Dearest friends, Like so many, our ministry has been hit hard by the flu. We hope that you and your families are well, and we will return to our weekly marriage podcast just as soon as all are well. All my best, -Phil
If I say the word “submission”, what comes to mind? It’s one of those handful of words that so often travels with baggage. But regardless of preconceived notions, I think this episode will offer a perspective worth considering. Hope you enjoy…
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Wives, submit to your husbands”? If you’ve spent some time in church, it’s a pretty safe bet that you have. And while the polarized arguments that often surround this hot potato topic will never be settled this side of eternity, there’s something related that I want you to ponder. But first, a brief story:
I shared with you a few weeks ago that the next time my wife and I had a conflict, I was going to walk my stubborn feet straight to a mirror and ask God what needed changing. Well, it happened.
And as I stood (reluctantly) in front of the mirror (still feeling intensely frustrated), I was given the answer to my question in about 2 seconds. The commission that is one line above the often quoted, “Wives, submit to your husbands” verse was immediately brought to my attention:
“Honor Christ by submitting to each other.”
Ephesians 5:21 (TLB)
And then God proceeded to share with me that I pretty much stink at this.
Friends, as I stared at the reflection of my face in that mirror, God showed me that the solution He wanted for our conflict was for me to simply lay down my personal preference… to yield my will to her will… to submit myself… to my wife. And in the heat of the moment, I’ll willingly admit… this did not feel like a good idea.
But God’s plans are not our plans, and His ways are not our ways. And the more I considered His answer to my question, the more I saw why He wanted me to follow this path.
To truly become like Christ, in moment by moment action and not just in spiritual theory, I must learn to sacrifice my selfish desires (even when I don’t want to). I must learn that submission of preference, of will, and of self is often what real love requires. And is there any greater place that I should be learning (and implementing) this than within the four walls of my home?
Prior to this experience, I thought I was pretty good at giving up my desires for my wife’s. I could cite a thousand times when I’ve “gone along with what she wants”. But men, conflict is what exposes the degree to which we are willing to yield preference. Conflict is what uncovers the line that we have drawn titled, “This is how far I’m willing to go for you.”
Now it’s easy to convince ourselves that if we’re willing to do things like work hard (for her), help around the house (for her), or even take a bullet (for her), that we have mastered the art of sacrifice. And while certainly honorable, things such as these pale… absolutely pale in comparison (both in difficulty and eminence) to the moment by moment submission of your will and preference to hers (with a gentle, loving, and humble spirit).
To return to our verse — If Ephesians 5:21 were to be fully expounded, it may speak of honoring Christ through submission to your co-workers. It may speak of honoring Christ through submission to your friends. It may speak of honoring Christ through submission to your church brothers and sisters.
But dare I say it… you may also read:
“Husbands, honor Christ by submitting to your wives.”
All my best,
Listen to the podcast here.
What would happen if… You spent over a decade of your life sitting at the feet of wise, Godly men? In this episode, Morgan shares why he intentionally chose the lowest seat at the table, when he had opportunities for much higher. Friends, this man’s story has changed my life… and will yours too. All my best, -Phil
Did you like it… When your relationship was at its absolute peak? Did you enjoy being that close to your wife? Did you enjoy being that connected to her?
If so, I have a very important question:
What types of things were you doing, at that time in your relationship? (not counting sex)
When you had a wonderful relationship with your spouse, you naturally did things that created a foundation of connection. And most of us, once we settle into normal, everyday, married life, completely stop whatever we did with our wife that created that foundation of connection.
If your wife liked to watch movies with you, it’s because it was creating connection. If she liked getting flowers from you, it’s because it was creating connection. If she liked talking to you for hours on end, it’s because it was creating connection. If she liked holding your hand and going for a walk, it’s because it was creating connection.
Your wife desires connection… intimate connection. And going back to some things that successfully built connection between the two of you in the first place can be an important part of deepening your relationship today.
Now, as you well know, just doing one or more of the “things you used to do” isn’t going to completely fix the relationship that you currently have. These things, in and of themselves, are not going to eliminate conflict. They are not going to heal all the hurt. They are not going to independently create intimacy.
I remember hearing, when my wife and I were really struggling, how important it was to keep “dating” your wife after you got married. And this is certainly good advice. However, our relationship problems were so great that a white tablecloth and soft music just made for even more awkward silence than we had already been experiencing. But in conjunction with other efforts, repeating things that years ago brought you closer together can often be a wonderful (and powerful) tool for “fanning the flames” of your current relationship.
Back then, you did these things instinctively. Today, you’re going to need to do them intentionally.
So whatever you did in the “good old days”… do it again. Whether movies, or flowers, or uninterrupted talking, or hand holding, or walking, or sky diving 🙂 …whatever you did that she liked and that created a foundation of connection between the two of you… start doing it again.
And I’ll give you fair warning — This will probably feel silly, at first. You may be tempted to bail on the idea and just return to your normal routine. But if you continue to do it… and continue to do it… and continue to do it — In time, this seemingly simple suggestion can play an absolutely huge part in helping your relationship move toward a place that you both will (once again) love.
All my best,
Listen to the podcast here