I am so… tied up with the fine degrees of my understanding of certain words and concepts I think I get myself into trouble.
I really like the way the authors of this book explain what submission is in marriage. They don’t say it’s not part of the job description (what I’m beginning to think people hear when I try to explain it), they say submission is not the woman’s role.
So often in the descriptions I hear, husbands (not just *men*) are to lead and wives are to submit (only to their own husband but that’s another post). These statements are biblical enough, but to line them up in parallel to each other, makes them sound like the two primary jobs.
My quibble just comes in the application of the words. Leading is action, something to do. Submission is a reaction. Not a doing.
There are those who will argue that is the whole point. I argue a not isn’t how you define a role. A role is something you do.
In this explanation, submission is the proper response of the wife to the husband’s God-given role. It enables him to lead. After all, If one thinks he is leading, when no one is following, he is merely going for nice walk. The husband, by definition (Do I live by definitions?) cannot fulfill is role unless someone is following him. That’s the wife’s responsibility.
My favorite part of this discussion, then, is pointing out the parallel response of the husband to the wife’s role. That he does to enable her to fulfill her God-given role (and, yes, there are people who will argue he must lead in order for her to follow. I wasn’t following that track today).
If you look at the woman’s role as one of loving (her husband, her children), giving and nurturing (hospitality, etc.), then the husband’s enabling response is praise. Encouragement.
I just love looking at these things in a parallel fashion like this. It shows the parallel of need from each partner to support and strengthen the other in their God-designed role.
And really, to say that the man doesn’t need submission (of my definition, thankyouverymuch, I’m not going to make a doormat-disclaimer), or to say that a woman doesn’t thrive on praise; to say that each should just do their job without expecting anything of their partner basically says that the partner is not necessary.
Yes, there are those in tough marriages, and God gives grace to them and all of us to make it through dry times; but really, to imply that a woman doesn’t actually need her husband’s encouragement is saying all she needs him for is his paycheck (or maybe not even that), and those of us with good marriages know this is far from true.
I like the image of symbiosis. Or even better: a metal alloy.
Almost forgot to add my whole reason for writing this today.
I was searching last night for an analogy that would convey the fine distinction my mind makes over this submission issue, and this is what I currently have:
My stories are not about the English language. The language is how I communicate my stories. The Stories are what I do.
Submission is not what I do. It’s a means by which I do what I do.
Eh, it’s a work in progress. I’ll suggest it for discussion next time the subject arises.