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I wanted to share this quote I read this morning and loved - talking about wives submitting to husbands, and husbands submitting to Christ. I love this because sometimes submission for wives isn't immediate, or easy. And husbands leading the wives isn't always immediate, or easy. But when you get to the place of complete trust and mutual respect, it is a beautiful picture of unity. It is then that we can look at our spouse and see God working in them, without any blinders or bitterness. We can see them with new eyes because we have learned to KNOW them, and truly think the best of them. And thennnn, God can use US in their lives and vice versa, to present each other as blameless and in love with Christ above all.

We really are made to bring out the best in each other. It is meant to be a relationship unlike any other in our lives. If you and your spouse have been or are struggling, know that there IS hope. There is redemption and real love available from Jesus, and He wants nothing more than to redeem your marriage!! When your marriage's foundation is built on Christ, it cannot be shaken, cannot be broken.

"Each spouse should see the great thing that Jesus is doing in the life of their mate through the Word, the gospel. Each spouse then should give him- or herself to be a vehicle for that work and envision the day that you will stand together before God, seeing each other presented in spotless beauty and glory." Tim Keller

Society likes to joke and make fun of women who "submit" to their husbands, considering it to mean wives do whatever their husbands say, and are just walked all over. I think we fail to mention that it is actually a huge necessity in marriage, and it will actually happen more naturally the more intimate and close you become in marriage. When you can look at your husband and know he is your protector and wants the best for you, you can securely submit to him, fully trusting him with your life, and think of him first. And when you can look at your wife, knowing she sees the good and the bad, still chooses to respect and serve you, you probably feel on top of the world, knowing she's got your back, and in turn you think of her first. With both wives and husbands living that way, thinking of the other first, your marriage will be so full of joy and sacrifice and intimacy.

I think we fail to mention how life-changing it can be when we submit to each other when it's HARD to. I know for Jimmy and I, it hasn't always been that way. It is easy to submit and respect when things are going great in our marriage. But the real growth and holiness is when you submit when it's the last thing you want to do, and it feels impossible. That is really when you see the Holy Spirit clearly working. As hard as it may "feel", we should consider it joy to submit and respect. What a privilege to know we are each others' best supporters, and we can bring out the real best in each other.

It isn't something to sweep under the rug and pretend it's not important. It's extremely important, and really it is a command, Biblically.

But we also have to mention that at times, it WILL be difficult. Maybe you have already discovered that. I know we have. It is easy to submit when it's something I want, too. Or when the decision is "easier", or when the decision doesn't ask us to FULLY SURRENDER what we desire.

Example: when your husband is giving everyone else full attention, and failing to "meet your needs", isn't it harder to submit?

Or when your husband's "calling" is calling him to a place / situation you don't absolutely love, it's much harder to submit.

Or when you've had a harder past and have been hurt or affected prior, much harder to submit.

Or, if your family is already stressed with life and kids and jobs and your communication and intimacy have been lacking, much harder to submit.

Or vice versa - If your wife is questioning everything you're doing, isn't it easy to say she doesn't submit to you?

Or when she argues back and does her own thing, hard to lead, right?

Or if you are spending lots of time and effort caring for the lives of many, forsaking your wife and home, and you wonder why your wife doesn't trust you and submit?

BUT THOSE. THOSE TIMES are when you have no choice but to lean on God to be able to submit (wives) and to be ready to LEAD (husbands). Until you've been in a situation where you've had to lean on Christ's strength alone, it is harder to understand how glorious it can be. It totally is meant to be mutual. And geez, when it is, is is SO ENJOYABLE.

Romans 12 tells us to "OUTDO one another in showing honor." Not be equal, not do it halfway, not when it is easy....but OUTDO each other. Imagine if we lived that way! Sometimes God wants us to submit visibly. Our spouses will see it. Example: husband says we should do ___ and wife says OK! But sometimes, I know for me, I have had to silently submit. In past situations, in my heart and mind, it has been the last thing I want to do, but I continue walking in faith. Most importantly, I pray SPECIFICALLY telling God my feelings, desires in the situation etc. And many times, I have expressed that I want to submit to Jimmy and to Christ, and asking God to move and work. And guess what? God sometimes changes Jimmy's heart and desire to align with mine, and then it's amazing to know I was submitting in trust, not out of my own desire. I was WILLING and ready, and God blessed that faith in my husband.

Submitting when it is HARD to, that will change us so much. Our marriage will be stronger and our unity will be tighter. I feel so strongly about this topic because personally, we've had many changes over the years, and a lot of those took trust, surrender, and submission / respect. I love when I talk to another couple and they can share how hard getting to a point of mutual respect/submission had been, but how victorious God has been in changing their marriage. I don't wanna hear the easy stories - I want the "only God could've done this!" kinda story.

Men, be a husband that is facilitating submission and leading under Christ. Live life in a way so your wife can safely give herself fully to you so much that she can't help but submit to you because she trusts you trusting Jesus with your life and hers.

Women, be a wife who submits out of joy and privilege, even when it's hard or he seems undeserving. Submit, and continue praying. Pray for your husbands leadership, too. Even if the other person refuses to change, remember that you can still change yourself! You can either match their selfishness or disrespect or sin, or you can choose to be different.

"The ultimate goal of a marriage, Tim Keller stressed, is to have a mission to help God "do the work in the other person because [the goal is] to walk together to the throne."

Praying for you all!! Thankful for you. Lis

--- some back info. of our marriage - many years and many situations in our lives have forced me to cling to Jesus, really because I knew I couldn't do things in my own strength to help our marriage. When God allows you and/or your marriage to struggle, but you trust him THROUGH it, you come out more refined. Now, we look back at those years and thank God that He allowed us to struggle through those times, because without them, we wouldn't be where we are today. Many times I've followed Jimmy's lead in our marriage, while doubting and questioning the entire time. I was submitting, or trying to, when I really didn't want to. However, instead of clinging to Jimmy and his lead, I clung to JESUS, because He is fully perfect and holy. And through that, even through my half-way-submission, God saw my faithfulness, and He proved Himself faithful. To both my tear-filled prayers, and our marriage. I don't want a lukewarm, complacent marriage. And I will keep fighting for it.

How can I pray for you and your marriage today? ** Here are two amazing resources I have loved sharing with other couples. Great discussion questions for your and your spouse, and also great to read through and ask yourself.

  1. Marriage of "your Dreams" -

  2. Marriage Expectations -

Surrender your marriage to Christ, and watch Him work.

I can't share this enough, because I have personally seen God redeem our marriage!

"And when I don't know what to do I will fix my eyes on You

You're my defender I hide my hope in You You are the loving arms my broken heart can run to

I will remember that there is nothing You can't do For You are God, You are good And I surrender, You're my defender

You are strong when I am weakest You're the peace that passes everything I see I put my trust in You

I'm surrendering completely Laying all my cares here at Your feet I put my trust in You

A mighty fortress is our God I will not fear, I will not fear Safe and secure here in Your love I will not fear, I will not fear."

- Chris McClarney


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