Saturday, March 23, 2013

Surrender

Cease resistance and submit to authority.

Are you ready yet ladies?

It's not going to make sense. It won't be easy.

You could fill my email with every reason why your husband isn't ready for you to surrender. Why he isn't the man he should be yet to deserve your surrender. You can tell me all that he does wrong. You can tell me all of your fears and your doubts. And you would be right to stay in your rebellion if there were any requirements made of your husband to earn your surrender.

You would be justified in any secular circle. You would be justified amongst the congregations of most churches today.

What are you looking for? Are you looking to be justified in your rebellion? Or are you longing to hear the words "Well done good and faithful servant?" Matthew 25:23

 Enter into the joy of your lord.
How I wish I could help you understand this has nothing to do with your husband. 

Oh, there will be blessings. He will likely be overcome with happiness and awe at your new peaceful countenance. He will be very thankful for a tranquil home. 

But none of that is why you'll do it. 

You will do it when you have the faith necessary to "enter into the joy of your lord." 

You've received the tremendous gift of salvation. And you're stopping short of the unbelievable gifts yet waiting for you.  You're listening to a worldly lie and trusting that for happiness and contentment. You'll look long and hard and will come up empty. You're listening to the lies that this surrender isn't necessary. Yet something within you is left unfulfilled. 

You wonder, "what about me" because you still haven't a clue how very big your God is. 

He loves you. That is why He has commanded this of you. 

Surrender. 

Enter into the joy of your lord.

16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. SD,

      I'm struggling with this, mainly b/c my husband hasn't taken much of an initiative to lead our household and often defers decisions to me. For instance, today I went shopping and asked him what he wanted for dinner this week. He said, "Whatever you want." Tonight I asked him if he wanted to travel out of state to his brother's 50th birthday party. He said, "I don't care. what do you want to do."

      He's like this with most things. Essentially, if I don't make a decision, nothing gets done. Even when it comes to physical intimacy I have to take the initiative. He just won't express his need/wants.

      It's not that he's incapable of leading; he oversees 40 employees at work and has a a job with high-level responsibilities. He's also in a leadership position at our church. Do you have any ideas on how I could get him to take a stronger leadership role at home?

      Lisa in Vermont

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    2. LiV,

      Your husband may not realize you are looking to him to make these decisions. He probably just thinks you are being needy or annoying. He doesn't know that you want the leadership he can provide.

      One thing you can do only a daily basis is give him options instead of keeping things completely open. This breaks apart the option generation from the actual decision that needs to be made. Ask "Would you like X, Y or Z for dinner tonight?" since that is a question he can answer without having to consider the dozens of different meals you can make and what ingredients you have on hand and then the time it would take to make it.
      Same goes for social events. "We have A, B or C options on Friday night, which would you prefer?"

      Think about his situation. He works all day long researching and considering options that he has to come up with for work and church. It takes him time to think up those options and to ask him to change gears and come up with more options and a decision in the short time of a phone call that he didn't know he had to come up with is probably more than he can handle.

      Giving him these options means he doesn't have to conjure options AND decisions he didn't even know he had to conjure until you asked him.

      For the bigger decisions, (like traveling out of state to his brother's 50th) you may have to let him know that you want him to start making them. Something you can offer to do is to research the decision for him. So for traveling to his brother's 50th, you can do some basic fly vs. drive and hotel cost research so he has more information to make the decision on.

      Doing some of those structural things will greatly smooth out the process because he just has to focus on the decision of Go or No, rather than the background research he may not have the time to do. Also, be ready to have him occasionally neglect to look at the background work you've done. I know for a fact that when friends ask me to look at something for them, I sometimes get distracted and completely forget until they ask me again a week later.

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  2. Lisa,
    So little of submission in a marriage such as ours has to do with the agreeing to a contrary decision. It is so rare that RLB and I disagree that for the most part we dance through life in harmonious synchrony. When we are at an impasse, his decision is final and I willingly surrender to that.

    That said, a man who is the decision maker all day long does not want to come home and make grocery lists (unless he's the cook). Of course it's "whatever you want," hon, you were passing off to him a chore you didn't want to do. You know what he likes to eat. You know he likes to come home to good food. And, he's probably not that picky. If you make something new and get the "oh, this was awesome," put it on your list to make again sometime.

    I talked with RLB about your comment and he reminded me of our situation. For 14 years he was used to arguments and judgement. So, when my responses became different, it took him some time to get used to. From the sounds of it, you are still judging your husband. There is no room in biblical submission for judgement.

    If he defers to you to make decisions about birthday parties/social events, by all means, make the decision you believe he'd prefer. If you know he can't stand going to these things, politely decline the invitation. Tell him "I know you don't particularly enjoy these things so I passed on the invitation." If he usually has a good time, then make the plans to go.

    It may take some time for him to believe you are not judging him and being critical of him. There is not a magic solution to this. He may never be an assertive decision maker in the home. That should have no bearing on your attitude or joy. Take your complaints and judgements about him to God and pray for Him to change your heart. That's all you have control of. God is big enough to make a wife, truly obedient to His word, very content in marriages with even the most passive of husbands. That is what you should desire. Contentment. Not that your husband will change (though over time he might) but that your heart will change.

    Also, if I may ask, why is it you work outside the home? Is it because your husband wants you to or is it because you want you to?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks SD,

      Good point about praying to God to help me be content, regardless of whether he continues to be passive, or suddenly becomes more assertive at home. It's always so much easier to pray for God to change the other person.

      I work for a mix of reasons. I took some time off before my two oldest children started school and the lack of income caused my husband a great deal of anxiety. Prior to having children I worked in a high paying field (public relations). When that income was suddenly gone, he felt overwhelmed with the pressure of being a sole breadwinner. We don't have a large home or a lot of luxuries, but the cost of living in Vermont is high.

      Anyway when the kids started school I went back part time working in a more flexible career. As they got older I eased into full-time work. Then, a few years ago I found myself unexpectedly pregnant with baby no. 3. I took some time off, but went back to work when she was six months old.

      I've been completely overwhelmed ever since. I enjoy the work for the most part, but I hate being stretched so thin.

      I'd like to quit, but my husband isn't on board with the idea. I can't quit without his blessing and my chances of losing my job are very slim.

      So, for now, it's just a matter of depending on God to help me schedule my time to best take care of my family and home. I pray for my husband as well. If God blesses him with a better paying job, I think he would feel more comfortable with me not working.

      Lisa in Vermont

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  3. Can't a husband delegate the dinner choices? Do they have to be the meal planner? I know I don't normally want to spend much thought on the exact menu, though I am pushing for more than 1 course meals when I do so.

    It also could be that a husband won't make those decisions because they have frequently been argued with in the past. Why get disrespect for something that seems relatively unimportant?

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    Replies
    1. Brad,

      Meals are very important to my husband. We eat restaurant-worthy meals most nights. Right after we got engaged he bought me a Martha Stewart cookbook. It was his subtle way of communicating his expectations in that area. His mother is Italian and he grew up expecting excellent dinners.

      He would for instance be horrified if I served meatloaf or a casserole. I made the mistake of serving a Campbell's soup-recipe casserole once when we were first married and he rolled his eyes and just pushed the food around his plate. The only easy dish he'll eat is homemade macaroni and cheese and that's because my kids enjoy it. But even that has to be made with certain cheeses and have some type of a gourmet kick.

      So, when I ask him what he wants I'm not delegating out of laziness. I really want to know what his desires are so I can plan accordingly. And, I'm willing to attempt to cook just about anything to please him.

      Lisa in Vermont

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    2. I would probably be happy with the Cambell's casserole, so I may not be the best judge in your case. Good point.

      I am slowly aiming more primal focus, so that may rule out the casseroles I the future though.

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    3. It's actually fun to serve him this way. Today, in church he said we should have some type of Jewish meal as we approach the Passover season. So, I consulted a Jewish cookbook when we got home.

      It had a lot of Eastern European dishes so I have a lintzer tart in the oven and I'll be making homemade dumplings with paprika chicken for dinner. I haven't made any of these things before so it will force me to stretch my cooking skills a bit.

      Lisa

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  4. That is just it, isn't it, Brad. We, as women, are so unaware of our subtle disrespect. If only we knew what those little eye rolls, or little expressions of discontent do to our husbands. Proverbs is clear: "Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman."

    I put myself to the challenge to root out all areas of subtle disrespect. No matter how small. It's those small moments of contentiousness that build up. When we flip the script, as women, we know damn well we would not even attempt something we've continually gotten backlash for. Yet we struggle to see through our husband's eyes the insolence we so flippantly display to our husbands.

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    1. My wife and I are walking down this path now. She even got some points I had tried to make on respect after reading some posts and comments here, so your points are hitting home.

      Some more posts on how RLB communicated with you key points would be interesting. I have always had the right general personality (strongly independent), but I am learning to walk it out better.

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    2. I have been trying to explain how I communicated with SD. Perhaps, I have forgot some of the details. It is my nature. I don't seem to remember bad things in my past. For example, I don't remember being my Grandmother's pall bearer. Like nothing. I don't remember the funeral at all.

      If you have particular issues that you would like clarification on, please let me know. I will do my best to recall how I dealt with it.

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  5. Hello, SD and LiV:

    Before I write what I am thinking, I offer a disclaimer: I am NOT attempting to usurp the authority of LiV's husband about her working outside of the home. So, please do not think that I am trying to plant seeds of discontent, etc., in the mind of LiV. I am simply offering some advice that did help me and Col. T (my husband).

    There is a section of the book Fascinating Womanhood which is dedicated to speaking to our husbands if we are working outside of the home at their request. Of course, it requires much prayer on our part prior to working through this part of the book with our husbands.

    In any event, I would highly recommend it if you haven't already read it. Usually, read only the Bible and am totally turned off by marriage or relationship books for women. FW is different. It is scripturally based and decades old, and it works.

    It took a long time - probably five years in total - for Col. T to decide ON HIS OWN accord that he wanted a wife who was free to be a wife and a mother by serving him and his children, rather than a tired, divided, exhausted, stressed wife and mother who stared at the children while they gobbled Cheetos before dinner on worknights. I was only working 20 or 30 hours a week, but they were ten or twelve hour days and they were devouring my energy for my husband and our children.

    We are on quite shaky ground financially most of the time; my husband's decision for me to stop working outside of the home has caused the burden of provision to fall completely on him. He knows it but he's not afraid of it as he was before, or resentful of it, as he was in years past. He embraces it. He doesn't want me to worry about how much money we are bringing in, and I give this to the Lord daily - because often I do think about how much I could "help" by having some income again.

    I would urge you to consider reading FW if you have not done so already, with a focus on this particular chapter and worksheets (of the workbook). If you need a mentor, I would highly recommend Fascinating Womanhood - Alaska - which can be found on the web as a website and on Facebook. The woman who teaches this class is precious and has a very successful marriage.

    Bless you in your marriage today and always!

    Thank you for writing this, SD.


    songtwoeleven

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    Replies
    1. The longer a man lives in knowing he is the sole bread winner, the easier it becomes. It is very scary at first. You say stupid things like, "then, you go back to work!" Which quickly cowers a woman that has been enjoying being a SAHM. She may attack, but it won't be the same argument that was going on. New shit-test.

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  6. Thanks Song,

    I heard about FW on another blog recently. My husband told me that he wants to buy me a Kindle next month for my birthday so maybe I can find it on Amazon.

    Lisa in Vermont

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  7. The REAL FW book is not available on Kindle, LiV. Beware anything that says it is FW that isn't the original, written by Mrs. Helen Andelin in the 1960's. There are updated versions, but they very clearly say so. The book is available in paperback for around ten dollars on Amazon; also, the lady with FW Alaska has them and provides them to those women who take her class. You might want to just contact her - maybe they are less expensive.

    One advantage of FW Alaska (or a local class for you, wherever you are located) is that you have a workbook AND a Christian mentor to help you. Sometimes, when we start making changes in yourself, it results in strange reactions from our husbands, and it is good to have women around who have been through this to offer proper guidance and perspective. At least that was my experience. I hope you are blessed as you seek to honor God in submission to your husband.

    RLB: Yes, I think you are correct, it seems that the more that Col. T walks in the confidence of being the sole breadwinner, the more he embraces it. At first, he really resented it and he made sure that I knew about it! But, there were a lot of things the matter in our marriage at that time and he was very, very stressed.

    Sometimes, when I see how hard Col. T works for us (me the children) I feel for him so deeply - I wish I could make it "easier" for him by continuing to earn some money. At one point he was working seven days a week, ten hour days, two jobs...he was just a machine. I wanted to save him from his plight. It's not like that now; he doesn't have to do that, but sometimes I still feel the desire to "save" him. I wonder if he feels like that when he sees me labor to birth each of our children? It must be normal to desire to take the curse from our spouse in some significant way, I suppose. But, I cannot. First of all, he doesn't want me to anymore. Secondly, he knows I physically and financially cannot: we simply have too many children! And I am eternally pregnant-ha! We couldn't possibly afford child care.

    So, I focus on "saving" him by praying for him and undergirding his business in intercession throughout the day.

    Thank you and your wife for your transparency!

    songtwoeleven

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