She looks carefully for the perfect spot, making sure the ground is level so there is nothing that will cause him to fall. Finding it, she eases on the brake and shifts the gear into park. She is quick to shut down the car and shed her seat belt. Within minutes she is at his side. Opening his door she is greeted with a generous smile. The smile that has warmed many hearts. She smiles back while unfastening his seat belt. Then she double checks his shoelaces before taking him by the hand and helping him stand.
Reaching around him she grabs his coat and holds it out making it easier for him to put on. His right arm goes in perfectly, but the left gets caught. With adoration in her eyes, she makes a joke of it causing them both to laugh as she lifts the disobedient arm and places it within the coat sleeve. She fondly folds his collar down, brushes his shoulders, and walks to stand in front of him. She tenderly zips up his coat and pats his chest as their eyes meet. The smile on his face and the love in his eyes is a reflection of what he sees in her.
He’s her man. It doesn’t matter that others may see him as a fraction of the brave and strong soldier she’d married over 40 years ago, he was her hero. Strokes and other health problems threatened to rob him of his mind, strength and dignity, but she refused to give up without a fight. He had been there for her through the good and bad. Together they had fought life’s battles hand in hand and this was no different. They would face this battle too, hand in hand, heart to heart.
As he takes the first step of their daily walk, she falls in behind him, keeping her hand near, yet not touching him, just in case he starts to fall. When his steps become to hurried, she reminds him to walk slower for her, yet in her heart she longs to run. Run with the wind in their face. Run as though nothing was holding them back. Run like they used too. Back when…, but that was then, this is now. And it is okay. She’d gladly give up running if it means she can walk these last miles with him by her side.
They make the first turn and in their path lies a broken up tree limb. Usually she picks them up and tosses them out of the way, but not today. Today, she asks him to do it. Her reassuring confidence, gives him all the strength he needs and he squats slowly on wobbly legs. She places her hand on his back to steady him as he slowly rises. Pride is beaming in his face as he pulls his arm backwards. He gives it all he has and flings the broken limb as far as he can. Overcome by joy, she jumps with fist raised high in the air and cheers for him. He smiles and laughs as she pulls him into a hug. He is still her hero.
It was just a small limb, not much bigger than a twig, but he did it. He did it! Arm in arm they walked on together, both looking as though he’d moved a mountain.
What a view from my dining room window. Sometimes it is good to be distracted. In those few minutes of watching them, I learned something new. I learned what it truly means to be a submissive wife. I learned what Peter meant in 1 Peter, when he said in Chapter 3:
“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands,
so that even if some do not obey the word,
they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,
when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
Do not let your adorning be external
—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry,
or the clothing you wear—
but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart
with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:1-4 ESV
I’ve always looked at this scripture as an obstacle and challenge instead of the opportunity and privilege that it is. Upon a closer look, I realize that God is not telling my husband to make me his subject. He’s asking me to do it. He is asking me to willfully give myself to be under his authority.
I look at my husband and I see so much more than what others see. I am blessed to have a Godly husband. As a man of God, he chooses to rule as God rules. He chooses to protect and defend as God does. He chooses to love as God loves. So, why would I resist being his subject?
Maybe being his subject is not such a bad thing. After all, subject by definition is more than one who is governed and under the authority of another. It means that which forms a basic matter of thought, discussion or investigation, a course of study. Hmm…
As his subject, he thinks of me. He thinks of my well being and what matters to me. LOL, wouldn’t I love to know his discussions of me with the Lord. Then again, maybe I wouldn’t. (sigh)
I love the thought that he investigates me. He seeks to know me, all of me. How many times has he brought me something that I in passing said I’d like to have? How many times has he done something extra special because he knows it will bring me happiness? I am his subject, he studies me. He takes notice of me.
A subject is also a theme in life, in music, and in art. As his wife, I am his theme. The part of him that keeps him going. The part that gives him courage and strength. The song that lifts him up. In me, he finds beauty and peace even when his world falls apart. I am his joy. I am his love. I am his happiness. I am his theme. He finds it all, in me. In me.
Yet so many days I looked at it as an obligation. I thought of it as a requirement from God, as a punishment instead of a reward. How wrong I have been. Now I understand….
By willingly giving myself to be his subject, I am allowing him to love me the way God intended for me to be loved. I am allowing him to cherish me and honor me. Placing myself under his control and direction I am opening myself to be prized as the precious treasure God says that I am.
Instead of looking at myself as his slave, I see myself his Queen.
Answering this calling of God to willingly submit myself as his wife, his subject, is a gift. A gift that God has given to me. The more I submit myself to him in love, the more he can shower me with his love. The more he loves me the more I love him. It is a continuous cycle, until one day it is complete and whole. Genuine and pure, love without restraint.
That’s what Mrs. Betty does. She submits herself as subject to her husband. She allows Mr. Jerry to love her the way she was intended to be loved. In return she loves him for it. They love each other in more than words. They love from the heart, mind and the soul. That’s the secret to the special love they have for one another. It is complete and whole. A love that is genuine, pure and without restraints. A love that I want. A love that I choose to have. A love that I am willing to give myself in order to obtain.
Oh, how beautiful the view was of this submitted woman from my window. How beautiful was the display of true love and adoration. Truly it was far greater than any Hallmark movie. However, I do believe it was more beautiful and more precious from Heaven’s view.
Lord, thank You for showing me why You called me to submit to my husband. Thank You for showing me the beauty of it. Thank You for showing me it was not a task or duty, but a gift. A gift that is not only beneficial to my husband, but even more to me. You never cease to amaze me. How great are Your thoughts towards me. In all things, You want only the best for me. Thank You, Lord for loving me enough to allow me the blessing of being a wife. Remind me always what a treasure my husband truly is. Remind me of the riches found in his love and in Your love. In Jesus Name, Amen.
*Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Bryant for the inspiration and the beautiful example.