I’ve been thinking a lot about submission lately so I decided to look it up. My favorite site to use to explore words is The Visual Thesaurus is an interactive dictionary and thesaurus which creates word maps with their meanings and branch to related words. This is the word map of submission.

The four words that stand out for me are

Compliance: The act of submitting; usually surrendering power to another.

Meekness: The state of patient, submissive humbleness.

Agreement, Understanding: An agreement between parties in a dispute to abide by the decision of an arbiter in a dispute.

I find it so interesting what these synonyms of submission are and what that implies.

Compliance is the obvious word I associated with submission. When I act in a way, or do things as he has asked I comply with his wishes and offer my submission to him. I think many on the outside would see it in just those terms. He tells you to do something and you do it. It is so much more than that and so much more nuanced. Submission takes an incredible amount of trust. If I didn’t trust him to lead us to our goals I couldn’t submit. If I didn’t trust that he had my and our best interest at heart I couldn’t submit. If I didn’t trust that when he does make a request and expect compliance that there is some underlying reason, even if that reason is just to test my submission, I couldn’t submit. I trust that by surrendering power he will lead us to our goal of a healthy, happy marriage.

Meekness threw me a bit. I think that word is viewed by many with a negative conotation. Meek = Weak possibly. Without the definition associated with it, I think that is where my opinion would lie as well. But patient, submissive humbleness is exactly what I find is necessary to give him my submission.

Being submissive to Alex has been incredibly humbling, probably the most humbling thing I have ever done. I am humbled by the change it has brought about in our marriage as he becomes more confident as I offer my submission. And, at least for us, there has been great patience involved. Treating each other with resect requires so much patience. Changing my focus from what is best for me to what is best for us is huge. We are not always moving at the same pace and must be patient while we wait for the other to catch up. And lets face it. There are always little things that we do which annoy one another. Acting with respect has often meant being much more patient of things that I might have reacted to in the past and that has been humbling too. So ultimately I think Meek = Power; a new power in our relationship.

The last two words, agreement and understanding were actually the most interesting to me because I had not really thought of them as somewhat interchangeable. He is our arbiter and I agree to abide by his decisions if we have a dispute. Agreement to abide by the decisions of another is implicit submission. But we must have the agreement first. I do this because I want to. We both do. I brought the idea of Dd to him but without his agreement and understanding we could not move forward. He had to agree to lead and I had to agree to submit.

Now I don’t want to imply that all of this is easy and simple. It is far from that. Submission is hard. It is something that I must decide to do everyday. Offering myself to him in this way takes so much strength.

Alex is the best man I know. He is more than worthy of my respect and my trust. I can’t imagine agreeing to this without feeling like that. There is no one else I would submit to but Alex. Submitting in my marriage does not diminish my power in the outside world. If anything it makes me more confident and able to tackle challenges because I know he supports me. Because I agree to do this with him does not make me less powerful. Just the opposite because now our power is combined.

Our agreement has made us both look at ourselves and our past behavior and we both found things there we were not proud of (humbling) but with that agreement we know we can move beyond our previous problems because we have something to lean on if things get tough. I have said before. It is a process. He will get more confident in his leadership and I will get more comfortable in my submission. I comply, show meekness and agree and understand. I submit.

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  1. I totally agree with this…”Submitting in my marriage does not diminish my power in the outside world. If anything it makes me more confident and able to tackle challenges because I know he supports me. Because I agree to do this with him does not make me less powerful. Just the opposite because now our power is combined.” A thoughtful and nice post, thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Oooh, I love mind mapping stuff. I’m really caught on the definition of meekness and your discussion with it. It’s not a word I’ve usually associated with submission. I’m going to think it through today…thank you!

    I absolutely agree that in being submissive we are empowered. We don’t lose a thing but in fact gain in bunches. There are so few people who understand this in “regular” life. Submission changes the dynamic of marriage so much and as partners we sincerely want to please and put each other first. It’s not that we are never selfish but…well…when we are these days we know it. It’s obvious.

    Off to keep thinking about this…

  3. Zoe

     /  03/14/2012

    Thanks for the comment Grace!

    Susie, I know. I had to think about meekness too. And your right… we do gain in bunches.


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