Monday, October 29, 2007

submission

Submission. I have no negative feelings about the word. I think it is an important practice, something I do imperfectly. I think about it from time to time, not too often. I read Scripture about it. I believe in it. It makes a difference in my relationship with Jesus.

Some thoughts:

Dennis wanted to refinance our mortgage today. He had been spending hours talking with a sales rep on the phone. They hammered out an arrangement over a couple of days and Dennis took the figures over to me and asked me for my thoughts. After hearing him out, I said "no". The house is in my name, too. The sales rep called again and asked to speak with me. I wouldn't take the phone. Dennis spent several embarrassing moments trying to tell the rep that my mind was made up. The fees were 5,000 dollars to do the refinance. Something about it told me it was not the best we could do.

We talked about it some more. Dennis pulled out paperwork and some quotes he got from Learning Tree. I showed him how the fees came out to around 1500 dollars from several other institutions--that was the common going rate. Then he found a letter from VA benefits and as a retired military guy, he could qualify for a better deal. He called them and showed me the numbers. Waaayyy better. Plus, a lot of other benefits.

Huge sighs of relief, but an hour earlier there was a lot of tension. Dennis was proud of me for sticking to my guns with the first offer only after a better result came our way. But before that, I know he was thinking I was a pain in the neck while it made him dig deeper into what other options were out there.

So, was I practicing submission during this everyday life sort of situation? I have a hard time seeing it. My husband was embarrassed with the pushy sales rep. I wasn't disrespectful, but I was being firm. Hubby became elated when he found a better deal from a source previously overlooked, and suddenly very thankful that I held my ground.

We've ended up in trouble in the past when I turned off my brain and said, "Well, Honey, if it makes you happy..." and ignored red flags that were going off in my head. When I signed tax forms without double checking Hubby's work, for instance. For awhile after getting letters about paying back taxes owed a few years ago, I was struggling with Dennis in my heart until I remembered that we as partners signed on the taxes, so it was just as much my responsibility to know what was going on even though he took on the task of doing them. He waited too late and was tired because he had to stay up and do them past his bedtime. I was reading a book and being very passive. Which is not being submissive. Submission meant I would get involved and offered assistance-- get off my butt and double check the math. Even question his work and give him my two cents worth. Every year previously for the last 18 years, Den explained to me in detail what he did and showed me where to sign and every year everything went smoothly. To the point where I got complacent as a cow about it.

Submission to me is being helpful, aware and engaged in all things that our marriage partnership is responsible for...health, finances, ministry, hospitality, house, sex, pets, family, etc....and doing my part and contributing my gifts and talents. Submission is active, not lazy. It is getting involved in supporting my husband's leadership, and if neccessary, keep him from doing things we both might regret later. That's why two are better than one, a better return for their labor.

When we got married, Dennis was 33 and I was 27. He had been independent from home since he was 17. He took care of himself and did not depend on parents or anybody for anything. I was sheltered, and parents provided a safety net for every decision I made. Most decisions I made were good ones and I did not have huge needs, but they were there for me in case something didn't go right. My two years in Seattle after graduation didn't compare with Den's 16 years as a single man. Part of the appeal of marrying someone older was the feeling of security.

As I moved into my early thirties I realized that I was now a grown up and in many ways, had caught up in worldly-wise experience with my husband. It was a pretty quick process, actually. It was a shock to both of us. I wasn't a protected little kid anymore and Dennis didn't know everything. It happened on a trip to Europe. A good friend observed us two in Paris and she pulled me aside to let me know that I was too passive. She said being too submissive was not true godly submission and the only person that could keep Dennis from being overly controlling was me. I wasn't doing him any favors to let him walk all over me, either. My security had to be in God, not a husband. And God endowed me with a brain to use, for the benefit of myself and others.

While alone with him in Sweden a few days later, I asked Dennis if he felt intimidated by my intelligence. And I told him it was a gift from God to him. Actually, I don't know how smart I really am. By virtue of being raised with certified near genius level brother and sisters, something might have rubbed off on me. My parents were smart, too. It's like the height thing--at 5'7 1/2" I am the short one compared to family members, but compared to most of the population, I'm almost tall. Perhaps, it is the same thing with brains, compared to the family, I'm not as smart but as I interact with other people, I use skills that I picked up from my family. And then, there's the theory that there is different kinds of smart. I know a lot of smart people who do really dumb things.

But that's another blog.

No comments: