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.