This morning my husband informed me that we are changing our living situation. It wasn’t out of the blue, of course; we had been discussing the possibility of a move for some time with both of us weighing the pros and cons of downsizing. This morning he came to a decision about what it is we were going to do and called from work to tell me about it. “I’ll bring home boxes tonight. This weekened we need to sort through things and decide what we’re getting rid of.” My response? “Okay.” He didn’t call to ask me if I thought we should move or not or even where I wanted to go, he called and told me what was happening and as soon as I got off the phone with him I started making a to-do list to make it happen on my end. I fully defered to his decision without question because I understood that it was his decision to make, not mine.
This is one example of what submission actually looks like in action. It’s not quite as simple as he speaks and I obey but it’s not too far off, either. Taking the above example I’d like to explain three important points of wifely submission…
There is a reason it’s up to him.
My husband brings home 100% of our income. Every last thing that we buy for ourselves and our home not to mention the home itself comes from him. In that I fully support that it is, in fact, his. As far as I’m concerned I’m just his partner in crime. It comes down to my job being to take care of his resources (and his children) not his job to take care of me and my every whim.
If tomorrow I had to go out and find a paying job outside the home it would still function this way, even if I made more. Why? Because we made the mutual decision that this was his party. We came to this only after acknowledging that the above worked so well for us in establishing order. Think of it this way- say you have been living with your parents all your life being fully supported by them. When you turn 18 you get this amazing job that brings in loads of cash. For whatever reason you decide to still live at home with them. Because you are making money of your own does the house magically become yours? Are you now in charge of it and everything your parents have built? Does your familial dynamic change? I seriously doubt it. If tomorrow I went out and got that super awesome job it wouldn’t mean that what my husband has built is suddenly mine or that he had nothing to do with my business success.In other words it would negate the past. He’s built this whole thing. I helped, sure, but it’s always going to be his.
It’s still mutual.
Like I said, “he speaks and I obey” doesn’t quite encompass the whole deal. For one my husband, like most rational men, doesn’t just come up with things out of the blue. He weighs his options and, when it makes sense to, asks for my take as his partner in crime. Because I handle the household end of the finances and am here everyday with the kids he came to me when moving became an option for us “What do you think?” he asked “Would a move be too much for us right now?” That’s when I reported my take on the space we have and how much of it we could give up, on how the kids might take it and where would be ideal for them so they can stay close to friends and clubs, how easy or hard it would be for me to find bulk food resources if we were to move farther out than planned, etc. Though ultimately he would make the final decision he wouldn’t make it completely on his own.
There are places he defers to me.
The house and the kids are in my purview for obvious reasons so when it comes to those things the reigns are handed over to me. I am given enough money to handle househole supplies, groceries, and other necessities each month (and this has helped us to stay on budget. Like saved our financial lives helped us) and spend it at my discretion. He can’t be in 100% control of everything. Nobody has time for that. Having someone he can trust to take care of things without the need for constant management is important. Not only do I handle the kids and the home but I make decisions for them on a regular basis. I bought a nice new refridgerator recently because I felt we needed a larger one. He took my word for it.
In short, ‘wifely submission’ is a mutually agreed upon dynamic where the husband is the ultimate authority of the entire family whilst the wife maintains a ‘partner’ or even ‘assitant’ role to the Head of Household. It’s nothing new and it’s nothing revolutionary but it still manages to be largely misunderstood. Athol Kay refers to my role as ‘First Officer‘ and many Christians refer to it as ‘helpmeet‘. Whatever term you decide on the fact remains that submissive wives are not in a subservient or childlike role to their husbands. They actually are leaders in the family just not the leader.
Coming up: why I still use the term and other final thoughts…