Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Moving from Legalism to Submission

I enjoy reading practical Christianity-type books, probably more than I ought. I want to address a misunderstanding that formed in my mind through reading Christian-wife self-help books. I am not going to point the finger at any particular book. I simply want to tell my own journey.

When Mr. Honey and I first got married, I did the bills. I liked it that way because I liked knowing where all the money was. Mr. Honey didn't mind me doing them at all. We talked about big stuff, and if we couldn't come to a meeting of the minds, I let him make the final decisions. I occasionally filed a protest, but still submitted to his thought on the subject. We usually agreed, anyway.

After Triss and Mariel were born, I began reading a lot more of these Christian-wife books, and decided that I was too much in charge at our house. I had read that if I backed off, Mr. Honey would take over-- that he was only letting me be in charge because I was so insistent. We talked about it, and Mr. Honey took over the bills. But eventually, he gave it back to me. I was home all day and able to track spending and make phone calls, and I spent the most money of the two of us anyway. But it didn't sit well with me. I was the wife-- being in charge of the money gave me too much power, I thought. But he didn't feel that way.

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

I resented it for a long time. But finally, the Lord began showing me my error. Mr. Honey and I are one flesh. That means we are like one body.

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

I remembered the portions of the New Testament where Paul talks about the church body, with the members being like different parts of the human body.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

Each part of the body has its job.

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.

Mr. Honey is the head. Perhaps I am hands, doing the work once the principles have been established. I am subject to him, but that doesn't mean he has to micromanage. (When Mr. Honey supervises, he prefers to allow liberty as far as the person can handle it.)

I began thinking of kings and lords who had stewards to take care of their treasures-- and wasn't it Joseph who was Pharaoh's right-hand man, so much so that Pharaoh didn't even know what came in and what went out?

Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

I realized I had not been a faithful steward to Mr. Honey, and I had not shown reverence toward him. In fact, I was beginning to get very disgruntled, which did not help matters. In my energetic and opinionated efforts to 'do it right', I had instead done it wrong. I had clung to a construct instead of living faithfully.

Now I am trying to get it right-- doing budgets and banking and learning to use Excel spreadsheets for money management. Mr. Honey is free to do his work and trust me to manage in the way that he would like. We have many discussions about money, not always fun, but necessary. And he leaves me to present the budget and pay bills each month. I am the part of the body that does the bookkeeping. He is the part of the body that okays or vetoes decisions.

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

(All scriptures were taken from Ephesians and 1 Corinthians.)


Tim's Mom said...

I've become somewhat disenchanted with gender-specific books that try to fit people into specific molds. If we're all trying to be the best Christians we can, and if we're all, "Submitting . . . one to another in the fear of God," then does it really matter who manages what?

Javamom said...

Good post, Katie! I so agree with your thoughts, here. Thanks for sharing your story :-).