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Marriage that Works
God's Way of Becoming Spiritual Soul Mates, Best Friends, and Passionate Lovers
It's no secret that marriage is in trouble in America. This foundational building block of society is crumbling before our eyes. And Christians are not exempt from this trend. There is hope. Despite the mounting pressure on couples, you really can have a great marriage, raise Godly kids, and experience a healthy, life-giving home-life with the stability to weather life's storms. Join Chip Ingram as he challenges the status quo and gives clear, compelling help for couples that long for unity and fulfillment in their marriage.More from this series
Is there a woman in the home? Women have been oppressed, both currently and from ages past. And so, what I want to do is as we start, I want to talk about the evolution of the American female.
And so, let’s start. Let me go all the way back to the time of Jesus. Three cultures were prevalent. The Jews, the Greeks, and the Romans.
In the Jewish, although the Old Testament did not teach this, the Jews had developed a very low view of woman by the time of Jesus. Women were viewed as servants, a Jewish man would get up every day and pray this. Imagine hearing your husband pray this outside the front door. “God, I thank you that I am not a Gentile, a slave, or a woman. Amen.” That is not a good view of woman. Jews basically, pragmatically viewed women as slaves.
The Greeks were worse, however. In the Greek world, there was no legal procedure for divorce because none was necessary. An Athenian orator of the time said, “We have courtesans, prostitutes, for pleasure. We have concubines for the sake of daily cohabitation. And we have wives for the purpose of having children legitimately and being faithful guardians of our household affairs.”
Because the Greek men found their pleasures outside of marriage, fornication, prostitution were rampant.
And so, a woman, basically, among the Greeks, was just an object to be used for pleasure.
So, imagine, as a woman growing up in this situation. This is not pretty. The Jews, the Greeks, it gets worse.
Among the Romans, divorce was not the exception, but the rule. Jerome, a historian of the day and an ancient writer, tells of one Roman woman, “who was married for her twenty-third time, and she was married to a man, and she was his twenty-first wife.”
Marriage in Rome became nothing more than legalized prostitution. You can go all over the world. You can go, especially to the Middle East, but multiple countries around the world and women, women and the word “injustice” have gone together since antiquity.
In fact, some things that you might not recognize that until 1920, a woman could not vote in the United States. In Switzerland, a woman did not get the vote until 1971.
In the 1960s, if you wanted to rent an apartment or get credit, you had to have a man or a male relative sign. This is 1960s in America. They didn’t think women could be responsible enough to make sure they paid their bills.
Today, more than a thousand women, actually, this is, statistics are a little old so we’d probably double that. We have women in legislatures, we have over a hundred women are leading in terms of mayors of cities all over America. We have women, more women now in medical school than men. And so, there’s been this huge, huge transformation of the liberation of women.
Feminism is not a dirty word. Feminism is a controversial word. In fact, let me give you the definition of feminism. Feminism merely states, “It’s the principle,” this is Webster’s, “that women should have equal, political, economic, and social rights to men.”
And then under that, Webster says, “It’s the movement to win those rights.”
But radical feminism and feminism are two different things. If you are a woman here in your twenties or thirties or even in early forties, something happened in the seventies that tilted it from a slave, a servant, an object, you get the vote, boy, now you get your own credit.
Well, now, in the seventies, it became: the core of all evil in the world is men.
And so, it is now time to fight back, no god, no master, no laws.” Basically, men are the problem behind everything.
As that happened, the USA Today sited a study that was done asking women their values in certain things. So, I want you to, ladies, get this feel of what’s been going on in the culture. Because all these things lead up to this unconscious view of how you see yourself, what you’re supposed to do, what you shouldn’t do, or the confusion that you have.
In the 1970s, according to this survey, there was a clear demarcation between a working woman and a stay at home woman and women said, “You know something? I am now liberated.” This movement outside the home.
In 1920, only one out of five women worked outside the home. By 1990, seventy-five to eighty percent of all women between the ages of twenty to fifty, work outside the home.
By the eighties, women in this survey, felt like they had a full-time job working, full-time job motherhood, and felt stressed.
By 1990, a ground-breaking study says, “Women are less driven about career, much less concerned about the neighbors, and are returning home in droves.”
It’s a story of executive women who, basically have said, being a full-time mom and saying that quality time is equivalent to quantity time just doesn’t play out.
They feel overwhelmed, overstressed, and there’s a movement to working part time or, what the study says, women are saying that motherhood and their families take precedence over work.
With that said, and you’ll notice in your notes, you have the evolution of the American female. That’s sort of what’s created this culture.
Second, you have a world between 1920 and today where we’ve had a mother absent in the family. The results were violence is up, divorce is up, SAT scores are down, teen suicide is up, and depression is up.
The total impact of the changing roles, here’s what happened to men. Men got two incomes. The affluence in America is off the charts because of the two income households.
Women got two jobs. We all like to say, oh, woman goes to work and there’s equality and there’s a lot of verbiage. But at the end of the day, women know this: I can go to work full time and when I come home, I get another full time job.
And maybe men help out a little bit but the average guy’s not helping that much, according to ruthless surveys around the country.
And finally what happens is children get too little attention. We have kids that are confused, kids that are, at very young ages, that are taking drugs we never heard of before. We have situations where kids aren’t getting nurtured.
What we know for sure, in the research, is the first five to seven years of any child’s life, over eighty percent of their personality will be formed, their moral values and their self-identity.
And it’s at these times, what we find is, little kids have been shipped off at the ages shortly after they’re born, at times, for the first six or seven years into day care.
With women, they’ve been brainwashed to believe that unless I have this career and this and that, I am not really a valuable person.
And so what’s happening is a reaction to that as women are trying to reevaluate how does all that work?
Which leads me to the fundamental question, which is, are women’s lives, marriages, and families better since the politically correct experiment, or worse?
And what I want to talk about in our time today is how would God redefine womanhood in our marriages and in our homes? Think of all that you’ve been through, ladies. All that you’ve been through.
Is it any wonder that families are messed up, that divorce is everywhere, that kids are confused, that people are shipped back and forth to house to house?
That financially, a third of the people that get divorced live under the poverty level? That forty percent of our people say they don’t even believe in marriage anymore? That we have the age of people getting married growing older and older, almost thirty years old for men as they look and say, “Hey, you know what? I don’t know if I ever want to do this. It doesn’t seem to work for anyone.”
We’ve totally missed God’s roles and God’s design that makes for deep, intimate marriages that stay married, that create homes where there’s rich love and stability for kids.
And so, what we learn is that it always begins with mutual submission. Okay? This isn’t about, the man’s here and the woman’s here and you’re supposed to submit. Everything begins in God’s economy with mutual submission.
Ephesians chapter 5 verse 21 says, “And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
It’s this picture, in quick summary, that there’s this umbrella that a man lives under and a woman lives under.
And the umbrella is the fear of God and the Word of God. And I say, as a man and a woman says, as a woman, first and foremost, I will obey You and I want to do life Your way, according to Your Word.
And so, it’s not about my rights or what she’s supposed to do or what he’s supposed to do. First and foremost, I want to love God with my heart, my soul, my strength and I want to pursue You.
And then, my question in my marriage is not so much who does what. How do I make you successful? How do I love you more deeply? And how do I serve you? So, all the commands about the roles are under that umbrella.
And now we say that this dance, the first step we learn, men need to step up, starts with the man. Now, we’re going to learn that the dance requires clarity – of roles. What a woman needs to understand is, well, what’s my role? Okay, it’s supposed to be beautiful and there’s mutual submission. But, so what is my role?
God says this, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church.” Will you underline the word “subject” and will you circle the word “head” where it comes up?
The word “subject” or “submit.” It’s not a dirty word. We’ll find out what it means in just a minute. It has nothing to do with inferiority, has nothing to do with inequality, has everything to do with function, structure, and role for a right relationship.
“He Himself,” speaking of Christ, “is the Savior of the body. But as the Church is subject to Christ so also wives ought to be to their own husbands in everything.” And by way of review, it’s not difficult to submit to, and we’ll learn what that means, in a minute, to a man who lives like this.
“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the Word. That He might present to Himself the Church in all of her glory, having no spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless.”
Application: “So, husbands ought to love their wives,” how? “As their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes is it just as Christ also does the Church because we are members of His body.
“Nevertheless, let each individual among you love his own wife,” how? “Even as himself.” And then, ladies? “And let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.” Put a circle around the word “respect.”
We get our word “phobia.” The Greek word is phobia, here. And it doesn’t mean “a fear of.” It means a reverence.
The greatest need a man has is to be honored and respected. The greatest need in the world.
A man feels loved, a man feels empowered when he’s encouraged, in form, when a wife steps into his life and communicates by her words and her actions, “I believe in you. I believe God’s put you in this position. I realize it’s overwhelming and impossible to lead, and guide, and protect. And I want you to know that I honor and respect the position God’s given you and I want to help you be successful.”
The greatest fear men have is futility and failure. And so what we, as men, do, out of our fear, is we compensate. And the way we compensate is in our work and in things like sports and hobbies. Because, guess what, we’re good at that and we know what we’re doing.
But you ask the average guy, “How do you feel about leading your family spiritually?” “Uhhhh, never saw that one done before.” “How do you feel about being sensitive, warm, caring, and yet guiding each of your kids?” “I don’t know much about that either.”
And so, women, out of your fear, because your greatest need is for security, will take the reigns of the family and control, which sabotages the marriage.
And men, out of your fear of failure, won’t step up and lead your family because you feel like if you try and do it and fail, that it’s going to be really bad.
And so, women, here’s what God says. Here’s what it means to submit. Here’s what it means to step in.
Wives are to, here’s the key word, step in and support, affirm, and encourage their husbands with strength and respect to lead their families in righteousness.
Yeah, I want you to write the words “step in” but I chose this, this is the definition of what it looks like when it says, “Wives, be subject to your husband.” This isn’t someone’s bigger or more important.
Notice carefully, it’s stepping in instead of stepping over. And notice, how do you do it? With affirmation, support, and encouragement. But also notice this, it’s with strength. This isn’t passivity. This isn’t “whatever you say, dear.”
It’s with strength and respect and notice the goal. It’s to lead your family in righteousness. It’s under the umbrella of mutual submission and it’s that picture of those two people dancing. Where, once there’s rhythm and the music starts, you don’t know who took the first or the second step. It’s just a thing of beauty.
So, what I want to do now, I want to talk about what this means, and what it doesn’t mean, and how it plays out very practically.
This is what it means. Wives must understand that marriage is not an egalitarian, fifty-fifty proposition. This is not a, we’re not co-, as people talk about, there is a point in time in every organization, whether it’s a company, whether it’s a small group, whether it’s a club, whether it’s rotary, whether it’s the military, the buck in every organization stops somewhere.
Ultimately, someone is responsible. Great leaders who feel responsible take all the best gifts of all the people in any group, but there are those one to two to three percent of the times when everyone has put something together and someone’s got to own responsibility of, “What do we do about this?”
And at the end of the day, God says, just as Christ is the head of the man; men, you are ultimately responsible for the outcomes of your family. Spiritually, directionally, provisionally.
And, ladies, just so, I want you to know, this has nothing to do with value, equality, you might jot in your notes, I’ll read it for you, it’s 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 3. I want to give you a picture of someone who submitted himself to someone else that we know, with absolute certainty, there was no diminishment in terms of equality or importance.
He writes, “Now, I want you to realize that the head,” this is this idea of person who ultimately is the source and responsible for, and has the authority to make it happen, “the head of every man is Christ. And that the head of every woman is man. And that the head of Christ is God.”
Jesus submitted Himself to the Father. We know that the Holy Spirit, Jesus God the Son, and God the Father are coequal in essence, in value. There is no higher or lower. But in terms of function and structure. So, that’s the first thing, that’s what it means to submit.
The second thing is, wives must voluntarily support their husbands from the heart, as an act of obedience. It’s voluntary. Submission is not a burden to bear. It’s not a cross to bear. It’s not, “Oh boy, I’ve got to do this.”
This is a real sense that, from a joyful heart, I’m going to believe that God has put this person in my life, for my good, and ultimately, he doesn’t have the power to mess everything up because God is in control and is sovereignly working. But this is a voluntary, from the heart, with a joyful attitude.
I thought to myself, “What’s the picture? How does this play out into the mind and the emotions of a woman?” And I thought, “ I just don’t qualify to answer that question because I don’t know.” And so, in just a few minutes, I’ll give you a picture, I think, that’ll be helpful.
And, third, wives must believe that submission, stepping in versus stepping over, is a woman’s greatest ally and the key to bringing about positive change. Now, think about that. Your greatest ally. Cooperating with God’s design.
And the reason I gave you that evolution of what’s happened in women is, just honestly,
let’s just pretend you were at the coffee shop at one of the corporations here, or at a job site.
And someone said, “Hey! What did you do yesterday?” You said, “Oh, I went to church yesterday.” “Oh really? What’d they talk about?” “Oh, they’re talking about marriage and stuff.” “So what’s going on? What are you learning?”
You’re two women. And say, “Yeah, yeah.” They say, “My man’s supposed to step up, provide, lead, make it happen, lay down his life for me. Even physically die, if he needs to.” “Hey, it’s great, what time’s that thing meet?” “Oh, well, you better hear what they’re saying about women first.”
“Oh, well, what do they say?” “Uh, it’s the ‘S’ word.” “Well, what do you mean?” “Well, there’s this submission thing that God has this structure where He holds men responsible to be this servant leader but we talk and we dialogue and I’m supposed to bring all my strengths, and all my gifts, and share what I really believe. But when we get to an impasse, I’m really supposed to defer and submit to him.”
“No, you’re kidding. That is so antiquated. He said that out loud in front of everybody?” “Yeah. And I think he believes it. And he reads from this book. He reads from this book like it’s really true.” “Like, are you kidding me?” “No, no.”
Now, could I just stop for a moment? If you think what I just read and stated is politically incorrect in our day, go back to the evolution of women. See, we read things through this tiny little context of 21st century in the last fifty or sixty years.
Can you imagine, are you ready, guys? Imagine being a man and you grew up in a culture - a Jewish man, a Roman man, or a Greek man. And it’s the 1st century. And maybe you’re a pretty new Christian and so you’re nicer to your wife than most people and you really love her and you’ve got a decent relationship.
But, you do understand that you’ve grown up thinking women are slaves. You’ve grown up thinking women are just an object of pleasure and you’re growing up thinking everybody around you has been divorced ten, twenty, fifteen times, if you’re a Roman. And it’s not a big deal.
And now you receive Jesus as your Messiah and you’re following Him, and you’re in this church in Ephesus and God, through the apostle Paul, speaks and they open this scroll, and they start talking about mutual submission and you’re going, “Whoa, hey, whoa, well mutual what?”
Then she’s a coheir of the grace of God that she’s not only equal, that she’s your partner in life, and you’re supposed to lay down your life for her? Die for her?
Do you understand that the greatest liberator on the face of the earth, of women, was Jesus and the apostle Paul? The greatest liberator. And when they talk about submission or being subject to, it is in the context of a sovereign, good God who created roles that, when they fit together and each does their part, it’s the healthiest, richest.
You know what a woman wants? She wants to be secure. She wants to be protected. But out of your fear, you want to control. And the radical feminism pushed all the buttons into a place where, we not only don’t need men, we hate them.
And there are some vestiges of that planted in our culture and society.
And ladies, at the end of the day, I’ll tell you this. I’ve watched very, very bright, well educated, great women who, unconsciously, have bought into what the culture says and end them on paths where they hate their life.
I was on a plane, and I sat next to a very young, bright woman. She was probably twenty-eight. She spoke five different languages. And she was going into, I think Atlanta, and a pretty high-powered job.
Five languages, it was going to be international, she’d be traveling all around the world. And I was talking to her and we had this great conversation and I said, “Well, what’s your husband think about this?” Because she said she’d been married about eighteen months.
And she goes, “Oh, well, he’s excited about it.” I said, “I’ve done quite a bit of overseas travel. Um, how do you think this is going to work for your marriage when you’re gone two, three weeks, sometimes a month at a time?”
She goes, “Oh, it’s not bad, we only see each other for a half a day now.” I said, “What do you mean?” “Well, he has this job, dut, dut, dut, dut, dut. And it makes this much money. And I’ve got this job, dut, dut, dut, dut, dut and I’ve been moving up the ladder. And so he works this shift and I work the early shift so we only have about a half a day on Saturday when we really get to see each other. And then we see each briefly but I’m really tired or he’s really tired and…” And I just wanted to say, “And you’re doing this on purpose?”
Do you understand? You understand, unconsciously, what she’s bought into? High levels of education, making a lot of money, big job, this. Tell you what, she’s going to wake up in about ten or fifteen years and, at some point, she’s going to have a kid and then she’s going to be in crisis.
And she’s going to have all these motherly pangs that say, “I should nurture, and help, and take care of but I’ve invested all this time over here, and when, and how, and what?” And he’s going to say, “Hey, look, we’ve started on two incomes, baby, we need two incomes because look at our lifestyle. We’ve got to pay for this, and this, and this, and this. And it causes really difficult…
So, you’ve got to get clear on who is it that God wants you to be, as a woman, and what really matters, and be able to make some hard decisions. And choose when, and how, and why you’re going to work and when, and how, and why you’re going to be a couple.
And where can you live and economically, how are you going to play this out? Because I will tell you, fast forward, wherever you’re living right now, five to seven to fifteen years, what will be better than anything you could ever achieve is a deep, rich marriage with someone that cherishes you and you love them. And if God wants and you so have children, kids that actually grow up that are stable, that love you, want to be around you.
That, and I’m, getting there, so it gets kind of crazy. And then you actually grow up, and your kids grow up, and they still want to have a relationship with you and they look back and thank you for the huge sacrifice and investments you’ve made in their life.
I’ve never buried anyone where we talked about how many languages they spoke, how much money they made, how many letters they had behind their name, what their portfolio was. But every person I’ve ever buried, people sit around and eat, usually, funny food and they talk about relationships. And they talk about love. And they talk about giving, and caring, and connection.
And I just want to say, ladies, God has a plan for that. And He has a plan for men. What we’ve – how is the present plan working for most of us? Let me, think about it. If you think this is radical, ask yourself this.
Most women I know would like their men to be more romantic. Maybe? Okay. More responsible. Like, actually pick up their own stuff. Lead spiritually, financially provide, and communicate more.
So, God says, “If that’s what you would really like to see happen in the life of your husband, submission is your greatest ally.” How? Most of you have learned nagging does not work. Right? Withholding sex does not work. Yelling, screaming, and having fights does not work.
I want to tell you, when a man feels honored, respected, affirmed, and encouraged. Now, it’s the office too. There are times where his behavior, you don’t respect his behavior. You think, “And he’s out to lunch! But God put him in this place. I’m going to respect the office. And I’m going to treat him the way he ought to be treated even though he doesn’t deserve it. Because there are days going to come that I don’t deserve it.”
So, let me talk about some very specific things that this does not mean so you can understand what we’re really talking about in practice. And then I’m going to ask my wife to come up and give you some real practical ways, ladies, that I hope will be helpful.
Number one, it does not mean that you’re to be passive or inferior. You’re to be, you’re to step in but not over.
Some of you who think, Theresa, you meet her and she seems so sweet. And she is. Sort of. She’s strong. When we have a disagreement, when there’s an issue, I’ll tell you what, she’s not passively going, “Oh, whatever you think, dear.”
She’s, “Now, wait a second. What about this, this, this, this.” She’s strong and she brings it.
And a lot of decisions that I thought we really ought to do this is after we get done talking, I’m thinking, “I got another idea. Why did you confuse me with the facts and reality?” That’s how it works.
The second thing is it doesn’t mean that you submit only when you think he’s right. That’s just called agreement.
In my life, by the way, this has been a pretty big challenge in our relationship, which you will hear in just a minute. But if you only submit and say, “Yeah, I’m on board,” with a good attitude, joyfully, when you’re right, well, you’re just agreeing with him.
The test of submission is when you’re thinking to yourself, “I think this may be among the top three dumbest things he’s ever done. I’ve talked about it, I’ve made my case, I’ve laid out the evidence, I passionately argued my case and he’s absolutely convinced this is what God wants us to do.”
Then you just, you just give him and God and say, “Okay, Lord, please don’t let us get hurt too badly and show him what he needs to know.”
But you say, I remember I made a decision about a timing issue. I don’t think it was the wrong decision but how I did it, and when I did it, and I’ll never forget, my wife looked at me and said, “I will go with you because the Bible commands me and I will choose to have a good attitude. I do not want to, I don’t think it’s wise, and I think it’s a really dumb idea. Nevertheless.”
And looking back, it wasn’t wise, it was a really dumb idea, and we paid a pretty big price for it. She, gracefully, did not elbow me and say, “See, I told you so.”
Third, it doesn’t mean that you violate Scripture, reason, or morality to support your husband. Submission, there is no male chauvinism. There is no – you never lie, or cheat, or break ethics, or wife-swap, or bizarre things in the name, we’ve heard of people.
You know what? Your first commitment is to submit to God and submit to his Word. And if your husband ever asks you to do anything that violates Scripture, you say, “Uh, sorry. Can’t, can’t, can’t go there.”
Fourth, it doesn’t mean that you’re a doormat. You come with strength, beauty, concern, persuasion, you exchange ideas in a strong way. But it doesn’t mean you roll over and his ideas are the best ideas.
And, five, it doesn’t mean that you use submission as a tool to get your way. And what I mean by that is that there is a way where you can, what I call fake submission. “Oh, yeah, dear.”
I had a son that we went through a difficult season with him. And he has many of his mother’s genes in terms of being smart. And so, being very, very smart he would be a rebellious kid until he knew: I really want to do this.
And he could turn on this submissive, “Whatever you say, Dad, I’m on board. I’m on the team.” Just long enough to get what he wanted and then the real him would show up.
Now, ladies, I’m sure there are not many of you that have ever done anything like that. But submission really is not very much about your relationship with your husband. Submission is everything about your relationship with your heavenly Father.
I think it’s time for the men in the room who are talking the most, that would be me, to zip it. And what I thought as I prayed this through was, ladies, this is another one of those statements that we can’t use.
You may not realize this, or yes, you do. Is that not being a woman, I really don’t know what I’m talking about in practice. Okay? I know what the truth is. I know how it works.
And so, I asked my wife if she would take a couple minutes and ask what I thought would be, ask and answer, maybe the top two or three most difficult questions about this issue of submission. So, honey, could you come up here just for a minute before we wrap things up?
And I just want to go on record to say that, although we have issues, you’re not manipulative.
[Theresa] I know.
[Chip] Publicly. I thought we better get this out of the way right away. Question number one. What has helped you the most in fulfilling God’s role, especially in this area of submission? What are the positive factors that have helped you do that?
[Theresa] Well, I got to think about this today. Chip told me he was, tells me, at the last minute, that he’s going to ask me these questions. So, I asked him if, well, can we just spend a little bit of time together and tell me, what are you going to ask me so I could have time to think about it?
And I came up with three things that have been real helpful for me in being able to submit, as a wife. And I was thinking one of the things Chip did, one of them I did, and one of them we did together.
And what I have to say about my husband is that he has been a wonderful leader in our home. He’s a strong man. He’s, I have a real man in my house. And I’m very grateful about that.
But he has been a man of God. He doesn’t just make decisions hastily, or without a careful thought and prayer, and I respect him.
And so, I feel secure, I feel like his leading is good and that I can entrust my life because I know that he’s hearing from the Lord. So, that’s number one. That’s probably been one of the greatest things for me. And I know all women don’t have that in their homes.
The second thing, for me, is that just because I love the Lord and I love His Word, I want to obey God. And His Word tells me that I should be submissive to my husband and I should respect him, and so I just strive with all my heart to be able to do that and I pray, I ask God to help me, I claim His promises from His Word when I don’t understand what’s happening, and I don’t feel like submitting.
And I know that God will always take up my cause. He cares for women. He cares for wives. And he could make the worst mistake and he’s made a few, I have to say. But God is watching over me. And He does that for us as wives. He will take up our cause for us, the Lord will. He’s the one who cares for us.
And the third thing that’s been real powerful for me in submission is that we talk about everything. Communication is really a key, I believe, in a good marriage. We’ve truly worked at communicating. We spend time, nearly every day, talking about what’s going on, what we’re thinking about, what we’re struggling with, what our dreams are.
And so, we know each other’s heart. And when big issues come up it’s a lot easier then to talk about things, when we disagree, because we’ve communicated so well when we’re not disagreeing. So, I think those are just three of the major things.
[Chip] Good. What has been your greatest…why did I write these questions? What has been your greatest challenge in your role in this area of submission and how do you or how did you deal with it?
[Theresa] My greatest challenge is submitting when I don’t want to submit. It’s just, I don’t want to do that. I don’t believe that’s the right thing to do. So, that is a challenge.
And like Chip said, when our children were growing up probably the biggest issue that we just knocked heads over was disciplining our children. And also another issue was taking care of our home, and repairs, and just doing things to make our home better and we’ve had many, many conflicts over that because we see it differently and it’s been hard for me to submit sometimes when I want to have things done and you just don’t see it at all.
In fact, we were talking about this yesterday and we were having a little discussion about something about the house that needed repaired. And he said, “You just care too much.” He said it in a kind way. And I said to him, “Well, you just care too…”
[Theresa] Yes. And so, but we understand each other and I pray, I just pray a lot and God changes his mind and we get it done anyway. And another time, I’m probably talking way too, too much.
[Chip] Hey, it’s Saturday night, let’s have fun.
[Theresa] It’s just moving. That’s probably been, of all, everything, is the most difficult times I’ve had, when Chip has really believed that God is leading us to a different place.
But it’s, I like to be settled. I don’t like to leave my friends, and my home, and my kids and I really, in one particular move, just gave him a real hard time over that. And I, what helps me when we have those issues, and when it’s very difficult for me, is just crying out to the Lord.
I really do want to do God’s will and so I just claim His promises. And a promise that I claimed many, many times is from Romans 8:32 and it says, “He who spared not His Son but gave Him up for all of us, how will He not, our God, with Him freely give us all things.”
And I have realized that we may disagree but if he strongly believes God is leading us in a certain direction, and I submit and follow him, God’s going to provide everything that I need. Because God’s just like that. I hope you know that. He’s just like that. He loves us.
And I think the last thing that I thought about here was, it was just, well, you already said it in the message. I state my concerns. I’m not shy about that. And we just…
[Chip] I will echo that. She is not shy about that. But that’s very important, though, because if you bury them, what happens, it comes out in other areas. You’ll be resentful. So I think it’s way better to say – we did one thing and I think I made the right decision. I think I really did it at the wrong time, in the wrong way.
And she just looked at me and goes, “I will submit to this, I want you to know, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I don’t want to do it. I will go. But…” And it couldn’t have been stated any stronger. “And I will, I’ll have a good attitude. But…”
[Theresa] I didn’t have a good attitude a lot, though. I struggled with my attitude. But I got, I finally got there. Sometimes it’s a struggle. It takes time. It takes us time to work through those things. It just doesn’t happen instantly…
[Chip] But let me ask you one last question and that is what counsel or what would you say to a woman who is, from her perspective, feels like her husband’s not leading well and she fears, she’s thinking, “Okay, now, if I do what I believe God is teaching here, things are going to fall apart. If I let go of the reigns in this area, maybe it’s our finances, or spiritual leadership of the home, or something.
“If I let go, I am really afraid things are going to fall apart.” What would you say to that lady?
[Theresa] I think, first of all, the woman, she needs to ask herself, “Am I really willing to submit to my husband? Am I really willing to allow him to lead in our family?
Because, there are so many of us, we want control. And we want to run our homes and our families and so we have to be willing, first of all, to allow that to happen.
And, secondly, to just remember that when you do that, God cares for you. And that He will take up your cause in whatever situation that you’re dealing with. He will take up your cause for you. And work in your husband’s life as you submit to the Lord. Submit that situation to the Lord.
And another thing, I’m big on prayer. But pray for your husband. God can change him. And He can move in his heart, and change circumstances, and I would say give him room to change. Give your husband room to change.
Sometimes we see people act a certain way for so many years and we want them to change but we never give them space to change. We never, we don’t give them the time, and the belief in them to change. And so, give them room to change.
And just the last thing that I thought about was a motto-scripture for my life with Chip and our marriage is out of Proverbs 31. And it’s talking about a wife here in relationship to her husband and it says that, “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
And I just think that’s the best thing. If we could keep that in mind, in any situation, does this do him good? And I doing him good? Or am I doing him evil?
And sometimes doing him good means that we submit to something that we really don’t believe is God’s will for our life but he really does. And sometimes doing him good is doing, not doing things for him in the home and caring for things that he really needs to take responsibility for.
And so, it can look different. But if we were to strive to do our husbands good and not evil all the days of our lives, with the Lord’s help, I think God will do amazing things.
[Chip] Well, thanks very mu ch. We had a little triangle that we talked about as you, the man and a woman, as you move closer to the top to God, you can hear that we both come from really dysfunctional families. We both come from alcoholic families.
This is a real journey and a process that, but what you see is, as you move closer in your relationship to God, He really will work in you and through you.
And with lots of bumps. We’ve certainly had lots of bumps and as I guess you heard, we still have a few. But that’s normal. I don’t think that’s going to end.
But our heart’s desire is to see you embrace God’s design for your relationship, or God’s design for your future relationship. And I can tell you now, every area of a relationship that you can imagine is richer, and deeper, and better than I thought it could be. And way better than it was the first ten years, or the second ten years.