I grew up thinking men were the only people to ever do wrong in a relationship. By the time I was 25, I was fully convinced that men were incapable of loving a woman the way that a woman loved a man. I thought that men only felt a little something, maybe admiration, but nothing substantial or lasting. I thought that those who were married were destined to cheat, leave or stay and cause unhappiness. I thought the only men who did right by their wives were those who were weak or motivated by fear.
What a cock-eyed way to view the world… But don’t judge me. You’ve got some cock-eyed ways too. Nevertheless I can’t help you get the spot out of your eye with the beam in my own.
But that was my experience. My experience now isn’t totally different, but I definitely don’t think this of menfolk any longer.
After developing some genuine friendships with good men, I’ve come to learn that women also do HORRIBLE things to the men that love them. These stories, in some ways, were more shocking to me than the usual “girl-he-cheated-and-had-a-baby-by-another-woman” story. So at this point, I feel compelled to write to the ladies regarding what a submissive woman won’t do to her husband, or any man that she cares about.
Before I begin the customary list (if it ain’t broke…), I will say this. As women we have overcome tremendous challenges, and many of us are doing great things. We’re making six figures, running corporations, caring for babies, building businesses and ministries… We. Do. It. All. So as empowered as we are, why can’t we say and do as we please? Well, you want to keep your man, don’t you? Don’t you want him to be happy with the relationship? Or would you run him to the arms of another?
I know you answered “no” to that last question, because you’re still reading. These, ladies, are the things we must stop doing to our men… with a little anecdotal evidence of course.
- Harboring unforgiveness and anger in your heart. We are all guilty of this in some way. Any time two lives are shared with any degree of intimacy, feelings will become hurt. But just he as makes mistakes, you will make them also. An old wise man once said “Keep a short account with God and man. Quickly repent. Quickly forgive.” Holding on to unforgiveness will cause you to become bitter and resentful, and anger will eventually be displayed through one of the following actions and sickness in your body. Forgiveness TRULY is not about letting the other person off the hook. It is about keeping your eyes on the cross and allowing God to move you forward regardless of their actions. Forgiving is not easy, but it is simple. It starts by making a choice. I shall blog about this more at another time.
- Talking down to him. Even if a brotha needs a rebuke or to be tightened up a little there’s a way to do. Never attack his masculinity or refer to him as a child to make your point. You might address character flaws, but let a man have his pride. If you take that away, he is bound to get it elsewhere. And if you know the devil like I do, he’s already got the right one lined up to step in… If you’ve got a sharp tongue, ask the Lord to bridle it and deal with your heart issues. Over time you will be able to speak the truth in love. Until that happens, it’s best you keep quiet.
- Doing the opposite of what you’ve agreed to do. I’ve been on the business end of this, and it’s no fun. If we agree that we won’t visit the homes of our single friends without each other, then don’t do it. Your story as to why you thought I’d be ok with it is irrelevant. Every relationship has boundaries. Boundaries are good, healthy, beneficial. If you and your boo have agreed to do (or not do) certain things then ABIDE by it! If you’re calculating what you can get away with or predetermining what the “punishment” will be, then you’re immature and are unlikely to maintain a healthy marriage. A double-minded woman is unstable in all her ways. .
- Being selfish and ungrateful. I’ll admit. This is common among women. We’re programmed with the “take-care-of-me” gene and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if we love the man, and not what he has, then we must live within the means provided. A quick fix for ungratefulness is thankfulness. When my children start to complain, I have to shift their thinking. As we go through our day I ask them to think about the things they’re thankful for and yell them out. So wherever they are… grocery store, park, car, at home… they’re forced to think through a different filter. And there’s power in the spoken word. When you hear yourself say what you’re thankful for, a heart change begins to take place. So start saying “thank you” to the Lord aloud, and then to your husband. ‘Thank you” is truly something you can’t say too often.
- Denying him. I don’t understand why married women are still doing this. Unless he’s abusive, cheating, or degrading to you, it’s your duty to pop that… let me chill. If you’re smart about it, you can win an unwieldy man with your womanly charms. If he has a tendency to look at other women, then show him WHY his eyes should only be on you. Outside of sex, I think it’s important that a woman also meets the other needs of a man. For example, if he needs an ego stroke… “Oh, sweetie, your arms are so strong. Teehee!”… then DO IT!!! Get over yourself, and do it!! If he needs a hot meal, don’t hand the man a sandwich. You’ll quickly drive him home to mama for a meal and to the computer for a quick sexual fix. And while we’re on the topic of sex, BE FAITHFUL!!
- Talking bad about him to others. We all need to vent, but daaaannngggg! Some of ya’ll are telling so much I’m contemplating whether I ever want to get married again. Some of the stuff that happens in relationships needs to stay there. Other things you may want to discuss with a close friend, but be sure it’s someone who won’t judge you or tell your business. But I was bad about this, and I’ve learned. And the scriptures tell us that the power of life and death is in the tongue. A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands. You shall have what you say.
- Usurping his authority. We’ve all heard the sermon. God took woman out of man’s side to be his equal. But the concept of submission is that one must come under the other so that order can be established. You, woman, have been appointed the submittee… There is no shame in this role when you realize that you had to be equal to (or in some cases above) to be placed under him. So know who you are, and recognize who he is. Taking away your husband’s authority is the worst thing you can do to your family. Love, honor, and obey. Don’t talk about him or argue with him in front of the children. If he’s wrong (and they can be wrong about a lot of things), address it privately. Your children won’t remember the one time daddy made a mistake, but they will remember that you called him on it and added a few nasty names to it as well. Yikes… how often we forget to be kind to those closest to us. By the way… your pastor is not the priest of your home. Your mister is…
I sincerely hope the menfolk feel vindicated at this point. I don’t think one would argue that they are proud of our accomplishments, yet many wish their wives would come home and be just that. One more submission post may be in me, but we shall see. I have so much to share! And I pray you enjoyed reading…
If this post has incited you in any way, please comment below or send me and email for more personal items. Also… if I haven’t asked enough… please join my email list or subscribe to the RSS feed. I’d hate for you to miss any of the good stuff I’m going to write. And… oh…it’s juicy!
With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,
By Richard ‘Tenspeed’ Heaven
Last Sunday, I left you hanging…
I know it’s a cold thing to do, but there was a method behind my apparent madness. The teacher in me wanted you to draw your own conclusions before I placed further ideas into your head. It is my sincere hope that you, my cyber sister friend, have considered my last few points regarding your relationship. I hope that you’ve asked yourself if your significant other is really loving you the way God intended, if he is handling business as the leader of your home, and if he is one to whom you can submit.
So many “good, Christian girls” marry in hopes to actually be able to submit to a man of God only to realize he’s not half a man and has even less of God. And so we don’t know what to do because we think that in order to please God we must please our unplease-able husbands. But I laugh at the enemy… There is a solution to your problem.
At the risk of bearing too much of my past, I’d like to revisit my previous points and support them with anecdotal evidence, some of my own and some of someone else’s.
- He’s your husband, not God. Yes, we must honor, love, and obey, but there must always be a place that you preserve for you and your God alone. Elevating anyone, children included, above the place of the Almighty will open you to heartache and disappointment. I remember being torn between my relationship with God and my relationship with my ex-husband. It seemed I couldn’t maintain my walk with Christ as long as I was trying to please the other. I would imagine Adam felt the same ambivalence when he watched his beloved taste the forbidden fruit. Imagine what he must have thought in that moment. She knows this is wrong. She knows this will separate her from God. So will it separate her from me too? But I LOVE her. Icannot live without her… But God loved me first, and I love Him! God or Woman? Woman or God? So he ate the fruit. He chose Woman over God, and as a result all of mankind fell. What if Adam had not eaten the fruit? Would God have allowed him to redeem the woman he loved so much keeping our heritage in Eden intact?Could God redeem your spouse as a response to your faithfulness to Him?Absolutely! Could things fall into place should you decide to focus solely on the other person? It’s possible, but not likely. I wish you well either way.
- If he doesn’t demonstrate Christ-like love for you, be careful about submitting. It could cost you more than you’re willing, or even able, to pay. The Bible says that a man must love his wife as he loves himself. So if he hates himself……………. Oh ok. A self-loathing person is bitter, self-destructive, angry, manipulative, and unforgiving. If these devices are demonstrated in your husband’s interactions with you, do what you can to keep order in the home, but anything that is detrimental to you and the family or feels out of sorts, you MUST stand your ground. I’ve known women who had unfaithful spouses that felt obligated to sleep with their husbands. Don’t lay yourself down under a man that you know (or even with legitimate reason, think) is being unfaithful to you. Don’t leave bills unpaid that could affect you in the long run because he’s “got it under control.” Do what you know is right to do when it’s time to do it. You’ll have pay later. I had to pay later when I could’ve stepped up and handled things when I knew he wouldn’t.
- If his life is out of order, he cannot be your head. Don’t allow someone who lacks self-control to control you.Two big points here… It seems this would be common sense, but how many of us chase behind brothers who lack any restraint in their personal lives? The purpose of a relationship is to build something. You cannot build with a person who chases thrills, emotional highs, or any other high for that matter… Strangely enough, folks who lack self-control attempt to control everything around them. Don’t be that kind of victim.I wish a brotha would ask to see my grocery store receipt to calculate my drivetime home. I have a Chemistry degree, and I know how to use it.
- Submission is mutual. He needs to submit to you as well. I laugh when I hear stories of young grooms demanding their brides to do as they say because the bride must submit. Submission,in its finest form, is mutual. He should think enough of you to discuss matters before making a decision. I can’t think of one woman in her right mind who wants to be the man and take full responsibility for a family, but I also can’t think of one who wants all the decisions made for her without consideration for her needs. The pendulum swings both ways, folks… both ways. Menfolk would do well to allow us to take the lead from time to time.
- If he is not submitted to God and your pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you. The strongest, wisest, most prosperous men on this planet answer to someone somewhere. If your boo-bah-dee-boo-boo claims to love God but won’t submit to a pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you. The concept of respecting authority eludes some people. So not only do these misguided fellas lose jobs and underperform at work, but they also fail to walkin the proper authority as the man, husband, and father. Men at their best when they are accountable to other men.
- You don’t have to agree or even take his advice for yourself. I looooove to wear make-up. Love love love! I don’t wear a lot, nor do I wear anything crazy, but I do like to highlight my features. Well, when I wasmarried it was strongly suggested that I stop wearing make-up. In fact, it became a source of tension between us, particularly if I was going out to the store without him though he neeever wanted to go along. That’s another matter altogether. But the tension remained until I made it clear that I wasn’t going to stop wearing it. Before long, he’d just stare at me while I put it on… in awe of my beauty of course. He learned to respect something small that mattered to me. See– *pulls out church lady glasses*—folks have the tendency to project their own insecurities on others. There is no need for me to feel unattractive because you have an issue. If I love you, make-up won’t make me cheat. If I don’t love you, nothing short of God’s hand will stop me. Ladies, you can comply if you so choose, but make sure you choose to do so for the right reasons.
- If he’s not pleased with you now, then he won’t be pleased with you after you do everything he claims he wants you to do. That’s not your issue…it’s his! Bigger boobs, longer hair, more/less make-up never changed an unfaithful heart. Ladies, some things we just cannot compete with. Some things we should not have to compete with. If he truly loves you, then he will learn over time to keep his eyes only for you. Don’t expect this to be an overnight process, but cover yourself in prayer as you fight the battle against insecurity and low self-esteem. But in the meantime, you don’t have to do,wear, or behave as some fantasy woman who has no emotion or need. You don’t have to bare it all like women on television. We don’t have to be overly outspoken to be heard, or wearing a nappy fro to be appropriately Black. (Oh gosh… did I type that? Yeah, I did. Team relaxer, baby!) But let me qualify this… Some of us DO need to lose weight. Some of us DO need to grow our hair out. Some of us DO need to find out what it means to be feminine. Some of us DO need to learn how to cook and clean a house.
I think I’ve picked enough on the fellas, don’t you agree? I mean all the good menfolk are screeeeaming at me wondering why I’m talking about these bad dudes when there are bad women out there too. Don’t worry… that’s the next topic. So I’ll see you same time next week?? *raises eyebrows looking for your agreeable smile* I look forward to it.
I look forward to reading your comments. As always please tweet, post, share, email, SUBSCRIBE! Let me know you’re out there! I’ve made it to the other side of the planet a few times now, so send me a cyberwave if you please! Until next time…
With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,
Photo Credit: By SidewaysSarah on Flickr
This entry is for the married ladies and those in serious relationships. For several reasons, I’ve neglected to write about my experience as a married woman. The Bible says a poor man’s wisdom is despised, so I thought no one would want to hear how you should or shouldn’t interact with your husband from a woman who doesn’t have one anymore. There’s no shame on my end, but certainly, people have said they didn’t want my opinion because I failed at it.
But where I may have a void in your eyes, I’ve got a wealth of experience and understanding in my own. So take it or leave it… just read it, and decide later.
Life, for me, is better on this side. And some of you ladies are married to a man with the same or similar *ahem* demeanor as my ex-husband. You need to know how to handle him whether you choose to stay with him or not.
I’ve spent some time in my singleness wondering how this love thing is supposed to go. After applying the truth to my failed experience(s), this is what I believe.
A man and woman meet and become friends. Their friendship grows and neither person expects more from the other than they ought. They’re simply getting to know each other. Because they like what they find in each other, they decide to enter an exclusive romantic relationship where they can grow together with the future possibility of being one. As the couple becomes more committed to one another, the intimacy between them increases. They protect the relationship by never allowing the intimacy to exceed the level of commitment. In doing so, the man expresses his sincere, heartfelt, “I’ll die for you” type of love for the woman in constructive ways. Once she knows his love is real, she learns how to demonstrate her love for him. The couple marries, and the woman, as her expression of love to the man, willingly submits to him. She knows she is safe, that he won’t harm her, that he will always protect her because he has already demonstrated this WITHOUT marital benefits. So if he did it then, surely he will do it now. Woman says “I can trust this man, so I will love him and submit to him.”
Hindsight is 20/20. And you’se married nah….
Looking back to your courtship may help identify where things didn’t go quite the right way, but doesn’t tell you how to fix the situation you’re already in nor does it tell you how to change the future. You’ve exchanged those til-death-do-us-part’s and you meant them. But you may often feel that submitting to him just doesn’t feel right. You know you’re supposed to let him lead, but his leadership abilities may be in question. But first, let’s chat about what submission looks like.
Or better yet, what it doesn’t. Submission is not doing everything he says, being everything he wants you to be, giving when he demands that you give, and taking whatever he demands you take. It is not compliance, nor does it force one to become a doormat. You are an adult women with your own sensibilities, personality, and goals. Submission simply means you support his mission for building a life for your family. In submitting to your mate, you gladly defer to him and support him as the leader and protector of your home.
At the risk of writing a blog that’s entirely too long, I will make the following statements and allow you to dissect them for yourself.
- He’s your husband, not God.
- If he doesn’t demonstrate Christlike love for you, be careful about submitting. It could cost you more than you’re willing, or even able, to pay.
- If his life is out of order, he cannot be your head. Don’t allow someone who lacks self-control to control you.
- Submission is mutual. He needs to submit to you as well.
- If he is not submitted to God and your pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you.
- You don’t have to agree or even take his advice for yourself. (I’ve got a story for this, but I’ll save it.)
- If he’s not pleased with you now, then he won’t be pleased with you after you do everything he claims he wants you to do. That’s not your issue… it’s his! Bigger boobs, longer hair, more/less make-up never changed an unfaithful heart.
Churchfolk tend to get submission wrong. Don’t mind them… It’s what mama’nem were taught by some passa generations ago. Passa couldn’t read, so he had to take his passa’s word for it. But now it’s time to get these things in order.
Submission is not the laying down of your life. It is an attitude of gratitude, a natural response, to one who has already laid down His, and his, life for you….
And with that, I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please post, share, tweet, retweet, and email if this has helped you! I look forward to reading your comments below! Take some time to fish through my previous posts as well… I’m as nutty as I am serious.
Happy Sunday to you all!
With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,