A favorite aftermath of our Soulation Gatherings are how the 10-14 attendants create a microcosm of Soulation’s community online. We create a private Facebook group for further discussion and engagement. Mini-reunions and questions mingle. Last week this question came up,

Do women hide under the umbrella of submissiveness defined by traditional thought in order to avoid responsibility in their own lives? Is it “easier to forfeit our God-given freedoms because our available choices might be painful?” (Scott Peck)

This can be as simple as saying you cannot meet a friend for coffee because your husband would be upset if the laundry did not get done that day (true story). But the real reason is she didn’t want to have coffee.

Why throw your husband under the bus in the name of submitting when we can own our truth…we just aren’t up to going.

Or on a bigger scale – A woman in my undergrad program told me “my husband doesn’t want me pusuing a graduate degree because it will cut into our time together’ which is a valid concern…however, she went on to share that they have a “traditional marriage and he is very high maintenance”.  Later she told me that it wasn’t as much about her husband, really she was scared to take on this big journey. They were able to work the issues out.

But, it did leave me thinking…how often do women consciously or unconciously bail on hard decisions in the name of submission?

I have been thinking about all of the men and women that Dale and Jonalyn speak to and how many are being challenged to re-map their old way of thinking and create a new course. To take responsibility for their true self. Sort of like Rapunzel. She waited forever for a handsome prince to rescue her and yet all the while had the means to create her own escape by using her hair as a ladder?

(read a public discussion of the same question here)

Honest enough question from a wife whose been married 18 years.

One key to analyzing this question is to consider that we don’t want to judge a thing (in this case, male leadership and female submission) by its abuse.  Some women may use their husband as an excuse for not growing or not doing things they would prefer avoiding does not necessarily denounce the complementarian view (complementarian meaning the male leadership model adopted by many evangelical Christians that defines different, complementary roles for men and women, sometimes called patriarchy).

I’ve written elsewhere why I don’t believe the Bible teaches lop-sided submission in the church and home.  But another concern I have is in what complementarianism creates. What do we make of a view that creates more weakness of will and cowardice of mind in women?  Is this simply an abuse or a true blue form of this view of male leadership?

If male leadership in the family means women can (and should) let the man make the final call, what does this do for women’s capacity to be more fully human.  Can women be as invested in final decision making, pressing the pros and cons, weighing in honestly and passionately when they are not responsibile for the final decision? As my father would say, isn’t every homeowner going to care more for the house than a renter, simply because of ownership?

Photo credit: hispanicallyspeakingnews.com/hsn-network/details/10-famous-memorable-and-notorious-latina-maids/7783/

Doesn’t this apply to final decision-making as well? If a woman doesn’t believe she is as responsible for the spiritual growth of her soul as her husband is (How Does a Husband Lead his Wife and Family?) isn’t her investment more symbolic than substantive?  In Tim and Kathy Keller’s book, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, Kathy says both the husband and the wife are to take on the role of Jesus in the marriage – with the husband dying to himself to sanctify his wife, and the wife taking on the role of Jesus as a servant (from “Submission Doesn’t Mean you Do Everything the Husband Says“). This sounds like the husband is making the wife holy an the wife is . . . serving.

I love the plug to be a servant. Here, here, to us all being servants. I will serve with the best of them, alongside Jesus.

But hasn’t experienced shown that those who are kept as servants in all things, also grow less skilled at deciding the big things?

Even if servants know their opinions may be heard, even treasured, but eventually not count in the final vote, how can servants be called equals?  Even Jesus did not remain a servant forever. He was given all authority and power (Matthew 28:18).

In the words of one of our recent Soulation interns “I’ve grown up learning that the man is the head of everything, family and spiritually. But I have always disliked it. Perhaps women resign to being submissive out of obligation. I know a woman who would say, “No matter what, I will go with whatever my husband says because he is my spiritual head.” I feel like this is a cop-out though. It limits her voice, limits discussion, limits growth for them both and it seems like when she says this she says she is less than him.”

Disagree? please share below.