How do you "submit to your husband"?


#1

My husband and I had a reeeaaalllly long talk last night, and even though we didn’t “get to the bottom of things”, something really popped out at me that I just don’t feel like I grasp/understand. We were going over several issues from the past which we have disagreed upon, and he said that he feels that the decisions that we make always end up in my favor (meaning me, Kittery). He said that God designed marriage for the man to be the leader and that I don’t let him do that.

Several main issues that we were discussing:
*Two months before our wedding, a brother of his was being released from prison, and my husband wanted my blessing to have him move in with him, into the house that we had bought. I said that I did not feel like we would be able to be “husband and wife” (sexually) with his brother living in the house with us, and that I was very uncomfortable with this idea. The decision went in my favor.

*This house that we bought was a major fixer-upper. It had missing windows, a make-shift kitchen, no shower, etc. We bought it especially because it had a separate tax lot next door that we could sell, or build a house on. After several months of constant fixing on the house, I got pregnant. Several things about our house aren’t cohesive with family life- no dining room and steep/dangerous stairways. I expressed my desire to move on, and he bucked. He says he’d be happy to live here forever. As of now, we’ve turned in for building permits. The decision went in my favor.

*While I was pregant with our first, my business was not doing well. My income became intermittent, sometimes not being able to bring any money home. He became very intent on changing jobs suddenly after we got married. Jobs that he was interested in were paying $7 or $8 less per hour. I couldn’t understand how, with a baby on the way, my income being shaky (we’ve since lost that income altogether), and needing money to fix the house, he could be truly considering this at that time. I really feared that I would have to continue operating the business for little to no income (we’re in a lease we can’t break), and go get a second job to keep things afloat, all while I was pregnant. I told him that I felt this way and that he was putting me in a tough position and I swear he almost left me on the spot. I’m in school now to be a nurse so that eventually, my income will allow him to take a lower-paying job. So, he didn’t leave his job (yet). The decision went in my favor.

So, what I really want to know is how married couples should deal with these kind of situations. I can’t imagine any of these scenarios going any other way (other than we could have just moved to a different house- we didn’t HAVE to build). But because of things like these, he says that I’m not letting him be what he’s called to by God. But because I feel like these things were “non-negotiable” at the time, I question myself. Am I a “control-freak” as they say? What could I have done differently? These same things haunt us every time we have one of these talks, and I never feel like I really “get it”. He has so much resentment towards me, which I regret. Did I cross the line?

I would love to know from both male and female perspectives, What makes men feel that they are the “head-of-the-household”? And how do you interpret the “wives submit to your husbands” thing?


#2

During my last Confession to a most wonderful priest…I received the most glorious advice from him. He told me (as I confessed an argument my husband and I had recently) that you and your husband are one. You are no longer two people. If you wouldn’t think of hurting yourself, you shouldn’t think of hurting your husband. And visa versa. It isn’t about who is doing more or who should be treated this way or that way–you and your husband are one flesh…and must not live two separate lives, but view each other as part of each other.
I always ‘knew’ this, but his words pierced me…really, I thought I was going to cry. I now look at my husband in a whole new light–beofre I speak…I think, I am one with him…why am I competing? Why am I feeling the need to argue this or that point with him? We are mutually submissive towards one another…mutually respectful of one another–as we are one flesh, and should treat each other, accordingly.

Just wanted to share that, because I think it will make a world of difference in many marriages.:heart:


#3

Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Husband, love your wives AS Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.

In otherwords, we are to follow our husband when they are leading as Christ led-- servant leadership. My husband would never lead me into physical or financial peril because he cherishes me.

Your three examples show a lack of maturity on the part of your husband. If he was truly loving you in a sacrificial way he would not have proposed ANY of those items-- ex-con brother moving in, him taking a pay cut while you are pregnant, or you living in an unsafe house.

Yes, we wives are to defer to our husbands’ spiritual leadership (IF THEY ARE LEADING SPIRITUALLY), but not be doormats for every whim.


#4

:stuck_out_tongue:

I agree. safety and well-being is very important, especially when you were pregnant. Things like that should definitely be in “your favor.” He needs to be more mature, and learn what the priority is. The priority of his life should be you and the kids, even when it means he is not in charge (which he most certainly is not).


#5

Who decides if he’s leading spiritually? What if he thinks he is?
—KCT


#6

Leading spiritually is leading his family to heaven. Husbands, fathers, who live a life of sacrificial love - exhibiting to their family devotion to God and holiness through submission to the Holy Mother Church - are leading spiritually. When a husband does not take up that mantle, he forfiets his spiritual leadership of the family.


#7

But the point is that nothing means that he is the wife’s boss.


#8

A very wise priest, from the sound of it.

I don’t have much to add, as that’s an excellent summation, except this: submission is mutual (and sometimes a lot of fun, if you know what I mean! :wink: ). One who submits utterly is not a spouse but a pet or a slave. Relationships should be approached as a partnership of equals; even if one is the ‘head of the household’, that one is not better than the other merely because of that.


#9

Sounds good, bit it’s still subjective. Who decides if he’s doing these things? —KCT


#10

I don’t understand why you couldn’t of just added a dining room to the fixer upper? After we had our son a house came on the market by us in the area of town I wanted to live, it had been an old couple’s house who died and their kids didn’t want it and thus got foreclosed on. The house was selling for around $114,000 and needed a lot of work, but my husband is a carpenter and it would of been fine.

But I said no, I don’t want to deal with this 2 story cape cod mess right now. We have just had a baby, etc, etc…So my husband says fine we won’t get it. Fast forward 3 years later, I’d give anything to be have had purchased that house and actually be in a home with a backyard. I should of listened to my husband and let us get that house, but I didn’t and I will always regret that.

Our apartment had steep stairs, its not really that big of deal, just keep a baby gate up at all times


#11

So, in my case, my DH is a good spiritual leader. He will always demonstrate a devotion to God first, and will never leave the church. Of those things I am sure. I am to defer to his spiritual guidance, i.e. baptize and educate our children in the Catholic faith for example, right?

From what all of you have said, a little light bulb has went on and I get it now! He’s to be the spiritual leader, which is different than getting the final say when we can’t seem to agree. That is so different (and so much simpler) than what I had thought.


#12

kittery, I’ve been married 28 years, and my husband and I are crazy in love with each other.

No, it’s not just spiritual.

The husband is the head of your household. He makes the final decisions.

Now he can defer those decision to YOU if he chooses. I know a lot of couples where the WIFE takes charge of the finances because she has a better understanding of money and is more frugal.

But the husband is still the head. In all things.

I would suggest that your husband needs to join a male accountability group in your church or find an accountability partner (an older, mature man) and bounce all those issues off of these men. He naturally resents a “female” telling him what to do; to put it bluntly, he feels “henpecked” or “nagged.” This is deadly to a marriage.

But if another man or men gives him advice, he won’t feel henpecked. It’s just the way men are.

I can assure you that mature men would have given him advice that would have led to the same decisions YOU made. However, they might have come up with even better alternatives. For example, they might have been able to give your husband leads (male networking) to a better, higher-paying job. Or they might have gotten together as a group, come over to your fixer-upper, and fixed-it-up in one weekend! Men are like that–they think differently than women and often, those thoughts are pretty good!

As a wife, I advise you to do everything in your POWER to affirm your husband’s masculinity and his role as the head of the household! If you continue to think that you are the “wise” one and that he is kind of “Everybody Loves Raymond stupid,” then the marriage won’t last. He will run. Ask him to get together with other men and form good male friendships and acquaintances so that he can bounce things off of them before making his decisions.


#13

Everyone here agreed with you about your decision about your brother in law who was released from prison. At the time, did you even ask your husband why he wanted his brother to move in with him? Was it financial reasons only or a more loving, charitable reason? I only ask b/c my dd’s dad and his siblings have a few more years to decide who their brother will live with (and their brother has psychological/mood disorders in addition to the drug habit that hopefully will have been overcome by the time he’s released and will not be able to function in society for a while after his release). I see the struggles they all go through when talking about him b/c they all feel responsible for his being in prison (they think they weren’t watching him enough, didn’t help him enough, etc.) and that is why they all want him to live with them. If I am blessed to marry my dd’s dad one day (if a tribunal says that his first marriage was invalid) I have some reservations about his brother living with us, but out of love for my dd’s dad, I would be okay with his brother living with us.

The issues between you and your husband may have stemmed from the decision about his brother (since that was the first in your cronological order). Unless you have had an immediate family member in prison, it is difficult to understand the emotional desire to help that family member in all possible ways once released. If your husband didn’t tell you at the time the reason for his desire for his brother to live with him, maybe now is the time to ask why so you will get a better understanding of who your husband is.


#14

Actually, IMHO, the CCC and the Scriptures give us objective, clear directives of how to live a life of Christian Charity and Virtue.

First thing that comes to mind is 1 Cor 13 (this is from memory, NOT a quote) -

Chairty suffers long and is kind, does not demand it’s own way, is not vain, thinks no evil, rejoices not in inuquity but rejoices in the truth, is not easily provoked, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and Charity never fails.

A man who partakes of the Sacraments - including regular confession - and makes certain his children are instructed in the Faith. Who is obedient to the Church and Her teachings.

Someone who seeks truth, who loves God more than people, who treats others with the love of Christ.

Scripture also tells us, greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.


#15

I have a very similar situation to yours. My husband does not think that he has had any say over the major decisions in our lives.
I wanted to get married sooner, rather than later, before he finished his degree, but I was worried about leaving it too late to have another child. He wanted to wait, so he could study with few interruptions. (I have 4 children from a previous marriage) We did it my way.
When we married, I already owned a house and he moved there and never felt like it was his. It is still in my name only, as I was told that it would cost thousands of dollars to put his name on the title, money we didn’t have.
I wanted chidren when we married which meant he had to have a vasectomy reversed. (Mostly at my insistence) Lots of money but worth it.
We extended the mortgage on the house and he insisted the money get put away but I didn’t and it all got spent too quickly.
We bought a new car, that he didn’t want, but the old one was hazardous and I was expecting a baby. It has turned out to be a very expensive car to run.

I could go on and on… in my situation I have found it hard to let go of control as I had brought up 4 children on my own for years, with noone telling me how to do it.
Sometimes I think I should have done things his way just as to avoid the arguments when things went wrong, because he loved to say ‘I told you so!’ Other times I think I should learn to trust him more and just do it whether I agree or not.
I have thought I should pray for him to be a good and fair leader of our household, that he would love God and be guided by Him and then do as he wishes and trust God.

But I must say, I would never have agreed to have a brother or anyone else living with us when we were first married,especially one that has just been released from jail. I do think this was wrong of your husband to expect you to agree to it. Married couples need the time to get to know each other, and not with brothers around. I think you were right to say no.
And the job issue… he should not have been thinking of taking a job with a cut in pay when you had a child on the way.
I can see so much of what you said in our situation, I too feel guilty about making most of the major decisions.
I have a fear of letting go of the control, I’ve had it so long, although I do not think yours is about control, your decisions seemed the wisest things to do.
I think I have resigned myself to praying for him everyday to be a ‘godly’ leader and then hope in God’s grace for him.


#16

But your husband had to “compromise” and deal with the fact that you and your children were a package deal, which didn’t allow you the “alone” time together during the beginning of your marriage. I am not downplaying your situation, but just highlighting that your husband loved and accepted the package deal and out of love for you, did not look elsewhere for someone who didn’t have children. NOw, a brother is different than children, but the love of a future spouse and the REASONING behind his desire to help his brother may have to be seen as a similarity.

My cousin and his wife allowed my cousin’s brother to live with them (she was okay with it because she loves her husband, listened to his reasoning behind wanting to help his brother, and together agreed on terms for the brother to live with them - pays rent, stays only for one year, helps with household chores, always maintains a job, etc.).

I understand the OP’s decision, however, if she put the kabosh on it before knowing her husband’s reasoning for wanting his brother to live with him, then there is a problem. She didn’t give us detail, she just said she didn’t agree to that. She didn’t say WHY her husband wanted her bil to live in the house with him (4 months before their wedding). She didn’t address if her husband had made conditions if his brother was allowed to live with him.


#17

Here are two excellent resources:

Love and Respect

Love and Respect Book

and

"WIVES, BE SUBJECT TO YOUR HUSBANDS":
THE AUTHORITY OF THE HUSBAND ACCORDING TO THE MAGISTERIUM


#18

gmarie21;2537750]But your husband had to “compromise” and deal with the fact that you and your children were a package deal, which didn’t allow you the “alone” time together during the beginning of your marriage. I am not downplaying your situation, but just highlighting that your husband loved and accepted the package deal and out of love for you, did not look elsewhere for someone who didn’t have children. NOw, a brother is different than children, but the love of a future spouse and the REASONING behind his desire to help his brother may have to be seen as a similarity.

Yes, my husband has to accept my children, but they were not other adults. I have four brothers and not one of them was part of this 'package’
No we didn’t get much alone time but that was a fact of life, a brother isn’t.

I see what you are saying, but if he helped his brother as much as he could without having to start their marriage off with a ‘third’ person, this would be far more beneficial.
Adults are set in their ways, and one who has been in jail would not be there if not for a reason, which is a whole other problem…

My cousin and his wife allowed my cousin’s brother to live with them (she was okay with it because she loves her husband, listened to his reasoning behind wanting to help his brother, and together agreed on terms for the brother to live with them - pays rent, stays only for one year, helps with household chores, always maintains a job, etc.).

Was this at the beginning of their marriage? or had they had many years of building a solid foundation in their lives together?

I understand the OP’s decision, however, if she put the kabosh on it before knowing her husband’s reasoning for wanting his brother to live with him, then there is a problem. She didn’t give us detail, she just said she didn’t agree to that. She didn’t say WHY her husband wanted her bil to live in the house with him (4 months before their wedding). She didn’t address if her husband had made conditions if his brother was allowed to live with him

I fully understand what you are saying but I think the most important thing here is , they would have started their marriage off with another person in it… very bad idea.
Now, if they had been marriage 5 years, different story altogether.


#19

My cousin and his wife had my cousin’s brother live with them in the beginning of their marriage (for a few months) and now he’s back living with them with the terms I described (they’ve been married for 5 years). The OP didn’t state whether or not her husband just wanted to help his brother for the 4 months between his release from prison and their marriage (they could have set up this type of term, since they weren’t living together for those 4 months) but it seemed like even a compromise of just the 4 months before the wedding wasn’t even discussed. That would have been a good compromise.


#20

Yes, compromise is the key here, and in all marriages…not sure if I’ve mastered the art of it yet!!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.