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Monday, October 24, 2005

$0.02 on Uxorial Submission

It would seem that most people who do not give much thought to such subjects would hold that a woman ought to “stand beside” her husband (cf. Messina, JoDee or Urban, Keith). I contend that this is a woefully incorrect, albeit well-meaning, view.

Most of our readers will see right away that the position promoted by NOW and company is to be disregarded outright. Under no circumstances is a woman to lead in a relationship. I have never been oppressed, and if you’re reading this, chances are that you haven’t been either, so there is no need to demand to set the order of things all bottom-side up. When God created our First Parents, He made Adam the head. It is not Ms. magazine’s place to controvert that which the Creator established, and I shan’t be party to any endeavor to do so.

My objection to the idea of standing side-by-side is more difficult to explain, as most people see nothing wrong with this view. Equality is good, right? No, not really. I see the argument for “equal partnership” in relationships as little more than the gradual encroachment of the radical feminist view on otherwise sensible people. Allow me to turn your attention to that most vilified of scriptures, the twenty-second through twenty-fourth verses of the fifth book of St. Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus. “Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things” (DR). Newsflash: Biblical commands do not cease to be binding because they fall out of vogue. “Be subject” means “be subject,” whether you’re a first century Ephesian or a twenty-first century American, and “be subject” does not mean “be equal.”

This is not just a matter of men stepping up to lead, either (though that is certainly an issue). A woman must consciously decide to stand behind her husband. Uxorial submission doesn’t happen just as a result of a man stepping into his role as head of the household. Although that is a big part of establishing proper dynamics in the family, he can’t step into his role if she doesn’t willingly—joyfully—step into hers. I’m not saying that women are necessarily inferior. A woman who isn’t in a relationship is both capable of and free to live her life autonomously; however, one who has chosen to join her life to a man’s is capable, to be sure, but she is not free to do so.

What benefit, other than the benefits gained as a result of obeying God, has wifely submission to the couple? Placed in front of his family, a man can protect them. Standing behind her man, a wife can support him, and she can help him in protecting their family, as she is able, from this position. She serves both as aide-de-camp and rear guard.

Far from being demeaning, a wife’s submission empowers her most effectively to carry out her duties. It is when women noisily demand that they be able to follow whatever whim they may entertain that they become oppressed. They abase women who would exchange femininity (and the submission that is incumbent to it) for a cheap imitation of manhood.

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