Outward Submission, Inward Rebellion

Submission series from realmarriedlife.com | Interviews, stories, and ways to enjoy your role as a wife.The Submission Series continues!  It is a privilege to share an incredible article with you from one of my dear friends and mentors, Darby.  I have spent many hours watching her parent, learning from her experiences, and enjoying her family.  She is a dedicated (and busy!) mom of five and marriage blogger.  She writes about her mistakes in an honest way and loves to help wives pray for their husbands. You can check out her blog and book at darbydugger.com.

You can read part two written by my sister about following when you are a natural leader.  And check out part one with 5 practical ways to submit from my friend Jenny.


Can you actually submit if your attitude is sour? Guest post from Darby Dugger

It is a rarity that we venture out to a restaurant with all five children, but feeling strangely courageous, we made plans to grab a quick meal out before heading to a church event. Despite the fact it would be a lot of work, I was very excited about the thought of someone else cooking going out for dinner! However, in typical Dugger fashion, we were running late. I despise feeling rushed, so in the stress of trying to leave the house on time, I suggested that we skip the dine-in experience. Jason still had confidence we still had plenty of time.

Can you actually submit if your attitude is sour? Guest post from Darby DuggerPulling out of the driveway, he stopped the car and asked if I would check the mail. Exasperated from watching the clock, I snapped, “Can’t we grab it when we come home?” Jason gently suggested that I shouldn’t be stressed. (I’m not sure if your husband has ever told you not to be so upset, but that is the last thing I want to hear in frustrating moments.) I mumbled a sarcastic, “Thanks for understanding,” under my breath as I slammed the car door and briskly made my way to the mailbox. After the mail was safely in our car, and the wheels were rolling, I became determined to give my husband the silent treatment for the rest of the evening.

At that moment, the Lord asked me to consider my attitude.

What was I trying to accomplish by giving my husband the silent treatment? Did he need to see that I was visibly upset?  Was I mad at Jason because we were running late or because he didn’t respond to my stress the way I had hoped?

As I pondered these questions, my only clear conclusion was that I couldn’t answer any of them. As often is the case, I wasn’t sure where my attitude came from nor could I identify the root of my hissy fit. Yet, there I sat: arms crossed, breathing heavy, glaring out the window in true toddler-temper-tantrum fashion. Even though I no longer felt justified in my attitude, I was content to keep my countenance sour.

My mind continued to rehash the situation, and it eventually led me to the touchy subject of submission. Is it an action or an attitude? I had submitted to Jason in action by checking the mail. However, my indigent I-blame-you-for-being-late attitude was far from honoring. And while I realize that this example is trite and silly, I have seen this same scenario played out with different details many times over the past decade of our marriage. Jason makes a decision or suggestion, I disagree, but instead of working through my emotions… I outwardly “go along” with his decision all the while my insides are rebelling and bitterness is growing.

Can I submit to my husband in a way that glorifies God if I’m simultaneously sulking about it?

The more I have pondered this question, the more I am certain the answer is no! It is not submission if I am sulking, pouting, casting blame, or any other embittered attitude. God tells us that he does not look at the outward appearance, but rather at the heart. If I’m outwardly submitting, but inwardly rebelling then the Lord sees what’s going on inside, and it matters to Him. If I want to please God and honor my husband, then I must first work on my heart: my pride, my will, and my attitude! After all, submission is not merely an action, but an attitude and a lifestyle! I don’t know about you, but I am confident that I will likely spend my whole life trying to master this Biblical concept.

What tips do you have for developing a better attitude while submitting?


  1. This is a tough issue to work through! I don’t usually get this right consistently, but when I do, it’s because I’ve taken time to genuinely pray and ask God to help me and if my husband is acting in a way he shouldn’t, that God would speak to his heart.
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  2. Stephanie W says:

    I honestly don’t have any tips…when I say that you pretty much described a recent sulking session I had with Dear Hubby…I too wondered where this attitude had come from. I’m just glad to know I’m not alone. Oh and that God is confirming that this is not the same as submission😉 When you know better you do better? Lol! I’m a work kin progress!


  1. […] Is that still submission? Today I am tacking the sticky subject of submission over on the Real Married Life blog. I’ve been wrestling with the idea of submission when my attitude is not behind my […]

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