Weddings are supposed to bring us joy and hope, right? We normally leave weddings feeling inspired and thinking about love. Well, when I left the first wedding I ever attended at the UCKG, that was not my case. I was very disillusioned, disappointed and I told myself that I would never ever get married. For the first time, I started thinking that maybe, just maybe, I was serving God in a rather primitive church.
This is my true confession. I was sitting back, or as some would say, I was chilling, admiring how beautiful the bride looked, my voice was so hoarse from all the singing when she was entering. I remember looking at the groom and secretly thinking, he's paying no attention to anything happening, he' just staring at his bride as if he'd never seen her before. Who could blame him? She was stunning. I was even dreaming about my own wedding one day. I was planning my own dress, the colour of the flowers, the works. So far so good. Then, it happened!
The Pastor picked up his Bible, and started reading out of Ephesians 5:22. I can still hear his voice:
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church, and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish."
That did it! I got so upset. In fact, I became livid. The words 'submit' and 'head' did not fall well with the intellectual, modernized woman I thought I was. How old-fashioned and barbaric! The independent woman in me rejected this verse! How can a woman spend time educating herself, acquiring useful survival skills, only to have to submit to a mere man? And, having observed how men operate, I wasn't quite confident that any man would lead me better than I could lead myself. Men had a tendency to be laid-back and carefree, I thought. If I had to depend on any man, my life would not go anywhere. I felt betrayed by my God. I felt like He had treated me like a worthless, second-class citizen. He did not value me. How could he do that to me? I would be more comfortable if I were the head of my own life, but as compromise, couldn't it at least have been 50/50?
Patiently, God waited to give me His side of the story. I say patiently because, two years from then, I did what I said I wouldn't do. I got married! Yes, I was still thinking that it was unfair for me to submit to a man. As my Pastor now passed the instructions to me on the altar, I was resigned to the fact that that had to be the price I had to pay for loving my husband. Although I accepted that it was the Word of God, I still felt like a second-class citizen. So, every time the time came that I had to submit my will to his, I would either try to negotiate my way out of it, or would submit begrudgingly. Then, one day, God finally sat me down for a no-nonsense, straight-forward, God-to-woman conversation. He asked me a series of questions, the answer to all of which was NO. Has He ever failed me? Would He devise a plan to harm me? Do I doubt His love for me? And, the last one which was a nail to my coffin: Are you smarter than Me? Of course, I wasn't! So, why then would I think I knew better than God how things ought to work?
That's when I knew that there had to be more to the story than meets the eye. So, I started looking at what my husband's end of the deal was. Well, he carries the burden of loving me like Christ loved the church. That in itself is not an easy task, for we all know what Christ did to prove His love for the church. He was crucified! In other words, my husband has to be crucified for me. According to this very verse, he has to give up his own life, so I can have mine. There are many men who wake up early in the morning, faring the cold of winter, or the heat of summer, to go and work hard the whole day, most days of the month, so that they can earn a salary, only to give it all to their wives at the end of the month, and still have to ask for permission to spend the very salary they earned! Our husbands patiently put up with our nagging, our PMS, our long talks, provide us a shoulder to cry on, protect us from harm's way. They love us unconditionally. And, that's not all! They die so that we may be spotless and without blemish. Poor husbands, they always have to be patiently dealing with our mistakes, offering us words of wisdom, encouraging us when we feel down, complimenting us in our achievements so we may feel good about ourselves, telling us we look beautiful and that we are not fat, constantly assuring us of their love for us, in short, nudging us, as stubborn as we are, in the right direction, so we may emerge at the end of it all, as spotless, blameless, confident women! And, many times we don't even appreciate the effort they put into the marriage. They give of themselves, just so we may be beautiful, on the inside and out. I don't know about you, but I am starting to feel so much better that I am woman. I think I got the better end of this deal.
Come on ladies, let's give it up for our husbands, the least they deserve is the final word!
Regards, and in faith,