And do you, O brides, Lift up your hearts?

When I was first married, I really didn’t think about obedience and submission as being pleasing to God. I believed that the man was the head of the family on a very basic level, but I didn’t view submission as virtuous exactly. I wouldn’t have described myself as submissive either, feisty, was more like it. Strong willed and stubborn certainly. I suppose I still am those things, I’m not afraid to speak my mind, I am quite talkative with my husband and rather opinionated.  But I don’t submit because its my personality– its not. I submit because it makes sense to me.

When we were dating and during our engagement my husband really took the lead and I just reacted to his leadership; I never thought of obeying as a good.

And in marriage prep there was a lot of talk about mutual submission and deferring to one another’s wishes, compromising and seeing God through your spouse, inspiring each other (especially the woman inspiring the man) and absolutely no talk about the husband’s authority or the beauty of a wife’s obedience. 

It wasn’t until being married and realizing on a  personal level how much I needed him to take charge and how miserable I was when I took charge, that it clicked for me. Despite all the talk about mutual submission it is very simple, either the man leads or the woman. And I knew I didn’t want to lead. That is when I began to see obedience to my husband as rightly ordered and virtuous. That is when I began cultivating it- rejoicing in it! Now, I see my submission as pleasing to God! It is where graces flow!

Why keep these truths from me? Why wasn’t I properly taught to rejoice in this God-given order? Are we afraid of these truths? We still speak of obedience in religious orders why not marriage? If only these words were spoken to me years ago:

And do you, O brides, lift up your hearts? Do not be content merely to accept, and–one might almost say–to tolerate this authority of your husbands, to whom God has subjected you according to the dispositions of nature and of grace; in your sincere submission you must love that authority and love it with the same respectful love you bear towards the authority of Our Lord Himself from Whom all authority flows.” ~Pope Pius XII, Allocution to Newly-Weds.

 

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10 comments

  1. The mutual submission is simply the husband’s love and the wife’s obedience. The man remains the head in Christ. The wife is required to obey in all things and to be respectful.

    Brides should be taught this but often aren’t.

    Julian

      1. Yes. It is weak teaching which ignores clear scripture and tradition. You would think they could find the texts that refer to wifely obedience “in all things” and the need for respect on the woman’s part.

        Julian

  2. if submission is taught, it often isn’t taught well.

    “It wasn’t until being married and realizing on a personal level how much I needed him to take charge and how miserable I was when I took charge”

    there’s a discord when the wife tries to lead and take charge. but there’s a natural-ness when we allow our husbands to lead.

    1. “If submission is taught, it often isn’t taught well.” ha! True. But its been on my mind because my in-laws will be teaching marriage prep and asked me what I wish I heard in marriage prep.

  3. We attended a wedding on Saturday and it was the first wedding I’d attended in the past decade where the minister said to the bride “Do you vow to submit to [husband] as unto the Lord, and reverence him as the head of your household…”

    It was certainly the first one in a long time where I’d heard different commands given to the man and the the wife. It was a blessing to hear it.

    In our marriage, my husband has always been in charge. He has a dominant personality and we just naturally fell into a rhythm where he led, and I followed. But like you, even though I had been raised in a home where my father was the clear leader (and even grew up in church!), it never really clicked in my head that my submission to my husband was pleasing to God. Or better said, that my lack thereof was displeasing to God.

    There is very little teaching to young Christian women about the command to reverence and obey our husbands. It is something Christians seem to be averse to teaching. And when they do, it is woven through with so many caveats it effectually nullifies the principle.

    1. “There is very little teaching to young Christian women about the command to reverence and obey our husbands. It is something Christians seem to be averse to teaching. And when they do, it is woven through with so many caveats it effectually nullifies the principle.”

      i agree … don’t want to hurt their feelings … don’t want to make them not want to come back … so soften it up a lot.

      “it never really clicked in my head that my submission to my husband was pleasing to God. Or better said, that my lack thereof was displeasing to God.”

      me, too.

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