Thursday, April 8, 2010

Don't Be A Shrew!

Robert brought my attention to this video of The Animals. It was posted on Ray Ortland's blog along with the words. This group came into popularity when I was a teenager. I must have listened to this song hundreds of times, but never really paid attention to the lyrics too much until this morning. 

These guys are really communicating a Biblical message concerning the respect a wife owes her husband. I was quite stunned as I read the lyrics. Respect and submission from a wife to her husband are commanded in Ephesians 5:22-24, 33 and again in Colossians 3:18. Wives are also commanded to love their husbands in Titus 2:4. Of course, we need the power of the Spirit of God to do this with the mind of Christ, as He submitted Himself to the will of His Heavenly Father.

When you complain and criticize
I feel I’m nothing in your eyes
It makes me feel like giving up
Because my best just ain’t good enough
Girl, I want to provide for you
And do all the things you want me to

But Oh, Oh no, don’t bring me down
I’m beggin’ you darling
Oh, Oh no, don’t bring me down

Sacrifices I will make
I’m ready to give as well as take
One thing I need is your respect
One thing I can’t take is your neglect
Girl, I want your tender love
Then troubles are easy to rise above

Here I would like to interject a few brief thoughts about submission.

What Submission is Not
Submission is not subjugation. It does not mean that you are inferior to your husband. It is not laying down your life in order to be a doormat. Submitting to your husband does not mean that you can never speak to offer your opinions or ideas. And if your husband is asking you to sin, you had best not submit to him. We obey God rather than man. Nor does submission ever mean that you should "just take" being physically abused. In that case, there are laws to protect you from such brutality. Such a man should be turned over to the authorities.


What Submission Is
Submission is part of a dignified role that God has given to the woman as part of what it means to be the man's helper. God created man and woman to be equals with different roles - the man leads and the woman helps. And by the way, equality has nothing at all to do with the role we were created to fulfill. Equality has to do with the essence of what/who we are. God created both man and woman in His image, and to be human. In essence, we are both human beings. We are not two different kinds of beings, one a human and one some kind of creature less than human. No, we are both of the same essences and that is where our equality lies.

Why Submission?
Since no institution can survive without order, God created order in the marriage by creating roles. The man leads and the woman helps him lead. And that leading does not only apply in the home, but also in the church in the and world (where it is appropriate).

But for some odd reason (because of the Fall), women have always contended for the same role as the man in marriage. This is where the 50/50 marriage idea comes in - where both the man and the woman lead 50% of the time. Problem is, when does he lead and when is it her turn and who keeps score? Imagine if employees did that at the workplace? Total anarchy and chaos would ensue, just as it has in marriage.

So I offer you the following excerpt from Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, which really says it like it is. I am always convicted when I read it. Just a suggestion as you not take exception to the first few lines. Rather think of your husband in these roles as your earthly head (your "lord" with a small L for instance), for indeed he is.

The Taming of the Shrew

Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign, one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labor, both by sea and land;
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou lie'st warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks, and true obedience - 
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince,
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will, 
What is she but a foul contending rebel,
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
I, ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace,
Or seek rule, supremacy or sway,
When they are bound to serve, love and obey
Why are our bodies soft, and weak, and smooth,
Unapt to to toil and trouble in the world
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?

In what ways do you support your husband? How do you help him? What little things do you do that he really appreciates? In what areas do you find it difficult to submit and be respectful?
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Join the discussionDon't Be A Shrew!

  1. Hi Dear Sharon,
    I want to bring to light that I can be a shrew at times. I have been practicing 1 Peter 3 but since I used to be quite feministic & odious like my mother it seems sometimes Satan really uses my husband as a tool to taunt me. My worst times I can remember is when my husband was being such a caveman in heat, that he didn't care that I had a skin problem there. I obeyed the Bible and did what I had to do.He has accepted Christ in his youth but I don't think he's ever experienced re-birth. I need to pray for him instead of complain I know. If I assume he'll act like a gentleman I get dissapointed but if I assume he'll be a jerk I'm not practicing faith. Sometimes I act indifferent because it's too painful but then he feels like I don't love him and he gets all soft. I don't want to manipulate him with my indifference either. All in all though, I really try to honor him in front of the kids and in front of him and most everyone. I'll only confide in a Titus 2 woman or a veteran of 1 Peter 3 that has been victorious. I say that to say i'm not a successful helpmeet but I want to be. Hopefully God will sanctify our marriage but I certainly don't want to gain anything by my own ability to be a good wife. I just don't trust the quality of my good works. Thanks to Jesus' blood covering me I have a hope. Sorry to spill my heartache on you. I am blessed to have you as a friend. Blessings

  2. What a fitting song Sharon! Submission can be a difficult subject for many women (including me for the longest time). Now that I am happily married to a godly, Christian man, God has shown me how fulfilling it is to be my husband's helper. My husband leads through strength and love and that is so easy to submit to! He's never had to demand submission (which really wouldn't be submission, right?) but instead leads in a way that makes me naturally want to follow.
    When we were married, we decided together that we were going to strive to outdo one another in love! So that's what we do! I pray for him daily, that God would bless the fruit of his labor. He loves it when I write notes on his sandwich bags ("You're the BEST husband EVER!") and shows them off to his friends at work. I do whatever I can to help him get ready for work, making his breakfast, lunches, keeping his uniforms clean and laid out the night before, and massaging him when he's had a hard day. I schedule doctor/dentist appointments for him (on occasion take him to the ER, yikes!)and do what I can to keep him in good health through health cooking and family exercise times.
    The hardest area of submission for me is when he's made a decision that I don't agree with. He knows that too, so that's when he appreciates my submission the most. There's only been a few times where I didn't agree with him, but I made it clear to him that I would support his decision, no matter what my opinion was. He usually turns out to be right, but once he wasn't. He looked at me a bit sheepishly, but I just grabbed him and hugged him and told him how much I loved him. He got a kick out of that and it really made me feel good to do the right thing. I had really wanted to say, "I told you so!" but I have done that before and the results were totally dissatisfying to me. It is so much more empowering to me as a woman to build my husband up rather than cut him down. There's been tough decisions he's faced recently and all I could do was pray for God to give him wisdom. It's a lot of responsibility to be the decision maker, and I even tell him, "I don't know which way we should choose, but I will support you 100% no matter the outcome!" And of course we know that God will take care of us when we obey Him.
    God has been so gracious to me, by giving me a loving husband, and providing for our needs! Thanks for this great topic Sharon!
    By His Mercy,