Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:24
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Colossians 3:18
As a woman and, I suspect, in the company of many other women, I have often wished that these verses weren’t included in the scriptures. Wrongly I have perceived them to be biased in favour of the man in a relationship. But God has showed me a new picture of submission and in a loving relationship it ought not to be a heavy thing, but rather something joyful and natural.
I am an ardent fan of a British TV programme called ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, where celebrities are taught to dance by their professional partners. I love to watch the celebrities grow in confidence during the weeks spent learning and competing. Even in the relatively early days of the programme some of the amateur dancers stand out and by the final couple of weeks it becomes harder to predict who will win.
As I was watching a recent episode of ‘Strictly’ I began to see that a good marriage should be like a dance partnership. The man leads, the woman follows his lead. She must trust him implicitly if the difficult lifts are to be successful. He twirls her away and she dances alone for a while but they are still in step, still dancing to the same music. He draws her back into a close hold and she rests in his arms in the beautiful rhythms of the dance. She reacts to his every move and he is completely aware of her.
Whether the music is fast and joyful or slow and sensuous their partnership is beautiful. And the longer they dance together the more confident of her own ability the female partner becomes.
To me this is a picture of how marriage should be. It is an equal partnership with each partner having their own role; their own set of steps if you like. The woman in a marriage should not lead her partner but follow him just as the female dancer follows the male lead. But equally the man should not control the woman, she must follow willingly.
There will be circumstances when a woman will be ‘dancing’ separately from her husband, for example following a career or ministry, but their lives should continue to be lived in harmony and in step with one another.
During hard times, as in the dance lifts, the wife needs to trust the husband. And there need to be times of closeness and intimacy for the partnership to remain strong.
These dances are choreographed for a man and a woman and are so beautiful to watch when performed by experts. But the dance would not look so good if either was dancing alone; or if the man was pulling and pushing the woman around the ballroom; or if the woman was resisting and refusing to follow the man’s lead.
This picture of marriage has really opened my eyes to how things should be and I hope it blesses those who read it as it has blessed me.
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