Fitting Two Feet Into One Shoe

     When Bonnie at "Faith Barista" decided to ask us to write on, "What I wish someone told me about Marriage" or "Thoughts on Love and Marriage," I recalled the hard lessons I've learned throughout our 34 years of marriage and the ones I still keep learning.
     I'm an independent thinker who usually believes she has the right answer for most situations. I'm also an only child who went to college, has a stubborn streak, wasn't afraid to take the lead in areas where I felt confident, lost my father to cancer at age 16, and became a survivor--albeit a sensitive one. All of those traits can be healthy when you are making decisions on your own.
     However, when you find the man of your dreams in your mid-twenties and you are ready to waltz down that white-lined aisle of a church bedecked in carnations and daisies, those traits need tempering. As my mother used to say, "Marriage is like fitting two feet into one shoe." A rough Italian translation that means, "It's going to be uncomfortable making two different personalities blend into one."
     As a knowledgeable, educated young woman, I assumed I knew better than my mother's old world sayings. In my marriage, we were going to make all the right decisions. "Holly Hobbie" and the eternal optimist lived in my heart. It was just that my emotions did not always agree with all that logical, Biblical, head knowledge I had gained over the years. The emotions would scatter all education, determination, and beliefs into the cars of a roller coaster racing down the the "Scream" at Six Flags. Something was bound to come flying out before hitting the level tracks.
     From these rough, jostling rides, I've garnered two lessons:
  1. "Do not let the sun go down on your anger." Ephesians 4:6  That's an Amen!
  2. And submit that stubborn streak to the one whom the Lord appointed to be the head and protector of your household.
     When the topic of submission comes up these days, everyone skirts the issue. For good reason. Submission has been misused by some as a way to abuse another verbally, physically, emotionally, and psychologically--all in the name of Christianity. It has also provided a way for one spouse to manipulate the other in such a way that he always has the final word. Upon close examination, that is not what the Holy Spirit is speaking through Paul in Ephesians. The other half of the passage admonishes a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. If the husband is acting in a sacrificial way, his love will dominate the household, not his self will. I would advise you to read the whole passage in Ephesians 5:22-33 and seek the Lord's heart.
     With that clarification, I would like to retell an event in my life where the Lord made it clear to me how He was calling me to be more submissive.

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     There are few times where my husband has imposed his will upon mine, but they stand out in our marriage as times where the mighty hand of God was moving.

     One such instance occurred on a cozy winter evening while I was cuddled up with my plans for the week ahead. Our monthly Women's Fellowship was just a few days away with the promise of refreshment and encouragement. As I contemplated that evening, I pictured the day that would follow it and our drive into God's glorious snow-covered mountains.

     As I savored these delightful plans, my husband broke into my reverie and announced we would have to leave for the mountains a day earlier. "This would not work," I thought. "Women's Fellowship is that evening." I was sure once I explained this to him, he would agree to resume our original plan.

     However, my husband refused to budge. He insisted we travel up with one of the other families. In my mind, nothing could be more important than Women's Fellowship! We argued the benefits of each one's viewpoint, but in the end I reluctantly agreed with my husband. The words of Ephesians 5:22-30 echoing off the wall of my mind. The Submission passage. Wives submitting to husbands as to the Lord.

     Submission is one of those spiritual attitudes that sticks in the mind and gets clogged on its way to the heart. My heart wrestled hard against the idea of leaving one day early. With legs of lead, I headed to the bedroom, mentally packing for the snow.

     A few days later as we journeyed with the other family up the winding, dark mountain road, my husband discovered we had a few car issues. Not enough gas--and chains that did not fit. Rounding a bend in the road, we spotted a beacon of light--an open gas station nestled in the mountain.

     We all pulled in, the other husband shaking his head, amazed and amused. They were always prepared and here was our family--ill-equipped, yet bailed out. The gas station closed as we maneuvered our now well-equipped cars onto the road. It wasn't long, however, before our friend's car encountered serious mechanical problems.

     As his engine sputtered, we searched for a safe pullout snug against the mountains. While the husbands poked their heads under the car's hood, I flipped on the overhead light, and turned to play with our cherub-faced toddler in the back car seat.

     I could see our friend shaking his head again--this time in disbelief. Our befuddled friend asked my husband the question lurking in his mind, "How does an ill-prepared family such as ours get bailed out while his family, who was well prepared, struggle up the mountain?

     He knew we had a different relationship with the Lord than he and his family. The questions were coming fast, and my husband had the opportunity to share with him about the Lord's great provision when we humans are weak.

     The rest of the weekend was flooded with questions about the Lord, our Bible Study, our community of believers, the foundation for how we believed. For our friends, this was their beginning of a journey with Jesus.

     When I looked back on that weekend, I wondered what would have happened if we had stayed behind the extra day so that I could be filled with Jesus at the women's gathering? I would have been filled, but what about our friends?

     For me, that weekend was a lesson on how Submission meets Love when I choose to obey the Lord. I can't say that I always follow the lesson learned, but that I have to relearn it often as I have a strong-willed, independent, only-child streak that runs through my thinking.

"Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord." Ephesians 5:22
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..." Ephesians 5:25 NIV

What are your thoughts on submission?

From My Heart to Yours,

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