“Submit to the knowledge that I love you.”

“Submit to the knowledge that I love you.” 

That’s what he said. It was raining outside, and my hubby and I were having our devotions by candlelight early this morning. As I began praying, a question arose in my mind and I looked up at Jerry. 

“How can I better submit to you?” 

Submission has been on my mind a lot lately, specifically because of what a huge difference it has made in my marriage in the last week. I’ve only been married a little shy of two months, but in that time, I became so aware of the tone of voice I took on with my husband. Snippy. Frustrated. Impatient. Dismissive. I would let stress get the best of me and I wouldn’t know what to do with the overwhelming feelings. 

I had always been aware of how I could come across, but I didn’t believe there was anything I could do about it. Daily I prayed that God would help me be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” Daily I would beg God to help me have self-control over my reactions and responses. But then something would happen and I would raise my voice again or I would make a remark that I knew wasn’t right. It would slip out and I would internally kick myself yet again because of what a failure I felt like. No matter how much I prayed, nothing “worked.” 

As I was expressing this frustration to my husband one day last week, he asked me what I was daily submitting to Christ. The question took me aback because I wasn’t “submitting” anything. It’s a whole lot easier to ask for things, isn’t it? He challenged me to begin submitting struggles to Christ each day during my morning prayers. 

So I tried it. My favorite spot to pray is in the rocking chair on my front porch. I went outside the following day and began to pray. 

I submit to you my need to be right. 

  I submit to you my pride.

  I submit to you my need to do things my own away.

  I submit my thoughts and words to you. 

  I submit my heart to you.

  I submit my day to you. May your will be done, not my own.” 

I began recognizing that it isn’t about restraining my tongue, but really about honoring God and my husband. I can’t “make myself have self-control” but when I submit to Christ, acknowledging how much I desperately need him, the power of Christ works in and through me. It has been a night and day difference from how I once spoke to my husband, to how I speak now. 

It started with submission to Christ, followed by submission to my husband, and ended with a fierce joy and gentle spirit that had been absent for quite a long time. 

If I begin over-stressing or getting an attitude, instead of my husband retaliating, he will ask me if I have spent time with Christ yet that day.  Without a shadow of a doubt, I can assuredly say that submission to Christ led to me having more “control.” My own strength is futile compared to the helping hand of the Almighty One. When I vocally and prayerfully submit those things to the Lord each morning, I am filled with a longing to go through the day as Christ would have me. 

So back to my question from this morning. As I asked my husband how I could better submit to him, he stopped his reading and took time with his answer. 

“Submit to the knowledge that I love you.” 

Oooff. Despite having a ring on my finger and our vows hanging on a canvas in our family room, I can often revert to the old thinking that nothing will last and everyone will eventually leave me. I hadn’t realized that often times I acted out of that fear, instead of trusting in my husband to stay true to his word. 

Don’t we do that with God too? 

“Submit to the knowledge that I love you.” 

If I always relied on the truth of Scripture, I wouldn’t give into self-pity or fear. If I submitted to the knowledge that God loves me, I would be embracing- daily- the fact that God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made, chosen and delighted in. I would be embracing the fact that I have been covered in the righteousness of God and that when I am weak- He is strong. 

Submission is more than just “doing what God (or my spouse) tells me to do” – submission is also claiming Christ’s words as truth- and allowing that truth to permeate all that I do. 

When my husband asked me this morning to better submit to the knowledge that he loved me, I gained entirely new perspective on the beauty of submission. How much easier would it be to submit to my husband in the practical things, if I was moment by moment submitting to the truth of Jerry’s irrevocable vows? 

Submitting in this way requires utter vulnerability. 

The consequence of not submitting in this way is a thousand times more painful though. 

As a disclaimer, I understand that all marriages are not the same, and if you are in an abusive or adulterous marriage, your situation is totally different. I will say though, that despite what your marriage looks like, despite how your spouse treats you, we are all called to submit to the knowledge that God loves us. 

Submission is a controversial topic, especially in the feminist culture that has emerged. “Empowered women empower women!” Well, if you’ve been following my story for any length of time, you know I have a dark past that I have been radically redeemed from. In that dark past though, I used to hate the concept of submission. “I will never submit!” I rebelled against everyone I could, nearly every chance I could. I had to show people that I was my own person. That I was strong and powerful. The interesting part of all this is though, I feel far more empowered when I submit to Christ and my husband, than in any other situation I’ve ever been in. I’ll take a wild guess and say that’s because living within God’s design for womanhood is far more fulfilling than living in a human-made design for womanhood. 

A book I highly recommend is “Let Me Be A Woman” by Elizabeth Elliot. I read it throughout my courtship with my husband and through its pages a longing sparked within me to better understand who I am as a woman of God, and as a wife. 

I’m excited to continually learn how to better submit to the knowledge that I am passionately loved by my father in Heaven and by my husband on earth. With this knowledge, fear seems a bit unnecessary. The growth will never stop, and I’ll never get it down perfectly, as much as I wish I could.  Oh! But how relieving knowing that I can exhale into the arms of a man who wants me to embrace and recognize his commitment to me more. If Jerry’s heart hadn’t been in the right place- imagine how he could have abused my question?! 

I submit because deepest fulfilment and purpose comes from saying yes to Christ. I’m thankful to be married to a husband who believes the exact same thing. 

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