Okay to start off, I’m taking a bit of a risk with this post.  Normally I try to keep religious and political opinions to a minimum, but Elizabeth posted an interesting post this morning of a religious nature, and I’ve had something rattling around in my head of a similar nature that I want to get out.  So here goes my first official religious type post.   As a disclaimer I’d just like to put out there that I’m a Christian, currently trying to find out where she fits in, so any posts on this subject will be Christian in nature.  But I’m not out to try and convert anyone; religion has always been an interesting subject to me and study has always been encouraged in my family.  As my husband says, we attempt not to be blind sheep; when we say we believe X, Y and Z we understand why we believe X, Y and Z.

Okay so here it goes.

So when I got married I wasn’t going through a huge actively religious time in my life, but I dutifully got out my Bible and read some passages.  You know the typical ones like Corinthians and some of that Genesis stuff, but there was one passage that always rubbed me the wrong way and that was good ol’ Ephesians 5:22, you probably know the one even if you don’t read the Bible.  The infamous “Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord.”  It was enough to make my hackles stand on end, if I had hackles that is.

And I thought here’s this one little sentence that’s going to ruin my life.  I have to submit to Ben for everything?  I mean seriously everything?  It’s a little vague, does it just mean about home things and raising children or do I need to get his okay on how I look when I go out of the house and what I say, watch, read?  Excuse me while I run for the door.  I’m not going to let one person have that much control over me; I’m a modern, educated, experienced young woman gosh darn it!

Needless to say I still got married, but I didn’t use this passage as a reading during the ceremony.

This has long been a passage used by many to insist that men get to be dominant and women only submissive little housewives with no opinions of their own and no minds of their own.  In fact, though I can’t currently source it, I believe I remember reading that it was once used as justification against womens suffrage.

There are a few basic was this passage has been translated

1.  Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

2.  Wives, yield to your husbands, as you do to the Lord.

3.  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.

4.  Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord.

In general most of the translations are fairly similar so we must look at the definition of the word “submit”.  A quick punch into dictionary.com gives us this:

Submit

1.  to give over or yield to the power or authority of another (often used reflexively).

2.  to subject to some kind of treatment or influence.

3.  to present for the approval, consideration, or decision of another or others: to submit a plan; to submit an application.

4.  to state or urge with deference; suggest or propose (usually fol. by a clause): I submit that full proof should be required.

So we’ve all seen this passage defined by those top two definitions, but in my mind defining this word in this instances with those two definition justs fuels the the fire for those who’d use this passage for their own gain.  So I suggest using definition#3.

Even taking out the word submit and putting in the definition makes the passage so much more assessable  “Women present for the approval, consideration or approval of your husbands as you do to the Lord.”  Wow, now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside!  I can do that without loosing my modern sensibilities no problem!

So what I do I see this passage asking me to do?

Show Some Respect, Be Equally Involved and Realize It’s Not All About You.

I believe it is encouraging women and men (don’t forget the next passages tells men to do the same and is often overlooked!) to give their marriages and their spouses the same amount of respect they’d give God.  This I got no problem as I see marriage as having three partners; husband, wife and God all equally involved and respected.

I believe it is encouraging husband and wife to be equally involved.  There is no one person who gets more say than the other.  You’ve got to check with the other when you’re making decisions.  Even if we go with the traditional outline of marriage i.e. man as breadwinner and woman as runner of the home we see how this works.  The breadwinner wouldn’t up and leave his job without consulting his wife just as the homemaker wouldn’t order a refurbished kitchen without checking with her husband.  It’s all about the balance and balance helps keep peace.

I believe it is encouraging both to realize “It’s not all about you.”  Yep, guess what, no matter which religion if any you belong to most likely you’re going to realize that marriage is a serious point in your life when it becomes about two people not just about one.  You need to make decisions that not only affect you, but other people now and guess what?  You’re not always going to have the right answer and we can see this from anything on choosing how to combine your furniture, to picking out dinner, to figuring out how to raise kids.  It’s a partnership and partnerships are all about the give and take.

So in brief, just as most of us wouldn’t make a big decision without prayer and consideration, this passage is encouraging husbands and wives to treat their decisions with that same kind of thoughtfulness and consideration.  Just as when we pray about something we feel we want and then receive a sign that it’s not a good decision, we both must be willing to act the same with in a marriage.  Sometimes he’s going to know what’s best., sometimes she is and sometimes neither is going to know what’s best and both should listen to the third partner in their marriage.  However, each must be willing to do and accept the outcome with humility and love.

So now with all my modern thoughts and opinions do I consider myself a submissive wife to my husband, I might loose my feminist card for saying so, but yes I do.  Just as I believe my husband is a submissive husband to me and that we are both submissive to something greater.

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