Submission in a relationship

(From a woman’s perspective and understanding)

While I was going through my Facebook timeline, I came across an interesting picture with a very powerful caption, touching on submission in a relationship. This got me asking myself, to what extent does understanding of submission differs, between men and women.

Find the picture along with the caption below.


“If she would free him he could save her, all she has to do is reach with the other hand, both of their lives depend on her but she is reaching for his hand instead of handing him the key to break his bondage. NOW HEAR THIS!!!No prison, no law, no racism, no injustice, no discrimination, no physical torture hurts or does more damage to us than than the tongue, attitude and mindset of our women. We are beat down emotionally and mentally more than any other race. Asian, Latin, Anglo, Indian, etc…None of those races handle their men like our women handle us and in most cases those men treat their women worse than we treat ours. Our women have become louder, more aggressive, disrespectful and more violent to the point our young boys desire to be like mommy. Present, daddy is chained by what “mommy” will LET him do while chained by her titles for him, anger, resentment, unwillingness to forgive, his past/her current pain…she has external reinforcement…child support, law enforcement, pressure to provide beyond his means…so he remains, stagnate/static/stoic to the point he puts stock in the stereotype that he is nothing, so he does nothing, she reaches with hope instead of reaching with everything, he can’t even see that she has the key/solution he only sees her, knows he needs her but doesn’t even know why, yet he continues to reach. No communication, silent death and we shall be the death of each other while reaching… What do you see?”

I then went on to share this very post with seven ladies, so I can trigger a form of dialogue amongst them and this is the results of my demanding beseech.

1. Nonsindiso Qwabe’s points:
Its so abstract. But I guess it makes sense. The minute ordained roles reverse, confusion begins if only people saw and appreciated life in the way God ordered it to be.. Jwale everyone is trying to find solutions and quick fixes, not realizing that the key to all problems is to go back to the Creator.
Daphney – Exactly. People confuse things once they start going according to the standards of the world whereas the bible is right at their disposal for direction

2. Daphney Livhalani’s points:
Deep. Well I think most women are misusing the equality rights because they know the law is on their side. Equality doesn’t mean stepping over each other that is why roles need to be revised to avoid misunderstandings. As much as there’s equality, the bible still states that a man is the head of the house and the woman is a helper. But this does not mean a woman has to sit back and wait for a man to come up with something then she helps, she’s allowed to come up with things, the important part in this case is that she discuss it with her husband then they reach a conclusion. Now that’s submission, which is expected from women towards their husbands. On the other hand men should not use their power to make women feel less important like always shutting the woman down. They both need each other. So I think revision of roles in this case is key.
Sindi – Yeah I agree with her on the revision of roles. However I feel that the black woman has been oppressed for too long. So being strong, cold, harsh etc is a defence mechanism. We’re quick to wanna protect ourselves from the potential danger being the man, so we attack first to make it hard for men to hurt us first.

3. Amy Morley’s points:
Those are very valid points. I wrote on facebook the other day that as a woman my only role in life is to aspire to get married. Girls are taught that marriage offers you certain things, now if we teach girls that. Why don’t we teach boys the same. A woman is taught to be successful, but not too successful otherwise she will threaten the man. If we just teach children the same things and not about gender roles, teach boys that its okay to be tough but also cry, teach girls to respect themselves, our households would run so much better. My mom’s been independent from a very young age, and I believe her marriage has failed because she also didn’t allow him to be a man. She was too stuck on proving that she wasn’t your average sereotypical ‘woman’ . Now she’s succcessful but she doesn’t have anyone to share it with.
Daphney – You see, the society already sees it as a threat for a woman to be successful but this wouldn’t be the case if women didn’t confuse things once they become sucessful. That’s a perfect example of Amy’s mum, successful, nice but the problem now is she wanted to ‘prove’, which mislead her.
Amy – The reason we’re in this gender role predicament is because we’re disobedient. When two people are together, they should strive to create a good home together. But we should also remember that God created the man first, put him in the Garden of Eden to work and take care of it. He then said it is not good for a man to be alone and created a helper suitable for him. Then they disobeyed God and He said in Genesis 3:16, ‘Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you’.  Adam was told that he would toil this earth for his food till the day that he dies. Now there are certain traits a woman has that can keep a household running that a man doesn’t have, and the same with a man. One’s strength will make up for the other’s weakness. Its not about gender roles, its about compromise.  But the Bible also mentions the wife of noble character in Proverbs 31: 16 – 31 where it says ‘she gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family’ . There are many strong women in the Bible. We create gender equality for ourselves and we should change our mindsets towards it. Marriage is a beautiful things, and the man is considered the bread winner because the woman carries the child. Its fair. Its equal. We need to look at it in that way.
Daphney – Very well. Now that’s where the ‘head’ part comes from when a man was told that he will toil for his family and because in Proverbs it says the woman provides food for her family, it shows that the woman can also do it but it was not a command, it is a pleasure for her to help, with the man, he was commanded. So there’s definitely things that women do best than men and the other way round. This now goes back to equality where both men and women need each other.
Sindi – I don’t wanna find myself being the woman Amy describes. But its also so easy to become her. Taking care of home seems backward and underminding towards the woman, whereas its actually a very powerful position. But because ideas on love, marriage and independence have been distorted so much, our homes fall apart easily. This one pastor said that the hierarchy of things is God, the Man, and then the woman. He made a visual demonstration where the womans head was above the man, and said that because woman have taken over that position, man can’t be in contact with God as he had ordained and designed it to be. Submission isn’t one person making a God of another, but simply acting out pre ordained roles in a respectful and revering manner.

4. Karabo Malatji’s points:
As a “mild feminist” I always question the role of women outlined in the Bible and I just do not agree with most of them. As crazy as it may sound I feel like they are absurd and I just laugh and page on. And I’m sorry but  personally I just HATE that line (“The man is the head of the house”). If so, then who am I?? The body? Why can’t I be the head? Why can’t be BOTH be the heads of the house? Or even better, why should there be a head of the house? I mean can’t we just make decisions together without having to follow the whole traditional autocratic decision making and role playing process?
Sindi – But that’s taking it too literally…. The head needs the body to function, in the same way a man needs a woman in order to function. Him being the head doesn’t mean Lordship. I think it means that He’s the provider, the protector, the one who must love first, the one who must display qualities which make him a potential suitor.
Karabo – I understand that but traditionally unfortunately, it means Lordship. You should see the way women are treated in families where there is autocratic communication. It’s as if the woman does not have a say in anything, her having an opinion is as good as nothing because at the end of the day it’s not taken into account. Does he love first? No instead he criticises. Does he protect first? Nope. Instead he is the first to lay a hand on the wife, he is the first to project negativity towards the woman. Simply because he is the head and the buck stops with him. Women are taught to say yes and amen to men when entering marriage, if not she is labelled as disrespectful and thinks she’s the one who wears the pants in the house. I mean why can’t she wear the pants for a change and be the man when she disagrees with you?? This is sad and unfortunate and men take advantage of that (and yes I said advantage) now how is that not Lordship?
Daphney – Thing is God has order, if we both occupy the same position, wouldn’t that be chaos?! By head its not necessarily a man making all the decisions in the house. Its a relationship and ofcourse a relationship consist of more than 1 person so this means that if the husband understands his role as the head, he will know that it does not mean that his wife’s opinion doesn’t matter but that he handles the situation in a way that they peacefully reach a conclusion. even when he doesn’t agree with the wife, because he’s the head and is responsible to lead the household, he should make the wife understand why he doesn’t agree and give suggestions too if needs be. The way Karabo is seeing it is not how the bible is addressing it. And as a head you cannot function well alone so as much as the head is important, so is the helper.
Sindi – Simply because something is practised, it doesn’t make it right… Yes tradition has reduced the woman to nothing, but call me naive, I still believe that the natural order of things is the best( when its practised in its righgful manner). I’ll say I’m lucky to have grown up surrounded by sound people with sensible views towards gender expectations and marriage, and that has shaped how I think about these. I’d call myself privileged to have sat down with sensible men who understand that being head does not mean undisputed rule over the woman… I have also witnessed countless times that when the woman tries to occupy a role that isn’t hers, confusion and drama ensue. More so in marriages and families.
Karabo – I get your point. But let’s be realistic, does this happen, is it happening in most families? No, it’s not. I agree with Gali, we have been let down by men which is why I question what’s written in the bible and Daphney’s points. As much as I want to agree with the bible and what everyone is saying I haven’t been as priveliged as  Sindi to understand and accept these roles. Unfortunately society has blurred my views on what the bible says is expected from both genders.
Hatsu – I feel that it’s rather dangerous to be reading the Bible and only taking in what suits you. The Bible is law for us as believers, the law’s faith, ’cause then the Word will never bare fruit in her. Also, societal issues should not be compared to adjust the Word for them but the other way around, which goes back to the Word being LAW.

5. Galaletsang Motice’s points:
I feel women have been let down by men and they’re at a point where they can’t trust and are learning to depend on themselves.
Daphney – True, many men have let women down but that doesn’t give any women the right to do what’s wrong cause they have been wronged. In the end, everybody is gonna have to stand up for their acts and saying I did it cause someone did this to me is gonna be irrelevant. I know its so hard after you’ve been hurt but doing something that you know its not right just cause you’ve been mistreated is not very wise. That is why they sau do what they say but don’t do what they do. Many people say the right things but don’t do it. Its like with pastors for instance, they say the right things from the bible but some of them don’t do it which is why its important to know who you are in Christ and not depend on other people’s behaviour.
Sindi – The meaning of life as a whole has been distorted. That in turn affects the entire order of things. The woman was never meant to be a walk over. That’s to be blamed on our cultures rearing men to believe they are Lord’s, while women belong in the lowest social level. The mans lack to fully live out his role has led to women being treated in all sorts of horrific ways. A solid man with clear understanding of who he is won’t subject a woman to slavery, but treats her as his equal because he understands that they’re in this together.
Gali – And again it’s not about misusing “equality rights”… if men understood their roles and were as supportive, women wouldn’t feel the need to be protective and prove that they can make it without men. the whole submission thing is taken a bit out of context. Yes, a man is the head of the house but when God gave male and female reign over things, He didn’t give males more rights. I agree with Sindy, a real man will treat hid woman as his equal.

6. Hatsu Mphatsoe’s points:
Well, I have come to the knowledge that a woman will always challenge the role and purpose of a man if he does not have a clear image of himself and understanding of his ‘I Must’ (purpose). As one’a the ladies said, “It takes a strong woman to be submissive,” submission will only occur if the head (man) has a clear vision, can protect, lead and secure a woman’s peace in their work; only then will a woman have no hesitation to be a helper and a follower.
Sindi – Yes I fully agree with Hatzu. Women shouldn’t be trying to occupy the mans role, but should rather be leading themselves in a manner that challenges the man to step up.
Daphney – True. Its important that a man has a clear vision. This brings us back to a man being the head as said in the bible cause then if he wasn’t or shouldn’t, why then would he be the one expected to have a clear vision that a woman should help in?!that is why yuou don’t just get married to someone who’s vision you don’t know because you will end up struggling with submission which then becomes disobedience. Its a man’s responsibility to know the vision and it is a woman’s responsibility to know what she will be submitting under.

7. Vuyisile Kubeka’s points:
He makes valid points but its floored mainly because it sounds like an attack on black women and that they are the cause of all problems men face. If I were to interpret this I would think that the woman wants to make sure that he has her down before giving him the key. What if she gives him the key and he walks away? Something men ( mostly black) are used to doing. Why are black women so defensive? Black women used to be the most if not still the most submissive kind ( from my little knowledge), who made them stray from that? Why do they say that the don’t need a man? Maybe they realized after being let down that they can do it on their own. However, women have that kind of attitude which is not necessarily good but where does it come from?
Hatsu – On what Gali said and to answer Vuyi, women will continue to be seen in a negative light for as long as men continue to fail in their roles. Men are not being led by those in the Bible and those of our time alike, but rather, all they know is how to inflict and impose frustrations’a being emasculated, which women tend  to do so often.
Vuyi – You realize a pattern here? We are focusing on the role of the woman; to be submissive and not that the man has to do which is to love his wife. There is a reason those things go together. Look at the basic “personality” structure of a woman. Woman are genetically; naturally more loving and caring and they respond better to love than men. When a man (generally) withholds his love ( 1 Corinthians 13) the woman lashes out in defense, becomes passive aggressive; basically there is no peace in the home. So love your wife and she will respond to you better. If you look at the structure of the man. Men want to be respected and revered, that’s why they define themselves by their position at work and their possessions (generally). So if you as a woman stop submitting under your husband’s authority he withholds his love from you as the wife. Shows no affection, aggressive and stops talking your language. If you submit to your husband, he will (or must) reciprocate with love. But the main question is what is submission?
Hatsu – Ephesians 5: 22-29

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