Thursday, 24 October 2013


Lesson 2: submission is a sign of strength and not the omission of it.

‘Name me one organisation that doesn’t have a hierarchy’.

Those words sunk right into my mind like coffee to my sleep deprived soul.  They were so profound, so deep, made so much sense. That was the phrase, those were the words, right there was the imagery, that completely summed up what I had struggled all week to write.  Bunmi Olabode’s blog radio show had just injected fuel into my blog entry on submission.

I am part of the Spice Girls ‘Girl Power’, Destiny Child’s ‘Independent Woman’, TLC ‘No Scrubs’, generation.  Further enhanced by my background of incredibly strong and knowledgeable women, for many men I’d be way too much to handle.  I know my mind and can communicate it with little effort.  Problem is, my Jagged Edge ‘Let’s Get Married’ kind of guy had found me and in order to keep him ‘Miss I – dependent’ had to die. And die she did, a most brutal death.  One where she realised that her way was not the highway, the motorway or the freeway. It was a way and it could or could not be taken.

This ‘submission’ has been a journey for me and I don’t think I’ve quite reached the destination of unreserved submission. I’ve been travelling there for 5 years now and I’ve encountered conflict bumps in the roads and question filled roundabouts; wanting to move forwards but seemingly endlessly disagreeing with my beloved on which road to take there.

My beloved often says that no one is born a readymade wife.  And it’s so true! When asked what your lifetime ambition is, how many braided haired little girls do you know would cutely answer ‘a submissive wife with a calm, gentle and quiet spirit’.  Fast forward to today, change the braids to three bundles of your finest Brazilian/Peruvian/Malaysian/Cambodian/not-your-hairian hair and ask if their lifetime ambition is to be sincerely submissive.

In this generation the word submission is a swear word. The carefully drawn brows of millions of women arch up in pure rage.  They are angered at the notion of being thought of as weak and less important.  It conjures up images of women who are subservient, ‘yes sir, yes sir, two bags full’ kind of women. Weak women. Women who are so very afraid of speaking their minds that they are willing to look like clowns to please their beloveds.  Women who sheepishly walk behind their beloveds with their heads bowed, relinquishing their own identity.

But, I say that submission is not losing who you are. It is this misconception that has pushed anything that resembles submission out of the wedding vows.  When was the last time you witnessed a bride gleefully vow to love and obey their groom? Last I heard them they were spoken through slightly gritted, slightly smiling teeth.   And why is this?


Fear that agreeing to submit would mean that you would lose who you are.  Husbands and wives worldwide have abused the word submission, turning it into a curse rather than a blessing.   It is no wonder that submission has this vile reputation, when there are women who prior to marriage are vibrant and full of life and then they sadly transform into a shadow of themselves.  The men they fell in love with deem it fit to squeeze out every drop of life they have, controlling their every move.  This is a form of abuse and it should not be tolerated. This is not submission.

Not only is there the fear of losing your identity, there is also the complex fear of things going wrong, of negative consequences, of missed opportunities, of failure.  I’ve learned that even my best worked out and most strategic plans also have a risk (no matter how small) of the same disastrous outcomes.  On the reflection I think this fear has a lot to do with pride, the ‘I know better’ syndrome that plagues us all at some point in time. 

For me, submission is very simple… 

There can only be one driver of a car, one captain of a ship, one cook to stir the pot.  Like the guest on the radio show said, every successful business has a leader.  We aren’t both leaders but we both have functions, a leader isn’t a leader without a highly effective ‘follower’.  This does not mean that I do not offer suggestions or that I agree wholeheartedly agree with everything that my beloved decides.  God helps me with that.  I feel that in those moments, I need to refer back to the manual and manufacturer – the bible and God.  I cannot expect my beloved to selflessly, undyingly, undoubtedly, love me the way Christ loves the church, if I am not willing to play my part.  If I’m willing to bite my tongue when I know I have every right to speak or not to force my opinion when I know that I am right, I hope that I will enjoy a much happier and fulfilled marriage.

I was reminded this week of what a dear friend told me; it takes a while for you to build up credibility. Truth be told, your beloved has been the way he is for longer than he has known you. If you had two employees and you’d known one for 20+ years and another for 5 years, whose word are you likely to believe more?

Today, being a submissive wife today is not fashionable, it is not vogue and certainly isn’t worth it. I believe we need to revive the submissive wife. Don your submission like the vintage dress you’ve been craving to showcase.  It’s your strength and not the hand-me downs or ugly cast offs from your big sis.  I am willing to play my part to achieve the overall goal.  I am backing the mission of our family; I am forcing my opinions to be of less importance than the overall mission.  Me and all my self-glorified, self-appointed expert opinions, is sub (under, beneath) the overall mission of the family.    


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Money talks!

Lesson 1: When money starts walking, keep talking

Sitting at my desk freshly bronzed from honeymoon, butterflies fluttered in my tummy when I heard ‘your husband is on the phone’.  Still reeling with excitement from hearing the words ‘your’ and ‘husband’ next to each other, I picked up the phone to hear my husband’s voice. Something was different, he sounded like he was outside. It was midmorning – that was unusual. 

‘Honey, guess what? I’ve been made redundant’.

The earth moved.

Time stopped.

Sounds around me silenced...for reasons different from the previous week (wink wink). Our feet had literally just landed from our sunny honey on the moon. We had just distributed our thank you cards and were working down the list of thank you calls and visits. The wedding photographs and video had barely been edited.

We met up to talk for lunch after that miserable midmorning message. I was a new wife with a new husband with new news and not a word of wisdom – this was not the newlywed bliss we had anticipated.  I’d like to say that we instantly formed an unstoppable team facing financial struggles together but I’m strong believer in being open and honest so, here’s the truth… that was one of the most silent years of our marriage.  The tension in those ‘spoken silences’ were unreal.  Budget discussions never ended well, our priorities were different and we were both unwilling to open the letterbox for the next red ‘gentle reminder’.

By silent, I don’t mean we didn’t speak at all. I mean our words fell on stony ground. Neither one of us spoke words to each other that took root.  Being the sole bread winner for our family, I made very poor decisions that didn’t edify my husband in any way.  It was after one of these fatal financial decisions that we realised that we needed to talk.  This would mean that one of us would need to be still and quiet whilst the other was talking.  Reactions would need to be processed fully before a response uttered.  It’s like that saying goes; we should seek to understand first.  Both of us were in our individual cocoons, coping in the ways that suited us both – individually. 

When difficult situations arise in marriage such as financial disasters or health concerns, you begin to see the character of the person you married in totality.  Prior to marriage, you don the rose tinted glasses that make errs look like charming quirky features. A very laid back and relaxed personality which seemed so wonderfully accommodating before the wedding day, instantly transforms to a lazy nonchalant disposition.  A full of life, bubbly people magnet becomes a busy body who has an irrational fear of being on their own.  The very thing you loved about your beloved becomes the thorn in your side.  You’ll hear cries of ‘you’ve changed’ or ‘you’re not the same person I married’ from many newlyweds across the world.  Time has brutally taught me that it is not that your Prince Charming has morphed into Darth Vader; it is that the amorous smoke screen has evaporated. 

We were no stranger to this journey of realisation.  And after dealing with the initial shock of who my beloved was, I also learnt a great deal about myself.  I had an inflated sense of self-importance; my job was the only source of income and I stupidly thought that I was entitled to more control.  I was stuck in a job that I absolutely hated and felt that I had no other option but to keep working so as to keep the family afloat.  A very heated conversation with my beloved changed my mind.

‘You are not the source of our income. It is not your job that is keeping us alive’.

Those fatal words, shot through my psyche. Though I didn’t want to admit it at the time, he was right. It dawned on me that God had kept us afloat. We were living in the height of a recession; people were going home every day to create coping strategies on one income.  I was not good at my job; it was grace that was keeping me.  Many who were far better at the role had been fired or made redundant and I was still there.  My pride was ground to smithereens.

I gave it some more thought…

I decided that income is always subject to change and that change needn’t be negative. A career change may result in a dip in income due to retraining at university; a short term price for a long term gain.  And as a woman my income may be more susceptible to change, as it is more likely to be affected by child rearing. Just because you are earning more money than your beloved now, doesn’t mean that it is a permanent fixture. All parties must understand that any income is for the benefit of the family and not for the increase of pride.  Let’s let our hearts and not the money do the talking.