One time I attended an empowerment seminar for women and a young lady asked a pertinent question to the panel of speakers, whether it is possible to find a man that will not be emasculated by her achievements and how to navigate submission while possessing a leadership character or strong personality. Well I do not remember the answer to the question but that young woman was on to something. Submission is at the centre of every marriage discussions, it is still a profound challenge in a lot of Christian marriages, but I think it is a deeper challenge for us black folks because submission is defined by culture not necessarily the bible, respect is demanded and a man is not questioned in African culture. Unfortunately or fortunately for us, the world is evolving, we are not the same women that accepted cheating and abuse in the name of enduring and submitting. Modern day black woman has redefined who they are and their role in the society and it is time for men to sit down with us to revisit submission biblically once again if we want successful marriages for black communities.

From a young age black women assume responsibilities of taking care of their families, navigate poverty, protect themselves from men and also forge their own way of success. It takes a certain level of psyche for any human being to come out of any type of hardship, especially that of a tough childhood and redefine themselves, to morph into resilient leaders in the society. I often watch Viola Davis speak (a black lead actress in Hollywood), and I am always in awe at her presence and the authority in the roar of her voice (I say roar because she sounds like a lioness), a woman that comes from poverty, in the peak of racial discrimination at the United States of America, now leading in Hollywood. I would assume the horror of her childhood, she was also definitely pushed around, overlooked and abused to get where she is and I maintain that, to have that type of leadership skill she illuminates every time she appears on our screens, it took a whole lot of fight mentally. I did a little research on her to find that she got married at the age of 38 until present (currently 55), to a Christian man and I was happy to know that it is possible for black women to be pursued and stay in marriages that accept and nurture who they are or what they have become (leaders) without men feeling like we are emasculating them.

Honestly a lot of black women have forged their own path through a lot of sweat and tears, sacrifices there and there, every battle we win strengthens us, our husbands find us whole with visions and ambitions, we are leaders at our jobs, leaders in churches, leaders in our friendship groups LOL, let us not deny it, there is always a Beyoncé of every group hahaha. My point: we are leaders! Then we have black men on the other hand, they grow up with constant reinforcement of societal masculine standards (Patriarchy). Consciously and unconsciously they absorb these ideologies of unquestioned authority and the need for women to bend themselves for them to lead and be adorned with respect with every breath they take, then the scripture in the bible about submission adds even more fuel to these ideologies in the church, what a mess! A lot of husbands cry that disrespect is a major challenge in their marriages, and I think it’s a disparity of expectations versus reality.

Our husbands are often threatened by the sound of a roar in our voices and confuse it as disrespect, they often enter marriage with a perception of a forever bending wife that is humble and meek, and they eventually feel weakened when instead they find an outspoken, brave and self-sufficient wive. The more they feel like they are emasculated, the harder they try to reinforce their authority, hence the rise of emotional and physical abuse. I do agree that I have seen women disrespect their husbands verbally during arguments or even on a normal day to day basis, yhuu when we hit, we hit hard with words shame (If we could use our tongues wisely, our words also built are our husbands, we have that gift).Sometimes we have trouble recognising men as leaders in our households because of leadership roles we have assumed and because of how poorly men have lead our communities through alcoholism, cheating and abuse.

The definition of Submission is to yield, serve, to surrender to an authority of another person. In my own words I could say surrendering to guidance of another person. The bible commands the wife to submit to the husband as he is the head of the family, but it also continues to command the husband to love their wives like Christ loves the church in Ephesians, which I believe it’s a far more greater commandment, it covers a lot of aspects like patience, kindness, giving, (1 Corinthians 13:4 a scripture that defines Love). I guess what I am trying to say is that if black men loved us fully without patriarchy paradigms hovering over their marriages, the struggle of submission would be half won. Men are born leaders, they are anointed to be leaders of their families by God but women are bred into leadership. Husbands submit to God and we submit to our husbands, that is how God created it, for us to be guided by our husbands but he didn’t say we are not equal. The bible does say we are equal in Genesis .Just that God chose men to lead, I assume because he created Adam first. A true leader makes decisions based on the followers counsel (hence I call it guidance); he doesn’t move without his followers consent, leading through influence rather than authority, I also think that’s the problem we have in black culture, men want to bulldoze their marriages without the wives counsel and without being questioned and they interpret it as being disrespectful. So men have to understand what their leadership role means in their households, it is for guidance not to oppress.

I relate to Joyce Meyer so much, she often speaks of how her childhood trauma affected her marriage and how she had to learn to submit and channel her strong personality with her husband Dave, she is a leading renowned preacher that has a similar distinctive roar in her voice, she often talks about how it was hard for her to submit to her husband. I was listening at how Dave used to drop tapes of her preaching at radio stations and how he would also buy radio sessions at local stations because he believed in her calling, which is a pure classic of leading the right way. It definitely took a lot of sacrificing and submission to one another for them to reach a level of Dave accepting his wives leadership role as a Pastor and him as a supporter of the ministry. Joyce and Dave have been married for 53 years and they have been in ministry more than 40 years, their success is prove again that women with strong personalities can be guided and lead. Another example is of Michelle Obama, a black woman with that distinctive roar in her voice, managed to go to an IV league law school only to become a stay at home mom to nurture her family, but yet she became the first black first lady in the United States of America, in her book Becoming, she demonstrates her challenges so vividly, I don’t think she aspired to become a housewife but she made that sacrifice herself ,for the success of her marriage vision, her experiences, ambition contributed vastly to her families destination at the White House. If you have seen Michele address a crowd of people, she is a true leader in stature and in speech and I do believe from the bottom of my heart that she shaped her husband; as much as he shaped her, iron sharpens iron. Barack lead with her counsel. They are a team and equals, but with a leader.

I have had my own share of struggles with submission in my marriage, our strong personalities always clash and my husband would feel disrespected or bulldozed as he calls it,when I am firm in my tone and passionate in my speech which I feel he needs to start accepting that he didn’t marry a meek wife but an outspoken wife, and merge his own expectations and the reality. But I have also said mean things to him which constitutes as disrespectful… and not being submissive, he has also said mean things that are disrespectful towards me and I had to make him aware that it doesn’t absolve him to respect me because he is the head of our family. We are both learning what works for us, at the end of the day i want to be lead by my husband and respect his position as the head of the family but not in a way that oppresses me , marriage is a journey that needs commitment from both sides, sacrifices and compromises from both sides.

The mentality that only women are supposed to submit has caused problems for marriages and has led to a fall of a lot of marriages, do not get me wrong I believe men are the head of the family like the bible articulates but I do not believe only women should submit, we submit to our husbands to lead and our husbands submit to us for counsel. The two go together. I also believe black women have evolved over the years and the only way we can move forward is if men acknowledge that they are married to women with strong personalities, women that are intelligent, women that are leaders in their careers and women that are providing for themselves, and bulldozing through their marriage only causes harm more than good. This above examples of these powerful, strong women in prospering marriages is prove that submission is possible but only if husbands and wives fully comprehend the context of submission, I believe it is to lead and guide with the counsel of their wives. Respect has to go both ways; no one is more deserving than the other. We are created equally with men; men are chosen to be leaders of their households .We need to start having difficult conversations in our marriages and communicate a way that will both work for both parties without the other party feeling like they are bending and the other feeling disrespected. Above all supplication of prayer always works best; remember God’s grace will take us where our efforts fall short.

I appreciate comments because I love engaging about marriage, I believe it is the cornerstone of our society, so please drop questions, additions, suggestions. Thank you for reading, and remember to like Bold Tiffy on Facebook and Subscribe to the Blog, there’s an option on the website to get a notification straight to your email once we have a new publish. Until next Wednesday. Keep well.

One Response

  1. Powerful as always. The wisdom in all this! Ioved how you unpacked the true meaning of submission and how you simply defined it. Since you gave an example of Joyce whom I love and follow. She shared this statement: “submission is not an act we put on, it’s an attitude that we have to live with”. Thanks for encouraging us, teaching and motivating us. We are cheering you on.

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