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talk to me about wifely submission and gender roles

post #1 of 228
Thread Starter 
firstly tell me why. why do you do it? why do you feel it is "right" to do? etc

TIA!
post #2 of 228
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post #3 of 228
im interested as well.

:
post #4 of 228
:

I guess we can all eat popcorn as we talk!
post #5 of 228
Well, there's common ground, anyhow, eh?

I'll drag some of my questions from the other thread over here, maybe...
post #6 of 228
Considering that this topic invariably leads to insults I'm not sure how much of a response you are going to get. People will just use this opportunity to post rolleye smilies and remind everyone how much they disagree with their choice.

ETA or to remind people of how women who would make this choice are somehow damaged and that it's impossible for any healthy person to choose such a thing.

Not saying that you started this for that purpose Mags, just that we have BTDT on this topic before.
post #7 of 228
I guess my basic question is this:

How does "wifely submission" differ from garden-variety gender roles in a regular het marriage? Does it?
post #8 of 228
OK. I'll be the first to say something, I guess. I am in a standard gender role and try to be a submissive wife. To me, they are separate categories but can bleed over onto one another when looked at from the outside.

I willingly submit to my husband's authority in our house. He is the head and I am what I love to refer to as the neck. So he is the 'boss' but I can turn him just about any way I really want to! But I enjoy the rest, for lack of a better word, that I get from allowing someone else to take the responsibility from me. Being the "boss" is a very heavy burden to carry. I enjoy the feeling of stepping out from under that burden and letting someone else carry it.

I am also in the standard woman's gender role. That is because that is where I am suppose to be (I am designed that way). I enjoy baking, sewing, cooking, and having children. I enjoy being pg. I enjoy holding my babies. I enjoy keeping house. I enjoy being around my children all day long. I do NOT enjoy working outside of the house, have done it, not fun. I LOVE being a wife and mother. It makes me happy and has been my dream from the time I was 12.
post #9 of 228
I don't think I'm qualified to speak on "wifely submission" because the idea of submitting to my husband, that the structure of our relationship is defined by my submission to him, is way far off the mark of what our relationship is. There was a great article quoted in the OP about the Ephesians verses from which marital submission is most often referenced in modern churches.

Here's how we interpret it - God is deliberate, and the words of Scripture have a purposeful placement. The first thing that the Bible instructs is that husbands love their wives as Christ loved the church, to be willing to give up his life. If one takes a snapshot of Christ's life, He was overall, a kind and loving man, with an intense drive for truth and justice. He was non-judgmental, but also stood up strongly for what He believed to be right according to God. When it came to His followers, His believers, he chose to be tortured, humiliated, and killed for them - slowly and brutally, which is the ultimate way of setting aside one's own desires and selfishness. THEN...God instructs us, as women, to respect our husbands. It is my firm belief that the order is right there, as it is presented in the Bible, that the husband is first responsible for being other-focused in his marriage, that he strives to lead by sacrificing. Not by making all the decisions, but by setting aside his selfish pursuits that might cause the marriage to be out of synch (for example, that he wants to go fishing all weekend, but he's a dad and husband and so chooses to spend the weekend with his family, or takes his kids fishing and then comes home early to take his wife on a date), and that women, *in response*, can respect this man that doesn't just declare his love with words, but lives a life of love by his choices and actions.

The submission, IMO, has zip to do with financial/household/familial decisions and everything to do with how we treat one another. It's about mutually respecting each other's gifts and abilities and empowering ourselves as a couple by combining those gifts.

This is an example from our marriage: I was attempting to do this kind of submission thing as taught by an old church of ours (that didn't last long - our church attendance there). One thing I did was always "let" DH drive. Because he's the man, right? And the man needs to be the driver of the home, and what a great opportunity to show him that I trust him and turn over my "need" to "drive" by a literal metaphor! Good stuff, right? Well, I remember about 2 weeks into it, after the fiftieth time he missed the exit, and the forty-seventh time he was going 45 in the 70 lane and I had bit my tongue and bit it and bit it and bit it and just stayed calm and smiling because I was submitting, dammit. Finally, I couldn't take it, when we ended up 30 minutes late because he drove past the exit we needed. We just both yakked it up about it, sparring back and forth and realized that both of us hated what we were doing. He hates to drive, he is NOT gifted in navigation, and he LOVES it when I say, "Turn here, turn there. The exit is in a mile. Now in a 1/2 mile. Exit here. HERE! EXIIIIITTTTT!" because he is not so much a GPS system.

I've since learned that that literal example is a great metaphor for other areas of our lives. I am better at directions, so I drive and navigate. Or he drives and I navigate. I am terrific at planning, so I make plans for us as a couple with friends and he's thrilled that we have things to do that he doesn't have to decide about. He's very, very gifted in finance, and so he is in charge of paying the bills and we both sit down to budget together. There are certainly things that I ask him to make the final decision on, if I'm feeling out of my league or too emotional to see straight. And there are things he asks me to decide, if he's too emotionally entangled or doesn't feel he has enough knowledge.

The idea of "wifely submission" to me, is just off the mark of what Jesus intends for our relationship. My husband feels cherished, valued and respected even when I make decisions. As do I, when he does. Even if he disagrees with some of them, he also tells me that he trusts my judgment and he will agree to be on board, even if he doesn't understand why or how...because I'm a smart lady. For him to be the final decision maker in our marriage is just ... illogical. God doesn't sit up there and make all our final decisions for us, we have to take that responsibility on ourselves, so why should our husbands have that power?
post #10 of 228
nak, bear with me.

I would mention, first of all, that gender roles and submission aren't the same thing. There is the assumption or stereotype that in a relationship of submission, power exchange, whatever you want to call it, that it is a traditional gender role family, i.e. the husband is woh, does repairs, physical stuff, and the wife is sahm, does childcare, housework, cooking, etc. This is not necessarily true. There are submissives with high-powered careers, head-of-household men who are sahds, all kinds of arrangements.

As to the why... thisi s of course going to be different for each family. To me it is about self improvement. Become a better person by serving someone else.

I'll respond more coherently later.
post #11 of 228
Quote:
Originally Posted by frog View Post
I guess my basic question is this:

How does "wifely submission" differ from garden-variety gender roles in a regular het marriage? Does it?
It differs a lot in my marriage! We aren't very standard in a lot of gender roles. My DH does most of the laundry in our house. I pay the bills. That doesn't affect our interpretation of submission at all!

While I believe it's a valid Biblical concept, it doesn't affect our marriage in such a radical way as I see others mentioning. It's not a struggle for me. My DH doesn't make all of the decisions in our house, for sure! I actually can only think of a handful of times where I've deferred to him on a decision where I totally disagree. And in those cases, someone has to "win", yk? I trust that my DH has our best interests in mind, and if he's totally convinced of something, then there has been occasion where we'll go his way. But it's so seldom, and so not major, that I can't even think of an example. In addition, there are probably even more times that my DH has "allowed" me to make that final decision when we disagree.

Overall, we feel it is very important to make decisions together, for our marriage. That requires both of us making sacrifices sometimes. And in the Ephesians 5 passage, I concentrate most of my energy on respecting him. It works out well for us. But there's not much "typical" gender roles. In fact, in one mom's group I'm in, I provide a lot of the insight for the other wives who are getting annoyed at their husbands for various things. All that they get annoyed at--it's normally something that *I* do, as well. And it provides me with good insight into my DH's personality, because it so often reflects what I hear from the other women.


Quote:
Originally Posted by daniedb View Post

Here's how we interpret it - God is deliberate, and the words of Scripture have a purposeful placement. The first thing that the Bible instructs is that husbands love their wives as Christ loved the church, to be willing to give up his life. If one takes a snapshot of Christ's life, He was overall, a kind and loving man, with an intense drive for truth and justice. He was non-judgmental, but also stood up strongly for what He believed to be right according to God. When it came to His followers, His believers, he chose to be tortured, humiliated, and killed for them - slowly and brutally, which is the ultimate way of setting aside one's own desires and selfishness. THEN...God instructs us, as women, to respect our husbands. It is my firm belief that the order is right there, as it is presented in the Bible, that the husband is first responsible for being other-focused in his marriage, that he strives to lead by sacrificing. Not by making all the decisions, but by setting aside his selfish pursuits that might cause the marriage to be out of synch (for example, that he wants to go fishing all weekend, but he's a dad and husband and so chooses to spend the weekend with his family, or takes his kids fishing and then comes home early to take his wife on a date), and that women, *in response*, can respect this man that doesn't just declare his love with words, but lives a life of love by his choices and actions.

The submission, IMO, has zip to do with financial/household/familial decisions and everything to do with how we treat one another. It's about mutually respecting each other's gifts and abilities and empowering ourselves as a couple by combining those gifts.

The idea of "wifely submission" to me, is just off the mark of what Jesus intends for our relationship. My husband feels cherished, valued and respected even when I make decisions. As do I, when he does. Even if he disagrees with some of them, he also tells me that he trusts my judgment and he will agree to be on board, even if he doesn't understand why or how...because I'm a smart lady. For him to be the final decision maker in our marriage is just ... illogical. God doesn't sit up there and make all our final decisions for us, we have to take that responsibility on ourselves, so why should our husbands have that power?
Ah, I should have read Danielle's beautiful post first before I started trying to form coherent thoughts. Our marriage sounds very similar to how they approach submission. And yes, I agree--submission has nothing to do with who is cooking or doing the laundry, or even making the decisions.
post #12 of 228
Moving over from the other thread..... (thanks Mags

I've read a few threads about submission and it seems like the women who are happiest seem to just naturally fall into the "submissive" role - either because they trust their partner or agree most of the time, so it's kind of a moot point... or sometimes because they are so tired of being "in charge" all day with kids and family that it's a welcome change to have DP take over.

That all seems TOTALLY reasonable, imo, and not very controversial.

I'm wondering, though (and this question is really just for those women who are content and happy in their marriage) - would you have picked this type of marriage regardless of the man you married... or does it work for you because of your unique relationship? Did you choose a partner with this kind of dynamic in mind? Or did it just naturally evolve?
post #13 of 228
Quote:
Originally Posted by woobysma View Post
I'm wondering, though (and this question is really just for those women who are content and happy in their marriage) - would you have picked this type of marriage regardless of the man you married... or does it work for you because of your unique relationship? Did you choose a partner with this kind of dynamic in mind? Or did it just naturally evolve?
For me, I guess it would have to be both. I would have picked this type of marriage regardless, because that is just how I am. But it works because of our unique relationship. But then again, I believe in that one specific person that compliments you in life. And that you should wait for that person. And that when you find that person, you will naturally compliment each other and balance each other. I chose my Husband because I felt he was my Match. My soul mate that God had created specifically for me. And over time, our relationship evolved into the great thing we have today.
post #14 of 228
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
Considering that this topic invariably leads to insults I'm not sure how much of a response you are going to get. People will just use this opportunity to post rolleye smilies and remind everyone how much they disagree with their choice.

ETA or to remind people of how women who would make this choice are somehow damaged and that it's impossible for any healthy person to choose such a thing.

Not saying that you started this for that purpose Mags, just that we have BTDT on this topic before.
this is my major concern. i was giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. because i do believe in gender roles i'm expecting to get my share of eyerolls and snarks. so PLEASE can we keep this open? i am genuinely curious.

ETA- certain gender roles, not all. my DH babywears and gets up at night with the kiddos and does his share of laundry, dishes, etc. just wanted to make that clear. i just firmly believe that each gender has it's own duties and responsibilities.
post #15 of 228
I am so confused on what submission is suppose to mean. Till I ventured into this forum I have never ever heard of it. Does it mean my husband says what I can wear? Who my friends can be? If thats the case, thats something I want no part of. This is my opinion, that borders on mental abuse.

My husband and I have an equal partnership. He is better at some things than I am. I am better at other things. If one needs help (like I normally do the laundry, but that doesn't mean my husband won't do it if he sees the laundry basket full. Like this morning he put the dark clothes in the washer before he went to work) the other picks up the slack.

I guess thats my version of what a marriage is.
post #16 of 228
I'm still not sure, either. Some parts of it sound like my marriage even though we're not Christian, don't buy into gender roles and don't read the bible..... we actually like each other, though, and try to be nice to one another. Sometimes, I even **GASP** do things I don't really care about because they are important to DP
I don't see that as being submissive.

I guess what's always baffled me a bit is I've heard stories of submissive wives in some really just horrifically bad marriages - abuse or extreme selfishness and neglect on the part of the husband, etc. and they stay because they're "submissive", and then there are other posts by wives who claim to be part of this belief who seem to have wonderful relationships and obviously speak up for themselves and are *not at all* what I would describe as a "doormat" or any of the other names that get thrown around.

So, if you pick the "wrong" guy, can you change your mind? Does God allow for spiritual growth that leads one to wake up one morning and realize she's married an ass? Or what if your husband is stopping you from fulfilling your role as a Christian? What if God says you shoudl be a teacher and you're very good at it, but your husband says you aren't allowed to work or go to school?

Where does the rubber meet the road?, I guess is my question.......



I wish I wasn't at work right now. I'm trying to wrap my head around it, but I'm being pulled in about 10 different directions right now. : I'll check back in later tonight. Gotta go riht now.
post #17 of 228
This might be an unpopular view, but I believe that when God said He wanted wives to be submissive, I believe He meant in mostly a spiritual sense, as in the husband is to lead the family to Christ. I don't believe that He meant the wives should *let* husband "be in charge", or make all the decisions, ext. I think that's stretching scripture, personally-but if that's how you want to live your life, then more power to you. Also, the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. If the husband loves his wife with all his heart, he will value and cherish her opinions, and listen to her as an equal sayer of things in the household. So, while yes the husband is the head, he is also bound by the things in the Bible when Christ says to love her as Christ loved the church. It's give and take, in a sense: the wife adores and love her husband, and vice/versa; even with the husband as the spiritual head and leader of the household, the wife still has her say and equality.

FWIW, I respect my husband as the head of my household, but if he makes a wrong decision, I'll confront him then and there and we discuss it. I DO pray about things that he does, but I also let him know nicely how I feel. I'm not a doormat (I am NOT saying that all submissive wives are, not by ANY MEANS..but some out there boderline on it); I'm a person with feelings that deserve respect.

Anyway, just my two cents.
post #18 of 228
I classify myself as a submissive wife, but I bet it's not what most people have in mind.

I am more the "boss" especially at work. (we run our own business)

But if there was something that DH felt strongly enough about to play the head of household card, I would defer to him.

UNLESS - it was something that would go against God. He is my ultimate authority.

If he was being an abusive in any way, I ALWAYS have the right to leave. I can live somewhere else without divorcing, OR when the situation calls for it, the church can condone a divorce.

I could always obtain a legal divorce, but I believe my marriage is spiritual covenant and the legal document is a separate thing.

Specifically regarding clothing - my DH does let me know what he thinks I look best in. I almost always accommodate because I value his opinion and hey, he's the one I'm taking to bed at night.

You can totally be a submissive, boundary setting wife.

The churches that are allowing abuse in the name of submission are going to be in BIG trouble IMO.
post #19 of 228
Jumping in, too.
My DH is the head of the house and fufills the typical 'male' role of our family. He is the one to WOH, he takes care of all the finances, he has final say on decisions. I ask him before I spend money, I defer to his wishes. Why? Because I believe that God intended this for marriage- not just my marriage, but all marriages. I know that isn't a popular view.
post #20 of 228
Quote:
Originally Posted by theretohere View Post
Jumping in, too.
My DH is the head of the house and fufills the typical 'male' role of our family. He is the one to WOH, he takes care of all the finances, he has final say on decisions. I ask him before I spend money, I defer to his wishes. Why? Because I believe that God intended this for marriage- not just my marriage, but all marriages. I know that isn't a popular view.
But what if you marry someone, who is not that good at taking care of the finances and other 'male' roles? Are you just supposed to sit back and let him destroy the family? Or is this where the 'he is the head I am the neck' thing comes in? And doesn't that just turn in to manipulating him?
Truly, no snark intented, I'm really curious and I'm having a hard time understanding this.
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