church. Hmm, that’s strange. That sounds like Christ wants us to “submit to one another.” Why is this such a hard concept for people to swallow?

If we look at how Christ treated women, it’s pretty easy to see that he thought of them as people in a culture where this was abnormal. The woman at the well is a perfect example of this. He spoke to her, had a conversation with her–the lowest of the low–a whore, a samaritan, a woman. That was completely counter-culture.  The women at the tomb are another example.  In that culture, the word of women meant next to nothing, so the fact that they were the first to witness Jesus’ resurrection, and included in the final draft of the Gospels  is a big deal.

Mary and Martha. We always see this story as one of Jesus chiding Martha for not doing what was important and praising Mary for doing what was right. Have you ever stopped to think that Martha was doing exactly what was “right” in their culture by serving and Mary, what was inappropriate? Mary not serving and instead, being “one of the boys” was unacceptable and counter-culture.

Look at the women mentioned in the Bible. Deborah: a leader of Israel, appointed by God. Ruth: a woman who defied culture and stood for what she believed to be right. She defied culture (as did Boaz) when she pursued him. Esther: defied tradition by entering the king’s court. She could have been killed, but instead, she called the king to pursue truth and justice. In each of these situations, these women were able, through pursuing what was right, to bring a vision, a calling of truth to the men. In turn, the men they “persuaded,” did great things and had a broader view they did not previously have.

Many times, when discussing my ideas with conservative Christian women, the Proverbs 31 woman always comes up. I don’t know why. She’s the epitome of independence. She buys a plot of land, makes decisions about the servants, runs the household, does the hard work so that her man can have a good name at the gate. That’s a good wife–not a thoughtless, totally dependent one. It’s a great relationship–honor going in both directions. The husband honoring the decisions his wife is making and allowing her to make them, and the wife making the decisions that will gain her husband honor.

This is not to say that men should be subservient to women. Nor should women be subservient to men. Just the other day, I was told (by a man) that I was “a lesser individual (than a man)” and “should be subservient.” And yet, even he is attracted to the girls who have opinions and can think for themselves.

But perhaps women have been too kind in their arguments and retaliation. Why are men so afraid? Are they afraid that women will use the same strong-arm methods as they have for so many years? It won’t happen. Women work differently then men. Men and women are different, yet equal. Our strengths are sometimes different than men, but it’s still strength. For centuries, our power has laid in privately persuading because we did not have a public voice. We were not allowed to voice our opinions, so we persuaded those who did.

Women have come so far from where we were, thanks to the women willing to sacrifice their “feminine communication” in order to be heard by the men. There are stories after stories about the women who led the feminist movements, lead the way on women’s suffrage, fighting for the right to vote, and even today with women in business and politics. These women have pulled on the pants and set aside their way of communicating so that they could adapt to communicating to men. These women are usually thought of as being “bulldogs” or “pushy.” They have no choice. Hillary Clinton or Margaret Thatcher are prime examples. No one thinks of them in a “sex appeal” way. They think of them both as pushing through “the glass ceiling” with sheer will-power, brassy doggedness and determination. I use them as an example not because I necessarily agree with their political views, but because I respect how far they and others like them have led the way for other women. Not very feminine, but effective nonetheless.

From my personal observation of “good Christian wives” submitting to their husbands, there is much unneeded stress. The wife disagrees with the husband’s decision, but doesn’t want to be “a bad wife,” so she goes along with it holding it all in, slowly building up resentment and anger but thinking she’s doing the right thing. The wife starts trying to control every detail of whatever she has power over (she maybe sitting on the outside, but she’s standing on the inside). The husband feels pressure because he has to always make every decision and it always has to be the right one. Those are a lot of decisions to make in a single day: especially if one involves kids in the mix. Eventually, it all comes to a head and it’s never pretty. Sometimes it’s many years later.

Submitting to one another is another way of saying LISTEN to both parties. Be a team. Communicate.

What are your thoughts?

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