post #221 of 228
11/14/07 at 11:37am
I wouldn't say all submissives are setting "bad" examples per se.That is so subjective. I would say that the submissive types I was referring to are potentially setting up a situation where their children may develop views on relationships that (imo) aren't neccessarily healthy i.e. a son growing up feeling entitled to boss women around/be controlling , a daughter who accepts abuse thinking it is being submissive and is obeying God.
Of course it is more complicated than that, but that is the general jist. I think GalateaDunkel put it great.
At the same time though, I am an advocate of people making their own choices so I support the right of a person (women in most cases) to be submissive. However, the quandry for me is when said women don't *seem* happy a lot of the time. When they openly complain much of the time regarding their *role*, when they are upset and hurt a lot at their partner's (most of the time husband's) treatment of them or their children, when they seem to be actively seeking unhealthy (imo) ways (mostly passive aggressive, manipulative, and sneaky or covert) to get their needs and wants met.
You're not getting any extra props from Jesus by perpetuating a skewed perception of a *good Christian marriage* is what I want to say to some of these people... but I mostly keep my mouth shut
I see. I don't think being passive-aggressive or covert is necessarily unhealthy, though it's decidedly not my style, nor my husband's (I was fortunate to find a man as direct as I am). But if some people communicate better by being more indirect, that isn't automatically a problem.
But, getting back to the modeling for children... do you think that children will naturally model the relationship habits of their same-sex parent (that boys will imitate their fathers and girls their mothers)? This seems to be an axiom, but I wonder about it. I'm more modeled after my dad than my mom, but I don't know how common this is. Also, in regards to relationships, I consciously chose not to have a relationship like my parents'. Maybe some of the children of these relationships will do the same.
In every discussion though, there are different definitions of terms. According to some people's definitions here, I would be considered submissive. According to a lot of other people's definition here I would run from the word submissive faster than I would from a burning building.
I think a lot of people use the term submissive because it sounds nicer than saying their husband is a controlling jerk. (not speaking of anyone personally) That is the definition I don't adopt.
I would say I think that dynamic would be unhealthy for me, and if one is contented and at peace with that I suppose that is their business and certainly their free will choice. My addressing of that dynamic related to many people I have observed living that dynamic don't seem to me to be contented or at peace with the dynamic based on what they share. I also recognize that people do need to vent occassionaly (regardless of situation), but I speak more of ongoing themes of feeling like they are being treated unfairly/ or controlled/ or that they are constantly sacrificing their ideals in the spirit of "submission" -- cases where the husband decided to circ and the wife, however morally opposed, agreed on the premise of "deferring" to her husband who is "head" of the family. (This is not anecdotal, I have seen it on here). In those cases, yes, I will say I feel that is way unhealthy and doesn't fit my definition of submitting to God's will.
I don't believe it is the case all the time that children model their same sex parent, but I do believe that more often than not they do when you combine an upbringing with societal messages -- adding to that coupling with someone who is more often than not in my experience (but not always) doing the same thing.
I consciously chose to have a relationship different than my parents as well (not relating to submission but other things). *conscious* being the key word here. Many people are working unconsciously in my observation. This is one of the recurring themes on mothering in several areas -- many(mostly "mainstream") people circ and vax unconsciously, or because their caregivers/societal or familial influences did, many people hit their children for the same reasons etc --- to follow that, I can only assume many people repeat similar marriages/religious beliefs/life choices that their parents or influential institutions/people in their life did.
Again, this is not always the case so I can't say always or never.
|This is what I most, more than anything else, want to avoid with my kids. If I don't teach them anything else, I hope to teach them to think for themselves. They can choose to follow in our footsteps or they can choose to go another way, but I would only urge them to make it a thoughtful, considered, well-informed choice.|
I am so thankful to be married to my husband. He understands submission to God and to eachother. I don't identify as a *submissive* wife because I don't like the connotation it brings up to so many people. I also don't care for all the borderline abusive situations and plethora of controlling, jerky husbands I see (and wives who put up with them) who fall under the umbrella of "devoted servants to Jesus" because they cry submission. I simply disagree.
I don't "ask persmission" for anything, I treat dh with respect as he does me, I solicit and value his input, opinion, thoughts, concerns, preferences and heavily consider them when making decisions that affect our family... as he does with me. We consider eachother, we help eachother. Sometimes I defer to his judgment and others he defers to my judgment. It just depends on the situation.
He doesn't tell me how to dress, how to act, how to look, what to weigh, how to keep house, how to interact with our daughter or how to speak. Neither do I with him. However, we do take into consideration the other's preferences. For instance, he knows I love him clean shaven so he chooses to shave (though no one forces him to!). I know he finds it difficult to wake up until he's had coffee, so I am mindful of having his coffee ready. Not because I have to or he will *yell* at me or something, or I feel Jesus will be disappointed if I don't make my husband coffee : but because I love him and do nice things for him once in a while
It is just loving eachother. We strive to live and love as we believe Christ lived and loved and our first obligation is to God. We both submit to God and loving eachother in this way is part of that.
As to gender roles, I have more of a *traditional* gender role, as does dh in that he works outside of the home and I care for the home -- but these are both roles we tremendously enjoy -- I love staying at home with dd and doing *domestic* type things -- though he certainly helps when I need or want it, as I try to help bring in a bit of cash when we need it with various pursuits.
I strive to be non-judgmental but alas, I struggle in that area because I just cannot imagine living in a marriage of passive-aggression or what I perceive to be constant mild manipulation in order to get my needs or wants met. I couldn't imagine letting or expecting someone else to make all major decisions, or telling me what to wear or whatever.
I just thank God I married the man I did.
This makes perfect sense and describes my experience with submission well. I did not feel that I had a choice. It was a moral obligation. I think most people know the difference between "doing something because I want to do it" and "doing something because I feel morally obligated to do it," notwithstanding that we don't always fulfill our moral obligations. Other posters seem to be almost willfully misunderstanding your point and there seems to be no willingness to acknowledge the legitimate, serious reasons (i.e. not selfishness or selfcenteredness or grasping at power) why one might not want to submit.
The problem with wifely submission is that there is no real check on male power. The Bible tells men to treat their wives well, but it contains no enforcement mechanism or safety valve. Divorce is only OK because of adultery or abandonment by an unbelieving spouse - there is no provision for divorcing an abusive or domineering husband. There is no mention of church discipline for such men. The whole idea of women having legitimate grievances against their husbands is nowhere on the radar. Even the much-vaunted stories of Christ being kind to women focus on sexual immorality, not male dominance. So, unless you're married to a saint, you're screwed. Your lifestyle, career, projects and aspirations are all at the mercy of a fallen human who is being fed messages that he is the top dog.
I enabled sinful behavior in my husband for years under the aegis of "submission." I let him walk all over me because I had a duty to submit and turn the other cheek. It was really bad for both of us. It stunted our character development and our growth as a couple. Our decision making processes were tied up in all sorts of spiritual and emotional knots irrelevant to the problems at hand, often leading to bitter conflict - and the only solution my theology allowed me to imagine was that I wasn't being submissive enough, so I just kept getting more and more repressed and angry and confused.
When my daughter was born I realized that I could not let her grow up learning that it's the role of a woman to fetch and carry for a man and waste her life away praying that he'll change and embrace his "true" godly role. A submissive wife in a marriage with a man who's not a saint may think she's modeling faithfulness to God's command in the face of unacceptable behavior, but that's too abstract for children. All she's really modeling is that the way Dad treats her is OK.
My husband isn't a bad guy, but I was writing him a blank check for his worst impulses. Of course, defenders of submission will jump in and say that's not the way it's supposed to be. But if you define submission away to the point where it's only valid in the cases of women with saintly husbands who are so good at "giving themselves up" that the woman doesn't feel she's submitting at all, you trivialize the experiences of women who don't have that luxury. Women who search the Bible for an exception and don't find it and so feel compelled to sacrifice their lives and their families on the altar of an unattainable ideal.
I don't want to even get into the whole idea that a woman in a troubled marriage can turn her husband into a saint by being submissive. That is the biggest lie of all.
Wifely submission was a really painful experience for me so it's hard for me to write coherently about. I have been following this thread but not posting because I find it kind of triggering. I am now seeking a vision of God that affirms my dignity, my autonomy, and yes, my power.