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Wednesday, June 16, 2010
In her discussion on authority and submission, Kathleen at Project M relayed something the pastor who married them said.(You can read all of what Kathleen says about this topic,  part 1 here and part 2 here)
Only look at the parts that are directed towards you.
I love that notion.  It goes right along with my last post about focusing on what you give rather than what you get. In reflecting on what I’ve read and written around this idea of being “other-focused”, it struck me that some, if not many may respond with the following concern.
What if I do all the giving and my husband or wife doesn’t ever give in return?  What if I do what I can to meet my spouse’s needs and desires but he/she doesn’t show the same concern for my needs and desires?
When I describe the roles of husband and wife as modeled for us in the relationship between Jesus and the church, I have a tendency to describe it in ideal terms. While I think it is good to understand and strive for the ideal, I also know that there is no such thing as an ideal marriage, not when flawed human beings are involved.    
So, in an “ideal” marriage, a husband should be focused on loving and leading his wife like Christ does the church, sacrificing for her, protecting and providing for her, doing all his power to see that she is healthy and happy. He should stand strong on her behalf, being vigilant in looking out for her, taking up her cause at every turn, and leading her with integrity.
In response, it is also ideal for a wife to be submitted to her husband, as the church is submitted to Christ.  She should show him respect in all things, support him, affirm him, and honor him with the gift of her heart-felt surrender.  She should see that she stays “arranged under” (literal Greek for submit) her husband’s loving, protective authority, because God has chosen to set it up that way, not because she is any less capable than he is. 
What if my wife refuses to respect my authority and won’t give me any space to lead? What if she questions all my decisions and is constantly brow-beating me? What if she doesn’t think submission is really called for in this modern day?
What if my husband doesn’t love me in a Christ-like manner? What if he is too dictatorial and domineering and tries to force me into submission? What if he doesn’t seem to care very much about my needs and feelings?  What if he’s just ‘checked out’ and doesn’t care about being the leader of our home?
What if we’ve drifted too far apart for this to work for us?
These are all valid what-if scenarios, and there are many others.   Any real marriage will be filled with shortfalls and disappointment, of mis-steps and conflicts.  It’s no less true when it come to trying to walk out the bridal paradigm.  
So, I want to take some time here in the next few posts to reflect on some of those what ifs. If you’ve got a what if that you want me to address, drop me an email or leave a comment, and I’ll take a shot at it.

First up,  What if... My Spouse Doesn't Give in Return?

Also in this series:


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