Oh my goodness! I went out of town for a week and theres SO much I've missed!!
Forgive me if this gets a bit long...
bamamom Thank you for the story you shared. I don't doubt its truth. Before my marriage, I was the lost one and through viewing the unselfish, loving, godly actions of my now Dh I was changed. Not by his words or demands (he made none) but by seeing him living in Christ. Yes it took years, yes there was pain, yes I had to run away to recognize my feelings for Christ were for the love og Him and not because I loved Dh and he loved the Lord. ...actions, my friends, are so much stronger than any words.
Mamajama I appreciate your desire to question... there is no way for anyone to become beter than they are without a serious dose of introspection and challenge. You asked about whether one should follow God or one's husband if Dh's will was not in line with God's. From a biblical standpoint, the answer is easy. If Dh's will is not in line with the scriptures then he is not functioning in his role as head of the home the way he is supposed to ...not loving you as Christ did the Church. In such an instance, following Christ supercedes one's obligation to one's Dh. In essence, one ALWAYS follows Christ and, God willing, Dh's actions are in line with that too.
You also asked what if one was given musical tallent, etc. and Dh didn't want you to use it or pursue it?
Not to stroke my own ego, but just for illustrative purposes, I was given such "talent." My Dh was an international opera singer by profession for 25 years. We met doing a show together. I pursued a career along the same path. My Dh never asked me to give the career up, but if he had, though painful, I would have done so.
Without his insitence, I came to that conclusion on my own...and through viewing his actions. He traveled 10 or 11 months a year singing in the US and Europe before we married. When we married he retired from singing (although still had to finish several years of contracts...but he didn't take any more). He knew he wanted to be at home with me and our future children. He also knew that the life of an opera singer was not conducive to a stable marriage and family. I made the decision on my own that despite wanting the career (self centered), wanting to be a Good wife and mother was much more important to me (family centered). I still sing (in church ocassionally...and lullabyes to my baby, of course) and it is NO waste of my talent. It is simply an acknowledgement that there are things greater than myself to which I have a blessed duty.
DebraBaker mentioned that teaching kids to smile and look pretty is modeling passivity and teaching them to be a doormat.
I have to respectfully disagree with her the charecterization of submission as well as her conclusion. In acting in a biblically submissive way, a woman is teaching her children how to model the feminine ideal...not be a doormat. I have never felt like I was one, nor has my husband treated me that way. If I walk around with a scowl on my face and fail to take care of myself physically, then by all means, my husband will feel less inclined to be physically attracticed to me and will likely think less of me for my lack of effort. This is not to say that one should just blithely smile and be a little Stepford wife. It simply acknowledges that the only actions over which one has control are one's own. I can only change myself. Conjunctively, if I try my hardest to be the bright spot in my husband's life and to do things for him and give without expecting anything in return I am rewarded (not will be , but AM...daily). It is a natural response to feel happy when someone does somehting for you without expectation (on either side). That happiness leads to wanting to do something to make the other person feel just as good about themself as they were made to feel. It is a regerative circle. As far a physical appearence (dressing nicely and smiling are concerned) beyond it just being a generally nice thing to do, it recognizes one of the natural differences between the sexes. Men are much more visually stimulated than women. A man who doesn't wasnt sex from his spouse is a man who is either medically ailing or hurt/in pain in some way. This might be external to the marriage (ie/ his dad just died) or internal to it (ie/ there are problems within...ex: he might feel emasculated in some way by a wife unwilling to allow him to be a man, in all his differences).
I certainly make my opinion known to my husband (in a non confrontational way) and you know what? the more I defer to him, the more he asks for my opinion and counsel. Long answer short, submission is not about shutting up and looking pretty. Its about self sacrafice and respect for one's husband as leader...yes there can be too many chiefs...
Okay...getting too long. I'm going to post this monster and continue on in another post....