Wednesday, March 14


Here's one prickly topic with today's modern woman, including me. When I first heard a message on women respecting and submitting to their husbands, I thought to myself, "What?! I hope I don't have to deal with this anytime soon" and I promptly pushed it out of my mind. Well you know what, I got into a relationship and got engaged. Sooner or later, the topic came up again one Sunday in church. This time it was the pastor's wife preaching. She used herself as an example, and told us a story. When she and her husband were engaged, they visited an older friend who was advising them. He then asked her some questions: Do you love this man? She said yes. Do you trust this man? She said yes. Will you obey this man? She frowned. Their friend said to her, "No matter how much you trust and love someone, you are not ready for marriage until you can learn to submit and obey your husband".

Now as she was preaching, she said it took her almost 10 years, but her marriage became much better once she learned to submit to her husband. Someone asked, why did it take you so long? She said it is because submission is not a natural thing to do. We all want to feel like we are in control of our decisions. As a child growing up, we learn to rebel against authority. Imagine now, as you are finally an adult capable of handling your affairs, you are now being told that you have to submit to your husband's authority over you. Of course, your natural instinct is to rebel and disobey. So it took a lot of time, hard work and prayers before she learnt to tame her rebellious nature.

This time, the message hit home for me. At the time Mr and I were now serious about the future of our relationship. We had also just had an argument and I hadn't been willing to back down. Now I realised that I couldn't ignore the matter of submission anymore if I wanted a happy, peaceful relationship. But I wasn't comfortable with the idea that I would have to submit to someone. I thought to myself and came up with some difficult questions. How do you submit to someone without becoming a doormat? How do you submit while still having a say in matters that come up? How are you sure that the guy won't use submission as an excuse to bully you? And how do I know when to submit and when to stick to my argument when I'm convinced that I'm correct?

I remember having a discussion with my christian friends over this topic. It seemed that they were even more resistant to the word than I was. One of them said that it is lazy women who don't want to take responsibility for their lives that hide under the umbrella of submission. Another one said that she doesn't believe that her man should have a say in her affairs at all, such as her finances. I was quite surprised actually. Yes before marriage your boyfriend has no business controlling your finances. But then won't it be important after marriage and he has become the husband? When do you start practicing submission?

There are no simple answers. So I went back to my bible. I saw that it was not really optional. The command was for husbands to LOVE their wives, and wives should RESPECT and SUBMIT to their husbands. I found some books and teachings on the subject and read them thoughtfully. Slowly I began to comprehend the subject. I understood that it did not mean 1) a violation of my rights as a human person; 2) it does not mean for me to submit to my husband’s desires blindly, totally, and completely because his desires may be unreasonable 3) it does not mean I'm to be treated like someone unable to make mature judgment. Actually the scripture talked about mutual submission. That meant both of us had to bestow equal amount of love and respect to each other. That meant that we both had to be completely unselfish when we want to get our point across. What it meant was that being a woman did not mean that I was incapable of making my own decisions, but I should recognise that I had someone who was capable of making selfless decisions for my welfare on my behalf. If I trust him to be a God-fearing, sensible, caring, and loving man, then I can safely submit to him, knowing that he will put my best interests before his own. I asked my happily married aunt for advice. She also told me that it was when she was most submissive to her husband that he was most loving to her. So those commandments of Paul in Ephesians must go together. You cannot submit to someone who doesn't show you love. Of course that meant that my choice of husband must be the right man. He must be the kind of man that I have confidence in. He must be the kind of man that I can trust completely. He must be a reasonable, selfless man. Who wants to submit to a loser or a creep? So if I can't imagine myself submitting to my boyfriend, perhaps it's best not to marry him. If my husband was being selfish and unreasonable, he cannot expect me to submit to him. I would be more willing to submit if I knew his motives were for our mutual benefit.

Still it is very hard. Knowing something in your head is very different from putting it into practice. My pride sometimes gets in the way. There are so many examples of times when my fiance has suggested something and I did not listen. Only for me to reaslise much later that he was right all along and I was wrong. Then I would feel bad for not listening right from the beginning. And I would ask God to help me again and again. It's not easy but I'm learning.

To read an article on submission, click HERE

To be continued....

Saturday, March 3

Meeting Dad

By this time, most of my family knew I was in a serious relationship. Except my dad. (A little background info: My dad and I have always had a close relationship. He's such a cool guy. Even when my friends meet him, they go "your dad is so cool" and I agree. He has always treated me like an adult and he respects my opinions. We talk and argue about anything. I remember my dad telling me when I was younger not to have a boyfriend until I was 20! LOL, I guess he was just trying to protect his little girl)
I was not in a hurry to introduce any guy to him until I was sure he was the right one. I was a bit nervous. Funny enough, my dad never seemed to mind when he met my guy friends. But I was worried about how he would react to my boyfriend. I knew it was now time though. After Mr proposed and I was now engaged, I asked my mum for advise on how to break the news to dad. She suggested that it was better face-to-face rather than over the phone. So I should wait until he was around, and he could meet the boyfriend. As God would have it, dad was coming for my graduation ceremony in December that year. Since I wanted Mr to be part of the ceremony, he was going to have to meet dad then. The day my parents arrived, I told my dad I wanted him to meet someone. The conversation went like this:

Me: Daddy there's someone I'd like you to meet.
Dad: Who?
Me: My boyfriend
Dad: Your what?
Me: Dad, he's not just any boyfreind
Dad: I see, what kind of boyfriend?
Me: He's my serious boyfriend
Dad: How serious?
Me: Serious enough for me to want to introduce him to you
Dad: How long have you known him?
Me: Almost two years
Dad: Two years!
Me: Well he's been my boyfriend for just over a year now
Dad: But you've only just graduated. Has he been distracting you from your studies?
Me: Not at all Daddy. He's actually been very supportive
Dad: I see
Me: Dad, just meet him first and give him a chance. I'm sure you'll like him
Dad: I'm not sure.
Me: Ok if you don't like him I'll take that on board. But you have to meet him first
Dad: He's trying to take my baby girl from me.
Me: Nooooo he's not! I'll always be your baby girl
Dad: Okay so when am I meeting him?
Me: Well I want him to be at my graduation ceremony so can you meet him before then?
Dad: This is serious. Ok tell him to come on Thursday.
Me: (hugs dad) Thanks dad! I'll tell him right away.

I ran to tell Mr that my dad wanted to meet him. The guy was a bit nervous. Just a bit... lol. I told him to be himself and he'll be fine. Thursday came and Mr came round to meet my parents. I was glad my mum had met him before this, otherwise it would have been even more nerve-wracking for the poor guy. As they settled down to talk, I left the room and left Mr on his own. After a while my dad called me and said I should see him out. On the way back to his car, I asked Mr what he and my dad had talked about. He said it was 'man-talk' so I wasn't meant to hear. I ran back inside to hear the verdict. Mum was smiling ear to ear. Dad looked thoughtful. I asked dad what he thought. He just said "He's a nice, responsible young man". I said "I'll take that to mean you liked him then." And that was it.

Some days later, it was my graduation ceremony. I remember turning round to wave to my parents in the auditorium and seeing Mr sitting beside them talking to my mum. And that was it, just like that he had been accepted as a member of the family. I was sooo pleased. Later on when we were taking photographs, my dad jokingly asked Mr if it was okay for him to hold my hand. My friends could not believe their eyes when they saw Mr sitting confidently with my dad. They came to ask me how I did it. I remember one of them telling me that she was dreading the day she would introduce her boyfriend to her dad too. I told her to get her mum on her side, that seemed to help. I'm just glad that the meeting went well and my dad liked him at once. So that major hurdle was over.
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