Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marriage's Best Kept Secret

I am quite capable of making my own breakfast, thank you very much. I actually even do it sometimes.

Mostly, though, Jeff makes my breakfast for me.

I'm thankful that he makes my breakfast. Like, way thankful. In fact, I typically fall all over myself in my attempt to convey my guilt-laden gratitude.

He's so bored of that. (Because it's fear-based, of course.)

This morning, I didn't have time to heap on the fear and guilt. I was in a hurry to get to Bible study. I sat at the breakfast bar with my egg whites and fried ham and shoveled them in. Jeff leaned nonchalantly against the kitchen counter, arms folded contentedly, watching.

"Isn't submission great?" he asked suddenly, looking at me keenly.

My mind raced. How did his making my breakfast have anything at all to do with submission? I hadn't had to surrender to his culinary skills. I'd agreed all too quickly to being handed my delicious hot breakfast each morning. How was this submission?

The Greek word in Ephesians 5:22 is idios, meaning "pertaining to one's self, one's own, belonging to one's self." Paul is saying, "Wives, belong to your husbands." How beautiful.

The Greek word in Ephesians 5:24 is hypotasso. Blue Letter Bible says, "This word was a Greek military term meaning 'to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader'. In non-military use, it was 'a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden'."

Mind you, military rankings pertain to those on the same side. Submission isn't surrendering to my enemy. Jeff and I are not enemies. We're teammates.

In other words, hypotasso is my willing, voluntary agreement to arrange myself under the command of Jeff... to have an attitude of giving in voluntarily, of cooperating. To let him be the team captain. To let him take care of me. To let him protect me. To belong to him.

To let him make my breakfast as he so desires, without muddying the waters by clinging to guilt and self-condemnation.

I think Jeff's been waiting for this morning. Waiting for me to agree with him that his making my breakfast is right and good. To actually give in voluntarily, to actually cooperate. To be only thankful.

I kid you not: all of the above (except the Blue Letter Bible research) went through my mind as Jeff's question hung in the air and I gulped my mouthful of eggs.

"It's marriage's best kept secret," I grinned at him, taking another bite.

He grinned back, nodding. "Let me take care of you..." he mused softly, longingly.

I love that man.

"This is just how we are with God," I replied offhandedly. "He's saying, 'Seriously! It's so much better when you follow Me!'"

My own statement brought me up short as I considered its implications. This is exactly how I am with God.

God longs to take care of me. To protect me. To provide for me. To make my breakfast every day through the milk and meat of Scripture. He longs for me to belong to Him (Eph 5:25). To place myself voluntarily under His command, in His care.

Seriously. Life is so much better when I follow Him.

Jeff is right. Submission is great. But shhhh... don't tell... it's a secret.

"This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church" (Eph 5:32).