Over recent years we have observed what we consider an alarming trend among young couples as they make the huge step of making vows in the wedding ceremony before their family and friends. These young people so sincerely are promising to “lovingly lead” (the guy) and “willingly submit” (the girl)
Do they think through what these words mean in real life, everyday situations ? The very phrases sound alarm bells for us after 35+ years of talking with couples whose marriages are in trouble. The whole concept of one person leading (however lovingly) and the other submitting (however willingly) gives occasion for huge disappointment for both or either person.
How can a husband know he is leading in love and not just doing/saying what he considers is best for his wife?
How can a wife know she is submitting willingly without subduing her own walk with God and leaning on her husband?
Given these concerns, we are grieved there is an attempt within the Anglican church in one state of Australia to have the word ‘submit’ used in the official wedding vows. The matter will be voted on in October and may not go ahead, but the fact that young people so easily believe that this way of doing marriage is biblical and God-honouring, will continue to influence many who are considering their wedding vows.
Young people approaching marriage are rightly concerned with the percentage of failed marriages among Christians and it has been suggested to them that working in this leadership/submission model will make a huge difference for the better. Our experience tells us just the opposite…….that when one person believes they have the ultimate authority under God it destroys the opportunity for a couple to enjoy one another as joint heirs with Christ and to learn how to esteem each other better than themselves.
How can we turn this trend back to encouraging our young people that marriage is essentially about love and one-ness ?