What if Changing A Marriage Was Simple?

One night, I said, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing from you. I just don’t even know what to do here.” My teenager threw his hands up in the air, and stomped out of the room. I was left standing, seething.

He probably felt the same thing.

I was exasperating him (sin, btw), and he wasn’t obeying me (also sin). My husband gave me some good advice – he told me to be the one to stop the cycle. He said, “You two are stuck in a spin of negatives – you need to create the positives.”

I knew my husband was right.

I also knew God fully endorsed what he had said.

So I prayed a lot about it. And I started working even harder at respecting my son, mostly by saying something encouraging and positive to him a few times a day, and being very gentle and positive with him in how I handled the disobedience.

I don’t know why the dishes were his thing, but he was constantly leaving dirty dishes out. I would ask him sweetly to take care of them – a time or two, and then I would take his car keys, and kindly, gently say, “Honey, I know you want to be a man of your word. You can have your keys back when you pick up your mess in the kitchen.”

There was no sarcasm.

That would not have been respectful.

And I confess to you I have been a snarky disrespectful parent in the past. It is sinful. It exasperates our kids, makes them angry. So I got things turned around. This was an example, by the way, of my submitting to my husband.

This was one of those times when I got it right.  I sensed agreement in my Spirit with what he was suggesting.

Submission is not the same thing as obedience – and no, wives are not commanded to obey their husbands any place in the Bible …

but more on that on a different day.

So a few weeks ago, when my son and husband were discussing something and it got out of hand, I did what I sensed God wanted me to do.  I stepped in and said, “Guys. Look. I know you both love and respect each other, but that’s not showing up right now.  You both need to take things up a notch in how you’re speaking to each other. You’re both better than this. Why don’t you take a break for a few minutes, maybe pray about it, and then come back when you can both be calmer and just work through the issue instead of attacking each other?”

And they both agreed.

My son went downstairs, and my husband stayed put.

I sat down next to him, put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Baby, this is the same advice you gave me a while back. You were right then – and now I don’t want to see you caught in this negative spin. You’re a good dad. I know you want what’s best for him, and he’s making mistakes, but it’s going to be okay. Don’t own it. He’s a good kid. And before he was here, there was just you and I – and it will be just you and I again. We’re going to get through this.” He said, “You are right. I’m letting it get to me. Thanks.”

Some, maybe like the pastor I read online recently who literally said that “wives are to submit to their husbands in the Lord in everything literally means ‘in everything’ even pornography, wife-swapping, cheating on your taxes,” when talking about Ephesians 5:24, would define what I did as “unsubmissive.”

WOW.

Sorry no.

If you think submission makes you a doormat and you think you have nothing to contribute to your marriage, well okay then – I don’t believe that is what God’s Word teaches, but there are plenty of people out there that want you to believe that… and sometimes it is easier to just let someone else be in charge of everything and just go along with it.

I’ve been there. Really. I get that. 

But obviously, Sapphira wasn’t off the hook for doing what was right, even if her husband told her to do it, and neither are we. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that God’s Word doesn’t teach obedience for wives, but submission – it’s different. But there’s balance.

And I am hoping I realized this soon enough – when your kids are little, it doesn’t seem to matter as much, but when they are older, you wonder if there’s been enough proper modeling going on.  Do I want my sons thinking a certain way about women? Or behaving certain ways towards them? Or seeing Sapphira behavior?

Seems like Acts 5 tells a different story from the “submission=obedience” that so many would like to subscribe to.  Sapphira obeyed her husband.

Check what happened to her.

It’s not by coincidence that it is Peter who she lied to – and Peter who tells wives later to submit… I often wonder what might have happened if she had instead said to her husband, “Baby, I know you mean well, but we can’t sin against God – we can’t lie. I know you are a man of integrity, and I know how tempting this is, but let’s just tell the truth here.” But we wouldn’t have her example to learn from if she’d done the right thing, now would we?

Don’t misconstrue 1 Peter 3:6 into an absolute – it says, literally, “just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” Because if we miss the connection to Hebrews 11:11, where Sarah’s faith is praised, “And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.” 

To fail to acknowledge her relationship with God is to choose blind obedience to man (contrary to Acts 5:29, and all the examples of others who knew God and disobeyed their authorities – Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Esther, Abigail, just to name a few, all of which are examples to us). And let us not forget that Sarah actually suggested something her husband disagreed with, and when he struggled with it before God, the Lord told Abraham to listen to his wife and do what she said (Genesis 21:8-14).

For those using Peter’s suggestion as a command, we need to remember that he was the one that the Lord used to chastise Sapphira.

And then God killed her.

So contrary to some beliefs, “obey” is not a commanded thing for wives in the Bible – submission, which is willing, IS commanded, for those whose husbands are in alignment with God’s will.

Respect is also, but even if it is undeserved. There’s no “in the Lord” attached to it anywhere.

But understand that we think of giving respect as something that takes away from us, especially if it isn’t deserved, in our mind.

do unto others respect

If you think your husband needs your help, sometimes, however, and you understand that you are wired by God to bring relationship help to your family, then you’ll use your female gifting wisely – and your husband will see your wisdom, and will submit to God, in that moment. Know however, that you can also be in the way of God, too. Please bear in mind, I still fully believe that God holds the men in our marriage as head, and as accountable for our families. But He also expects us to gently, kindly, express Truth, in the Lord. Powerful phrase, “in the Lord.

Remember, submission is willing.

And if we’re communicating with a non-submissive attitude, we are setting ourselves up to be our husband’s competitor, instead of his friend, we are taking a man who is wired by God to be on the lookout for threat constantly, and showing him that WE are his biggest competitor.

Respect waves a white flag and says, there’s no assault from me here.

??????????????????

Submission is one step more than that, and the lack of assault or competition is a given – it’s the waving of the white flag and says, “We’re on the same team.”

So it is simple:

  1. Know God by reading, praying, and listening DAILY
  2. When He brings a verse to mind, THAT is what you are to obey, because yes, the Bible does seem to contradict itself, but it really doesn’t – there’s not a perfect formula (remember, Esther, Sapphira, Sarah, Abigail – maybe I should write more about their example for us?)
  3. Have the teaching of kindness on your tongue, and be a woman who is gentle, quiet (not yelling or brash) and brave

And yeah, I know.

Simple is not the same as easy – but the more you come to know Him and the more you obey Him, the more you are filled with His Spirit, and then it is His Spirit within you that makes it easier. :) Thank you for your prayers for our taping – we’re SO excited about what God’s doing!! It went well, was an exhausting day, but we are done cutting footage.

Prayers are appreciated for the editing for Daughters of Sarah.

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We’re also trying to put together a short video that explains what it is about… which is no small task, given that we are 1) short  on funds, and 2) already not good at explaining what it is.

If you have taken Daughters here locally and want to help us with describing it, we’d appreciate a few stories or testimonies or ideas if you feel led to share. 

At the very least, please pray – and we’d love to have you involved in our prayer ministry – you’ll get just one email a week, plus you’ll get the inside scoop on what’s coming up – not that it’s the reason to join, but at least you’ll have more info than what you get here.  BUT, just like here, if you subscribe to the blog, you don’t get any additional spammy things. :) Thank you so much! You’ve no idea how precious your prayers are to me, personally, and to our entire team.

And, if you are a parent, you know that can be like herding CATS…so know we have people that can help. If you are parenting small people, you should totally follow Leah BUT…follow Debbie if you have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings. Like us on Facebook so you can know when Daughters of Sarah becomes available in video format this year. I’m also active on Twitter as @NinaRoesner.  Come join the discussion!

Love to you,

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Comments

  1. Jim says

    Good job with the car keys. No fighting necessary, just wait for him to fulfill his responsibility.

    When my son would get out of line, I would simply call Sprint and say that we lost his cell phone. They would cut it off. It wasn’t long till he told me his cell phone didn’t work, and I would then explain that I got it cut off. NO NEED TO YELL AT HIM! It sometimes took time, but he would come to me and at least pretend to be sorry for what he did. Once he fixed the problem, he got his phone back!

  2. says

    I really do appreciate the clarification. I never thought of the difference between obedience and submission before. Being obedient to the Lord has to take precedence. I see that. Thanks.

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