Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dancing With the One You Love - book review


I've said elsewhere on the blog that I - well both of us are - spiritual, though not necessarily religious. We both have a belief and a deep connection with God, we pray, we pray together. We both believe that we have a responsibility to live with honor and grace. But we're not big church goers.

Which brings me to the idea of biblical submission. The way that biblical submission was presented to me by some people that I worked with, who were fundamentalist Christians, and by the predominant religion when I moved down here, Baptist, it was not something that was appealing. Of course, I had not fully embraced my submissive nature at that point either. Once I had, and once it developed to a fuller expression, with Daddy, the idea of biblical submission still bristled me a little bit. Then I started reading....educating yourself is never a bad thing. 

Guess what? The biblical model of submission is closer to what I feel, and closer to what we have than anything else I have seen. I researched some books, and this is the first of them based on biblical submission that I have finished reading (I have more in the works, as you can see from our GoodReads). 

Cindy Easley raises some great points, that spoke to my particular beliefs, and to conversations that Ward & I have had. She talks of a 'complementarian marriage in which the husband is the leader, the wife the helper, and that although they stand equal, they have specific roles and being faithful to their roles, they empower the other in their role. She further states that if you wanted to bristle at the term 'helper' believing it to be subservient or wish to use the designation to subordinate your partner, God also refers to himself as OUR helper (Ps 30:10, Ps 54:4, Gen 2:18). That puts things in a different light, doesn't it?

She defines submission as a spirit of voluntary cooperation, and I like that a lot. I choose to follow Ward with a cooperative spirit because I trust and respect his leadership. She also has an interesting perspective about why submission works, she writes that God has hardwired our husbands to NEED our respect, and us with the need to be loved. When we willingly submit to their leadership they stand taller, feel prouder, and take the role of leader more seriously. Ward has corroborated this in many places on the blog. He says that my submission makes him want to be a better man (Not, possible, love, you are the very best man I have ever known). 

She speaks of another of my favorite concepts, humility. When we choose to humble ourselves and place ourselves under our husband's authority willingly and cheerfully we receive grace (James 4:6). When we sulk or pout, we are compromising our submission. She notes that most of our popular cultural references portray husbands as buffoons married to beautiful women, giving us no positive images of submission and headship, which she asserts can make maintaining a submissive attitude difficult. I disagree with that last part to a certain extent. I tell our boys, you have to use your own moral compass. I see those bad examples, too, and it doesn't make me think it's okay to disrespect my Ward, it makes me more mindful of how I interact with him. 

She stresses the importance of communication, and that communicating honestly and respectfully is a way to be a blessing to our husbands. Sometimes the dance if submission is difficult because we don't know where our husbands are going. We need to ask them to communicate their vision. Ward and I enjoy wonderful communication, if I don't understand, I ask. If I don't ask and he feels the question, he initiates a discussion. Either way, we don't let misunderstanding stand between us, and the simple act and care of clearing it up strengthens us and our commitment to each other. 

She speaks of Proverbs 31:10, 23. This was a favorite passage for me for a long time, since a friend who was a pastoral counselor applied that passage to me when I was going through a very difficult time. It is not something that I considered with a vanity, but something to which I aspired. The actual passage is "A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds... Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers." This is something else you have seen around our blog, I seek to bring honor to Ward, and to represent him well in our community.

One passage was particularly pertinent to me. It spoke of a Navy wife. And that my attitude toward the Navy could help or hinder Daddy in doing what he is called to do. I support him in anything he does, and I respect and support his decision to serve. He knows this, and also that I long for the day he detaches. But for me to make that the focus of our every conversation about his career inhibits him, and makes him feel conflicted. I have a responsibility to surrender my feelings, and ask him to make the best decisions for our family. 

 I found this overall to be an affirming book, with a lot of pertinent points that would bolster and support any relationship regardless of dynamic.

 I think  Ms. Easly brings up several valid points throughout the course of her book. The concept of humility as it relates to our relationship brings to light my need as the head of the household to remain humble, receptive and supportive.  My June's gift of submission and her attitude towards it have always been a source of pride and honor for me.  She really does go out of her way to please me, but more importantly her honesty and her support have often been the difference when times got hard.  Some of the affirmations of this book bring a unique perspective on the dynamic between a hoh and his lady, I think Ms. Easly uses Bible verses effectively and in a non heavy-handed way. Communication, Clarity, Humility (not humiliation) and a basic desire to want to live for each other is our way of life!


  1. There are so many different takes on what Scripture says and what it means. Some of it I can wrap my head around and others not so much. In fact, some of it makes me pretty angry. The book you talk about here sounds reasonable and I'm glad that it connected well with you.

    Always up for a good read!

    1. Yes, Susie, I'm with you on that, it's part of the reason both of us are not religious. Because of how some leaders choose to interpret Scripture, and the fact that the interpretation sometimes feels very far from intent. That's how I feel, too! Some of it makes me very angry. That's a point I considered writing this, and I forgot to include.

      Each of us interprets the tenets of submission to our partner in a manner that is pertinent to us, and across blogland there are many different interpretations of the same basic principles of deference, respect, communication and honor. So why do we feel the need to interpret Scripture according to anyone else's view, and not in the way that speaks most poignantly to us? Again, that's part of the problem that I personally have with organized religions, God speaks to each of us in different ways, and different voices. We each have our own truth. Our charge is to live our truth faithfully and diligently, and not conform to an unnatural interpretation.

  2. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I've had some similar thoughts about submission in marriage and submitting ourselves to God, but this puts it together nicely. I might give that book a read. I also like the point about humility vs. humiliation. Very thought provoking!

    1. Thanks very kindly, Celeste. It was really interesting and presented the biblical correlations without beating you over the head with it. I liked how she pointed out that submission doesn't mean subjugation, that the partners are equal, but the man was charged to lead and the woman to be a helper or facilitator. I like the phrase - 'complementarian marriage'. Ward and I have often commented, as have people who know us as a couple, that we complement each other very nicely.

      The next one I'm reading is shown on our GoodReads list to the right, called Liberated Through Submission, and you can check it out if you click the GoodReads link. I'll post a review of that when I finish it as well. I'm enjoying it as well. I've always been an eclectic kind of person that finds the things that are comfortable for me, the things that feel right, and build my own belief system around a subject. Then I seem to find resources that confirm those beliefs. It's nice to know that your thinking is not so off the tracks.

    2. I think we're friends on GoodReads now, so I'll check it out.

      Honestly...between blogging, visiting blogs, twitter, (and I don't even do facebook), I always forget about GoodReads...oh yeah, and I'm supposed to be writing books. But, I'll get there soon and check it out. Thanks.

      Have you read any good CDD novels?

    3. I think so, too & I don't check there enough, there are so many networking places it's hard to keep up! I do use Facebook simply because one of my jobs, the client portal is on facebook, but I don't typically spend leisure time there.

      I've read one that was not bad, most are a little too contrived for me, kind of like the videos. I'm sure open to suggestions :)

  3. Great post, and some excellent points. I think submission is not understood clearly, by many.


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