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The Dirty Little S Word Part 3: Separation of Work and Marriage

Separation of Marriage & Work - Biblical Submission Part 3

For the first 9 1/2 years of our marriage I was a full-time working woman.  Most of that time I was in a position of authority and/or management.  Over 13 years at my former employer I worked my way from Customer Service Rep to Call Center Director to Division Business Manager on my skills, work ethic and common sense.  No college degree here, just hard work and dedication.

I was the go-to person.  The one responsible for making decisions, heading up projects, directing subordinates and ensuring proper development of newly hired or acquired employees.  I  wasn’t making company decisions but day-to-day I typically made decisions impacting those around me.

About six years into our marriage I had a revelation.  Our marriage was rocky, I was growing complacent and we were distant ships passing in the night, so close yet so far.  Our church held a marriage retreat and then a bible study using the book Love and Respect.

My revelation came during that time.  I realized that he couldn’t be the man I was looking for because I wasn’t allowing him to step into that role.  I was the manager.  Just like at work.  I was the one to keep it all together, make decisions and do it all.  Rather than being a team player I was in charge and he was just a subordinate on the organizational chart.  It hit me hard that I was not allowing him to be in charge.  I was not allowing him to be the manager and lead us.  I was too busy leading at home the same way I lead at work.

Deeper than that, I realized that I didn’t know how to submit.  I was always managing, always being practical, looked up to, leaned on, relied on and expected to take charge. Former relationships, jobs, friends and school; I was usually in a leadership role of some kind.  Biblical submission to my husband was far out in left field.

Separation of Work and Marriage

I had to learn to separate my 9 to 5 roll of manager from my biblically  mandated roll of wife.

This was no easy for me.  I had to find practical ways to be a supportive, respectful wife and it was hard.   It’s not easy to defer to your husband or even to ask his opinion when most of your adult life you have been the one looked to for decisions to be made.

Here are some practical things I had to start doing:

  • Stop Nagging – I had to stop nagging at him and start thinking through things instead.  Rather than fuss at him to do something I started asking if we could do it together or asked him when he thought he’d have time.
  • Remember to Ask – This was hard for me. I had to remind myself to ask his input on things before I went ahead with them.  I’m not talking about the color shirt I wore but I am talking about making large purchases and things like that.)
  • Listen – I needed to start listening to him when he had something to say.  He’s a man of few words but when he talks I need to pay attention to him.
  • Present Ideas and Solutions – Again, rather than nag about something I started to think through what I could do or how we could remedy an issue and then take that suggestion to him.  This is what I wanted my employees at work to do, rather than just gripe and moan.
  • Honor The Simple Things – He doesn’t like a lot of garlic, so I use less garlic.  He likes to sleep in his first day off work.  Remembering the little things he likes and doesn’t like shows love and respect to him.
  • Respect Him in Public – We had this thing in our relationship where we would tease each other but it quickly turned into hurtful, disrespect.  I had to stop criticizing him in public.  I admit, when I angry or annoyed it is very easy to fall back into this.
  • Follow His Lead in the Big Things – As I mentioned in part 1, I had the choice of all choices to make.  I have learned that even if I don’t agree I need to follow his lead and pray.
  • Discuss and Talk – If I don’t agree calmly discussing and sharing my thoughts in a constructive way shows that I still respect him I just disagree. Many times we’ve come to an agreement or he has changed his mind after we’ve talked.  It’s not about winning or being right.

It can be hard to separate work from home life.  Sometimes it feels like you have to be two different people.  Rest assured, you are not being fake or false for submitting to your husband at home and taking the lead at work.  Your God-given gift to lead is still valid but so if your responsibility to let your husband lead at home.  That is his God-given mandate.

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  1. Thank you so much for this. I am definitely in the same boat. 1. I don’t know how to submit. 2. I don’t always want to (even though I know I must). I need to remember that its not: “he can lead when he learns how to be a good leader” but “he can lead SO THAT he has a chance to learn to be a good leader.” All too often, I don’t give him the chance.

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