>Submission in marriage

>Contrary to our 21st-century ideas of the modern self-sufficient woman, I will tell you that submitting to my husband in our marriage has provided a freedom for us that I never imagined.

We have joked before about Aaron’s being able to make “executive decisions”. Mostly in the past this has been for what restaurant we want to go to if we can’t decide, or what to do on the weekend. Lately, it has been more real as we are coming up against some important decisions.

I have been reading The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian and while I’m not that far into it, I see the importance and actual necessity of praying for Aaron and the decisions we make together. This is not a relationship where he just makes a decision without even discussing it with me first. What I’m talking about is that we discuss all our options, he takes my opinion to heart, and then he makes the final decision. Since I know that he does care about my opinion and respects me as his partner, I know that his decision will be the best one for us. If I have doubts, we discuss them and we pray.

It’s a circle, but not a vicious one. It’s a circle of discussion, prayer, and mutual respect that lead to the final decision about something.

Let me give you an example. When Aaron found out he was getting laid off, we discussed our options. One, I could keep working full-time and he could work part-time while going to school full-time. We hadn’t even started the Dave Ramsey class at this point (December of 2008) and we knew that taking out more loans was not an option or even a good idea. So that was out. I was actually the one to mention the military, and I didn’t even know he was browsing the website for the reserves.

I again was the one who suggested he go full-time with it. It would provide him with a job, education and benefits that we could handle. It was a jump we were willing to make. And we realized that with a guaranteed paycheck for him, we could pay off our debt and I could be a stay-at-home mom when we have children. I gave my opinion, he took it to heart, and then he made the decision that we would see the recruiter the next week. And here we are! It hasn’t been easy, of course, but I think following through with this is easier than wearing ourselves out by working and going back to school and racking up even more debt. (I know some couples choose differently, but this was best for us.)

We followed the same process when we decided for me to stay here and work another school year. (It was actually my idea again, but his final decision.)

Another even more timely example is our situation right now. We have a chunk in savings, and I have some money coming in. We could easily have brought me over to Korea before now. Why don’t we, even with these resources? Well, we believe that in the end it will be better for us to wait for orders to go through. I believe that because Aaron is not only the head of the household, but the soldier, that he knows what is best for his career and what will go over well with his command. I would never want to do anything that could jeopardize his reputation or standing with his command.

And I know, since I’ve been praying my face off for wisdom and discernment for Aaron, that if he feels it best to move me over there before paperwork goes through, then he has a darn good reason other than missing me.

My role is to contribute my opinion after having prayed, and then the next step is for me to trust my husband and continue to pray in his decision-making. This allows for freedom for us in our marriage, and we understand and live out our God-given roles. We are making this work the biblical way with Aaron being submitted to Christ first and loving me with the love that Christ has for His Church (Ephesians 5:25 states, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” That’s a tall order!)

Now, looking back, we can see that this decision for Aaron to join the military was definitely the right one. It’s pushed us so far outside our comfort zone so that we have to have faith. I don’t think we would have been as challenged spiritually had we gone the other route. Like I’ve mentioned before, we wanted to get stationed overseas. And we are. 

I really thought this post would be longer, but that’s our relationship in a nutshell. It’s amazing how God can work in a marriage if both parties are both submitted to the Lord first! There’s no way this would work if that first requirement is not met.

>A little history lesson

>This post has sparked from pondering how Aaron and I came to be “us”. We are getting back to doing our Bible study on a regular basis and this week the theme was worship. We’re doing a book right now we picked up at Berean some time ago. We got to talking about the outlined questions, of course, and then we started remembering how life was before we were “us”.

(November 2003)

I was 17 and finishing up my junior year of high school; Aaron was almost 19 and going to the community college. I had started going to my friend Cassandra’s church a little while before that, maybe six months. Hard to remember. But Aaron and I served on the youth group worship team as singers, and sometimes I would play piano. We also were in a student-led prayer group on Friday nights.

For anyone reading this who was in the prayer group, you know how things went. We were misguided in some things, such as having no real leadership since we were all just kids using the church on Friday nights. We’d get together, maybe seven or eight of us, and Cassandra and/or I would play the baby grand and others would play guitar or djembe. We’d just pray and sing and some awesome things happened as a result of our seeking God. Again, we were misguided on some things and towards the end it got kind of weird, but overall it was good.

A little aside: This is when I learned how to play chords and improvise. I came from a classical background, with scales and arpeggios and Hanon exercises every day. This was a whole new world to me. Cassandra showed me how and because I knew some theory, I caught on pretty fast. It was a great experience for me.

There were a few times when it would just be me and Aaron. We weren’t dating at the time, and we really didn’t know each other all that well. I would play and we would both sing. I remember even writing a few songs during those several months that we sang.

Something grew out of those prayer meetings, and towards the end we all had a retreat in the country at a friend’s parents’ cabin. Guys and girls slept separately but in the morning we had coffee. It had rained like crazy the night before, but I remember specifically that Aaron and I both sat on the porch of this cabin in chairs with our coffee (mine souped up and his black of course) and talked. Like an old married couple.

(We’re not old, but we’re married!)

 

And I knew then that I was going to marry this man. I never told him that I knew that early until much much later (I would have scared the poor boy away!). It wasn’t a big fireworks type of thing, but it just felt right. Like we were just meant to be together, like my life had never not had him in it. Idyllic though it sounds, especially when coming from a seventeen-year-old mind, but I just knew. That was May 9, 2003.

So from then on is history, obviously, as we’re seven years down the road. Through our stages of being friends, then boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancees, and now husband and wife, we’ve tried our best to center our relationship around Christ. It hasn’t been easy. In fact, I’d say it’s harder to commit to Jesus than to just commit to each other and be done with it.

We both knew going into our dating relationship that if at any point it was not headed for marriage, as in we couldn’t agree on something really big, etc, that we should break up. I had told God way before Aaron, but after Keith (his younger brother, now isn’t that ironic?) that the next guy I would date, I would marry. I had dated one person but was just not interested in dating a bunch of people just to “see what’s out there”. Not everyone does it that way, and that’s fine.

I think we’ve always had an idea that our relationship would never be easy. As soon as we’re comfortable with something, God shakes it up. And that’s what we have wanted since the beginning – to do God’s will even if it takes us through hard times. I don’t think I’d rather be comfortable. How boring! We’ve grown so much in the past seven years and learned many hard lessons. I’m thankful for learning them early on, before we’re married for ten years and have 2.5 kids (or a nice round number of three, haha).

We have also strongly felt that we will be called into the mission field full-time someday. That’s where our hearts are. Though we have no idea of when or where, we know it’s there sometime in the future.

(On our first missions trip together in Honduras, 2008)

 

It’s late and I’m watching my “niece” (my cousin’s daughter.. they call me aunt and I call her niece, haha) all day tomorrow.. should be an adventurous day with a one-year-old! But anyway, I really want to blog about two things: obedience in marriage and submission in marriage and how God has worked through these things in our relationship. I will save those topics for later as it requires more thinking and research. 😉