"I Will Not Say Obey!"

by Tara Payne

This is what I looked at my future husband and said as we were preparing our vows and planning our wedding. I did not stop there. I went on to tell him that I was looking for a husband, not a father, so there would really never be any reason for me to “obey” him anyway. Why was I so adamant about this?
I was raised by a fiercely independent woman and was taught very young that I should always be able to take care of myself. My daddy was an amazing man, but he passed away when I was 12 years old. So, I didn’t have any memories of him “leading” our family. I remember my mama taking care of herself and me with very little outside help. I also saw some very unhealthy marriages around me where the man was very domineering and the woman was a doormat. I made up my mind very early that I was not going to be treated that way. I would never let a man tell me what to do. What made this even worse was the fact that Alex had never given me any reason to come out and say this. He always treated me with kindness. I remember how chill he was about it. He just looked at me and told me I could say, or not say, whatever I wanted in the vows and we went on planning everything out. Our wedding day came and went… I did not say “obey”. It wasn’t until several months after our wedding that he told me how much that conversation had hurt him. He told me that he knew I said it because of what I had seen in other marriages but he was not like those other husbands and I should not treat him as such. Because of this hard conversation, I started watching how Alex treated me and how he lead with such a gentle, kind spirit. Because Alex was being a godly husband, it made me want to be a godly wife. So, I started studying what it meant to be submissive. I realized that when we do things the way the Lord intended them to be, life is so much better. I learned that submission doesn’t mean a life of servitude and mistreatment. I learned that being a godly wife was way easier than I thought it could be! What I discovered through this journey was that I had a wildly incorrect definition of what being submissive meant. Everywhere we look we are getting the same message… Control them before they can control you! The world tells us that our husbands are dumb and should be treated as children. We are encouraged to complain about them and talk down to them. In most situations, we are praised for “showing them who’s the boss.” Sadly, this message is not producing the happy marriages that we want to have. For too long, I believed the lies, that I had to assert my dominance, and I know I am not the only one! So if that is not how the Lord intended us to be, what is the right way?
Honor and Respect through Words
There are many ways that we can honor and respect our husbands. I want to focus on the two ways we can do this with our words. The words we speak to him and the way we speak about him to others is so important. Choose words that will build him up and spur him on. Brag on his strengths and extend abundant grace in his weaknesses. Men thrive on words of affirmation. If you want to see your man rise up and be the husband you know he can, speak that to him. Equally as important are the words that we speak to others about our husbands. Our husbands need to know that we are for them and not against them. We prove this by speaking well of them to others. Words are just one way that we can be the wife we are called to be! We are to treat our husbands with honor and respect. Chances are, you are married to an amazing man. (I know I am)! A man that you chose to spend your life with for multiple reasons! Be intentional about honoring and respecting your husband in words and actions. Use every opportunity you get to show him how much you love him! Build him up when he does something good and encourage him when he falls short! Talk him up! Brag on him for being the good man he is! When it comes to a good husband they take the good that we give them and multiply it back to us in unimaginable ways! They deserve good things ladies. Let’s be the ones to give that to them. On our one year anniversary, I rewrote my wedding vows for Alex. I apologized for being harsh and promised him that I would do my very best every day to be the wife God called me to be and the one he deserved. I laugh and tell people all the time that my husband had to teach me to be submissive and it’s the honest truth. Have I always gotten it right? No, but it is worth my best effort because Alex is worth it, and so is your husband. Be encouraged, you can be the wife that the Lord created you to be and it is not a burden to bare! It is a sacred privilege! ❤

Guest article by Tara Payne
Co-creator of A Beautiful Adventure
A Christian Marriage Blog