Recently, I received a question from an engaged woman about submission.
She wanted to know what it means to submit when you are engaged to a guy, or when you are in serious relationship but are not married.
I emailed and answer but since I have so many single friends here, I want to share my thoughts with you too.
Her question reminded of an incident from when I was single.
I was hanging out with a married couple when the husband requested the wife (and by extension me,) to do something.
Problem was (at least for me), we were in the process of doing the exact opposite of what he asked.
The wife mentioned that to the husband: they talked and I watched them.
As I did, my heart was was doing somersaults because I still had big issues with being told what to do.
Eventually, the wife turned to me and said cheerily, “okay, let us submit!” And she set about doing what her hubs requested.
I looked at her, aghast. “You are called to submit to your husband. I am not!”
(Because I wasn’t about to make a scene though, I followed her lead. Also, the husband’s request was no big deal!)
Two things we can pick from the interaction between husband and wife;
– The husband made a request to his wife
– The wife had her own opinion.
– They talked about it
– The wife chose to do things His way, cheerfully.
As far as submission is concerned, I think that’s the pattern to follow.
Listen to your husband, even if you have a different opinion. Then share your opinion and seek unity. Defer to him if you cannot agree.
God has called husbands to the lead the home and set the tone in the relationship. It doesn’t mean he will be perfect at it but God holds him responsible.
His wife is a partner and helpmeet. She encourages, inspires, brings her brain and heart to the relationship. They talk and discuss issues and hopefully come to mutual agreement.
More than anything, she prays.
If a decision has to be made and both husband and wife cannot come to a mutual agreement, she allows her husband to make the call. Otherwise, they take time to think and pray and seek unity.
A wife supports her husband, prays for Him and allows God to work His ways in him.
That is my quick run-through as far as submission in marriage is concerned, at least in the context of the question.
Now let’s look at how a girl submits when she is not yet married to a guy.
The Bible says “WIVES submit yourselves to your OWN HUSBANDS” (Ephesians 5:22)
It doesn’t say girlfriends submit to your boyfriends.
You can respect one another, honor, love and listen. You can watch how you respond to his leadership, begin to listen to God as He starts to teach you how to follow a man.
But understand that you can only practice true submission in marriage.
Women have not been called to submit to all men, even a fiance. They are called to submit to husbands as unto the Lord.
As a single girl, it’s not your place to start acting like a wife before you are one.
Again, I am not saying you can’t listen to him and honor him and allow him to lead the relationship. After all, you start to learn certain marriage principles in courtship.
But I am saying don’t give wife benefits without a husband commitment.
Eph 5:25 says HUSBANDS, love your WIVES, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
The Bible doesn’t say “men love women.”
Yes your fiance should be proving himself right now, earning your respect, pursuing and wooing you, presenting himself as a man who will love you as Christ loved the church and one who will lead your home.
But he’s not your husband yet. The same way you cannot submit to him like a wife, don’t expect him to behave like a husband!
Not that he should not be working tirelessly to build and grow your love, but your expectation should be ‘this is my fiance, not my husband”.
Don’t make demands on him, the kind reserved for a marriage commitment.
So here’s the bottom line.
Until you say “I do”, you are still single. Don’t weave you hearts and lives in ways that make it difficult to make decisions, if they have to be made. (e.g ending a relationship)
Our mentors used to tell us “you are single until you get married”.
So until you get married, there’s huge bits and pieces of yourself which shouldn’t be given away for the simple reason you are single!
And submission is just one of those – don’t lean too deep or have super high expectations on someone who is not yours yet.