Being honest about sex (without bringing God into it)

I’m a Christian.  (Shocking, I know.)  I waited a long time to have sex, in fact I waited for my husband.  I realize that in some circles this makes me seem uptight and prudish and irrelevant.  Understand:  I didn’t wait to have sex because I was scared,  I didn’t save my sexuality as a precious gift, I didn’t sign a promise card when I was a teen and hold myself to it as if breaking my promise would mean immediately burning in the pits of hell.  I’m a practical person, and thus I had practical reasons.  Today I will share those with you instead of my regularly scheduled programming.

It’s a big issue- it’s important- and it deserves more frank conversing than just saying “save yourself.  Because.  Or else.”

  1. Sex may be “earth shattering”, but that’s not always a good thing. Having sex is about more than just physical pleasure- it’s about boundaries and knowledge.  It’s about revealing yourself wholly to another person, it’s about allowing them complete and uninhibited access to yourself.  The first time you go on this journey is a pulse-racing experience- not because it feels awesome, but because it can be absolutely terrifying.  What if he/she laughs at my birth mark, thinks I’m too fat, is repulsed by my private areas… do I have an odor?  Should I have an odor?  Is everything working the way it ought to?  And it’s not just about the things that are potentially embarrassing, it’s about (hopefully) the first time someone sees you as you are, and embraces you.  This first journey should be taken with someone worthy  of being that first person- because if you’re going to climb Everest you want to have the right guide.  Your memories of those moments will never be able to be altered.  Your first sexual experience could very well color every subsequent one- whether it is with fear, embarrassment, shame, or pleasure.  Set yourself up for success- for a sexual life that is full of grace and hope, pleasure and fulfillment.  It probably goes without saying that giving (or getting) a handjob in the car while terrified of someone you know finding and exposing you is not the best way to go.
  2. Your first  sexual experiences will look nothing like what sex will be like in the future. It seems contradictory, doesn’t it?  In order to illustrate my point, let’s talk about learning how to knit.  When you first start learning how to knit (or any new craft) first you have to take little steps.  You have to learn the broad strokes of terminology and craft.  You have to make something stunningly stupid, like a flat scarf you’ll likely never wear.  And you have to keep making dull and unimpressive things until you get good enough at it to do something really amazing.  Sex is the same way- your first time will be clumsy and awkward.  Your second and third time will be, too.  For some women it takes years of learning their body’s language before sex consistently has a “mind blowing” effect.  It also takes a partner who listens to you, communicates openly, and is willing to set aside their own pleasure in an effort to find yours.  Good sex requires a level of maturity, compassion, and respect for others that isn’t commonly found.
  3. Sex is a privilege, not a responsibility. Overheard at a local mall:  “I’ve been dating him for like a year, I feel like I kind of owe him sex.”  Sorry, sister, but no. You don’t ever *owe* someone else the privilege of seeing you fully, of being given total access to your body and heart, the honor of receiving you completely.  Anyone who pressures you into giving yourself before you are ready doesn’t deserve you.  Sex isn’t something that is earned by buying you dinners, giving you gifts, or sitting through a certain amount of dates or phone conversations.  It’s not a “stage” of a relationship that is reached after climbing steps in the proper order.  It doesn’t go, “proper amount of dates, kissing, meeting each other’s family, sex”, or any other order.  If relationships are built on a “pyramid” model like dietary suggestions, sex doesn’t even appear on the pyramid.  It exists on it’s own plane, separate from every other stage of a relationship.  (<sarcasm> It doesn’t even have to come prior to having kids- you could always adopt! </sarcasm>)  What I’m saying is that sex is not something your partner earns- it is something you choose to offer based off of nothing other than your desire to have complete intimacy.  Any partner worth sleeping with will understand this, and will wait for you.
  4. Sex isn’t just about physical pleasure, it’s about intimacy. You will likely never hear a preacher say this from the pulpit, but:  If what you want is an orgasm, masturbate.  Sex is not just about achieving orgasms.  Sex is about so many other things.  It’s about power and submission, it’s about requests and obedience, it’s about sacrifice and acceptance.  It’s about forging a bond with another human being, about creating a world that exists nowhere other than between two people.  It’s about learning to love, about being loved, about offering and accepting love.  If all you want is to feel good, you can do that on your own.  If what you want is someone else adoring you- let them by you flowers and write you a sonnet.  If what you want is to have them show their commitment to you (or for you to show your commitment to them) get married.  Sex is something far too important, too precious, to waste on a relationship that won’t last.  Trust me on this one- the sex you have with someone who you’ve been married to for seven years, someone you’ve suffered with and rejoiced with and loved and hated, makes all sex that came before seem not worth having had.
  5. Having sex means taking responsibility for your life. The world of sex is a world that has a lot of pitfalls.  I’m not going to exaggerate the failure rate of condoms or other birth control, but let’s be honest.  If you’re not having sex you don’t have to worry about pregnancy.  You don’t have to worry about STDs.  You don’t have to wonder when in a relationship you need to disclose your sexual past or tell the person you’re interested in that you have had genital warts.  Having sex complicates things- and life is already complicated enough.  Waiting to have sex means having one less thing you need to be concerned with.  I know precious few people who did have sex as teenagers who don’t confess that the sex they had as teens wasn’t worth the extra worries.  Before you have sex, you have to ask yourself if you’re ready to deal with the risk of disease.  If you know what you would do should you happen to get pregnant.  If the person you are considering having sex with is the kind of person who will be forthright with you about their own health and sexual past.  If this relationship ends- are you ready to be honest with your next significant other about the sex you’re thinking about having now?  It’s not as if you can have sex, go to your local church, sign a new promise card and pretend you’re still a virgin.  Some people do this, but it’s dishonest and petty and shows just how unprepared for sex they really were.
  6. Having sex means doing your homework. I’m not talking about vocabulary or biology- except inasmuch as learning about birth control and your own biological rhythms is about biology.  Sex may be as simple as stripping naked and inserting A into B, but there’s a whole lot of background information that needs to be absorbed.  Like, what kind of birth control will work for you?  Condoms are an easy first choice, but some men don’t like the way they feel and they can cause discomfort for women (especially those first few times).  A girl can always go on the pill, but it won’t protect you against disease.  That means there are a lot of choices to be made, choices that absolutely should not be made in the heat of the moment.
  7. Sex is like glue. It is.  It’s one thing to look at another person and think, “I like them.”  Or, “they matter to me.” Or, “I want to have them in my life.”  It’s another thing entirely when the night before that person was completing you, was giving you pleasure, was seeing you naked and accepting you fully.  The intimacy sex brings makes it harder to part from your partner.  In a marriage this is a good thing.  It means that you’ll be quicker to try to resolve a fight before nightfall because you want to go to bed happy.  It means that compassion comes easier, belonging is more desirable, intimacy more refreshing.  But outside of marriage?  It can make you want to blind yourself to flaws that you ought to be more concerned with.  Don’t glue yourself to someone unless you’re sure you want to be stuck to them.

That’s all I have to say.

Note:  I realize that everything written here is rhetorical and based off of only my observations.  I never pretended this blog was about more than just one girl’s opinions.

A God-given right to sin.

I recently received a comment that made this argument:  God made men in his image.  God despises homosexuality.  Therefore no one is born gay.

This is an argument I’ve heard before.  “God didn’t create anyone to be gay.”  Nor did God create anyone with the intention that they be a liar, or a cheat, or depressed, or impoverished, or ill, or unfriendly, or bigoted, or…  Well, here’s the thing.  Human beings are, in fact, all of those things.  Aren’t we?  We all have our foibles and our falling short.  And yet… didn’t God create us to be human?  The first man and woman, they were made in His image.  They were Very Good.  But God gave them a choice, to obey or follow temptation.  They didn’t obey, and since then, there’s been a falling away.  Like a copy made of a copy made of a copy made of a copy, humanity may resemble what once was called Very Good, but we’re splotchy and distorted and far from a perfect representation of God’s image.

Like a statue that has weathered a thousand storms, we are made in the form of the artist’s intent, but long ago there was a falling away.  There’s a lot of bird poo and insect skeletons and discoloration and the odd missing limb here and there.  Yes, God made Adam and Eve in His divine image- but you and I bear the image of the fall.

There’s this little nagging detail:  God gave humanity the right to fall away for a reason.  To be holy must be a choice, made freely, not an indictment.  And I strongly believe that inside of each one of us there is a vision of the person God desires us to be.  We don’t need to be reminded of our faults.  A liar knows it’s wrong to lie, those who hate derive no pleasure from it, those who eat to excess have their waistlines to remind them why it’s wrong- every sin bears its fruit, and in a very real way we are forced to consume the product of our fallen lives.  Throughout the Bible one sees a very simple truth constantly reiterated:  the path of Righteousness bears its own reward, and any other path bears its own punishment.

In my eyes the journey to salvation is not undertaken because one hates where one used to be and despises all that dwell there, but because where one is going is such a wonderful place.  It may be a small distinction, but it’s an important one.

In any case, God may not have “created” someone to be gay- but he did create them to be human.  And as maddening as this truth may be, we all have a God-given right to sin.

*small editorial note: sometimes I have to write as if I’ve made the assumption is that being gay is inarguably wrong, which I apologize for.  Constant Readers know it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Does God care that you are gay?

A recent review of my book in Harlot’s Sauce magazine pointed out something interesting.  Throughout the book there is the implication that if God cares about someone’s sexuality and wants them to change it, that through acceptance and knowledge of God they will be convicted and change.  Thus, of course, the book also implies to just leave it up to God.

There is an unasked question in that scenario:


I neither ask the question, nor do I answer it.  I never really answer it.   I felt a twinge of sadness when I read the review of my novel, because I would never want to imply that I feel that gay people ought to change.  My book was written with as careful a stance as this blog is, not seeking to betray the confidences of people on either side of the aisle.  Often I am accused, therefore, of betraying both.

I get asked these questions:  “why aren’t you honest with your gay readers about what the Bible says?”  and “why don’t you tell your fellow Christians if you don’t feel it’s a sin?” I’m t0ld, “I feel as if you’re betraying yourself by not saying it is a sin if you’re convicted that it is,” and “It hurts to think that you may think I’m a sinner, because you never really truly say otherwise.”

And it hurts, constantly, because I feel like I’m being pulled in two, I feel as if no matter what I do I will inevitably hurt my voice with either one set of loved ones or another.

But I will try, for the sake of goodness, to be as sincere as possible.

Does God care that people are gay?

Well, he certainly cares about gay people.  And in one sense, that question can always be answered “yes”, just as God cares that people are happy, that they are sad, that they sin, that they don’t, that they find love, that they won’t.  God always cares.

But does God want gay people to change?  That question CANNOT be answered by me, and I can’t possibly be emphatic enough about that point.  It’s simply not my place.  Each person on this planet must answer for their own state, their own position with God.  God may care about the young man who is gay not because he finds love in it but because he is trying to fix something inside himself that is broken.  God may very much want for that young man to change- but is that EVERY gay man?  To assume so would be absurd.  We don’t know the answer- I don’t know the answer.  I have spoken with some gay people who have chosen to model a heterosexual lifestyle out of a desire to please God, some who have felt that God takes pleasure in their homosexual union and families.  Who has found truth?

That’s simply not my story to tell or my question to answer.  It’s as simple as this:  I know who I am.  I am a writer, an artist, a friend, a mother.  I know that I was created to be these things and live this life.  But I have other friends that are called to other lives.  Some people feel that by taking pleasure in things such as television and movies they are able to expand their lives and others feel called away.  Some people feel a social drink or two is a pleasure, others feel God condemn it.  Some feel that smoking is wrong, others don’t, some feel that sexual imagery of any kind is wrong, others don’t.   Each person has, in their heart, their own set of rules, their own set of beliefs.  Sometimes these are soft and moldable and sometimes they are hard and unchanging.  But I do believe that each unique person has their own way of being, and God created them that way for a reason.

I don’t know why some are gay and some are not, why some find peace and some do not, why we are not able to come to a happy conclusion.

But I do know one thing, with absolute certainty:  it is not my question to answer.  I am to love and embrace, to help and protect, to applaud and celebrate each on their way.

Does God care that you are gay?

What do you think?

Why do gay people exist?

“So,” he said, “they got together all kinds of experts, from anthropologists to spiritualists, and no one seemed to have a reason for why homosexuality would exist.”

I thought about that for a minute before replying, “so?”

This took him off guard, “what did you say?”

“So.”  I shrugged, “Why do we have to know the reason?  I don’t think we SHOULD be able to take the whole of human experience and boil it down to cause and effect.”

I meant what I said.  I don’t think there has to be a quantifiable reason for anyone’s sexuality to be whatever it is.  And even if you can pinpoint a reason, that doesn’t mean that sexuality, through that knowledge, becomes more malleable or understandable.  It took me numerous years to understand that I withdrew from intimate contact because I was still afraid of making myself vulnerable due to sexual abuse, and even after I understood the reason I still couldn’t make myself desire a relationship with a man.  Later in the above quoted conversation, the man I was talking to pointed out that a great deal of gay people he knew had been sexually abused as children, and he found that interesting.

Interesting, yes, but not necessarily meaningful.  Interest doesn’t always imbue meaning, and meaningful things are often boring as heck.

Yet there is that nagging thought, “why isn’t sexuality predictable?  Moldable?  Why is it so [censored] DIFFICULT?”

And every time I ask myself that, I still answer, “so?”

The idea that human sexuality needs explanation implies, to me, that it needs defending.  I won’t stoop to that.  God allows our sexuality to manifest itself in so many maddening, entrancing, and exasperating ways because there is a lesson to be learned from it- to be learned from it both done “right” and done “wrong”.

What matters most isn’t WHY gay people exist or WHY abused girls react the way they do or WHY husbands and wives dance the dance of Christ and Church or why ANYTHING works the way it does.  What matters most is that God loves us, passionately, he loves our lives and he loves us when we make good and bad choices and he is heavily invested in humanity in all of it’s beauty and brokenness.   Note that I’m not saying knowledge doesn’t matter, and that through studying the human psyche our compassion and understanding may not grow by leaps and bounds.  Knowledge is invaluable!  We simply can’t afford to wait on that knowledge to make a decision about how we should act today.

What matters most, friend, is not your reason for being gay.

It is you being  a child whom God loves, and the fact that as a Christian I am indebted to model that love.

Rape, and why I think submission in “all” things is a dangerous concept to handle.

I do believe in the existence of good doctrine.  And from time to time I write about those beliefs on this blog.  Not in the sort of vague “it has to start with us loving each other” terms, but in terms of real verses that make real commands of us, and what I think of them.

And every time I write about these things, it gets uncomfortable.  You see, for the last couple of days I’ve been involved in (and then following) a conversation on another blog about wives submitting to their husbands.  The topic was breached in the absence of talking about the husbands role, and inevitably turned to the question of the wife submitting when she disagreed with her husband about something that would have long term repercussions, like family being sent to boarding school.  And I tried to respond and did a poor job of vocalizing myself.  So I tried to write about it here, and again did a poor job of vocalizing myself.

The idea of submission still holds a great deal of fear for all women.  The idea that my husband could make any demand of me, and I would be expected to offer myself up to him as to Christ.  That’s terrifying.  And anyone who doesn’t find that terrifying and respect the power that such fear holds for women obviously knows very little history.  There was a time when women were seen as less than men- as property, as pawns in a game of chess, as a method through which to gain an heir and keep the house clean and often little more.  We all should know this fact because that time was roughly when Ephesians would have been written in the first place.  And the thought of women as lesser continued for some time.  Daughters were the property of their fathers while sons gained autonomy, wives were possessions, women were thought of to gain a soul later in life then men, to be more prone to witchcraft and evil, to need this evil purged from them by a heavy hand as much as possible.

Women were on a level above cattle, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like much of one.  Honestly.  The right to vote and hold property is still a historically recent one.

And the idea that a husband “can’t” rape his wife is still one being debated in some circles.

So let’s talk about submission, in frank terms, and let’s not mince words.  Does anyone reading this believe that I should submit to my husband if he allocates money that needs to go to feeding my children to buy himself a gaming system?  Does anyone believe that Ephesians five requires me to submit myself to his will when he demands sex and I’m ill, or tired, or otherwise not compliantly disposed to the idea?  Does anyone believe that if my husband heard a word that he should take a second wife, that I should say, “yes dear?”  I’m hoping most would say no, because these are extreme examples.

But what about less extreme examples?  What if I am sick, and exhausted, and don’t have the energy to cook a meal, and my husband complains that he’s been working all day and shouldn’t have to work at home?  Or what if I haven’t seen my family in over half a year and he demands that we spend Christmas with his, meaning that I won’t get to see mine?  Or what if I feel God is calling me to a position in my local church body and my husband says that he will not have his wife teaching other men, and forbids me to do it?

Do I really submit to him in all things, to the cost of my body, my family, my calling?

Or by submitting to my husband, would I in some things draw myself further away from God?  In order for both my husband and I to follow God and serve him with all our hearts, my submission to him MUST follow, CANNOT be without his submission to God and his loving me as his own body.  These things are NOT seperable.  Likewise his loving me as his own body and cleansing me as Christ cleansed the church MUST be, CANNOT be without my submission to him.

Both parties must obey God in their commands, or one will get hurt.  That is the beauty of the arrangement- the two become one, or they don’t function, period.

Now, in case I haven’t made myself clear:

  • The wife does not, by submitting, become her husband’s possession or subordinate.  She is his servant, but by choice alone.
  • The husband, should he demonstrate a pattern of making unfair demands or abusing his wife’s submissive position, is not acting in a holy manner and should be called on it- first by his wife, then by his church.
  • Both partners serve God first and each other second- if either one interferes with the other’s servitude to God, something is wrong.
  • Children come first.  If either one places demands on the other that interferes with the raising of their children, something is wrong.
  • If something is wrong, both need to go before God and their local spiritual leaders and sort it all out.

I’ve seen numerous books on the subject which talk about how women can win over their husbands through loving submission.  And at it’s root it’s not a bad thing.  It’s in the Bible! The problem comes when it’s taken to far.  Anything, no matter how good, no matter how holy, becomes bad when not delt with in reason and moderation.  When a woman stays with a drunk who is abusing her kids to win him over in loving submission, it’s not good.  When a wife does nothing about her husband overpowering and raping her to win him over in loving submission, I am sure that is not what God intended.

These concepts must be handled with the respect they deserve, because mishandling them takes advantage of weakness and can lead to real damage.

And I guess that’s what I needed to say.

Husbands, Love your Wives


Ephesians 5: 25-33 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.   “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Much ado has been made about wives “submitting” to their husbands.  I feel the need to point out that the passage about submission starts out with a blanket statement to all, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  It’s not just WIVES submitting to HUSBANDS, people, it’s ALL of us, submitting to EACH OTHER.  As I am called to submit to my husband I am also called to submit to my pastor, my fellow believers, my employers, everyone.  Obviously, given this case, we all seem to misunderstand what submission in this context means.  It does NOT mean subordination, it does NOT mean becoming an extension of someone else’s will.  By submission it means what in other contexts is called meekness, humility, cooperation.  It means allowing ourselves to become servants.

How many times did Christ command us to become servants?

Now, as for the husbands: they carry, by far, the greater weight in this passage.  Three verses are devoted to the women as opposed to eight reserved for the men.  Women are told (paraphrased) “submit to your husbands as before God, for Christ is the head of the church, so submit to your husband as you would to Christ in everything.”  This only truly makes sense when followed by the verses devoted to the husband.  And, in fact, Paul’s command to the women can only truly be followed in the letter of the law should the husband do as he was commanded.  I, as a woman, cannot submit to my husband AS I would to God unless he is acting on God’s behalf towards me.  For when I serve God I can obey him with pleasure in everything, knowing that his will for my life is for my own benefit and all of his commands are good, that his burden is light, and so on.  My husband, on the other hand, is fallible.  I do not know that all of his plans for my life are solely for my benefit, that obeying him would not be burdensome, and so on.  So the only way I can treat my husbands wishes with the same weight I would God’s is if I know that my husband is following God when making his wishes.

Thus, the commandment to wives hinges on the following to husbands: that they give themselves up for her, that they cleanse her with washing in the word, that they present her to themselves as pure and radiant, without wrinkle or blemish, holy and blameless. This command is not all, though!  They must love her AS THEY LOVE THEIR OWN BODIES.  I love my body a lot.  A do a lot to serve it throughout the day: I sleep, I eat, I exercise, I bathe.  If my body is sick I have to drop everything to care for it.  If my body is in pain I am keenly aware of it and do everything I can to assuage that pain until it is gone.  I am inseperable from my body, I cease to be if my body ceases to be, to fight my body’s will is incredibly difficult, as my body is my self.

And that, my friends, is how husbands are asked to view their wives.

Let’s talk about submission.  Submission being to put one’s self under the authority of, to serve the will of.  Now let’s compare that to the two becoming one, to the will of one being inseperable from the needs of another, to all pain being one and all needs being equal.  What is easier to do?  To say yes dear, or to feel the pain of the other as keenly as your own, to truly give up your life for the benefit of the other?

My father teaches that all things in a marriage hinge on the husband doing his job well.  If the husband is a good husband, the wife would have to be crazy not to want to serve him.  If he is doing all things while taking into account her needs as if they were his own, then by serving him the wife is actually serving herself.  Obviously in function this is nearly impossible, but in theory it works.

Which is why Paul points out that what he is REALLY talking about isn’t husbands and wives, it’s Christ and his followers.  He isn’t talking about marriage as a societal structure, but as a way to demonstrate the breadth and beauty of Christ’s love for his bride.

But the advice works.  Husbands, love your wives.  But more than that: both spouses need to become each others servants.  If he serves her needs as if they were his own and she serves him as if she were serving herself, both are made whole.  If either one becomes a lesser partner, someone goes needy.

It’s really that simple.

Wives, Submit to your Husbands

Ephesians 5:22– 24  Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

These verses make a lot of women uncomfortable, and even more women angry.  (And, don’t worry, girls- I’ll be poking the husbands later in “husbands, love your wives.”)

I think that a lot of the frustration with Ephesians 5- not just with these verses, but with the entire chapter- is that we misunderstand what the end goal is.  It’s not in defining lines of who is above whom and who matters most.  It’s about helping us to lead happy, healthy lives.  We are told as believers to submit to ONE ANOTHER in Christ.  Children are to honor their parents, slaves their masters, masters to treat their slaves well, and thusly.

People usually cherry pick the verses about marriage.  Why?  Well, because the other ones can get sticky.  Why?  Because no one likes thinking too much about submitting and honoring.  Why?  Because of that inevitable question: “What about when the other person is WRONG?”

So let’s talk about that, briefly.  What if I, as a wife, am unsettled about a choice my husband has made?  Or if I, as a parent, make a choice for my child’s life that they feel is wrong?  Or if my husband’s employer makes a demand of him that he feels is unfair or harmful?  What does a good Christian do?

We should do the uncomfortable thing- we honor each other as before God, and trust God to be a good mediator and the lifter of our heads.  Yeah, I know, it’s painful.  No one likes reading those words because it means that we will inevitably have to endure hardship in our relationships.  It means we’re going to have to go places we don’t want to go.  It means we don’t get to have our way. Let me ask you all a question that may not be taken well:

What, exactly, makes us feel like we have the right to have our way?

I’m not being tongue in cheek or sarcastic.  I am sincerely asking that question.  Where, in the Bible, does it ever uphold someone’s right to be selfish?  Where does it say that the wife has a right to demand that her financial security come first?  That she ought to undermine the way her husband wants to discipline the children?  That if she wants him at home and there’s a boys night out she actually should call him selfish and throw a public snit that embarrasses him?  Women can be selfish.  (I know, I know, I’ll get to the men tomorrow, I promise!)

God commands us to submit for a reason.  Because we, as Christians, need to learn to set ourselves aside.  We need to learn to treasure our spouses as we treasure ourselves.  And God knows that if the shoe were on the other foot, if we were the ones making a bad financial decision, if we were the ones laying the lines of discipline, if it was a GIRL’S night out that would be missed, we’d want our husbands to put us first.  We’d want to feel him honoring us.

And why would he, if we didn’t honor him first?

Submission isn’t subordination.  It isn’t saying that we are beneath him by default.  It’s not saying that we are less valuable or important.  It is our gift to our spouses, our way of affirming our love for them and displaying our trust in them and in God.  We submit to show that we trust that they are taking care of us, that they will continue to do it.  We submit to honor.  We honor to show that we ourselves are worthy of being honored.

Think of each act of putting yourself aside (be it with your husband, your family, or your boss) as a speech.  What you are saying isn’t “I am less valuable than you”, but instead:

I love you more than I love myself.  And I am strong enough to not always need to get my way.