Recently, I was able to ask Sara a few questions about her experiment in biblical submission in marriage.
Q1. What would a submissive wife look like during a deployment?
Sara: My husband Cliff has been a Seabee in the Navy Reserves for 17 years now, and he is currently on his third deployment in the last six years. We have about eight months to go before he returns. We walked through this year-long experiment looking at biblical submission that I write about in the book, right after he returned from his second deployment, so I am learning what biblical submission looks like in a deployment first hand right now.
For me, I think the biggest difference is attitude. I know it is easy sometimes to approach deployment as a military spouse with this determined, hunkered down, "it's all on me" kind of perspective, but I'm not sure that's always the best or most healthiest way to handle things. It's easier for resentment to grow and it's easier to feel less respect for your husband when you do that. You convince yourself you don't need him, because you think that will get you through the next several months apart, but in the end, that attitude can really hurt you and your marriage in the long run. Because deployments don't last, and eventually they do come home, and how you handle their absence during deployment is just as important if not more so than how you handle it when they return.
Even during deployment, I still think of us as two, and even though he's far away right now, he's still part of our family, and he still leads our family. Now, can I go to him every day with decisions? No. But I'm not going to make decisions that I know he specifically wouldn't like or wouldn't feel comfortable with. I'm going to keep him in mind when I'm disciplining our son, and when I talk to him, I'm going to be sure to keep him in the loop on important things with the family. Trust and respect and communication are really vital.
Sara: I'm not sure if I saw any specific changes in Caleb as we were going through this. For one thing, we were in a house full of people for about half of the time and I'm not sure he would have noticed much to begin with. From his perspective (and I had to ask him just now), he has always seen his parents in a close, loving marriage. He's seen us kissing and holding hands, and he's seen us arguing and in heated discussions about things. But he's always seen those arguments resolved with apologies and hugs. He knows how much I love and respect his dad, because I tell him often, and he sees the respect and love his dad shows me. Just in the last few months before he left, I did notice Cliff very intentionally leading our son. He'd make sure he was doing his chores, and that Caleb was listening when I asked him to do something, and he was very deliberate in letting Caleb know the importance of helping me with things around the house. He would correct him when he wasn't doing what he was supposed to. I definitely saw changes in Cliff during our experience, really taking initiative to lead our family, and so in that way, I would say Caleb has been impacted. He's got a dad who is teaching him how to lead in a godly way as a man.
Q3. Has your submission experiment rubbed off on any friends or those who thought you were crazy?
Sara: That's a good question! I'm not sure, because if there is one thing I'm a firm believer in, making a decision to pursue biblical submission, or make changes in your marriage, can really only happen when you're ready for a change or for a heart change. It's gotta start with your own heart and your own awareness of a need to change some things, so I've been very careful, even in my small group at church, not to pressure or do anything that would make someone feel guilty or something for not being at a point where they want to do this. There is one person in my life who seems to have softened in the last year towards her marriage and her family, though I have no idea if it has anything to do with what Cliff and I walked through and learned. I hope that as friends get hold of the book, that just like other readers I've heard from, I hope my friends will also be encouraged.
Q4. How do you handle those moments when you were being "the submissive wife" and allowing your husband to lead when you didn't agree with him? (Those I told you so moments)
Sara: We had one of those just the other day when I was talking to my husband on the phone. :) I've started calling those moments Edit moments. Meaning you have to be willing to edit yourself and just because you feel like saying something doesn't mean you should. In our case, my husband was struggling with something that ultimately, he had made the decision on and it was a decision that at the time I had questioned him about but had respected and supported what he'd decided. At that moment on the phone, he was really struggling with some things he hadn't expected as part of that decision. It was tempting for me to say "I told you so, if you'd only listened to me" but as I was listening to him, I knew that wouldn't have helped him at all. So I listened. I encouraged where I could. I let him know I believed everything was going to be ok and that I believed in him. And I still trust that the decision my husband made, God is still going to honor and there will be blessings despite the challenges.
I do want to make a point here, that biblical submission is NOT the equivalent of us as wives putting duck tape on our mouths and we aren't allowed to ever express an opinion or speak up when a decision is to be made. God did not make us to be doormats. NOT AT ALL. As wives, we should offer our opinions to our husbands, we should speak up when we're concerned the wrong decision is being made. But there's a way to do it that doesn't make our husbands feel small and there's a way to do it that helps our husbands consider our additional counsel, so to speak, as opposed to us saying "THIS is how it should be done." A loving tone and a graceful giving spirit goes a long way.
How would you like to have a copy of Sara's new book?
Well, she would love for you to have a copy, so
Sara is giving a copy to one of my lucky readers.
You can have multiple entries by:
1. Leave a comment here describing what submission in marriage looks like to you.
2. Visit Sara's store at sarahorn.com, come back here, and leave a comment telling us what your favorite item is.
3. Share this post via Facebook and leave a comment that you did.
4. Share this post via email and leave a comment that you did.
5. Leave a comment telling us who shared this post with you via Facebook or email.
I will randomly select a winner on Saturday, August 3.
You can find Sara on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sarahornwrites
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follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sarahorn.