Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Submission or Codependency?

Last night I was in a discussion regarding what it means to "submit". It seems there may be some incorrect information floating around which gives "submission" a bad name. Is submission the same as codependency? My personal opinion: no way!

Martha Peace in THE EXCELLENT WIFE equates a wife surrendering to her husband to that of a soldier honoring the position of a superior officer. She states,
"You may be smarter, wiser, or more gifted than your husband, but you are still to respect the position God has given him. You are like the soldier who stands at attention, salutes, and says, 'Yes, Sir!' to his superior officer. That high ranking officer may, in fact, be inferior to the soldier in intelligence, professionalism, commitment, character, wisdom, talents, or physical looks, but the soldier is to salute the uniform. The respect is to the position, not necessarily to the personality."
(Peace, Martha. Focus Publishing Incorporated. 2005.)

She goes on to describe specific ways wives are not submissive as:

1. She does things that are annoying or vexing to her husband. (Proverbs 21:19.)
2. She does not discipline the children as she should (even after her husband asks her to). (Proverbs 29:15.)
3. She is more loyal to others than to her husband. (Proverbs 31:11.)
4. She argues or pouts or gives him the cold shoulder when she does not get her own way. (Proverbs 21:9.)
5. She does not stay within the limits of their budget. (Proverbs 19:14.)
6. She corrects, interrupts, talks for her husband, and is too outspoken when others are around. (Proverbs 27:15-16.)
7. She manipulates him to get her own way. She may manipulate by deceit, tears, begging, nagging, complaining, anger, or intimidation. Martha tried to manipulate Jesus when she said: “…Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me:” (Luke 10:40.)
8. She makes important decisions without consulting him. (1 Corinthians 11:3.)
9. She directly defies his wishes. (1 Samuel 15:23.)
10. She worries about the decisions he makes and takes matters into her own hands. (Philippians 4:7-8.)
(Peace, Martha. Focus Publishing Incorporated. 2005.)

Currently, I am reading the book WHEN PEOPLE ARE BIG AND GOD IS SMALL: OVERCOMING PEER PRESSURE, CODEPENDENCY, AND THE FEAR OF MAN by Edward T. Welch. He talks about a time in his life when he was more concerned with what man thought than God. He comes to the realization,
"…I didn't have to measure up to the standards of others' opinions because God's opinion of me was rooted in the finished work of Jesus. In other words, even though I was a sinner, God loved me and made me righteous in his sight, so who cared what other people thought?!…I didn't have to be concerned about the opinions of others. I simply had to be aware of God's opinion of me. I was a beloved son. A saint. Okay in Christ. Great!"
(Welch, Edward T. P & R Publishing. New Jersey. 1997. Page 12.)

Further, Mr. Welch says,
"It is true: what or who you need will control you."
(Welch, Edward T. P & R Publishing. New Jersey. 1997. Page 14.)

This brings to my mind what I feel to be an important question: Is there a thin line between submission and codependency? What does God's word say?

1 Peter 3:7 teaches "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."

Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

Colossians 3:19: Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

1 Thessalonians 4:4: that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,

Ephesians 5:28: In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Ephesians 5:33: However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:2: And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 4:31: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.


As it was recently said to me, the husband consults with his wife and the wife trusts her husband to be the final decision maker and choose what is best for them and their family as their provider and protector. With that said, a household under the rule of sin will suffer consequences (judgment).

(More to come (possibly) on WHEN PEOPLE ARE BIG AND GOD IS SMALL: OVERCOMING PEER PRESSURE, CODEPENDENCY, AND THE FEAR OF MAN by Edward T. Welch.)
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