If you’re turned off by the “submissive” word in the title, trust me, I GET IT. Keep reading. (Disclaimer: I’m not a perfect wife and quite often a very crummy one. I’m also not a marriage counselor or expert on submissive marriage. I’m simply sharing what’s worked for me.)
It was nap time. I’d finally gotten all 3 boys to sleep. I collapsed onto the couch, and flipped through channels on the TV, until I landed on The Submissive Wives’ Guide to Marriage, on TLC.
I’d never heard of the show, and I was immediately intrigued. But what does it mean? It means going back to the Bible, and learning about what God says about marriage and wifehood.
The word gives me creeps. The heebie-jeebies. It makes me think of a slave or servant. A woman who doesn’t speak and doesn’t ever do anything for herself. Who lives to serve her husband, a man who must clearly be a tyrant.
Not at all.
The show profiles Tara Furman, a well-spoken, middle-aged, Christian wife in North Carolina. She’s in a happy, more-than-25-year marriage, and she credits it to her choice to be a submissive wife.
Does it mean she doesn’t have an opinion and lets her husband control her?
It means she focuses on being her husband’s helper, lover and supporter. And as a result, he treats her like a queen.
(In fact, I think being a submissive wife takes a very strong, confident woman.)
So about 8 weeks ago, without saying a word to my husband, I started my own submissive wife experiment. I took a few points from the show and adapted them into my own marriage.
It has been amazing!
What I Did To Become A Submissive Wife:
1. Physically greet my husband at the door when he gets home from work, with a smile and a kiss. Or at least a great attitude.
In the show, Furman asks the viewer, “Is your dog the first person to greet your hubby when he gets home?” Think about it. Your hubby’s been working all day. He’s been gone since 7am. He fights traffic and finally gets to the front door of his home. He opens it. The dog is there to say hello, but no one else even looks up. How heartbreaking. Furman calls this process “reentry,” and every day when her husband gets home, she and their kids deposit their cell phones into a basket and greet Dad at the door. Furman also usually has dinner going and a cold beverage to greet him.
With 2 toddlers and a baby, I’m not always able to do to all of this, but I can make a point to stop whatever we’re doing when the husband gets home, get up from my seat, and physically meet him at the door with a smile and a big kiss. Sometimes, I’m nursing so I don’t stand up but I let the kids greet him at the door, and I give him a big smile and hello. One day, I thought ahead enough to get him an ice water in his favorite blue Solo cup, and had one of the boys walk it out to him at the car. Groundbreaking? No. But it made him feel special and know that we anticipated his arrival home from work.
The point isn’t that you have to have dinner ready or you have to be fake-happy when he gets home. Heck, you may work and not even be home when he gets home. The point is that, in whatever way you can communicate that your man is respected, he is the leader of the house and that the family is happy when he comes home. If you’re not home when he gets home, can you make his lunch before he goes to work in the morning, or iron the clothes he’s wearing tomorrow? However, you can communicate that you’re grateful for him. In my experience, the attitude is far more important than the action.
2. Embrace my role as my husband’s helper.
I’ve heard this phrase before, but it hadn’t really resonated until seeing the show. I can control my own life, the kids, the house. But when it comes to my husband, I can be content to be his helper. And, here’s what changed it for me: “just” being the helper totally takes the pressure off of me!
With 3 boys 4 and under, I have enough to worry about everyday. So now, instead of micromanaging all that my husband does too, I just let it go. And all I need to do is ask him how I can help.