Thursday, November 12, 2009


The title of my blog is To Love, Honor, and Obey.  Obviously you know that already.  My point is that I chose it for a reason.  It is what I vowed on my wedding day, and very purposely vowed at that.  The pastor performing the ceremony (my pastor from growing up, but who had since moved away and most pre-ceremony planning was done via email) was very against using the phrase.  Or if I was going to say obey then we should both say obey.  I would have loved to have an in depth conversation about it with him, pouring over scripture together, and who knows maybe even coming to his same conclusion- but he didn't bring the objection up till about 5 min before I walked down the isle (and based the objection on a more cultural view point rather than the Bible), so alas there wasn't much conversation to be had. :)  Which was fine.  Ultimately when it come to wedding vows I think a person needs to pick them for themselves- afterall it is what YOU are vowing to do and be for as long as you both shall live. It is pretty weighty stuff.  So to included or not to include a phrase because it is popular or not popular is silly.  But so is to include something just because it is traditional.  Like the word Obey.  Really what is meant is "submit" not obey.  Most modern couples who use the word obey in their vows are referencing the verses that tell "wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord".  These verses don't say "obey your husbands" and I  think if that was what was meant then that is what would  be used because in most passages addressing this issue children are told to obey their parents as is fitting in the Lord.  The command to obey seems to me to be something different than submit.  Now, at this point I am not sure what the nuances are, but I think it is likely significant that children are told in multiple places to obey but  never to submit and wives are told to submit but never told to obey.  I'm still trying to work all this out in my mind.

Does that mean I wish I hadn't used the work obey? Not at all.  I used the word obey purposefully.  I used it even being given an updated list of various vow suggestions (in pre-marital counseling- with a different pastor than who performed the ceremony) that used submit instead.  It is what I meant to say, meant to vow, and attempt to live. Most of the time I think I do pretty well at it for that matter.  But my disclaimer comes in here- not everyone needs to vow to obey. And not everyone needs to take my perspective on what it means to submit.  When I started this blog it was with the intention of writing mostly on the husband wife relationship, which I haven't really done much.  That is largely due to realizing that what my husband and I have works very very well for us.  It fits who we are: our personalities, our strengths, our weaknesses.  And it is something that we work well together at, as equals, figuring out how to keep things running smoothly and in a way that causes us both to thrive.  And for the first few years of marriage I rather naively thought that that was how all Christian couples functioned.  That telling the wife to submit as unto the Lord and the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church was all the real direction needed.  That nobody who loved Christ would abuse the relationship.  There wouldn't be some sort of power struggle because the relationship would never be about power, but about sacrificial love and respect and honor.   I have come to learn though that that isn't that case with everyone.  One of the benefits of the internet I think is getting to meet people you wouldn't come in contact with otherwise, people who have very different life experiences than yours.  And in doing so I have realized that in the practical day to day living my marriage probably looks a lot more Egalitarian than it does Complementarian.  Which is fine by me.  But not everyone who I would say "yes, submit  to your husband as unto the Lord" will have the same experience.  I don't know yet what to do with that.

So this is my disclaimer: I vowed to Love, Honor, and Obey.  I still mean it.  And for me, it is a beautiful thing.  Please however, don't take my life or writings, musings, etc and make some sort of doctrine out of it for yourself.  This is something, like parenting, that is so important to figure out where you are at and how it should play out in your home.  A biblical truth upheld doesn't have to look the same in every believers life.  In fact I don't really think that it should.  I stand by submission, just perhaps not in the same way I did when this blog started.


At November 12, 2009 12:11 PM, Blogger Violet said...

An interesting example of the difference (in my mind anyway) between submission and obedience is Daniel. He disobeyed the decree to pray to no other god, but submitted totally to the consequences of that disobedience. There was no rebellion (the opposite of submission)toward the powers that be.

I've been married 30 years and am just now coming into a meaningful understanding of submission - still have much to learn. I'm continually thankful for God's (and my husband's) patience.

At November 13, 2009 10:43 AM, Blogger Leigh Ann said...

A-men. I pretty much have had the same experience as you. My husband and I just fit together. We work well together. I have been told too that we are just egalitarians. I used to think that I had to defend myself from that, but now, I really don't care because we just know that we are trying to live out what we see God telling us in the Bible, and that is what matters.
I admit I lived a very sheltered life, and thought "hey, the Bible says submit and love, what more do you need" but sin has a way of twisting even that. I am realizing I need to be gracious more than I need to be right.

At November 13, 2009 1:11 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...

Violet- that is an interesting distinction. I think you have something there. What I keep coming back to is the difference between me submitting to my husband and my children obeying me. What is the difference? How do these things look over time? I sometimes wonder if the marriage relationship (not a particular person in the couple, but the whole relationship) isn't a bit like a child. At first small and new and needing more guidance and rules so to speak but then growing and maturing and functioning in a way that is confident and more filled with love and grace without law? Just thinking...

Leigh Ann- being gracious instead of right, yes! yes, yes, and 1,000 times yes. It is easy to think you have things all figured out simply because everything is going well for you. (this is why I think people shouldn't write marriage books until after they have been married a couple of decades and shouldn't write parenting books unless they have at least 6 children. :) ) And I think you hit it just right, we are trying to live out what we see in the Bible. And some people won't get it. And that is ok. I don't have to defend every choice. I love talking through all of this stuff with just about any body, but there is such a huge difference between talking and defending.

At November 30, 2009 3:22 PM, Anonymous molly said...

Thanks for sharing this.


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