Concerning the wedding vows of a submissive wife.

I was taking a gander over at Her Noble Character today (as a side note, check out Olivia at hernoblecharacter.com ) and she had posted an entry about her wedding vows. This took me back a bit to my own wedding, and the words my husband and I said to one another.

It also reminded me of the time I was asked to reconsider my vows for something a little more politically-correct.

Let me just state that I love my family dearly, and I respect their opinions mightily. On the other hand, my family’s religious background isn’t quite as cohesive as my husband’s is. I have everything from Jews to Mormons to Wiccans to Atheists in my bloodline. This is a wonderful thing in one respect, because I grew up with a fondness for learning about world religions and has helped my evangelizing efforts tremendously. Trust me, it’s much easier to talk to people about Jesus when you understand what direction they are coming from in comparison to yours.

On the other hand, it can be quite lonely. Aside from my husband and his family, no one in my family shares my particular beliefs. Frequently I am misunderstood or misrepresented by my family members. So I suppose it should have been no surprise that many were offended by my wedding vows. Why? Because they focused on Christ and headship in a marriage unit.

I don’t honestly know what could be so offensive about the idea of a woman making a conscious choice to follow her husband. In today’s society however, it is not a common idea. This is not to say that I condone a husband using unrighteous dominion over his wife, but then why would you marry a person like that in the first place? I married my husband knowing very well that he always put my interest above his own. It’s much easier to submit when you know that your husband is looking out for you, and not himself.

My husband may not be perfect, but he honestly tries the best he can and that gives me every motivation in the world to follow him and lift him up as the head of my home. He is giving everything into loving me as Christ loves the church. With him trying so hard to hold up his end of the bargain, I don’t find it demeaning or sexist to follow him at all. He is a man of character and love.

I went ahead with the vows I wanted. It’s funny, many of the people who poked fun at our vows when we said them have since become Christians themselves, and now look to us as an example of marriage. I am glad I didn’t give in to the pressure to use different vows at our wedding.

Here is a portion of the ceremony. Our names are noted with stars to protect our privacy.

“The vows you have acknowledged are not to be taken lightly because your marriage will be an example to others of the relationship between Christ and his followers. One of the reasons God created marriage was to illustrate His love, His treatment, His relationship with His people.

Ephesians 5 says,

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is
the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the
church. 24
As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to yourhusbands in everything.

25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s
word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.

*******, you are to submit to *** because he is the head of your family just as Christ is
the head of His family. The way you love, honor, and serve Wil will be a testimony to
those around you. Your obedience to him will show others how Christians are to obey
Christ. A failure to fulfill your role faithfully will reflect poorly on Christ and His church.
But if you are faithful, others “may see your good deeds and praise your Father in
heaven.”

***, you probably have the tougher of the two jobs. Sure, we like to talk about how a
woman is meant to submit to and obey her husband, but you have to love her like Christ
loves His followers. You have to be Jesus to your wife and those who look at your
marriage. Those are some HUGE shoes to fill. Christ gave up absolutely everything for
the church. He held nothing back. Philippians tells us that He made Himself nothing, He
emptied Himself, and then, in humility, gave up His life on the cross for His people. Your
love for ******** must be nothing short of that. Her needs come before your comfort.
Her honor comes before your pride. Her life comes before your life.

Now I won’t profess to have this down perfectly, but the way you keep your commitment to
******** will speak volumes to others on how Christ loves His people. Your love will be
a testimony of Christ’s love. To fail is to dishonor the love Christ has given to everyone
of us. But if you succeed you will prove the words of 1 John 4:10, “10
This is real love—
not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away
our sins.”

From the very moment you decided to follow Jesus your lives have been testimonies of
His love, but from today on, you have a new responsibility. Your marriage–for good or
bad–will illustrate Christ’s love and relationship with His people.”

Hopefully the two of us are able to work together to fulfill the testimony presented at our wedding. I feel very blessed that we were given the opportunity to witness to our friends and family about the power of Biblical headship, even if it didn’t jive with all of them.

-Housewife at Work