Recently I had the opportunity to co-lead a women's Bible study on the topic of submission in marriage. I love teaching on this topic because it is an area of my own life where God did some major changing. And this resulted in a love for my husband that I had never imagined possible!
My definition on submission is not the way our world defines it. It is this: "coming alongside my husband and helping him in the call that God has put on his life, all the while following his leadership."
So we were discussing submission in child rearing and this question came up:
What do I do if my husband doesn't handle the kids in a way that is honoring to God? Like what if he lets them watch a certain TV show that I don't think is OK for them to see? Or what if he curses around them?
Is it OK for us to tell our husbands every time they blow it infront of the kids? Is it within our God-given boundaries for us to remind them that they are letting some inappropriate words fly? This was an excellent question and one worth addressing both in class and here on this blog.
First up, it is NEVER NAGGING our men when we say it one time. So if your husband is cursing around your kids and you feel the need to say something, then do this first:
Pray about the conversation for a few days.
Queen Esther fasted for 3 days before she approached the king. It's a good rule of thumb to spend a few days in prayer. Why? Because by the time you approach your man, you will no longer be emotional and you will have put it into God's hands. Also God can be preparing your husband's heart and sometimes may change his heart before you ever bring it up!
Then find the best time to address him.
Don't wait until the moment he walks in the door from work. Don't discuss it infront of the kids. Don't call him while he's working and bring it up. Do wait for an opportune time when it's good for him and you to discuss the issue.
When you talk to him, make sure your words aren't condescending and dishonoring.
My husband hears and positively responds to even the toughest conversations that I bring up if my tone, body language and words are respectful to him.
Keep your conversation short, sweet and to the point!
Because for most men, the fewer words, the better! And I promise you, if your man knows your not going to lecture him for 2 hours, he will listen so much more!
Now once you bring it up and discuss it, the ball is in his and God's court. It is not our job to be the Holy Spirit in the matter and hear me on this, it is a lack of faith in GOD (not our man) if we continue to nag our husbands about an issue. Essentially we are saying "God, I don't think you are going to deal with him on this issue so I'm gonna bring it up over and over again until I think he's gotten it."
So what do you do if you follow all these steps and nothing changes. On the topic of inappropriate TV that the kids are viewing. Do this: set up a board game in the other room and invite the kids to come and play. Take them for a walk. Have a water balloon fight. Bake some cookies. It's not hard to engage our kids in fun activities. This guards their little eyes and ears without dishonoring your husband. On the topic of cursing infront of the kids: Here's the bottom line on this. You will do far more damage to your family by dishonoring your husband and making a spectical out of him infront of the kids, than the foul language will do to your kids. My mentor used to remind me that the main cause of teenage rebellion stems from a household where the mom is not submissive to the dad. The reason for this is that the picture of authority that our kids see the most is represented through the relationship of a mom following the authority of the dad. So be creative. Ask your husband how he wants you to handle the kids when they start repeating his foul language. Does he want you to discipline them, put them in time out, remove a toy for a few days? Let your husband know that it puts you in an awkward position to have to discipline them over something that Daddy does too. Remember, honor your husband through these questions. And by you not playing the role of the Holy Spirit on these matters, it makes tons of room for the Holy Spirit to be the Holy Spirit! And God's change in your man's heart will be far greater and better than any nagging will produce!
The point I want to hit home is this: your obedience to God's word is the most important thing; your goal as a wife is to honor your husband (or if he isn't making honorable choices, and many men don't because they are sinners too, then honor his position!) Our husband's sin/disobedience doesn't give us the ok to disobey God's Word.
One last side thought. If you find yourself struggling with the topic of submission, answer this question: Who is greater, God the Father or Jesus the Son?
Neither is greater. They are equal. But Jesus submitted himself to the will of His Father. And in the same way, husbands and wives have equal value in God's eyes. However there can only be one leader in a marriage and it is the husband that God has deemed the leader!
"Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body."--Ephesians 5:22-23. "But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman,
and God is the head of Christ."--1 Corinthians 11:3