Monday, February 28, 2011

Submitting to my husband

Last week I wrote about issues I have with inequities that I see in the marriages of most of the people I know. Recently I saw two posts that made me reflect even more on those thoughts and my post. First, let me say that I LOVE these blogs. I read both of them regularly. I wasn't sure if I was even going to include the posts but then realized that just because I don't agree with these women, doesn't mean I am saying anything about them personally. Instead of commenting on their blogs, I am posting on my own blog. I am including the original posts because I think they show exactly what I am talking about when I write about marriage for my generation.

So, here I go.

The first blog post I saw was this one from Organizing Made Fun.

I considered leaving a comment saying something like, "I, too, iron my husband's shirts. I do it because I am better at it than he is (although that's not saying much.) I wonder if we are enabling them. I also wonder what message I am sending my children."

I didn't feel right leaving that kind of comment. It isn't meant to be mean, I really am wondering if other women feel the same way. About the ironing, it's not something I enjoy but it needs to be done and my husband appreicates it. Having said that, he could learn to do it just like I did. The reason my husband never learned to iron is because while his sister was inside practicing her ironing by ironing her dad's handerchiefs my husband was outside "painting" the porch with a paintbrush and water. Basically, he got to go outside and play in the water while his sister ironed. That is not the kind of message I want to send my daughter.

Then I saw this post from We Are That Family.

Before I go on, let me say again, I love this blog. I check it often and really respect Kristen, the author. That does not mean I have to agree with everything she says and believes.

I was right with her all the way until the end. The last tip said we should submit to our husbands on the big stuff.

What? No. No. No. No. Why? Why? Why? Why?


Why should I submit to my husband? I don't think he should submit to me, either. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership. We are suppose to compromise. Sometimes we do things my way. Sometimes we do things his way. Sometimes we come up with a way to do something together. We no longer go from our father's home to our husband's home. I was on my own for several years before I lived with my husband. Am I supposed to go from making all my own decisions and being in charge of and responsible for everything to allowing someone else to make all the decisions? I am aware that in the post she said "submit to your husband on the big stuff" (not everything) but I'm not sure that is any better. The big stuff tends to have bigger consequences that the entire family would have to live with.

Maybe there is a religious aspect that I am not understanding. Sometimes it seems like I am the only blogger that doesn't describe myself as a child of god, or a Christian, etc. in my profile. Maybe that's where this mentality comes from.

This is exactly the opposite of what I am trying to teach my daughter. I am trying to teach her to become independent. To be able to take care of herself. I'm trying to teach her to make her own decisions. How does that gel with submitting to your husband? Make your own decisions, unless your husband wants something else?

I just can't do it. I'm pretty sure I know where this comes from in me. My mom did submit to my dad, in most things. I guess growing up in a family like that, I could have followed in her footsteps or go the opposite way. I didn't totally go the opposite way. Actually, I find myself doing lots of things the way my mom would have. I let my husband off the hook for lots of stuff. For example, we had a slumber party over the weekend for my newly turned 7 year old. I had 15 first grade girls here. I planned it for the weekend my husband would be out of town, to make it easy on him. Why? That was stupid, I needed help. Also, two Sundays ago we were leaving church (we drive separately because my husband has to be there early) and I said I was going to stop by the grocery store. I was planning on taking the kids with me. While he went home. Alone. Why? Again, that was stupid. Why take two kids to the grocery store if I don't have to? Good thing for me, the boy asked if he could go with daddy. My husband even tried to talk him out of it. Luckily, I snapped out of it and sent both kids with him.

I know a lot of women do submit to their husbands. Maybe it was the way they were raised. Maybe that's just what works best in their family. Maybe it has something to do with their church. I know I have a very strong personality. I am very independent, always have been. I'm the oldest child of four, maybe that's why. I don't know but I can't just blindly submit to my husband. Nor, can I understand why someone would. I also can't teach my daughter that's what she should do. I don't want my son to think that's the way it should be, either.

I'm not the only one. Right? Someone please tell me I'm not.


  1. You are not the only one. I have really had a hard time reading these blogs and grasping this. I do think it is a religious belief. I do the same things as you with my husband. I end up making his life easier and mine more stressful because he does not deal with things well, even though he should.

  2. @jmpThank you for leaving a comment jmp. I was beginning to feel like I was the only one, or at least that maybe I should just accept that this is just the way it is and the sooner I deal with it the easier life will be for all of us.

  3. You definitely are not the only one. The submitting to the husband is a religious aspect and one that I struggle with too. I believe that marriage is a partnership, I do things for my husband to make his life easier and he does things for me to make my life easier. It's just how it works in our family. I enjoyed this post - thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Just for some insight, since you did wonder out loud a bit on this post about whether it's a religious thing, I just want to say that I think your idea of submission is different than many Christian wives who practice "submitting to their husbands."

    I am a Christian, and also a wife, and my husband and I practice (very happily, btw) a traditional conservative style of marriage. He is the head of the household and I am the stay-at-home-mom who's primary job is to raise our daughters and care for my family's needs at home.

    That said, like you, I am a VERY strong personality. I'm stubborn, loud, always have an opinion and never afraid to voice it. See, submitting to your husband doesn't mean being a doormat and giving your husband his way his way all the time. In fact, that's the exact opposite of what I think is meant for marriage Biblically.

    When you say in this post how you planned a party when your husband was out of town, and almost took the kids to the store so that he could go home and have time alone--this is shocking to ME! In our marriage, I submit on issues with money/spending, church/tithing/devotionals at home, and first and foremost, submitting means always showing my husband respect. Even when I think he doesn't deserve it. Because God wants me to love him that way.

    In the same way, as commanded by the Bible, my husband is to LOVE me as Christ loved the church. So you see, the way our marriage works--a marriage of love and respect/submission--means that he would never send me to the store on my own with kids! And he would never ask me to plan a party while he was out of town. (Even if he did, he knows I'd have something to say about it, too!) I respect and submit to him because he loves me and thinks of how to make things easier for me, and THAT is something I can submit to! He's the kind of guy that rubs my feet every night when I'm pregnant with his children, so when it comes to submitting to his decision on how to budget or something like that, I'm happy to do that!

    When you described your mother's relationship role as submissive, all I could think was, no, that's not what (most) Christian women see as submission. There is Biblical submission, and then there's weak women who allow immature, insecure men to control them. There's a difference.

    With true, Christian wife submitting, it goes both ways. I'm happy to submit to my husband as the head of the household because at the same time he shows me an incredible amount of love (he would totally offer to take the kids off my hands for a grocery trip, in a heartbeat! I'd be shocked if he didn't.)
    That's the beauty of this sort of submission, I benefit from a more loving husband at the same time.

    You should read the book Love & Respect if you want a better idea of how Christian wive's roles and husband's roles can be so perfect this way. I highly recommend it.