The reason I’m writing this post is because I believe that so many women, especially evangelical Christians, but even those who are not, have the wrong view of what being a married woman is like, or should be like. There are those that might fear that being married would subdue them to the point of barely being an individual anymore. Some believe that once they get married and become “one” with their husband, that they literally join personhood with him. I’ve seen this before. Where a married woman- a Christian, no less, who should believe that her value, abilities, and strength comes from something much greater than her husband- has said that she doesn’t trust herself to make any big decisions but instead leaves it to her husband because she would probably make all the wrong decisions.
I read that in a Christian blog post a few years ago. And although I always try really hard to see other’s perspectives and imagine why people think the way they think; to her, I would like to say, please, stop talking. If you don’t think you’re smart enough to make any wise decisions for your family, then why should anyone, especially women who want to learn and become leaders, listen to you?
Now, as a Christian, I believe in submission. I mean, the Bible says, “Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord (Col. 3:18).” So there’s really no arguing with that if you call yourself a Bible-believer. But what bothers me is the 1,000 different ways women, and men, interpret this verse.
Like in my story above, there are some women who view the whole “submission” thing as basically being a slave to their husband. Their opinions should totally be conformed to their husband’s opinions. Their ideas are always trumped by their husband’s ideas. And in pretty much every area, it’s either his way or the highway.
I want to let you know today that I don’t that that’s what was intended by that verse.
First of all, I think most of us get so hung up on the scary word SuBmIsSiOn (it took me way too long to type that out) that we totally forget the second half of that verse! You know, the part that says, “as is fitting in the Lord.” What does that part mean exactly? I think there’s two ways to interpret it, either it’s fitting to the Lord that you 100% submit to your husband, orrrr a woman should submit to her husband when it aligns with God’s Word. Submit to your husband in ways that are fitting to the Lord.
Also read: IF I’M A CHRISTIAN, DO I NEED TO PUT UP WITH MY HUSBAND’S CRAP?
What can we take from that, exactly?
Here’s a black & white example to make what I’m getting at more obvious. If your husband comes to you and says, “You need to rob a bank with me,” that’s not really going to fall under “fitting to the Lord,” so, in my humble opinion, you don’t have to submit to that. I mean, what would please God more? That you submitted to your husband and robbed that bank? Or that you told him, “Sorry, my dear, but that dishonors the name of the God I love. So, no.” If you answered, “The second one,” then I think we’re getting on the same page.
What if your husband is saying, “Hey wife, I think we need to stop spending so much on eating out. That way we can be more generous with our money. Or start saving more.”
What then? What if you think that you’re already saving enough or giving enough away? What if it means more work for you to not eat out so much? It’s not like the Bible says, “Therefore, don’t eat out to hence give more to the poor.” So what do you do then? This, I believe, is one of those “as is fitting to the Lord” moments. Your husband’s intentions might be for good, and there’s nothing about them that would dishonor God. So… even if it might mean cooking at home a couple more nights a week, it would honor God, for sure, to submit to your husband that way.
Now, dealing with situations like this aren’t always as easy and simple as making dinner at home a few more times a week. They might be really really hard! But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading the Bible for what it is, and not using for my own agenda, is that Christ never promised that following him was going to be easy. In fact, He promised it would be hard! But He also promised it would be worth it. I had someone comment on one of my posts a while ago saying, “I believe God wants us to be happy.” But I believe that what God wants for us is much deeper that just being happy. I believe God wants us to find joy in every situation. Situations where things don’t go our way. Situations where we do far more than our fair share of the work. And in situations where it’s really hard to predict the outcome. Jesus promises that He will be enough and, in Him, we can have joy in any of those situations.
All this being said, I wanted to tell you all a few ways you can be a strong woman, while married.
1 Educate yourself
Knowledge is powerful, my friends. I know I’m not the first person to say that, but it’s true. If you want to be able to go to anyone- your husband, your colleagues, other moms, whoever- with a strong and valid opinion, you need to show that you know what you’re talking about. Implement things in your life that keep you informed and learning. I’m only 25, but for so long I was so busy that I literally had no idea what the heck was going on in the world. It was kind of a joke between me and my husband, but honestly, I hated that I felt out of touch. One of the ways I stay in touch with what’s actually going in the world now is through The Skimm. They’re a once-a-day newsletter that gives a quick skim on what’s going on in the world. It’s obvious they know their stuff, but they explain it in a way so that those who don’t are caught up to speed. I read their little email every morning before I even get out of bed and I’ve gotten all my friends to sign up. They’re totally unbiased, which I find really refreshing, and best of all, I find out about things going on in the world before my husband does. And I love that 🙂
2 Understand your personality and the strengths you possess
There are some, like the woman who wrote the post I mentioned above, who view their personality differences as weaknesses. I’m not sure why, whether they choose to believe it themselves or they are convinced of it by someone else, but they believe that the ways in which they are not like their husband are weaknesses. SO NOT TRUE. I don’t want to be unsympathetic, because I used to be in that boat. I used to think that because I wasn’t like others, I wasn’t as good. I used to even believe this in my marriage. My husband is extremely logical and I’m extremely empathetic. I used to see not functioning as logically as him as a weakness, but I’ve grown to find out that his logical-ness often needs my feelings in order to help him understand people. Our abilities combined make us a great team and I’m often able to be proud of who I am and how I’m different now that I’ve realized that my differences are not weaknesses, but strengths!
I encourage you to take personality tests, both you and your husband, to find out more about why you are the way you are. Each personality type is special and has strengths of its own. Find out yours and be proud of the strengths and differences you possess and use them to work together with and compliment your husband’s strengths!
3 Be a self-motivator
Now this is hard for me to write about because, honestly, it takes a lot to motivate me. If I was left to my own devices, I would often be lazy and oafish. I have to work really hard to find intrinsic motivation (motivation that comes from within, rather than extrinsic, like bribing yourself with cake). Usually my intrinsic motivation comes from desiring to be a better version of myself. That paired with caffein. There are some days when I really really want to be the type of wife who actually has an #instaready home (a house that always look so good you could snap a picture of it at any time and post it to Instagram and make others jealous).
My point here is, don’t allow yourself to be solely motivated by your husband, or by anyone for that matter. I mean yeah, my husband does motivate me to do stuff. I love that I’m married to someone who challenges me. But your husband shouldn’t be the reason why you choose to eat healthy, or work hard, or clean the house. Do those things, but do them to be the person you want to be.
4 Understand that your worth is not based in others
My husband and I find out the gender of our baby tomorrow!! We are so excited! I was telling him last night that one of my biggest concerns for raising a little girl is having her be the type of child who doesn’t find her worth in what others think of her, and wanting her to be the type of person who is empathetic towards others. In high school, I was a very different person than I am today. I had no idea who I was. I didn’t understand that it was ok to be quiet and introspective. Instead, I tried to make myself feel better about who I was by gossiping about others with my friends, that way they would notice the weaknesses of others before they saw mine. I hope and pray that my child is not like who I was in those years of trying to figure out who the heck I was. I pray that she understands that her value is intrinsic, and reaching out to the outcast in society and being shunned by the popular does nothing to change that.
Understanding that your worth is not dependent on those around you, will hopefully allow you to treat others with respect, knowing that disrespecting them will do nothing to increase your value, and will also teach others to respect you, because they see that you have respect for yourself.
Check out when I went live on Facebook to talk about this post!
What are admirable traits you observe from the strong women in your life? How do they differ from the ever trendy man-hating feminism of today’s culture?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and if this post spoke to you, share with a friend who might need a woman-to-woman pep talk!
Guys. I have another website called New Kid on The Blog that I made to help people like you create blogs just like this one! Blogging is my favorite and I think you could do it, too! Click the link to start your own blogging adventure!
Jean Leatherwood says
When I read you are only 25, I thought “crap” because I’m 53, almost 54. I was married for almost 30 years in my 1st marriage. We were young, trying to be what others wanted, he was abusive, we tried to stick it out. Much harm done to all, our children, ourselves. This time, my 2nd marriage, I want to be able to be myself instead of just conforming to other’s ideals yet I want to be a partner, provide encouragement, strength. So I’m a new wife again & I opened my mind instead of closing it when I saw your age. Part of my problem in my 1st marriage was I was strong, he was jealous of my strength & intelligence & tried to subdue it-hence the abuse. I need to find a balance and any suggestions will help.
I truly believe w all my heart & mind God sent me to this man I am now married to. We needed each other so.
On your point of not wanting your child to be like you say you were as a teen. I understand as a mother of 4. We don’t want our children to hurt or be hurt but we all have to gather our own scars to learn. Look how you have grown & what you have learned since then!!
Alicia Alicia says
Thank You….Very Inspirational!!!!
This is so very true! It’s a difficult balance to find in being strong and independent and respectful. I struggle with it daily!
You are wise, young woman. It took me years to get where you are. I am a educational leader and when I came home, it was hard to give over the reins, after being “boss” all day.
Brilliant Chelsea! This message is so needed!
Everything you say, I feel is so true although, I am with a man who will call me the “Little Lady” to others and believes women should be financially supported by the man. He resents my working, even if it is casual and would like me to stay home most of the time. We have lived in the country for the past ten years and it can feel isolating at times. I need more socializing than he does. Except for his work , he does not socialize at all with or without me accept perhaps when we see his parents at Christmas or a very few times a year. I really enjoy reading what you have to share. 🙂
Hi Chelsea! I just wanted to say thank you for your post. I am a 21 year-old, newly married, Christian, college student who has been struggling with the exact things that you are talking about. There are people I look up to in my life that have taken on views similar to the ones you mention in your first paragraph. As a self-motivated, straight-A student it has been really hard to find balance when I have the opinions of that first group of people in my head as well as my desire to be a diligent learner so that I can be a better follower of Christ, wife, and contributor to my family and society. Your post has helped me to release some of the guilt I feel on Wednesday nights when I get home too late to have dinner on the table when my husband gets home, for example. My husband is my #1 fan, biggest supporter, and cheers me on even when I feel guilty about being a strong woman and wife, but hearing this perspective from another Christian woman is different, and so reassuring. Thank you for your post! It’s helped more than you’ll ever know.
I love this post! I’m part of a catholic community and of course one thing they teach is submission of wives. But i really cringe when i hear women who define submission like it’s supposed to be blind obedience. I want to empower women that you don’t have to just follow your husband just because your married. or that you have to give up who you are just because you are married and have kids. I love your blog. my goal is to have something just like it. Its amazing that you have all this to share and your nly 25. im 31 and im just learning to be a sweet wife 😉