If you are smart with the hope of building a successful relationship in the nearest future, this is a truth you should let sink into your head.
Wait… Of course I wouldn’t say that. No one is holding a gun to my head so you can breathe easy. It is interesting however that this is the popular opinion of many people including the president of Nigeria. In his opinion, women belong in the kitchen, the living room and what he called “the other room” (Lord knows what the other room is or what happens there). But this post is not about pointing out the shortcomings of a president who advertised his misogyny in front of a female prime minister. No.
This post is about that ubiquitous term ‘submission’, and how women and man “can never be equal in the home” (according to yet another man who is obsessed with the title “head of the home” and the finality that comes with it). Bear in mind many women share this perspective too.
I was ‘educated’ to understand that letting a woman make decisions in the home would result in her getting ‘carried away’ with the power given to her, causing her to dominate her husband. Hence, it is important that the husband does not bow to his wife, but rather she needs to let him know he is the head of the family so he can be his possible best. Furthermore, a woman is “just a supporter. She is by no means equal to a man”. (Please don’t ask me where I meet all these people. I also don’t know how they find me.
I am all for ego massaging because I need my own ego to be massaged every now and then too so I don’t have any problems with offering words of reassurance. What I have an issue with is the belief that being the head of the home comes with a finality that cannot be questioned by ‘a supporter’. That sure gives an insight into why marriages are failing, why people are unhappy, why marriage feels more like work….
I’ll share my opinion on this in simple number points:
1.) Men and women are equal in the eyes of God; hence they are equal in marriage. However, they are not similar. This is what we need to understand. Equality is not the same as similarity. Men and women do not have the same strengths or weaknesses, which is why marriage is a partnership. One person’s strength is the other’s weakness, and we need to cover each other. This is why the dynamics of families differ. Some men are better at handling physically-straining tasks within the home but are terrible at managing money. This is typical of most families so it’s probably not the best example to highlight the point. But imagine if the man got so intoxicated with being the head of the family that he wanted to exert authority over the family’s finances?
2.) Submission in marriage is not preached for women only. Every Christian misogynist I’ve met referred to Ephesian 5:22-24. No one ever talks about verse 25 that instructs husband to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Gave himself for the church. Christ is the head of the Church but he gave himself for the church; he submitted himself to the will of God and sacrificed his life for the church. That is the ultimate act of submission. So bear in mind that marriage is not about the submission or domination of one party. It is about mutual submission. Abraham and Sarah are very good examples of this – Sarah followed Abraham when he left home. Abraham took Sarah’s suggestion when they got desperate for a child.
3.) If you genuinely love your partner, you will not seek to dominate him/her or even bring up the subject of what anyone’s place or position should be. That already suggests an intoxication with domination, and delusions of grandeur that you may never be able to fulfill. Remember no person is able to do everything on their own. You need a partner that covers the bases you can’t, and you need to let him/her do so with confidence and of course your input.
4.) A woman is equal to a man even though she is his help-meet or just a supporter as some people say. A man is however also his wife’s supporter which is why it is important for couples to match each other in every possible way. Remember your support cannot hold you up if it cannot take your weight. If you are looking for a woman you can dominate, i.e. a weaker woman, expect the dismay of free-falling when things get rocky. She just can’t hold you or the home up.
5.) The head of the home is God and God alone. Both husband and wife should be fully yielded to God. Ladies, it’s only a man who is not yielded to God that obsesses over his position and the need to feel he is in charge. A man who has God’s word tattooed across his heart knows that he is a steward of God’s precious creations – his wife, his children, his belongings (note that you are not classified as a belonging). Men, only a woman who is not yielded to God becomes intoxicated with power or position and seeks to dominate her husband. A woman who is fully yielded to God knows that she can be her feminine self, maintain the elegance of a feminine demeanor and still give her opinions and make decisions without seeking domination (Read about Deborah, Jael and Esther in the bible).
In balanced relationships, power is not an issue. Power tussles do not exist. Each person’s strength is known as well as their weaknesses, and they seek to cover each other’s weaknesses. Men who are obsessed with the position of ‘head of the home’ cannot find partners. They marry followers. They end up tearing down their wives with the finality of their decisions. They end up making decisions for their wives without considering the impact their decisions would have. They are more concerned with exerting their position that they are with the well-being of the women in their lives. Women who are obsessed with not being dominated end up acting out and unknowingly tear down the men in their lives.
Don’t be obsessed with power or domination. Be caught up in genuine love! Be caught up in genuine mutual respect. Be caught up with genuinely sharing yourself with your partner, with being vulnerable, with expressing your strengths and weaknesses. Be obsessed with covering your partner’s weaknesses and letting him or her express their strengths while you celebrate them. Be caught in the awesomeness that comes with equality and dissimilarity. That’s the beauty of your relationship. XOXO.