All Articles Tagged "submission"
“You can’t wear the pants and the skirt too,” my guy friend said to me one day during one of our routine conversations. “Why?” I asked, half jokingly, half serious.
Most guys that I’ve dated have told me that I have a dominant personality. I am not afraid to speak up or stand up for myself and not too quick to back down either. This was something I was proud of and wore like a badge of honor, until recently.
I will admit, I am a borderline feminist and strongly believe in women being independent. We should be able to pay our own bills, travel alone if we have to, enjoy life and feel complete sans a man; but over the years I’ve realized that even the independent woman knows that at times it’s okay to not be so independent, especially in a relationship.
My guy friend often jokes with me. He says, “If a guy wants someone to wear the pants, he may as well date another man.” Maybe that holds some truth, maybe not (I’m still trying to decide if it even makes sense); but I don’t believe that any secure man wants a ‘yes-girl’, like Vanessa Bell Calloway’s character in Coming to America (whatever you like). So, where does the independent woman find the balance of not losing herself while still pleasing her man? As with any relationship it comes with compromise, something that a super-independent girl, like myself, finds somewhat difficult.
Submit. Wow. Six letters, one word, that seem to degrade all that an independent woman stands for. At least that’s how I used to feel; but as I’ve matured, the word doesn’t seem like a death sentence but surprisingly somewhat inviting. Maybe I’m tired of being so independent that I am secretly looking for an outlet or maybe I’ve learned that there is a level of independence in submitting. I would like to think it’s the latter.
It almost seems like a contradiction to use independence and submitting in the same sentence; but hear me out. To submit means to yield or surrender; it doesn’t suggest that you’re yielding or surrendering forever. And to yield doesn’t necessarily mean you’re compromising your morals or even your independence. I like to think that it means picking your battles wisely. In many ways, men submit to women as well. It only holds a negative connotation to some of us super-independent women when we’re asked to do so.
Maybe it’s the word submit that rubs many of us the wrong way; but I’d like to think of it as simply compromising. Let’s face it, men and women are different; and certain things that matter to men don’t matter as much to women and vice versa. While all men are different, in relationships many of them possess many of the same traits when it comes to ‘wearing the pants.’
No man, or really any person for that matter, wants to feel as if they have no say-so or control in a situation. And with men especially, it’s a big thing. So while I don’t ever think I’ll be able to constantly cater to a man’s ego, or feel that I should have to, I’m learning how to let a man ‘wear the pants’; and so far my relationships have been so much better.
I don’t think it’s my level of independence that caused trouble in many of my past relationships. In fact, I think most of the men were drawn to it. I’m convinced the issue was my inability or unwillingness to occasionally submit. I once thought that showing any sign of vulnerability or giving in to a man meant I was throwing away my independent-girl-card. Now, I’m happy to know that it doesn’t. And while it’s still a struggle to be the sometimes, submissive girl who remains self-sufficient, I’m realizing it can be done. I may not know exactly how to do it, but slowly but surely this independent girl is learning.
It never ceases to amaze me how out of all the things that Christians ignore in the bible, and all of the ways the world disregards the commandments therein, one principle that has not died among believers and non-believers alike is the idea that wives must submit to their husbands.
As it relates to relationships, this is one of those topics that’s always readily available to be debated, sort of like questions over when you should first have sex (forget that whole your body is a temple, thou shalt not fornicate thing, right?) or move in together, or even simple things like paying for dates.
I’m sure one of the reasons this notion remains such a hot button issue is because of the new-world I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T woman who gasps at the idea of the man being the head of her household and having to submit to him. And though I wouldn’t say I used to be one of those women, I do take issue with the fact that too many men (read boys) walk around pronouncing their God-given right to be submitted to simply because their reproductive organ dangles between their legs. It’s a given that no woman should even consider marrying a man who is not worth submitting to, but the thing that’s missing from this discussion – and many others when it comes to relationship advice — is how women are supposed (and biblically commanded) to be loved. This might be shocking to you since most people don’t bother to look past Ephesians 5:22-24, so let’s have a look, shall we? The bible clearly states:
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. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
I don’t know about you, but when I think about a man personifying these qualities, I actually look forward to the day when I can completely place my trust in his vision for us and our family. Unfortunately, too many men get caught up in submission being unquestioned authority over a woman, rather than a position of responsibility and accountability to the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with.
Imagine how different the submission conversation would go if a man were to tell you that he will love you as much as he loves himself? In our individualistic society we’ve come to believe no one is going to take care of us like we take care of ourselves, even our spouses, but biblically men are commanded to do just that. I won’t pretend to be a bible scholar here, but I do know a little somethin’ somethin.’ Notice that verse 25 talks about Christ giving himself up for the church. For those who may not know about the crucifixion, Jesus Christ literally died for those who believe in and obey God. A man may not have to sacrifice his life for his wife in the literal sense, but it’s clear there’s an expectation of giving of one’s self for the sake of her betterment and their overall union. On one hand, this is why women shouldn’t fear that being willing to submit, i.e. respect their husband’s place of accountability in their relationship, means they are agreeing to be led blindly into oblivion. The man you chose to be united with in holy matrimony is instructed to make choices that edify you as a (Christian) woman. For men, this ought to be a wakeup call that being called to be the head of one’s household engenders a great deal of responsibility that most haven’t even thought about in their power-hungry quest for submission. Not to mention that being submitted to isn’t simply a birthright relegated because of your sexual orientation. There are things men must do, not only to earn their wife’s respect but also the favor of God.
In all honesty, I’m not surprised these details get left out in these discussions. After all, when was the last time you saw a woman writing a book to men on how women want to be loved – or better yet, a man teaching his boys how to find “the (right) one.” Instead, men continue to dish out advice about all of the things we need to understand about them and change for them and sacrifice for them, while maneuvering under the guise that they have absolutely no work to do in this great relationship divide we’re living through.
Men, feel free to relish in the fact that your wife must submit to you, but realize with that submission she is symbolically placing her entire well-being in your hands with the expectation that you will love her unconditionally and do all that you can to make sure that her mental, spiritual, and physical needs are met. In my mind, that’s an even taller order than submitting. We’ll do our part if you do yours.
How do you feel about the lopsided way in which we discussion submission in marriage?
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A lot has changed since our mothers and grandmothers were dating, getting married and settling down. Women have more education, better paying jobs and more general options when it comes to how they’ll live their lives. In this new era some of us are taking a more “progressive” route, creating our own rules and doing away with the traditions. Some of us are holding fast to the lessons from the earlier generations; and still others, are blending the traditions of yester year with our own new age tactics. Consider some of these traditional gender roles and “responsibilities” and see if you agree or disagree with them.
My single girlfriends have a pretty diverse range of opinions on marriage. Some think monogamy and therefore marriage is a fairytale and would rather end their days with cat in lap, tropical breeze blowing through graying hair and glass of pinot noir in hand. Others want the storybook wedding, the Cosby marriage and the Harvard bound children. Most are in the middle somewhere. One thing that often comes up with single girlfriends and guy friends is submission…