talk to me about wifely submission and gender roles - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 228 Old 10-28-2007, 12:30 AM
 
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I think that this is a huge problem in the "male as leader" model, in that a woman can never be a man, therefore, by default she can never be the "leader" in the marriage. The language of patriarchy has changed from "women are clearly inferior with lack of brain power" to "women are equal, they just have different roles" however, it is clear that the only "role" that women are to perform is to be subordinate to men. how and when this happens differs on opinion and life experience of those involved, there are extremists positions such as what happens at the Doug Wilson forums, and then "softer" positions, which is the kind that most churches teach these days. but the only constant among these strains is female subordination.
anyway, what it comes down to is that women can never be functionally subordinate to men in a theology that calls them "equal yet different" though what it most often addresses has nothing to do with biology.
I like the point you're making here. Could you flesh it out a little bit? I think you're getting at something really important...

OT, but way to go on the HBAC!!!
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#122 of 228 Old 10-28-2007, 12:36 AM
 
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OK, but could you be a little more specific? I'm still not getting it. In your last post you basically said there is a time and place for women to use their leadership skills. What is the time and place? What would be a God-pleasing job? What would be a not-God-pleasing job? Can you give some examples?

And are there God-pleasing jobs and not-God-pleasing jobs for men? Is a SAHD pleasing God, for example?

Thanks!
God pleasing job- doctor, teacher, ditch digger. Not God pleasing? Prostitute is the only thing that comes to mind.
I think being a SAHD can be God pleasing.
It's about attitude, not a specific set of actions.

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#123 of 228 Old 10-28-2007, 09:11 AM
 
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OK, so now it sounds like you are saying you don't believe in traditional gender roles for everyone. I'm still . What did you mean by this then?
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There are plenty of God pleasing ways to use leadership skills, for both men and women. I just think the appropriate times are different for both genders.
How are the appropriate times different? What would be an appropriate time? What would be an inappropriate time?
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#124 of 228 Old 10-28-2007, 11:35 AM
 
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OK, but could you be a little more specific? I'm still not getting it. In your last post you basically said there is a time and place for women to use their leadership skills. What is the time and place? What would be a God-pleasing job? What would be a not-God-pleasing job? Can you give some examples?

And are there God-pleasing jobs and not-God-pleasing jobs for men? Is a SAHD pleasing God, for example?

Thanks!
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OK, so now it sounds like you are saying you don't believe in traditional gender roles for everyone. I'm still . What did you mean by this then?

How are the appropriate times different? What would be an appropriate time? What would be an inappropriate time?

Those are good questions. I think, anyway. And how would one know what jobs are pleasing to god, and when? is it written somewhere, or do you come to know by prayer? who decides and who tells you? I've been a wohm and dp a sahd for many years. so it makes me wonder, for someone of faith if you had the roles of my family, how would one know if and when it was god pleasing or not?

But I think maybe it is different for each family? Or is there a standard for Christian submissive families in general?
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#125 of 228 Old 10-28-2007, 11:08 PM
 
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Those are good questions. I think, anyway. And how would one know what jobs are pleasing to god, and when? is it written somewhere, or do you come to know by prayer? who decides and who tells you? I've been a wohm and dp a sahd for many years. so it makes me wonder, for someone of faith if you had the roles of my family, how would one know if and when it was god pleasing or not?

But I think maybe it is different for each family? Or is there a standard for Christian submissive families in general?
Prayer, and an agreement between the spouses. If I wanted to be a doctor, for example, and DH thought it wasn't the right time- then that wouldn't be a God pleasing job. If DH was behind it, then I would know it was right.

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#126 of 228 Old 10-28-2007, 11:16 PM
 
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Prayer, and an agreement between the spouses. If I wanted to be a doctor, for example, and DH thought it wasn't the right time- then that wouldn't be a God pleasing job. If DH was behind it, then I would know it was right.
Question: Is it because he's the man that it would not be God pleasing? If he wanted to be a doctor, and you prayed about it and you felt God was telling you he shouldn't at this time, would it be God pleasing for him to do it?

I'm trying to figure out how much of this is submission and how much is the more general goal of pleasing God. Hopefully I am making sense.
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#127 of 228 Old 10-28-2007, 11:42 PM
 
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Question: Is it because he's the man that it would not be God pleasing? If he wanted to be a doctor, and you prayed about it and you felt God was telling you he shouldn't at this time, would it be God pleasing for him to do it?

I'm trying to figure out how much of this is submission and how much is the more general goal of pleasing God. Hopefully I am making sense.
Well, primary goal of all actions should be pleasing God. If he wanted to be a doctor and I disagreed, it would be my place to submit to what he thought best for our family. Along with that is his responsibility to have a self sacrificing love- which is a much more difficult charge.

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#128 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 04:57 AM
 
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OK, I think I understand now. So the "appropriate time" is what the husband decides is best for the family after prayer and consideration. Right?
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#129 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 09:33 AM
 
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Well, primary goal of all actions should be pleasing God. If he wanted to be a doctor and I disagreed, it would be my place to submit to what he thought best for our family. Along with that is his responsibility to have a self sacrificing love- which is a much more difficult charge.
But note, I didn't say you disagreed. I said you believed God told you it was wrong.
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#130 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 09:38 AM
 
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OK, I think I understand now. So the "appropriate time" is what the husband decides is best for the family after prayer and consideration. Right?
It always strikes me how when you poke at the argument, you can almost remove God from it. I mean, sure you pray about it, and claim to listen to what God wants, but in the end, you do what the man wants. Its not about God's will, its about God's will as interpreted by your husband, or more specifically, your husband's will, with the authority of a god. I find the process fascinating. :
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#131 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 09:47 AM
 
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It always strikes me how when you poke at the argument, you can almost remove God from it. I mean, sure you pray about it, and claim to listen to what God wants, but in the end, you do what the man wants. Its not about God's will, its about God's will as interpreted by your husband, or more specifically, your husband's will, with the authority of a god. I find the process fascinating. :
Nicely executed duck, there.

I get stuck there, too. I understand the idea of trusting your spouse. I understand the idea of trusting God. I don't understand the idea of trusting your spouse to speak for God.
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#132 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 10:32 AM
 
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I get stuck there, too. I understand the idea of trusting your spouse. I understand the idea of trusting God. I don't understand the idea of trusting your spouse to speak for God.
That's the same argument that Thomas Paine uses in "The Age of Reason":

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No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication, if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and consequently they are not obliged to believe it.

It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second-hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication — after this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him.
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#133 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 10:40 AM
 
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Indeed, wdw, this is why, IMO, it's important to use the "wherever two or three are gathered in God's name..." thing. If something's only revealed to one person, I'm not convinced that that's actually God.

YMMV, natch.
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#134 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 10:44 AM
 
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Indeed, wdw, this is why, IMO, it's important to use the "wherever two or three are gathered in God's name..." thing. If something's only revealed to one person, I'm not convinced that that's actually God.

YMMV, natch.
It's certainly questionable, lacking any method of verification.
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#135 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 12:42 PM
 
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Its not about God's will, its about God's will as interpreted by your husband, or more specifically, your husband's will, with the authority of a god.
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I understand the idea of trusting your spouse. I understand the idea of trusting God. I don't understand the idea of trusting your spouse to speak for God.
Ah, yes! I've been cogitating over some of the answers on this thread and trying to figure out why they don't work for me, and you two have hit on it.

I do think this is an issue of personality type. One thing that I've heard submissive wives say often is how the husband's job is so much harder, and how they really don't want that responsibility. So it seems to me that, for a person with those desires, that personality type, finding a great guy and submitting to him is ideal.

This brings up another question to me, though. Remember upthread when a poster (don't remember who) was saying that some issues simply can't be compromised on, that one person needs to have the authority to make the final decision? Well, I just realized that by saying that you are basically taking God out of the equation. Because if God is able to speak to people and convict them in their hearts about the right thing to do, why wouldn't God convict both husband and wife of the same thing so they would agree? It seems to me that if both husband and wife are praying and seeking God's will then they would never disagree on decisions. If they do, then obviously they are interpreting differently the message God is giving them. And if God's message can be interpreted in different ways, then how do you know the husband got it right?
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#136 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 02:49 PM
 
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Because if God is able to speak to people and convict them in their hearts about the right thing to do, why wouldn't God convict both husband and wife of the same thing so they would agree? It seems to me that if both husband and wife are praying and seeking God's will then they would never disagree on decisions. If they do, then obviously they are interpreting differently the message God is giving them. And if God's message can be interpreted in different ways, then how do you know the husband got it right?
IME, the answer to the bolded question is YES. We don't always agree on the little things, so we usually defer to the person more invested in the decision. However, if there was serious difference on a major decision, we would pray about it and WAIT for unity in the Spirit. I have found that when people expect to reach a consensus, they usually do. Both the husband and the wife have a duty to seek God's best for their partner and the family. The husband and wife each have a responsibility to what God is revealing to him/her. The husband does not somehow have a more direct line to God.
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#137 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 02:49 PM
 
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About "removing God from the equation"--I believe we can serve God by serving one another. So from that perspective, honoring your spouse is honoring God.
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#138 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 03:36 PM
 
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IME, the answer to the bolded question is YES. We don't always agree on the little things, so we usually defer to the person more invested in the decision. However, if there was serious difference on a major decision, we would pray about it and WAIT for unity in the Spirit. I have found that when people expect to reach a consensus, they usually do. Both the husband and the wife have a duty to seek God's best for their partner and the family. The husband and wife each have a responsibility to what God is revealing to him/her. The husband does not somehow have a more direct line to God.
Agree 110%!
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#139 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 08:34 PM
 
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It's really one of those things that you really have to mature into. Both parties.

I've found that if I know something isn't right, and DH goes ahead with it, it goes down in a ball of flames pretty quickly.

I may or may not smirk a little when that happens.

My DH would have to be so totally convinced it was truly God to go against my wishes or opinion that I would most likely go along just out of shock!

In the doctor example - if I was ABSOLUTELY certain DH should not become a doctor and he went ahead there is a good chance that it would not be pleasing to God. Only He knows for sure, but unless it's like a clear word directly to DH, he should give himself (and his wishes) up for mine.


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This brings up another question to me, though. Remember upthread when a poster (don't remember who) was saying that some issues simply can't be compromised on, that one person needs to have the authority to make the final decision? Well, I just realized that by saying that you are basically taking God out of the equation. Because if God is able to speak to people and convict them in their hearts about the right thing to do, why wouldn't God convict both husband and wife of the same thing so they would agree? It seems to me that if both husband and wife are praying and seeking God's will then they would never disagree on decisions. If they do, then obviously they are interpreting differently the message God is giving them. And if God's message can be interpreted in different ways, then how do you know the husband got it right?
Ok - bear with me on this one. I hope I get this out correctly. Why do we sometimes hear Him differently? Because we are mere humans. Our judgement is clouded by our experience here on earth.

So if I'm right and DH is wrong, but we do it his way - God judges my heart. Did I submit because I really thought that would be the most honoring thing? Or was it "fine! do it your way"? If it was the former, He totally has my back. He honors my heart and can make it work out good for me anyway.

If I'm wrong and DH is right and we do it my way - Again, his heart will be judged. If he stepped aside to honor me, God honors that. If he did it just to see me fail, I think he's going to see some unfavorable consequences.

I think something that gets left out of the equation is the wife's call to be a helpmeet. That means I can't just bow out and let him make all the decisions. If man could do it himself, God would not have created Eve.

For me, it's not something with cut and dry rules. Like the rest of my Christian walk, I have to turn to Him continually and ask Him what to do at each turn.

He hasn't let me down yet.

ETA - I want to touch on the consequences for a husband. It's not like they get away with doing anything they want. God is always there. If I submit and DH takes advantage of that, God is totally NOT pleased. My DH has seen the not pleased side of God. It's not a place he wants to see again.
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#140 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 08:49 PM
 
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I want to touch on the consequences for a husband. It's not like they get away with doing anything they want. God is always there. If I submit and DH takes advantage of that, God is totally NOT pleased. My DH has seen the not pleased side of God. It's not a place he wants to see again.
Can you elaborate on this, Whimsy? How does the displeasure of God manifest, exactly? What is it that your husband sees? Is it that he realizes his decision was a bad one, due to its consequences (bounced check, angry wife, etc)? Or are we talking about a spiritual encounter with a displeased God?
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#141 of 228 Old 10-29-2007, 09:00 PM
 
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Well, there are consequences, but it's mostly a spiritual thing.

Generally, it's a feeling of unrest.

But, there is also the soul crushing knowledge that you have displeased God. If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about.

I've been there, and it's a HORRIBLE place to be.

I've seen my DH completely broken by being out of harmony with God.

I can't even enjoy being right during those times.
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#142 of 228 Old 10-30-2007, 09:00 AM
 
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It's really one of those things that you really have to mature into. Both parties.
Could you say more about this? Honestly, from my non-submissive but very much Christian and feminist perspective, it seems like something one would mature OUT of.
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#143 of 228 Old 10-30-2007, 10:52 AM
 
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Could you say more about this? Honestly, from my non-submissive but very much Christian and feminist perspective, it seems like something one would mature OUT of.
I mean the part about putting someone else first.

And being able to trust God enough to do so.

Early in our marriage, DH had some big head ideas about being the "head" of the house.

Of course, we would clash over things. One time, God said "just let this one go. don't be bitter about it. Just wait and see what happens" I had already made myself clear that I didn't want him to go.

(I think DH wanted to go roping and I wanted to do something around the house)

So I let it go. It wasn't so much that I thought DH was right, because I didn't. But I trusted God when He told me to let it go.

And sure enough, DH's day went to crap. Mine however, was great.

It didn't take too many experiences like that for DH to realize that it really doesn't pay to take that attitude.

What God was showing him was that DH is called to sacrifice himself for me. If I really, really wanted him to stay home, he should have done it (with a good attitude) even if he didn't want to.

When we are both operating under these principals, things are SWEET!

Frog -
I am equally as interested in your statement. What part of it do you feel the need to get away from?
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#144 of 228 Old 10-30-2007, 10:57 AM
 
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Frog -
I am equally as interested in your statement. What part of it do you feel the need to get away from?
As an adult, as a feminist, I think that it's detrimental to intentionally put yourself in a submissive role. I'm much more interested in a fully equal partnership, now that I'm grown. When I was younger and felt less capable, the idea of having someone else make all the important decisions (and take responsibility for the consequences) was very appealing to me. But the more I learn and read and grow, the more it's clear to me that that's not being my whole self, and I think God's will for me is to be my whole self, not to hide under/behind someone else.
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#145 of 228 Old 10-30-2007, 11:17 AM
 
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As an adult, as a feminist, I think that it's detrimental to intentionally put yourself in a submissive role. I'm much more interested in a fully equal partnership, now that I'm grown. When I was younger and felt less capable, the idea of having someone else make all the important decisions (and take responsibility for the consequences) was very appealing to me. But the more I learn and read and grow, the more it's clear to me that that's not being my whole self, and I think God's will for me is to be my whole self, not to hide under/behind someone else.
Frog -

I think we're on the same page. If anything, I'm hoping to show that our call to submit does NOT mean sitting back and letting someone make all the decisions. At one point, I did think that was all there was to it. But as I've matured in my faith, and lean on the Holy Spirit to guide me more than what someone else says is the right way to do something, I am finding more and more layers to it.

Dh says I wouldn't love him very much if I just sat back and made him make all the decisions. He married me because he trusts my opinion and wants to travel through live with me. Not in front of me.
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#146 of 228 Old 10-30-2007, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Could you say more about this? Honestly, from my non-submissive but very much Christian and feminist perspective, it seems like something one would mature OUT of.
i think it can go either way (speaking as a non SW). i can see how it can be a maturing and humbling experience that can do some internal good for a person. i can also see it being the opposite. it depends on how it is executed. it's almost like fasting but where one gives up their pride, i guess you could say. anyways, that's kind of how i'm reading it.

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#147 of 228 Old 10-30-2007, 11:27 AM
 
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Thank you for reading my post with generosity, whimsy.
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#148 of 228 Old 10-31-2007, 01:46 AM
 
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You know, the more I read about wifely submission from you moms that have awesome marriages (at least it sounds like it!), the more I feel that the word "submission" doesn't do justice to what you are doing. Because of all the negative connotations of being a doormat etc. (and let's keep in mind that those connotations aren't just a secular conspiracy, they are firmly rooted in the historical oppresson of women when we used to be forced to submit). It seems to me that your actions could just as easily be labeled "respect" or "giving up control".

Like Whimsy's example of her husband wanting to go out when she wanted him home, and how she let him go cheerfully. See, I wouldn't call that submitting. I'd just call that giving him the respect as an adult to make his own decisions. Not trying to control him. I practice that with my husband, but I don't consider myself a "submissive" wife.

If I may wax philosophical for a moment, I think there is a historical progression going on here. I know those Bible verses have been around for a long time, but the way they have been interpreted has definitely changed. I think the modern-day interpretation of "submissive wife" is sort of a response to the excesses of feminism. From a place where society expected women to be truly submissive (think the Victorian era) we started asserting our independence. Great. But this assertion of independence sometimes went too far and became controlling, arrogant behavior; some women went from being doormats to harpies. That's not to invalidate feminism at all, it just natural that all social movements have their extremes. So now there is a reaction to that perceived extreme. Women who don't want to buy into that sort of behavior opt out by taking it back to "submissiveness". Except modern-day submissiveness (at least, the way it is being described here, I know there are groups that practice the older oppressive variety) is qualitatively different from how it used to be. There are more expectations of the man's role, and escape hatches if the man doesn't fulfill that role. It's not the old patriarchal female submission any more.

Given that, I'd like to get rid of the word "submission" altogether, but since it's there in the Bible I suppose that won't happen.

OK, those are my fervid ramblings!
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#149 of 228 Old 10-31-2007, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i love your post, Thao and i agree.

Maggie, blissfully married mama of 5 little ladies on my own little path. homeschool.gif gd.gifRainbow.gif
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#150 of 228 Old 10-31-2007, 03:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
i love your post, Thao and i agree.
YES that!!

I knew there had to be something more than the "I just do whatever my husband says" type of submission and I think we've seen it on this thread. Over the years I've been on MDC, it's been kind of weird for me to see so many bright, assertive women claim to be "submissive" and it's always rubbed me the wrong way. What I've read on this thread doesn't sound like that at all, though.

I do think it's the word submissive that confuses me. Put in the frame of "mutual submission", though, it sounds very much like my own relationship. Sometimes, I defer to DP, sometimes he defers to me. It's a give and take relationship based on trust and an appreciation of who feels more passionate about a certain subject or decision.

Trust, by far, has been the most difficult part of our relationship. We came into this as two individuals (each with our own kids, to boot) and combining our hopes and desires and wants and needs into one cohesive unit has been *hard*. What keeps us together as a family is trust and faith..... trusting that we will protect and provide for each other & having faith that everything will be OK if we stick together. Letting go of some control, not sweating the small stuff, etc has been the path to a wonderful family. If that's what submission is about, then I can totaly embrace that.
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