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Whenever the submission topic is discussed on social media, it often meets with tension and strife. Have you participated in any discussions or debates on the subject of submission? If so, you’ve most likely heard how submission has been weaponized throughout Christian marriages. You may even agree. As a single woman who sees beauty in submission, I have often felt the weight of these conversations. The one-sided emphasis on women, especially single women, learning the art of submission in preparation for marriage has grieved me; I’m sure many of you can relate. To provide a more balanced perspective, I interviewed two married women: Conscious Coore, Founder of Flamingo Trauma Recovery and Trauma-Informed Spiritual Intervention (married for eight years), and Alex Herrod, Christian counselor (married for five years).

During these interviews, we delved into the sparks that ignite a desire to submit, the practical manifestations of submission in marriage, and God’s purposes behind this often misunderstood concept. What I learned from these two women opened my mind to some factors for consideration and brought confirmation about others.

“Before getting married, I thought submission was not speaking up, not disagreeing, and not causing problems by any means. It framed submission as more of powerlessness rather than a discipline. Before, I understood it (submission) as a requirement, and now I understand it as a choice,” Conscious Coore shared.

This statement by Conscious summed up what I believed many women – especially singles – have thought about submission. They have listened to culture framed as “Christian” paint a broad stroke of submission as one-sided and oppressive. This article will peel back the layers of the lies and reveal some truths about submission in Christian marriages, empowering you with a balanced understanding.

When asked, “What does submission look like to you?” both women expressed that submission requires yielding and laying aside one’s desires. When Alex and Conscious said the phrases “doing your best to yield every time to your partner in every way” and “lay it aside for something you don’t understand at the moment,” my mind went to Jesus’ command to His disciples in Matthew 16:24-25: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Here, the author of this text highlights Jesus teaching His disciples discipline and the expectation to deny themselves. This was not a command limited to the disciples of Jesus but rather an instruction to all believers.

In the context of marriage, both women expressed that submission in a Christian marriage only works when God is involved. Furthermore, Alex and Conscious highlighted that submission can change with every season. The key to submission is to partner with your spouse and God to understand how to submit practically throughout your marriage’s journey.

It was freeing to hear a married woman attest that submission is also the role of both wives and husbands. If we read God’s stance on submission from the letter Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus, we find that husbands and wives should submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. You can locate this account of submission in Ephesians 5. Submission works both ways.

So, what does a submitted husband look like? According to Alex, her husband watches and pays attention to what she needs every day and fulfills that need; he also listens and is vulnerable with her so that she can “be a wife,” allowing her to care for him. Her husband’s vulnerability and submission allow her the room to take on burdens that he would generally carry himself. Conscious believes that a husband’s role is to cultivate the family and have goals and perceptions of what the family looks like. “The responsibility is more significant for the husband.” “The husbands submit to The Father and wisdom sometimes given to their wives.” “Submission looks like love that you can trust.” These were all powerful sentiments from Conscious.

Conscious Coore

Source: Conscious Coore / Sade Solomon

Finding the perfect spouse and becoming the ideal partner has been commercialized and formulaic. Over the past several years, I have been presented with many ideas suggesting that specific individuals hold the key to overcoming the barriers preventing me from getting married. I have not been drawn into this marketing scheme because wisdom tells me that what God has for me will be unique to me. Yes, I can absolutely glean from a married couple’s experiences; however, God may decide to do something different with my future marriage. Conscious captured the beauty of this perspective in this statement: “I can’t give you a formula for your marriage; it’s very particular to that husband or wife and the season they are in.” I’ve learned from both women that each season of marriage looks different. In some seasons, the wife must be more vocally curious about the direction the husband is leading them; in other seasons, she may have to remain silent and pray. There is no clear-cut formula for submission or marriage.

Alex Herrod

Source: Alex Herrod / Sade Solomon

When asked, “How has submission been weaponized in marriages today?” Alex’s answer surprised me. “Women want men to submit to their feelings (always), and they don’t have to yield at all to their husband’s feelings or consider him. It’s ‘yield to me and do what I want because I feel this way.’ We don’t do a good job of listening; we weaponize that they are supposed to love us.” This perspective sheds light on how women can weaponize submission versus the most common view that men weaponize it, a perspective not often expressed.

When we discuss submission, we must have a God-centered perspective met with truth and wisdom. Submission is not a one-sided discipline but rather an act of two willing participants releasing their will and control to place their trust in one another. It is an act of both love and trust that is developed in our relationship with God. When we learn to trust God’s character, we are freed to submit to His will, which parallels in marriage.

To all my single readers, make sure the person you marry has a willingness and track record of submitting to God. I firmly believe that when you learn submission to God in your singleness, you are better prepared to submit to your future spouses. For us to submit to God, we must first trust Him. Single women who have been discouraged about marriage because submission has been weaponized in the media and many so-called “Christian” spaces, can I encourage you this: learn to trust that God is faithful, sees you, protects, and provides for you. Understanding your identity as a daughter, building intimacy with God, and learning to submit is a gem that will benefit your future marriage. In sum, submission is built on love, vulnerability, trust, and a solid vertical relationship with God.

Here are some reflection questions for you to contemplate your views of submission:

What does submission mean to you within the context of marriage, and how do you see it playing a role in your future or current relationship?

In what ways do you believe mutual respect and support can be demonstrated between spouses in a marriage?

How do you and your partner (or how would you) navigate disagreements and decisions to ensure both voices are heard and valued?

What are some practical ways you can or do submit to God in your singleness or marriage, and how does that influence your relationship dynamics?

How do you perceive the balance of roles and responsibilities in a marriage, and what steps can you take to ensure both partners feel supported and respected?

Sade Solomon is a NYC-based social media personality and multi-hyphenate creator who boldly and fashionably ignites authentic and candid conversations on topics surrounding intercourse, singleness, and abstinence. After embarking on her journey of abstinence in 2013, Sade began openly sharing her life-changing commitment on various online platforms while enlightening and inspiring many through her journey. In her book, Ready, Set, Wait, Sade peels back the layers of truth about navigating singleness and abstinence as a single Christian woman. Her work and commentary have been featured by Good Morning America, Harper’s Bazaar, Essence, Black Love, and XO Necole.

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