I recently wrote a post about Why I Love Submitting to My Husband. I talked a lot about why submitting isn’t a bad thing despite what many in our society tend to assume, and the important role that scripture calls husbands to play in the marital relationship.
But as result, many of you have been reaching out, asking me to elaborate more on the specifics of the wife’s role. You have been asking how to submit to your husband and what that actually looks like in the day to day.
So let me start out by saying: I am not a marriage expert. I am far from it, I promise you. As a matter of fact, I think my husband’s head is about to fall off as he feverishly nods in agreement to that statement. But I couldn’t just leave you all without a response.
So even though each marriage and relationship is different, what I can tell you is what submitting to my husband has looked like in my relationship.
In my marriage, to submit to my husband is to…
Ask his opinion, show appreciation, let the small things pass, show affection, avoid criticizing, build him up, tell him how wonderful he is, stroke his ego, and to trust his decisions, even if they’re not the same ones I would always make. And when I do, he is so much more inclined to love me the way I desire to be loved, and the way that Christ loved.
Now, let me share three specific ways that submitting to my husband have helped improve our marriage that you might be able to relate to.
1. Making time for my husband.
When my husband and I first got married, and before our daughter came along, I worked a pretty high-stress job at a large corporation. I felt a lot of pressure to succeed, to keep moving up the ladder, and to invest a lot of time in my career. And at the end of each day, I had little time left for my husband.
Even after having a baby and deciding to quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom, I somehow found myself more busy and exhausted than before. I worked endlessly trying to take care of the baby, maintain a perfect home, and run my blog and shop. I wanted to do it all, and I still just didn’t have time for my husband.
All he wanted to do was spend time with me, but he just wasn’t a priority amongst all the clutter in my life. And by the end of each day, I was always just too exhausted. It was a never-ending cycle. My husband wasn’t even asking much of me. He simply wanted to have a life with me, and I needed to hold true to the vows I had spoken on our wedding day – to cherish him and our relationship above all the busyness in my life. With only so many hours in a day, I needed to prioritize him.
And with so much influence coming from our culture and the world around us, it can be hard to ignore the pressures of the feminist movement, which values personal success, accomplishment, and “doing it all” while minimizing the value of marriage, love, and family.
But instead of constantly succumbing to the pressures around me, I learned to submit to my husband by changing small things. I started asking others for help, letting my mom babysit, making an effort to text or call my husband every day at work, making his favorite meal just because, and snuggling up to him on the couch at the end of the day instead of bustling around the house trying to clean up every last mess. I learned that I needed to put time and effort into my marriage, even if it was just little things to remind my husband that I still think about him, I still love him, and that he is a priority in my life.
2. No more nagging.
One thing that has always been important to me is that my husband wants to come home at the end of the day. I always want my husband to feel like being at home is a time when he can relax and feel loved and at peace, not constanly nagged, criticized, and complained to.
But no matter how many times I told myself I wasn’t going to be one of those nagging wives before I got married, it didn’t take long before I found myself letting the little things get to me. Instead of letting them pass, I would remind my husband every single time he forgot something, did something “incorrectly,” or failed to live up to my standards.
And that was making our home a much less pleasant place to be. I wasn’t submitting to my husband because I wasn’t trusting him. I didn’t trust him to get things done, make decisions, or take care of our family. Instead, I was micro-managing.
Ever since this realization, I have been making an effort to let the small things pass. I try my hardest not to tell him every single time he forgets to put his dishes away, leaves the bedroom lights on yet again, or puts the empty tube of toothpaste back in the drawer.
Because those things don’t matter.
So, I let it pass. I remind myself that it won’t kill me to shut the lights off myself, throw a plate into the dishwasher, or go get a fresh tube of toothpaste out of the closet. Instead, I show appreciation for the things he does do right. I thank him for taking the trash out without asking, for filling my car up with gas, and for working hard every day to provide for our family. Because I believe that over time, when someone constantly hears thanks for the little things they’ve done, they start to appreciate the little things you do as well, and they are more likely to continue returning the favor. It becomes a habit to be thankful for the positive instead of bitter about the negative.
3. Not expecting him to read my mind.
It’s the weirdest thing. Despite how much I love my husband’s masculinity, it’s like the day I married him I suddenly wanted him to be a woman. Now, I don’t mean that in the way you are thinking. What I mean is, I wanted him to think, feel, act, and communicate like me. And when he didn’t, I would get mad at him. When I went off on one of my rants about a project at work, I would get mad when my husband didn’t seem to hang on every word. I would get mad when he didn’t have an opinion on which color shirt I should buy, when he didn’t share a detailed description after telling me he didn’t feel well, or didn’t stop at the coffee shop on the way to church even though I had told him he didn’t have to. I was constantly expecting him to read between the lines, and to talk through his problems with me. It’s like I wanted a girlfriend instead of a husband, and I wanted him to read my mind on top of it. But men are more black and white. They don’t tend to read into things like women do. And when they have a problem, instead of talking it through, they solve it.
My husband and I are not the same. And that is a good thing, just as long as I remember that we were created differently. While I feel loved and close to him when we are constantly talking and sharing our feelings, he feels more loved when he gets to come home after work and relax on the couch with his feet up.
So, each day, when my husband comes home from work, I welcome him at the door with a hug and a kiss, and save my complaining for all that went wrong in my day for later. I tell him when he has to stop and get me coffee on the way to church, when I want him to plan a date for our anniversary, and when I want him to help me clean up the kitchen after dinner. I try to remember that his brain just doesn’t work like mine. And when I submit to the fact that we are different and stop expecting him to read my mind, our marriage is a much happier place to be.
Just in case I wasn’t clear enough earlier, let me say it again; I am not very good at all of this. I fail at these things more often than I succeed, and writing this is just as much a reminder for myself as it is for anyone else.
But, what I do know is that when I submit to my husband and make the time and effort to treat him the way he desires to be treated, our marriage is a much happier, life-giving, rewarding, harmonious, and joy-filled placed to be. For both of us.
Because it turns out that a happy wife, happy life is only half of the equation.