Sunday, Dec 9, 2018
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Submission goes both ways

Based on my research and experience, I’ve discovered that the number one ingredient for keeping a marriage or any other romantic relationship healthy is humility – the attitude, ability, and freedom to admit wrong, apologize, change, adapt, forgive and receive forgiveness, listen to objective criticism, and respect the rights of the other person to have a view, no matter what it is. It is demonstrating a teachable spirit.

Second, I discovered that the number one reason relationships (marriage, engaged, partnering relationships) break up is pride, or one can use the words stubbornness, selfishness, and apathy.

Third, I explained that humility is the glue in marriage – the substance that binds romantic partners together and love is the heat that dries the glue and hardens it.

In the majority of cases, the final reason for the divorce was not a specific behavior like adultery, flirting, drinking, drugs, gambling, etc., even though the partner might have admitted to any or all of these. It was the refusal to listen to the complaints of the spouse, change, admit wrong, etc.

The value of a good nagging wife/husband and the problems when husbands require submission.

I know this sounds strange because many like to quote the scripture found in Proverbs 27:17: “A nagging wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm.” The text does not explain “why” the wife is nagging.

When a husband says that his wife is nagging, it means that she is always telling the truth about something. Usually the wife is daily, weekly, or otherwise repeating a request for her husband to do something or stop doing something, and he does not respond. To get around it and to throw blame, he fights back with the words, “you are nagging me” or “stop nagging” – and he does not “obey” or respond to his wife’s requests.

Some good nagging spouses “nag” about drinking habits, gambling, coming home unusual hours after work, flirtatious behavior, texting inappropriate messages to another person, or not enough time spent together, etc. He is too proud or stubborn to listen to or admit that he must do what his wife is asking him to do. A nagging spouse is usually a sign that the marriage has a giant weakness that can be easily repaired if the other partner would be humble and change.

We have to fight for our marriage. It must not be a one-sided fight. Both individuals must participate and be willing to listen to the pain and complaint of his or her partner. I am proposing that pride, stubbornness, apathy, or arrogance would be the real reasons a partner does not change, and marital breakup is inevitable. I encourage couples to seek humility, the glue that binds spouses together, and to show love that provides the heat that dries the glue so the relationship will hold fast.

I’ve discovered that the request from a husband to his wife to be submissive or he complains with the words “you are not submissive enough,” is a sure sign that he is threatened by his wife’s assertiveness. Usually these men believe that they are the ones in charge and the wife must obey, or at least not question his points of view or demands. These men use the scriptures as a weapon to control and coerce their spouses. They love to quote Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands …” But they neglect to read the verses above (Verse 21) that state “Submitting yourselves one to another.”

My view is that not even once in a marriage should a husband demand, request, or refer to this passage when arguing or disagreeing with his wife. It suggests that he does not understand her rights and freedom to think, speak, and have an opinion. It is very disrespectful and controlling and dishonors the integrity of the relationship. A husband who demands submission needs to learn how to be submissive themselves first. They need to review their own views of women. The request to be more submissive is a shaming mechanism that demeans women and inflates the ego of husbands. Husbands must understand this profound principle – if you want to receive understanding you must first give understanding. I also say if you want your wife to submit you must first submit. Husbands, I request of you to rise up and submit to your wives.

 • Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and board-certified clinical psychotherapist. Send your questions or comments to barringtonbrennen@gmail.com or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit www.soencouragement.org or telephone 242-327-1980.

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