It’s a gorgeous late August afternoon here in Upstate New York.
Earlier today I was sitting in the warm, comforting sun on the porch, bible and water bottle in hand, reading and watching my daughter play in the sprinkler in the driveway. The dog was running around, looking for frisbees or rocks to bring to me for the never-ending game of catch she always wants to play – and getting completely soaked by the sprinkler in the process. The neighborhood was quiet, with only the birds chattering and the occasional car slowly sauntering by. Everything just felt peaceful, calm, happy…pretty much perfect. I was very much aware of my earthly blessings in that moment. Why isn’t it always that easy to see all that the Lord has given us? Sigh.
Even in that blissful, seemingly perfect summer scene, I still found myself worrying. School starts in less than one week! Being a teacher, I am blessed to have summers to myself to spend with my daughter (although I do have a small three-week job that brings in some money so we can actually still eat at the end of the summer). One of the greatest things about that time off is being able to keep up with the housework. No stress about getting laundry done, plenty of time to get dinner made, time enough even to sit on the porch and read my bible! But once school starts, all that changes. I leave the house at 7:00 am and most days don’t get home until 5:00 pm. I teach private voice lessons two nights a week, which run until 8:00. I drive my daughter to soccer practice and violin lessons. I’m also active in some weekly church activities. Laundry, dinner, dishes? Totally not fitting into that equation.
But I’m not so much worried about getting all that done (see my previous post about overcoming Wonder Woman syndrome). I’m concerned over where all of this busyness leaves my sweet husband, Anthony. I am blessed with an amazing, selfless, kind, funny, handsome, God-fearing man for a husband. He works incredibly hard and spends as much quality time with us as he can. Another blessing from God that I don’t always appreciate. It’s my job as his wife to make his home comfortable for him. To give him a place of refuge after a long, hectic day at work. But hang on, wait a minute…didn’t I just work all day, too? Don’t I need a place of refuge as well? What about my fatigue, anxiety and stress? Here’s where we working Christian wives need to turn to Scripture.
Ephesians 5:22-24 tells us, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
“Umm…what? SUBMIT to my husband? I’m a modern woman, I can take care of myself! I don’t need him to control my life!” That’s what you were just thinking, correct? You’re right, in a way. Today’s women have so much more control over their lives and decisions than the women of the bible ever did, more so than women did even 20 years ago! And while yes, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was written a VERY long time ago (around A.D. 62), we need to remember that it still has application and meaning today. No ladies, you do not need to “submit” to your husbands, at least in that sense. This isn’t the Stone Age and you don’t need to get dragged around by the hair…especially since your hair looks so cute today!!! What you do need to do is think of his needs being just as important, maybe even more important, than your own. When we wives “submit” to our husbands, we are really taking the spotlight off of ourselves and instead making the pool of light larger to include them, too. This is a partnership, after all. Isn’t that a big reason why you married him in the first place? You pictured yourself being able to spend the rest of your life with this person, building a home, a family, a life. Together.
Of course, this goes both ways. Further on in Paul’s letter, he states, “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” (Ephesians 5:28-30) So it’s a two-way street! Your husband should be ready to “submit” to you when necessary, and put you first as well.
Usually the first week back to school is an exhausting one for me. There will be lots of chaos. The house will be a mess. There will be numerous takeout dinners. But instead of complaining, I know that Anthony will take it all in stride, knowing how much I have on my plate. He’ll pick up the pizza on the way home and throw in some laundry when he gets there. And when Anthony has a board meeting, a vestry meeting and a warden’s meeting all in one week, on top of working probably about 55-60 hours, and he’s not home before 9:00 four out of five days that week, I will make sure he has a hot meal waiting for him, that the house is at least partially picked up, and that he can just come home, kick off his shoes and chill. That’s my way of submitting to my husband. It’s not so bad after all. At least he’s not dragging me around the house by the hair.