Picture a beautiful Saturday afternoon. My two youngest boys, seven and four, are sitting quietly in the living room watching Teen Titans Go after inhaling their PB&J’s. I decide to use the moment to do some clean up in the front yard. Before stepping outside, I tell the seven-year old… “C…I’ll be in the front yard. Make sure you both stay right here, you’re the boss”. Then I tell the four-year old… “Sweetheart, listen to your brother…he’s the boss”. As I’m backing out the door, the next few minutes flash before my eyes in a matter of two seconds. I’ve set this up to fail even before it begins. Maybe it was the grin and twinkle in his eye combination from the seven-year old, or the concerned look on the four-year old’s face. Maybe both, but I step back in, tell them to put on their sandals and come help me outside. What was I thinking?
My boys are equally young and inexperienced, although the seven-year old may beg to differ, but what does he know. As parents and experienced adults, with the sole responsibility of providing safety to those we love, we know that giving someone authority over someone else when it’s not theirs to have can only end in disaster.
We live in a world where power and position is pursued by many whether it’s in politics, religions, businesses or the household. Despite the amount of political news updates and memes filling our social media feeds lately about a probable misogynistic president, I agree… makes for great conversation, but my gripe today is in the household forum via religion. It’s the notion that a woman, once she enters the highly anticipated and joyful role of wife she must also agree to become submissive to her husband. Not too sure what the definition of submissive is? Allow this to soak in please….
- Showing a willingness to be controlled by other people. (Cambridge dictionary).
- Willing to give in to others (Merriam Webster dictionary).
- Willing to do what other people tell you to do without arguing (Macmillan dictionary).
- Ready to conform to the authority or will of others; meekly obedient or passive. (Oxford dictionary).
A beautiful quality or a need for concern? If you side with beautiful quality, then tell me…would you tell your son or daughter to be submissive at school? At daycare? How about at the neighbor’s house when they are on a play date? In the school yard? I know, maybe display it in college? How about at their first job? Should they do so when they begin dating? When they get engaged? I’m sure your reply would be an unrelenting and firm “Absolutely NOT”. And why not? Clearly, in short it would be that showing this quality of “weakness” leaves your loved one open for danger. Yes, you too believe that it’s a weakness when applied in all of these aforementioned scenarios. Why then do we allow religion to masquerade submissiveness as a necessary quality for harmony in marriage? Why teach our children this is needed to accomplish a unifying partnership? And who exactly is directed to be submissive?
- Colossians 3:18 – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
- Ephesians 5:22-24 – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
- 1 Corinthians 14:34 – Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
- 1 Timothy 2:11 – A woman should learn in silence with full submission.
This concerns me a huge deal, and honestly, it should concern every man and woman out there as well. We are fully aware of the disparity in treatment between men and women, based either on faith or cultural tradition. We complain and judge how others treat women as objects, slaves or nuisances. I’m not here to create a revolution. Women have been fighting for their rights for years now. But therein lies the problem…women should not HAVE to fight for what is rightfully theirs. So do we want to continue to cultivate generations of humans that will give fruit to this mentality and behavior? Do you want your son to expect his future wife to obey him in everything and control all that she does? Do you want your daughter to marry a man who expects her to obey him and give herself willingly to be under his control?
- Here are the basic vows used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Note that only the bride is asked to DEEPLY RESPECT.
Unless local law requires something else, these vows that honor God are used. For the groom: “I [name of groom] take you [name of bride] to be my wedded wife, to love and to cherish in accordance with the divine law as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for Christian husbands, for as long as we both shall live together on earth according to God’s marital arrangement.” For the bride: “I [name of bride] take you [name of groom] to be my wedded husband, to love and to cherish and deeply respect, in accordance with the divine law as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for Christian wives, for as long as we both shall live together on earth according to God’s marital arrangement.”
- The second are these basic vows from the Islamic faith. The bride is to be OBEDIENT.
However, some Muslim brides and grooms do choose to also exchange vows. Here is a common (quite traditional) recitation:
Bride: “I, ______, offer you myself in marriage and in accordance with the instructions of the Holy Koran and the Holy Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. I pledge, in honesty and with sincerity, to be for you an obedient and faithful wife.”
Groom: “I pledge, in honesty and sincerity, to be for you a faithful and helpful husband.”
Back to the moral of my initial story… give someone this authority over someone else when it’s not theirs to logically have, is to have disregard for the safety of your loved one. Teach your daughter that it’s a godly quality to be in subjection to a man as opposed to an equal partner leaves her as a wide-open target. Teach your son that he has godly backing to be the head and authority over his wife is to nurture a possible fire that should never be ignited in the first place.
Give your reasons as you may, but equality is the only way to a harmonious partnership. History along with present day events have proven time and time again that the hierarchy of man over woman does NOT work, nor should it have to. We are human, nothing more, nothing less. I don’t care if your god tells you that your penis proves otherwise.
— The Pretty Platform