Monday, May 9, 2016

Honor in Marriage (Part 1)

I want to write about honoring our husbands, but if you’re like me, you may need a little disclaimer first.

In grad school, my eyes were opened to women’s rights issues and the real inequality women face, especially women of color.

My mantra became about empowering women, and I wrote several papers in school about women in the church. My best friend loves to say, “Power to the SHE” (because she loves Athleta :)), and that spoke to my heart too.

So, for many years of marriage, I tuned out sermons about submission, which I felt was just rhetoric to get women to a place of powerlessness. Fortunately for me, I married a man who is pro-women and who did not feel the least bit threatened by my independence.

I still wholeheartedly believe that women can have a role in leadership in the church and that God created us equally (suggested readings: Women in the Church, Why Not Women?, and Powerful and Free).

But my heart toward submission and honor has also changed, as I’ve learned it’s not either/or; it’s both/and.

Howell and I make decisions together. We equally contribute and share. But submission means that I “come under” his vision. I trust his vision for our family is also submitted to God’s vision, and I get to support that.

It’s not about “who’s the boss” or CEO versus GM. That kind of attitude creates power struggles that lead to dishonor.

We rarely disagree about a decision, but when he feels led to do something, I am instructed by God’s word to support his decision.

Submission, unfortunately, has become a term about service and subjugation, and so we have this picture that a submitted woman serves her husband’s meals, gets his paper and coffee, waits on him hand and foot, never speaks against him, never voices an opinion, never disagrees, etc. It looks a lot like this: 

God’s heart is not for one-sided service in marriage. We’re to serve each other equally. We’re also to honor each other in marriage.

But honor is not subjugation.

In fact, honor really means releasing control and exercising self-control.

When we try to manipulate our husbands, that’s not honor. And when we try to blame our husbands, that’s not honor either.

But when we honor each other in marriage, we actually both become empowered—as free, powerful people who can hear from God and speak His truth and vision.

Wives do have special instructions to submit to their husbands, and I believe God blesses us when we choose to support our husbands instead of tearing them down or manipulating them.

Husbands are our authority; the bible is clear about that.

But, unless you’re in an abusive relationships, your husband doesn’t want to own you or control you. He probably values your opinion when you give it in an honoring way. He wants to make decisions as a team. He wants to know you trust and support that he hears from God too.

As a woman, you don’t have to give up your voice. You’re still empowered by God to do His kingdom work. You are still created equally, beloved and favored.

But when you know who you are in Christ, you also feel comfortable releasing control. You no longer need to control your husband (or your kids) because you know, “The only person I can control on a good day is myself” (Danny Silk).

From that place of freedom and empowerment, you can honor your husband the way he desires to be honored. 

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