Submission Doesn’t Mean Unconditional Obedience

Quite a few articles are cropping up here and there about Traditional Marriage. A disturbing number of them focus on the Wife’s obedience to her Husband, and our submission. I’d be a liar, though, if I didn’t say that many of these articles lately are putting a sour taste in my mouth.

My Husband and I have similar yet different views about what it means to be the head of a household and submit in marriage. In his mind, the concept of a Head of the Household is a stupid one that inherently implies (or develops into) a total dictatorship prone to disregarding the wants and wishes of your partner- something that is inherently antithetical to the teamwork we both believe to be necessary for a marriage to function.

I, on the other hand, view being the Head of Household not as a dictatorship position where one person has all the say and everyone else must obey without question. Instead, I view it as a leadership position within the family- and a good leader, in my opinion, acts as gentle guide and reasonable voice; someone who actively listens to and considers the desires of those they lead- and not only works daily to earn the authority they have, but also consistently works to ensure that they continue to be worthy of it.

I view my Husband as the head of our household… Not because I believe that God ordained it to be that way; I was raised Christian in some regard and was an active member of several Churches for many years, that’s true. But I’m not a Christian anymore- though my Husband treads the shallows of it. Nor do I do so because I believe that, as a Man, he is better suited for it due to some mythological biological nature; Science has long since disproven that personality traits and reasoning skills of any sort are inherent to a single, specific biological Sex- and they’ve disproven that a thousand times over now.

Instead, I submit gladly to my Husband as the Head of our Household because we have a true Egalitarian Marriage. Unlike what people believe, though, a true Egalitarian Marriage isn’t about both people wearing the pants so to speak. Nor is it about each person doing exactly 50% of everything like most people- Feminists and Traditionalists alike- like to focus on. No, it’s not about any of that at all.

It’s about recognizing your partner as your equal- and a true Egalitarian Marriage requires that you acknowledge and actively play on each other’s strengths as a team… And simply put? My Husband’s just better at making decisions than I am.

I’m an incredibly optimistic person, and that optimism tends to get in the way of my realism at times. But I’m also an incredibly high strung, skittish individual that’s easily stressed out or frazzled when faced with large decisions; I have tendency to overanalyze my decisions and have anxiety every time I’m faced with making one. All of it often leads to me being incredibly indecisive unless I know exactly what I want (which, I’ll admit, is rare).

He, on the other hand, is more pessimistic and pragmatic than I am. And while we balance each other in that regard, my Husband does have an amazing ability to know what the right action is at any time. He sells himself short on his abilities in this area rather frequently, but because of it? I often trust him far more than I trust myself when it comes to making the best decisions for us.

In general, I submit to my Husband and the decisions he makes; I give him, willingly, a measure of authority over me, or family, and our Household. But an ability to make better decisions on average, however, does not mean that I don’t put my foot down about it when I think his decisions are wrong, or that he could be doing better.

A good leader doesn’t demand unquestioning loyalty or obedience.

My Husband’s job is not to lead this family as he see’s fit. As the person I willingly submit to, his job as the receiver of that gift is to lead in a way that reflects the best interest of the family; not by personal whim or fancy, but by taking into account both our desires and leveraging them against what is realistic or necessary to accomplish our goals and dreams as a team.

A good follower doesn’t follow and obey without questioning.

Likewise, my job as his Wife is not to submit to and obey him without question. That is a privilege he earns daily by continuing to make decisions that do not need to be questioned in the first place. And when he fails at that and I step up? It means that I am acting as his wife, as I have the obligation and duty to do. And he trusts me to use my voice, and my equal status in this relationship as a team member; to step up when I believe that a decision isn’t in the best interest of the family; to make my voice heard when I disagree.

Submission in a marital sense to me means submitting to the needs of your partner before your own. Its sacrifice at its smallest, but most necessary. Because without that, acting only on selfish impulses, no marriage would survive. I think we both do. We both daily do things we would rather not, and probably would not without knowing that it would improve the quality of life for our other half. – My Husband when I asked him what Submission meant to him

Being submissive to a spouse… Being the Head of the Household… It’s not about wholly denying your personal feelings, desires, expectations, and dreams in favor for the uncontested whims of another. It’s about mutual love, trust, respect, and responsibility; it’s about being capable of recognizing when the individual must take a back seat to the group, and vice versa.

In my mind, submission and Head of Household are two concepts that aren’t antithetical to the true Egalitarian Marriage and consistent teamwork. Arguably, I think that a true Egalitarian Marriage (and really, any sort of partnership at all) demands submission in many ways- not of one person to the authority of the other… But from all people to the wisdom, knowledge and even needs of each other; the willingness to give up or temporarily suspend personal desire (not needs, but desires; they are different things entirely) for the benefit of the whole as opposed to the individual when necessary.

But not all decisions are the right ones; anyone has the potential to be heavy-handed and even unloving in their attempt to be the guide of the family, regardless of who it is that fills that role; leaders sometimes make bad choices even if they are great leaders. But that’s what the other partner is there for, too.

All parties in a relationship have to be dedicated to creating something they both enjoy and find fulfillment through- and that means compromise and sacrifice; a system of checks and balances; a game of give and take from all sides. That inherently requires submission to me in many ways. But as a system of checks and balances, I fully believe that it is the moral and marital responsibility of all parties to keep the other party in check, too.

That means putting your foot down and saying no on occasion even if you’re the one that takes on the submissive role; it means questioning- and sometimes even being disobedient because submission isn’t about uncontested, unconditional obedience without question.

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13 thoughts on “Submission Doesn’t Mean Unconditional Obedience”

  1. This. Let this be known!
    Submission is natural to a woman and it is there to help men reach their great potential, especially for their family. It’s ultimately an advantage of biology. The partnership is not master and slave since that’s more of employment/slavery, you’re doing something under someone’s command only. It is like a pilot and his first officer, one just has more authority yet the other has great advising power (the woman!) and of course- your pilot should have proven himself to land that great role.


    1. Submission isn’t any more natural to a Woman than it is a Man. It’s something that’s socially taught, not biologically ingrained. Science has proven that; there are aspects of our personalities that certainly are biological, but there is zero definitive evidence that certain personality traits are specific only to a certain sex- especially since biological sex is not a cut and dry, black and white, thing.

      On the rest, though, I agree with you. It’s not a “Master / Slave” scenario. That’s not submission’s point. Submission exists to bestow / recognize authority. And the point of bestowing and recognizing authority is much like the point of Manners and Etiquette: To promote social cohesion, and reduce social tension through shared social values. And it doesn’t mean that those who submit to that authority are inherently inferior or lesser than those they submit to. In fact, having authority requires an equal amount of submission to the people you lead; you cannot be a fair and effective leader without submitting to the will of the people you lead at least in some form. Otherwise you’re just a Dictator.

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      1. People seem to be associating natural biological traits with social ‘cultures’ or ‘constructs’, what a load of bollocks. Most of history is just evidence of this biological instincts.

        Definitely social cohesion is the key. Society now may have economic and technological process due to modernisation but emotionally, relationship-wise we are falling apart. Socially we are failing as a society and replacing each other with market value and goods, ignoring biology in favor of propaganda. This system works and I just hope it returns once again.


        1. Most of history is not, in fact, evidence of anything other than the fact that we keep making the same mistakes and refusing to learn from them.

          Ultimately, there is a biological basis for the idea that certain personality traits are biologically inherent in individuals. As in: Studies conducted do show that certain personality traits- such as aggression or amenability- may be directly linked to the presence of certain genes in our genetic coding. This is echoed by scientists doing a study in Siberia many years ago on Domestication, which successfully produced two distinct groups of Foxes through selective breeding (one a wild and viscous group, and the other successfully reminiscent of domesticated Dogs).

          What Science has not shown, however, is that any of these genetically linked personality traits are specific only to certain biological sexes. Likewise, they have found no correlation in how the biological differences between any of the sexes affects cognitive or other functions of the brain separate from Genetics (which means that likewise, the idea that Men are more logical and Women more emotional is equally as incorrect).

          What is has shown, though, is that genetics are not the only contributing factor to our nature. Sociological conditioning (or what we learn from the culture we are present in), and environmental factors (the availability of food, the presence of toxins, the experience of trauma, etc) also play an integral role in human cognitive development- including the development of a person’s personality. It has also proven that biological sex isn’t as clear cut as we thought it was. Instead, it is made up of a number of still largely unknown genetic and hormonal combinations which produce a number of natural biological states. Many of these may culminate incredibly similarly in terms of external sexual appearance- but yet very differently internally and genetically (and there are 3 basic Sexes; 4 if you count Hermaphroditic as different than Intersex).

          So to say that something like “submission” is inherent to Women, and that Women specifically are biologically more suited or inclined towards submission? Is a statement which does four things at once: 1. It ignores the well documented effects of social and environmental stimuli on Human development (the age old question of Nature vs Nurture, Environment vs Biology); 2.It ignores the fact that what we classify as Woman biologically in terms of external sexual characteristics may in fact be genetically Male (as only one example of the complexity of Biological Sex); 3. It completely contradicts and ignores the available Scientific study and Genetic evidence; and more importantly, 4. It renders an incredibly complex subject with a myriad of genetic, environmental, and other influences overly simplistic- and ultimately draws incorrect conclusions from that forced simplicity.

          Submission itself, however, is not a personality trait. It is a learned trait; there are certainly personality traits one may posses inherently that make people far more or less likely to submit to social powers rather than challenge them. But Submission itself, as spoken about here, is not the same as those traits (related, yes. The same as, absolutely not). Ultimately it is a learned behavior which is taught socially (ergo: A Social Construct- and one disproportionately taught to one perceived Gender over the other); an action in which one participates: The act of yielding to authority other than your own.

          And that has nothing to do with biology or genetics, but is a choice you actively make at every intersection of life.


            1. social = of or relating to a group of people living together in a formal or informally organized community. Construct = Something created or formed (especially an ideology which is not based on empirical evidence).

              Gender Roles are a Social Construct. They’re a series of social demands and expectations levied against people, which are based on perceived external sexual characteristics; that is to say that the idea that a perceived member of a specific Gender / Sex should dress or act a certain way is something that we have ultimately created and developed ourselves.

              I’m not saying they haven’t been instituted worldwide in a variety of cultures. But given the differences between what various cultures throughout history have believed constitutes or makes up their various Gender Roles? You really can’t make a valid claim that because all cultures have instituted them in one form or another, then there must be a definitive biological or other reason for them. Especially not since Science and Sociology have disproven the main foundation of those claims.

              I’m also not saying that Gender Roles and related things are necessarily all bad, all the time. They create a social order that is good for society in number of ways, and I won’t argue that the level of social cohesion they promote doesn’t ultimately opperate for the general benefit of society.

              However, I am saying that their foundation and the beliefs associated with their institution is ultimately flawed and ignores scientific breakthroughs in understanding Human nature, Biology, Genetics, and Sociology… And that statements like “A Woman’s place is to submit”- and the assertion that submission is biologically inherent to Women- is an ignorant statement that is ultimately incorrect for the above mentioned reasons.


              1. Sorry about the confusion of the previous post- I made that short reply and sent it by accident when I had a longer reply I was formulating- I sent you the short message to ‘hold on’ when I realised this since I was away on the weekend and would finish the reply officially and send it to you today!

                Let me elaborate. I still do believe that while gender roles may be socially constructed, they were constructed in response to biological traits. I do think history and these cultures have proven that well enough as more of a general basis for human behaviour- a precedent if you will. It’s not 100% exact but a rough guide. I am still critical of the sociology though with science, there is information for both sides of the argument, that is still blurry. You are right about gender roles establishing social order, I feel this was ;earned, almost like an evolutionary trait since people realised it worked to their biological traits. Those who went against it had disharmony, throughout history and even now.


          1. Well, there is a lot of evidence for that, too. You definitely proved that in detail and thank you for going over it.
            I understand your points and mostly agree, though I believe sociological conditioning does have biological roots. There are some exceptions to not being clear cut in biology but it is a very small minority.
            I also believe it is a learned trait, though a learned trait that stems from biological need, women being the smaller, physically weaker sex and men being stronger, they need men for protection and thus authority while men need women for nurturing and childbearing, at its core. I guess we agree to disagree on that, since I do believe that from ‘cavemen’ days that submission was a natural result of basic human/genders’ behaviour and physical characteristics. Of course it doesn’t apply to everyone though resulted in that way in general. It’s still great to have these discussions though, I like learning more of the scientific facts about it.


            1. Smaller doesn’t equal weaker- and Women have been shown to have the same rough strength as Men. Where we differ biologically is our muscular structure and the type of strength we build; women build better endurance strength, while men build better raw or traditional strength. But that doesn’t mean either is weaker than the other. Simply different.

              The probelm with saying that Social Constru cts developed from biological precedents, is that Science and Genetics have already shown its not true. Not only that, but so has the social structure of several cultures; matriarcal societies have existed and flourished. If that biological precedent was true, they wouldn’t have.

              It’s not a matter of who’s biologically suited for what. It’s a matter of which traits a society values, and how that effects their social structure.


              1. I meant raw strength and in terms of natural physical strength and endurance, men definitely trump women especially because of the size difference too. I didn’t mean weak in a derogatory way, it is merely a biological observation.

                I still disagree with that. There has been studies linking male/female hormone distribution for gender preferences both with humans and even in monkeys. While it does not apply to all, there is a general basis. Matriarchal societies are still a very small minority of all the cultural societies, I would think it is more of an exception. I didn’t say it applied to all societies, though most.

                I agree in that society values certain traits though there are noticeable patterns of similarity across most of them.


                1. Gender preferences and hormone distribution has to do with reproductive capability. That doesn’t rea lly have anything to do with social structure as a manufactured concept


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