Today’s article is from expert author Pastor Phil Posthuma. This is part one of two parts where you’ll discover some interesting details about what God means when he asks women to be submissive – AND 3 important factors in great marriages. It’s a journey you’ll be glad you took.
Being single gives you the distinct advantage of taking control over your next relationship with information you may not have already had.
You may have come out of a marriage or may not have ever been married, but the likelihood is that you’ve had a long-term relationship.
Were you happy in that relationship? Did it meet your needs? Did you meet his?
Are you interested in another relationship that’s better than the last, and maybe the best you’ve ever had?
God has shown each of us exactly how to accomplish this. Using His principles you can have exactly what you’re looking for and enjoy exactly what you want.
Before learning about how including God in your relationships can reduce your risk of failure, let’s first address the urban myth that the current rate is at 50 percent. This statistic was first made public in the late 1970s when no-fault divorce was first passed. The rate was at the highest in 1979.
However, a spokesperson for the U.S. National Center for Statistics believes that the 50 percent rate was originally the result of misreading information and has since continued to be published in the media. If you look at the number of marriages against divorces each year, it’s true that the number of divorces are half the number of marriages. But, these numbers don’t account for the millions of marriages that happen in the years past.
Because some states don’t report divorce, it’s very difficult to get precise numbers. Researcher George Barna’s survey in 2001 suggests that the percentage of marriages that end in divorce is closer to 34 percent. (1)
Leading sociologist and director of the National Marriage Project, W. Bradford Wilcox, finds that active Catholics and Protestants enjoy rates that are 35 percent lower than that, and individuals who actively practice their Jewish faith have rates that are 97 percent lower! (2)
The distinguishing factor is not whether or not people call themselves Christ followers but rather those people who practice their faith and the path that God has given us to live our lives.
In His word God tells us how the holy women of the Bible honored their husbands and were beautiful from their inner self. This unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth to both God and a godly man.
These holy women, like Sarah (Abraham’s wife), were submissive to their husbands.
Before you slam your computer closed and run screaming from the room, give me about 4 more minutes to explain the difference between what you might think submissive means and what God says it means.
Let’s dive deeper into those three C’s that will change the way you see relationships.
1 Peter 3, the apostle writes about marriage and God’s vision for a strong and fulfilling relationship. Today, psychologists advocate the same concepts, using different terms. The term that creates the most difficulty is the word “submissive.”
“Wives you are to submit to your husbands” . . . except that none of us, man or woman, enjoys the idea of submitting. This idea of submission may cause you to think of yourself as a rung on a ladder. On this ladder you are the bottom rung and not the top one. As a wife you are UNDER your husband and not equal or more important.
But this would not be the picture that God intended. Unfortunately, it has been the picture that some men would like you to believe.
Every verse in the Bible is written in the context of the verses before and after. In this case, Peter uses a key phrase when he says that wives are to submit “in the same way,” which begs the question . . .
In the same way as whom?
In the same way as the discussion in the previous verses . . . in the same way he refers to everyone submitting to government. In other words, we are to honor everyone.
In the original language Peter is telling his readers to trace their lives over that of Christ so many times that eventually you aren’t tracing, but you are living your life as Christ without trying. You will both be living and serving each other as Christ served his church.
This SOUNDS good, but how is it lived out?
For wives it means that you don’t retaliate when something wrong is done to you. Your ideal is to live out the Golden Rule or to do unto others as you would have them do to you. Proper respect, making no threats when your rights seem to be compromised, and not withdrawing your love and support when you feel you haven’t been heard.
These are all challenging things to do – but ones that today’s psychologists tell us are necessary if we want a fulfilling and happy marriage. And, for every woman who takes up this call, she will serve as an example to others.
This is what one woman wrote after she discovered the power in submission, “A submissive wife, far from being the weak world-woman our culture portrays, is actually a model of inner strength. By God’s grace she has conquered the sinful desire within her own heart. It is actually weakness on display when a wife is not submissive. She is only caving in to a natural inclination to usurp her authority and demand her own way. That doesn’t take any effort at all.”
Peter was clear about WHY wives were to be submissive, “ . . . so that if any of them (husbands) do not believe the Word, they may be won over by the behavior of their wives.”
This is the same concept taught by psychologists all over the world. You’ll never change your spouse, you can only change yourself. And, in seeing and appreciating the change, only then will they also change. Dr. E elaborates this concept in his book on Love and Respect and Dr. C in his bestseller, The Five Love Languages.
The underlying idea is that you treat your spouse in the same way that you want to be treated, so that they are won over by your actions and your love.
What Peter means is that a wife should not force her husband to learn lessons that SHE wants to implement in his life. In other words, talking and talking and talking won’t get you what you want!
Women are full of good advice and wisdom that husbands would do well to hear and understand. But, as with all things in life, there is an easy way and a difficult way to get that done.
Peter tells us that forcing your opinion on someone else, namely your husband, won’t get you the results you’re looking for.
For example, a distracted husband who is thinking of something else while his wife shares her heart will finally have to answer the question, “what do you think about that?” Unless he can guess the answer, she’ll know he wasn’t listening.
Sadly, researchers have found that the average husband spends only 4 minutes a day in quality conversation or spending meaningful time with his wife.
A husband focused on his hobby while his wife is focused on him will soon be frustrated by being sidelined by the guitar, golf clubs or car. She has things she’d like to say to this kind of husband.
The heart of the matter is that in these types of situations, many women feel their husbands need to change. And, the more she tries to make him change, the further away she pushes him.
Strong communication about how distracted he is, how unsupportive, how wrong, lazy, misdirected or insensitive are sharp and insensitive too.
There are ways to communicate your needs and wants without using a sharp tongue.
The solution isn’t instruction, but God’s way.
Nagging by the wife results in neglect from the husband. It’s time to stop talking and to start living.
In the next article you’ll discover the 3 C’s that bring you and your future husband closer together and develop a relationship that stands the test of time.