Submission ≠ Silence
I was surprised at the tears pooling in her eyes when I asked how I could pray for her.
“Pray for me ...” she paused here, “... to find my voice.”
Her husband is godly, moral, intelligent; a natural and successful leader.
But in his strength, he can have a difficult time listening well or absorbing constructive criticism. And sometimes, this can leave a wife … silent.
As wives, we might be overwhelmed, perhaps by a lack of sensitivity when a man tells rather than asks. When we don’t feel we can speak effectively or productively, sometimes we don’t. Maybe too often we choose silence, suppressing our voice except for the most pressing matters.
Yet God’s command to submit is no excuse for passivity—a passivity which may leave us angry (even when we deny it), cold, resigned, hurting, bitter, or insecure. On the other hand, choosing to speak does not mean nagging, whining, verbally shredding, or manipulating.
But assuming the context of a safe, nurturing relationship, it does mean we have a responsibility to help our husbands move toward holiness, and vice versa.
Confrontation means moving beyond fear, discomfort, or indifference to let our husbands know what’s harming them—and what’s affecting people around them.
It’s like a good doctor with an excellent bedside manner, but who refuses to pretend that someone’s not sick. Consider the potential effects of your courage on your husband’s ministry, church, kids, colleagues, work, and family.
There may be times when God has placed you, like Esther, in your husband’s life for a critical time, to head off damage—which he might not even be aware he’s causing. This woman trusted God to protect her as she acknowledged His leadership structure.
Submission doesn’t mean “we don’t talk about his issues.” Submission is gracefully supporting the responsibilities our husbands bear, empowering them as the leaders God designed.
It’s not about helping our husbands dominate or condoning their sin because of their gender.
A quiet spirit doesn’t mean God prefers introverts or women who shut up. A quiet spirit is one who listens for His whisper, humbly finding refuge in her place before a trustworthy, protective God.
The good stuff: Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands. (1 Peter 3:4-5)
Action points: Husbands, create a safe emotional place to invite your wife’s insight into your blind spots, asking her to graciously let you know when you’re dominating her. Wives, seek God’s face on ways you might be using submission to avoid courage. The next time you have something to say, pray for God’s wisdom to boldly and lovingly tell the truth.
This devotional originally occurred in full form at MarriageRevolution.org.
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