The whole concept of submission in marriage has taken on some very non-catholic baggage these days. I think we need to reframe the Catholic teaching on submission in marriage so as to avoid all the negative stuff and get at the heart of a proper Catholic understanding of “wives submit to your husbands…”(Ephesians 5: 21 etc) Replace the language using “submit” with this: “I am my husband’s second, I have his back in the spiritual war we call life.”
I chose this because in Catholic teaching men and women are of equal dignity. We are partners, we are part of the Church Militant, and we live this life in a spiritual war zone.
“I am my husband’s second, I have his back in the spiritual war we call life.”– Ann Seeton
We NEED to be a team, but like in military situations, our spiritual lives depend on the bond, the special connection. He leads, but wives, we are his second! We have his 6! This is not some soft task.
Are you an assertive leader at work? A go-getter? Is he more laid back? You have his back, what are his strengths? Contemplate them, then get out of his way as he does his thing–and you have his back.
It may be a woman thing, this ability to discern. We track and arrange so much but I don’t think it was a mistake that God called Eve a helpmate for Adam. We know she took the lead and failed to have Adam’s back.
Look at Mary. She was not passive, she thought on everything, she said yes to God. She called herself a handmaid. Yet she wove Jesus’ tunic in a single piece! That is skill people– she could work a loom complex enough to allow a garment to be woven without seam! That was so high quality the soldiers gambled to see who got it. She clothed God incarnate. She also nudged Jesus at the wedding at Cana to fix the wine situation. She followed even to the cross, and did not waver. She had his back to his death–and there were more women at the foot of the cross than men. God called the shots, but Mary had Jesus’ back.
Think about the Proverb’s 31 woman. Talk about a go-getter, strong, leader! She made it possible through her brilliant management for her husband to do what he did. She was his second, she had his back, and because of her gifts in action, he could sit at the gates with the elders. Our modern use of the word “submit” is miles away from this!
You want to rock the entire, “wives submit to your husbands” scripture? Reframe it to, “I am my husband’s second, I have his back.” and let yourself discover with prayerful discernment what that means in your specific marriage and home.
Dear Lord, thank You for my husband. Please help me to be a good second and have his back every day. +Amen