Does the word "submission" make us put our guard up immediately? The world of independence and individualism that we live in today, where everything we think about is: "what's the most optimal option for ME?", and in which subconsciously our tendency is to be selfish and think about ourselves over everyone else, submission is a very difficult concept to grasp and apply.
Changing gears just a little bit, most women consider their wedding day to be the most dreamt about and desire it to be the most beautiful and perfect day of their lives. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, I have my own dreams about the same thing, but are we keeping in sight just the wedding? Or the marriage that is to follow the wedding? Who is the person we're marrying? Why are we marrying him? Are we willing to spend every day of the rest of our life with him? What attitude will get us through the tough times?
At a conference workshop about a week ago this summer, the speaker Dr. Steve Price, talked about Ephesians 5:22-33 (yep, the one about husbands and wives). I really wanna tell you all about it because it's a passage I've read and heard being spoken about a gazillion times before but this was the first time I heard it put this way.
Anywho, moving on, husbands are to "love" their wives as "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" and "as their own bodies" (v. 25 and 28). Pretty straightforward, not rocket science. Every time a man interacts with his wife, she should get reminded of Christ, that's how deeply he should love her. She should know without a shadow of a doubt that her husband loves her and would give up his life for her, that's how ardently Christ loved us - pure, righteous love! And he needs to assume the responsibility of a husband in every aspect of life and not shrink back from taking initiative. He's the leader and if he's married that's the role he needs to take up. Steve called this trait of a husband - "loving authority". Without the man's love and willingness to lead/initiate, the woman's submissiveness and respect toward him is really meaningless. That's as summary of what he said about a man's role in a marriage. If you're a man, thanks for reading! =)
Now ladies, that stuff I just said up there is for the men. I think it's difficult being a man. I don't think there's a way to say this without being misunderstood but I'm going to say it anyway: I'm a woman who's pretty independent and doesn't have trouble getting along in life without a man but I'd love to have a man to look up to, respect, and be a companion to (and him to me) for the rest of my life - there's a certain in-built desire that God has put in my heart for that, and I'm sure most, if not all, women out there feel somewhat the same way. I wouldn't exchange being a man for the life of me - it's not my calling! =D Besides, who wants to be a man when you can dress pretty being a woman? Men don't get that privilege! ;-) Jokes aside, we have a responsibility without which the man's role of a loving authority does not make sense. Women are to "submit to" their "husbands, as to the Lord" (v. 22). Now, which woman in her right mind will not want to submit to a husband that loves and cherishes her as though she's the most precious thing on earth? And which man on earth would not want a wife who's submissive and respects his leadership, supporting him in the decisions he makes?
With her willing submission and his loving authority, so many minute issues in the family can be resolved. The biggest thing that can get in the way though, is PRIDE! Women have a problem of thinking that we don't need men to lead us because we're self-sufficient and can make our own decisions and men think they're not respected enough and think their women are too demanding. But if each thought of the other instead of themselves - and mind you, it has to be mutual, otherwise over a long period of time it can get frustrating for one of the two persons and putting in a one-sided effort can wear them out - every situation in a family can be dealt with a lot more peacefully and with a lot more wisdom than when it is dealt with each person wanting their own selfishness to reign.