Sara Horn on Biblical Submission in Marriage: 'It's Been Misunderstood'

Sara Horn decided to make a change in her life at least for one year and follow the Biblical model of submission to her husband. Horn documented the experiment in the new book, "My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife: A One-Year Experiment… And Its Liberating Results."

Why do you think so many people see, or believe, that submission is a bad thing?

I think a lot of it has to do with our culture and our history. We can look at it a couple of different ways; we have seen this word "submission" be abused by men who have controlled women, and I think that has, in turn, discouraged wives from wanting to pursue this. I think especially today that word just kind of turns our stomachs and we see it in such a negative light: being a doormat, losing our rights.

Most women today, that's not how we're raised: we're raised to do anything we want to, to have our own identities. When we think of Biblical submission, we think of it in terms of not having our own identities, but that's not what it's about.

How did you come to the decision to perform this experiment?

I am definitely independent … am not one to be mousey. I've always desired to be successful and do what God wanted me to do. For me, it started a few years ago with the "Proverbs 31" experiment, where God showed me that there was more to being a wife and a mom … it is a ministry. There are other things I can do, but if God has called me to be a wife and a mom, then there are special things I must do to honor that. This experiment was a natural extension of that mindset. The Bible tells us multiple times to be submissive to our husbands. Women and men alike both want to overlook that instruction because it makes them uncomfortable.

Why choose submission?

I wanted to pursue it because it was in the Bible. If God has allowed it to be in His word, He must want us to look at it. And I walked through it for a year with my husband. I think that's the other thing that hangs us up: how does submission look in a practical way? So many women need to work or choose to work because they have a skill or gift. My story is completely honest and provides a look at what submission looks like in today's society.

Did your husband change during this experiment?

I was not expecting to see him change, but after he looked at it and thought about it, he agreed to go through this experiment with me. For him, his whole take on Biblical submission was like that of others: we're in this together, we're partners and not submissive.

As I really worked on looking at how I can help and submit to my husband, I realized that more room was made for him to step up and lead. In the last few months, he's taken a more active role in leading our home and our son. He's a Navy reservist, and he spent the last few months talking to our 12-year-old son and encouraging him to step up and do what he can around the house while he is deployed.

What did you learn from this experiment?

What I learned was that Biblical submission is not just for women but for men as well. It's about both the husband and the wife coming together; it's not just women submitting to men but about wives submitting to their husbands. The husband is to love his wife like Christ loved the church. We can't control our husbands and force them to take control – we can only focus on what God has called us to do. When I am willing to let God work on my husband and me not change him the way I think he should be, God does miraculous things. He brings us closer together and closer to Him.

What do you hope readers take away from your story?

It's not a "how to" for Biblical submission because each marriage has two unique individuals in it. Each person has to go to God in his or her own way and be open to receive. Now, though, we are a lot closer; we communicate better, and there seems to be more freedom in our marriage.

I think the book is changing minds about the topic; it's important to be real, and I think that's why a lot of people are responding to the book. We need to know that it's okay when we mess up; it's okay when we succeed. This isn't for everybody, though, because if God hasn't brought your heart to the place where you're open to it, then you're not ready. Everyone is not going to be at that same stage.

The ladies who have read it and then talked to me about it were able to pull some things from the book and apply it to their own marriages. I've heard of a lot of wives who have done this for maybe a couple of weeks and they're seeing differences. Somebody has to make the first step to bring peace into the home. I'm encouraging women to take that first step: give your husband some room to see what God wants for his life and also what God wants for your own life.

You can learn more about Sara and her book, "My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife" by clicking here.

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