Monday, December 26, 2011

Wifely Submission, part I

... holding her head on
Do I have a rebellious, Jezebel spirit?
Growing up, I secretly feared that I would never find a man to marry.  I was saturated with the teachings of Elisabeth Elliot, Bill Gothard, et al on wifely submission, authority and gender roles.  I understood without a doubt that I would need to be a submissive wife.  The problem?  Finding a guy I would be willing to submit to.  Even with ones that I liked a lot and was very attracted to, I knew that I could not joyfully trust them to make the final decision on something if we disagreed.

I have always been one to choose truth over relationship.  I knew that if my own relationship with God and my own intelligence were leading me one way and my husband disagreed that I would have a very hard time submitting.  I certainly couldn't see myself doing it in the prescribed method of a cheerful attitude and docile respect.  No, I was honest enough with myself to realize it would be with me digging my heels in and arguing all the way.

I tried really, really hard to believe all of the teachings that I was given.  My mother reminded me countless times that I had to respect the husband's position of authority and his right and responsibility to exercise it, even if I didn't feel respect for the person or the decision itself.  I knew Gothard's teaching that the one under authority could make a Godly appeal.  If it was denied, she could suffer for doing right (of course, this only applied if what the husband was requiring of her was blatant sin, not mere stupidity).  Otherwise she should cheerfully submit and be confident that somehow, even if the husband made a bad decision, her submission would be counted as righteousness and God would bring some good of it.

My doubts persisted.  Carlos was the first and only man I met who I trusted enough to think that I would be able to submit.  To my surprise, he believed that the Bible taught mutual submission, and that we were to submit to each other.  HUH?  That was the beginning into a deeper look at what the Bible really teaches about wifely submission.  What I found shocked me.

To be continued.

Image credit: x-ray delta one on Flickr

Read the whole series :)


Carrie said...

Lawd, I'm looking forward to this series!!

Love you, Dulce. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

dulce de leche said...

Thank you so much! All love and fullness of joy to you, lovely friend! <3

Leslie said...

To this day I have extreme distaste for Elizabeth Elliot's books!! They caused me so much grief in my younger years. You sure left us hanging here... can't wait for part 2!

Kelly said...

Very much looking forward to this series!

dulce de leche said...

Ooooh, Leslie, I would *love* to hear more about your take on Elisabeth Elliot. I read all of her books growing up and had large portions memorized, met her when I was twelve and considered her the most amazing role model ever when I was young.

((((Kelly))) <3

Leslie said...

sigh. me too. I mean, I didn't meet her, but was very impressed by her when I was younger, read all her books. In the end, I feel it put a huge burden on us girls, and a standard we could never live up to, continually fail and just feel horrible about ourselves if we couldn't live exactly like her and have a romance just like hers. When I see "Passion and Purity" I just want to throw it across the room!

If I was going to really talk about it and have a clear opinion, I'd have to look at her books again and examine what really has left me with this feeling and what I really think now. I haven't pondered it much lately or looked at her books since I was a teenager.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the first you guy met who seemed like he could be trusted to submit to didn't seem to be demanding that submission. Coincidence? I think not.... he was showing himself to not be a tyrant and your instincts trusted that.

Anonymous said...

It has been a very interesting summer. I have had both hips replaced due to being born with slightly deformed hip, never knew it until intense pain set in but kept active as possible for years, figuring it was age. x-rays showed the ball of the hip covered by too much socket and hip angles too straight, no wonder I was always stiff as a kid and stiffness continued till bone spurs and other problems resulted. So I have a lot of healing time on my hands, physical therapy followed by LOTs of rest...and thus began my internet search of things that interested me and leading me into many websites like this, from which came lots of other healing...the spiritual type.

I went to my first and only BG seminar with my husband in 1980. I came out convinced I was the worst sinner/ hater of God on the planet because during that seminar, Gothard, who never met me, told me all my sins and what a long list. Here is that list of sins----
*college educated with a teaching degree
*working outside the home
*not real submissive to husband since I always had my own ideas of how to do things
*pet owner (cats and dogs) plus rescuing lost and needy critters
*horse owner- rode horses a lot
*wore pants
*artist- painted horses, landscapes, lots of art supplies all over the place.
*unnatural attraction to things of opposite sex (rode a boy's bike for transportation to store for groceries)
*did not care to keep house (minimally)
*did not care for make-up, hair-do's and other things most women like
*the biggest sin- I did not want to have children!
Talk about guilt and depression...they ruled my life and then 2 tornadoes in the same house (1982-85) sent me into an illness most likely post traumatic stress syndrome.
It took God's fast to release me from all that mess. When I finally got hold of God after 3 days of no food or water (nor did I want any, I only wanted to hear from God or die) I found out my sin was none of those things as outlined in the seminar but my lack of faith. God gave me all those personality traits, likes and dislikes, even my faults and He wanted me to live them by faith....Yes, it has been a walk (more like stumble, fall, drag, run away, get up again, trip, stumble again)of faith but God has been the faithful one. And my poor long suffering husband (who mostly totally ignored BG's teachings) has been there all along, too.