THE SEASON OF SINGLENESS -PART 7 – RED FLAGS BEFORE MARRIAGE
RED FLAG 5: ASSERTED AUTHORITY OR SUBLIMINAL SUBMISSION.
I know the heading is far too wide to read, but I had no better way to put it. You see, I have come across men who assert authority over their relationships –not marriage – and ladies who “submit” to their boyfriends and fiancés. Let me spell it loud and audible enough. That is totally misplaced and highly unsavory for lack of a better word.
Let’s talk about this and get clarity on this matter based on the TRUTH- God’s Word. Intimacy has its place in marriage and so does headship and submission.
Ephesians 5:25- Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Ephesians 5:22-23- Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.
Those two Bible verses guide the mandate of a man, who is the HUSBAND, and a woman- who is the WIFE, in marriage. A husband is the only one who has been given explicit authority by God to be the head over HIS OWN wife and a wife has been given the explicit authority to serve, by inclining herself to HER OWN husband as unto the Lord.
What is interesting about God is that He prepares you to be a husband before YOU FIND A WIFE, and makes a woman A WIFE, before being found, and becoming someone’s wife.
Here is the catch…the bible says that husbands should love “their own wives.” And wives should submit to “their own husbands.” How does the sense of ‘ownership’ come? Through the covenant of marriage. Marriage on earth, albeit temporal, has its permanence.
To be very clear about this, a relationship, whether dating or in courtship, does not give you authority over that lady, neither a leeway of submission to that man, dear Miss, since it’s not a covenant relationship of marriage. Singleness has no permanence, marriage has. That is why a man heads in marriage and a woman submits in marriage. Marriage is meant to showcase a livid picture of what loving and submitting to an imperfect person ought to look like.
His headship, a husband’s headship, is a responsibility from God. He answers to God on behalf of his family. He bears the burdens for his family. Her submission, a wife’s submission is a responsibility from God too. She answers to God on how she became “his suitable helper” – how well she inclined herself to the vision set before her.
Therefore, being in a relationship with someone doesn’t give you the leeway to act as a husband, nor to act as a wife. You don’t role play for that. God has only two seasons. The season of singleness and the season of marriage.
Even if engaged, you are still in the season of singleness until your wedding day. When you say “I DO” then and only then, do you cross over to the season of marriage and only then, do you have the explicit authority over your wife – as a responsibility. Then and only then do you submit to your husband as unto the Lord.
It’s very misplaced to assert authority over your girlfriend because she is your girlfriend by earthly standards.
By and large, you are not vowed to her. So she is not your wife. Why would you command her around? Why would you belittle her because she is not agreeing with you? As a matter of truth, you two will never agree on everything even in marriage – so being assertive because ‘you are a man and she has to follow’, is a quality that’s is highly undesirable.
I have seen men who demand to be cooked for, to have their clothes washed and pressed, have their groceries stocked, have their beds made, because that’s what “loving girlfriends do?” That is misguided. A white lie from the devil. Don’t be confused Mr. You have no authority to make that lady “act as a wife” and she is not.
If he says that it should be his way since he is the man, that is highly misogynist. Run!
In dating and courtship, you are both on the same leveling plane. You both need to ask questions. You both need to call out bad behavior. You both need to discuss matters pertaining the future without either side being manipulative, and if you cannot seem to agree you can both decide to adopt the side that would build better.
But you don’t “submit” to a boyfriend or a fiancé, you submit to your “own husband.”
A husband, is the only authority over you placed by God though marriage, not through dating. So when I get women telling me, “I had to do it because my boyfriend said so”, then miss you are missing the point of dating and courtship. You are not a wife yet and even being a wife doesn’t mean that you are muzzled. It means that you can guide your husband with godly wisdom and faithful instruction on your tongue. Proverbs 31:26.
A husband covers, leads, protects, provides, loves, gives, cultivates intimacy, delays his sexual dalliances for his wife, initiates reconciliation, leads the family in spiritual matters, the list goes on and on under the mantle of Christ. Underline, servitude.
A boyfriend or a fiancé hasn’t been given the authority explicitly by God to provide, or to be intimate with his girlfriend, so we should be very careful in being so explicit about a boyfriend providing for your needs, and a girlfriend explicitly “lining under” him.
What does the bible say about our relationships? That’s they should show Christ. The purpose of dating and courtship is to build around the sure foundation of Christ and encourage each other in all manner of godliness.
Your fiancé, or boyfriend can definitely encourage you towards godliness, encourage you towards pursuing purity. He can definitely take up the first responsibility and encourage you in matters of growth and call attention to deficiencies in your relationship, but he is not explicitly called to assert his authority over her. That you have to do what he says to be done.
A lady on the other hand has not been given explicitly the mandate of a wife. So she ought not to role play it. That you follow him blindly without asking because if you don’t, “he will be so mad.”
The reason as to why our generation is falling apart, having some sort of cognitive dissonance with a moral dilemma written all over us, is because we act husband and wife without the godly authority to do so. We role-play as husband or wife, without intentionally committing to marriage. The woman expects provision from a man without explicit expecting his leadership. Why would any normal human being do so? It’s absurd, don’t you think so?
That’s why so many boyfriends expect a ‘pay’ after coughing out large sums of money for their girlfriends’ upkeep-nails, hair and facials to be done – and getting her a phone too! Marriage has no payment. You serve without expecting reciprocity. That’s where we miss the line. Singleness has become some sort of self- merchandising game. I buy this and that, and you got to pay me in kind. Auditioning for the position of husband and wife.
“So I cannot tell my girlfriend what she should wear?” Yes, you can encourage her to be modest.
The bible says in Philippians 4:8 that whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Being modest is definitely a plus, but the word is- encourage her to be modest. You cannot assert that decision over her but you can encourage her, pray for her and let the Lord deal with that part that you are so uncomfortable about.
If it still bothers you and she seems adamant on it, you have the choice of re-evaluating if it will be a problem to you in your relationship and consequently in marriage. You have a choice.
“So I shouldn’t buy him/her gifts?” Gifts are gestures of love expressed and I highly recommend it.
Giving gifts is one of the many languages of love that should be practiced. Being mean is definitely a sign to be on the qui vive for. However, what I caution about is placing your expectations on material gains, pegging your relationship on the same, that you forget to evaluate his/her character. Watch out, you are falling into a comparison trap. So many relationships are blinded to imminent red-flags for substituting personal bonds with impersonal bonds through material gains.
Most single men do not start living out in quiet suburbs while driving fuel guzzlers. It’s quite a small percentage who start out life with silver spoons in their mouths. As long as he has vision, and building on it, nor is he stagnant of feels too comfortable with everything around him – not discontented – work with him from ground zero up.
I cannot compare our lives 10 years ago and now. Gestures are good and kind, but don’t build your foundation on how much he provides to you, when you two are in a relationship.
“So I should not cook, wash his dishes, do his laundry?” As a matter of truth yes. You shouldn’t.
First and foremost, being in a setting where it’s just the two of you, creates a potential recipe for the two of you to sleep together. Don’t kid me that you are both born again! This body, this flesh, needs discipline.
Secondly, how will he know the difference you bring in his life if every Monday, Wednesday and Friday means laundry day for a man who will probably never be your husband?
Let him organize his clothes, clean then and yes make his own meals. It’s a time to learn if he is responsible. If he is not responsible enough when alone, what gives you a guarantee that he will be a helping hand in marriage? Why the rush? There is a time and place for all that.
“So how will I know that she will be submissive or the will serve me?” You can know, if you are keen at observing and not desperate to rush into a relationship in-advisedly. The bible gives us plenty of scenarios where you can observe someone and pick a few cues on what he/she considers as important.
We have been called to a life of submission. We obey and honor our parents (Ephesians 6:1), we submit to rulers and authorities placed by God over us, whether in the country or at our work places (Romans 13:1). We submit to out spiritual authority (Hebrews 13:7), and my favorite, young men and women are called to submit to them that are older. (1st Peter 5:5-6).
Those are plenty of places to see and observe his or her mannerisms when it comes to submission and servitude. That is why it’s very important to date outside the two of you.
How does he or she react around people whom they are not trying to please? How seriously does he/she follow thought what he/she has been instructed to do – either by the Pastor, Parent, or a guardian – not sinful that is? Do they make excuse often? Are they always complaining about them? Feeling bothered perhaps? Are they always argumentative especially with people that have authority over them? Do they serve without being pushed or coerced to do so? How do they take corrections from them that have walked down that road?
Then there is the submission to God himself – James 4:7. How does God influence their lives? Do they walk in obedience to Christ? Do you see the fruits of it? Not just saying am saved – can you testify of their unshakable faith in Christ? Are they deliberate in their walk of faith towards growth?
Submission to Christ is the ultimate pointer of their submission or servitude attitude, because only Christ can teach a man about his authority and a woman, her place of submission.
Be very careful about role playing for a position someone has no intentions of getting you to. We highly encourage doing things that cultivate both of you. Being in places that you can both give and serve, that way you can watch and see if indeed they have a servitude heart or not.
Singleness in Christ…