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DearHusband brought home surprise flowers for DearDaughter and I the other day. It was very sweet.
As I've been reading The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, I've been learning what it means to become an excellent wife. It's a very challenging book because wives are encouraged to truly humble themselves and submit everything to their husbands.
Wives, submit to your husbands as 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 5:22-24, NIV)
In Chapter 6 Mrs. Peace gives a list of 18 ways we may be the glory of our husbands. Here are a few examples of what is on that list:
1. Ask your husband, "What are your goals for the week?"
2. Ask your husband, "How can I help you to accomplish these goals?"
3. Ask your husband, "Is there anything that I can do differently that would make it easier for you?"
6. Put him first over the children, your parents, friends, job, ladies' Bible studies, etc.
7. Willingly and cheerfully rearrange your schedule for him when necessary.
9. Do whatever you can to make him look good, to accomplish his goals. Some examples are offer to run errands for him, organize your day to be available to help him with his projects, pray for him and make good suggestions. Give him the freedom not to use your suggestion, and do not be offended if he does not follow it.
As I read this list, I thought, "what about me?" There is nothing on that list that concerns ME. It's all about my husband. Hmmm? That's when I realized what submission means or even looks like. Although husbands are called to love their wives just as Christ loves the church. Wives are called to be submissive to their husbands as the church is to Christ. If we are to examine what the church's submission looks like, it is to be like Christ in his humility and submission to His Father. Though equal in power and glory to God the Father, Christ submitted his will to His Father's; Christ submitted his whole life, even to death.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8, NIV)
That is such a challenging call to wives. To give up who we are and to submit our whole life to our husband's will. What if our husband's goals aren't biblical goals, do I submit to those goals too?
As I struggled with this call to submission, I was convicted to approach my husband. The first time I approached him I lovingly encouraged him to spend more time in the word. A few weeks later I approached DearHubby a second time and I lovingly encouraged him to think about the goals, especially the spiritual goals, for our family. Just recently, I approached DearHubby for a third time but this time I approached him angrily and told my husband how selfish he is, which was the wrong way to approach him. It displayed my own selfishness and lack of trust in God. I was frustrated because I wanted to submit to my husband, but I wasn't necessarily sure what I was submitting to. He hasn't communicated any goals to me so how should I know what direction to go? Well, as I thought about how wrong I was to confront DearHubby with such anger, I thought back to Mrs. Peace's list. It was such a humbling experience to swallow my pride and ask DearHubby about his goals. My greatest concern is the home since I am home full time and I asked DearHubby what he thought was important for me to do in the home. It was an even greater humbling experience to have to listen to his response. It initially put an even greater burden on my shoulders because as I listened to DearHubby I became angry. I began to feel like his slave and servant and I thought, "If DearHubby expects this much from me in the home, then this just gives him a greater excuse to dodge his responsibility as the head of this household."
However, praise God that He is faithful and he reminded me of the husband's biblical role.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25-27, NIV)
This is where trust and faith in God comes in. I am to faithfully submit to my husband. As I display this faithful submission, God's work and power in me is also being displayed because only God can supply me with the ability to do His will and submit. Therefore, as I trust God to work as powerfully in me, I am also to trust God to work just as powerfully or even more powerfully in my husband since DearHubby is called to headship over his wife.
Husbands are called to have a sacrificial life, sacrificing their lives as Christ sacrificed his own. Yet, wives are called to have a submissive life, giving up their whole life as Christ gave up his whole life. Though it is the same act, it displays 2 different aspects of Christ's death: his love to the church and his love to his Father. Therefore, as husbands and wives fulfill their biblical roles in their marriage in how they display their love to one another, they fully shine Christ's glory as one.
So, this was DearHubby's first list:
1. Make it a priority to exercise and take of my body so that I will be ready to give birth naturally.
2. Make sure all the bills are paid on time (as there have been times where I have accidentally missed a due date, like last week). Make sure all mail is sorted through in a timely fashion.
3. Make sure laundry is done in a timely fashion so that DearHubby has clothes in his dresser drawer so that he doesn't have to walk to the dryer to get clean clothes.
4. Concerning the budget, he doesn't need to know specifics, just what areas we're going overbudget in.
5. Concerning the laundry room, he is a little frustrated by its clutter.
DearHubby's modified list pushed everything down as he added:
1. Love unconditionally.
Though this list doesn't sound too demanding it brought out a lot of flaws that I have and that was hard to hear because these are the chores and actions that I do fall short on and it just made me feel like I have to work that much harder. However, I must remember God's promises like "the joy of the Lord is my strength" and "I will never leave or forsake you" to flee from my flesh's desire to rebel in frustration or anger and as I believe and trust in these promises the power of these promises will be revealed and realized.
Revision 1 (3-17-08) -
"As I display this faithful submission God's work in me is also being displayed because God is truly working."
"As I display this faithful submission, God's work and power in me is also being displayed because only God can supply me with the ability to do His will and submit."