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Monday, March 3, 2014

If I Submit, I Might Become Helpless! What If My Husband Dies?!

At my uncle's burial -- Loyola Marikina, February 2014

"If I submit to my husband and rely on him to provide for our family, I might not be equipped to handle our family's needs when he dies!"

"If I submit to my husband and make him the leader of our family, our children might not follow me when he dies!"

"If I submit to my husband and let him protect me from other people, I might get  "too spoiled" and not be able to fend for myself when he dies!"

Death is an inevitable fact of life.

Everybody -- the rich and the poor, the young and the old, male and female -- WILL die. No amount of money, power or good will, can change that fact.  One may delay it somewhat, as in the case of the ones on "life preservers", but eventually, they too will succumb. There's no going around it. It is our FINAL DESTINATION. We are all destined for death.

Biblical submission, to an equally, if not even more so, "imperfect" human being is already scary. With the thought of death in mind, it becomes even "scarier."

Why should I submit to my husband when I know for a fact that he might die?! Isn't that foolhardy, to "depend" on somebody who is a mere mortal like I am? How can I equip myself with the skills and talents necessary for survival, if I become a mere follower, and not the "leader" of my life?! Isn't there a saying that: "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul"? Why should I agree to being somebody's subordinate? I do not need a "master". I do not need a "captain." I can very well steer my life, the way I want it to go... on my own!!!

As I was writing this blog post, upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I was reminded of the "most popular WIDOW" in the Philippines. She, whose husband died tragically, and who was left on her own, not only to take care of their five orphaned children, but of the whole country as well. She who led the restoration of democracy after two decades of martial rule...

When the word "HOUSEWIFE" is mentioned, I am again reminded of the "most popular HOUSEWIFE" in the Philippines whose husband was assassinated in 1983 when he came back to the Philippines from the United States on a self-imposed exile --- that widowed housewife was none other than our 11th Philippine President, Corazon C. Aquino.

For those not familiar with this amazing story, I will share with you a glimpse of history that put the Philippines on the world map.

María Corazón Sumulong "Cory" Cojuangco Aquino (January 25, 1933 – August 1, 2009) was a Filipina politician who served as the 11th President of the Philippines, the first woman to hold that office, and the first female president in Asia. Regarded as the "Icon of Philippine Democracy", Aquino was the most prominent figure of the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled the 21-year authoritarian rule of President Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy to the Philippines. She was named Time magazine's "Woman of the Year" in 1986. She is the first President without any political experience as she had not held any other elective office.

                A "self-proclaimed" plain housewife"... 
Mr. and Mrs. Ninoy Aquino with their children
 [1] She was married to Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., the staunchest critic of President Ferdinand Marcos. She emerged as leader of the opposition after her husband was assassinated on August 21, 1983 upon returning to the Philippines from exile in the United States. In late 1985, Marcos called for snap elections, and Aquino ran for president with former senator Salvador Laurel as her Vice-President. After the elections were held on February 7, 1986, the Batasang Pambansa proclaimed Marcos and his running mate, Arturo Tolentino, as the winners amidst allegations of electoral fraud, with Aquino calling for massive civil disobedience actions. Defections from the Armed Forces and the support of the local Catholic Church led to the People Power Revolution that ousted Marcos and secured Aquino's accession on February 25, 1986. 
Cory Aquino minus Ninoy with her adult children
As President, Aquino oversaw the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution, which limited the powers of the Presidency and re-established the bicameral Congress. Her administration gave strong emphasis and concern for civil liberties and human rights, and on peace talks to resolve the ongoing Communist insurgency and Islamist secession movements. Her economic policies centered on restoring economic health and confidence and focused on creating a market-oriented and socially responsible economy.
-- Wikipedia

Cory's son - our 15th President, Noynoy Aquino

The current Philippine president, by the way, is her son, Benigno Simeon Aquino III. :)

Incidentally, just a week or so ago, February 25, was the 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, the first ever "bloodless revolution." :)

So much for that brief history lesson. :)

I covered the 25th EDSA Revolution in 2011.

What I am driving at is this: Cory Aquino, who by her own account had no political ambition and even liked labeling herself as a "plain housewife", became the eleventh Philippine president when her husband died. 
"Mrs. Aquino appeared to dislike her job and, at the end,
counted the days until she left office.
But she fulfilled a key promise:
She survived her term and presided over
 the first peaceful transfer of power
 in the tempestuous country in more than 26 years."

She was not prepared. She was ill-equipped. She was very hesitant. She was very shy. But with faith in God, she forged ahead. There are mixed emotions about her administration, but I won't delve into that. This blog is not about that. :)

What is important to note here is that in the event our husbands do pass away, we will be okay. It may not be in our destiny to be the next president of our country, but suffice to say, we will be able to survive.  We will be able to thrive. God's Grace will be sufficient.

It is interesting to note too, that in this day and age, almost nobody calls themselves a "housewife" anymore, what more a "plain" housewife. The more popular term is "stay-at-home mom". It seems that even the way we identify ourselves has shifted from being the partners of our husbands, to the mothers of our children.

According to an article of Jessica Grose for,

"Earlier in the 20th century, “housewife” was the preferred term, but as the Victorian focus on efficiency and sanitization began to shift in the 50s, a new word—“homemaker”—came into vogue.  The mid-century popularity of “homemaker,” says Plant, “reflects the rise of a therapeutic culture in the twentieth century, when advice literature to women began to stress the importance of meeting the emotional and psychological needs of children and husbands.”

“Homemaker” had pretty thoroughly replaced housewife by the 1970s, but it was already sounding old-fashioned by the ‘80s. Enter the “stay-at-home mom.” No one I spoke to could tell me definitively why the term became ascendant; Rebecca Jo Plant ( an associate professor of history at UC San Diego and the author of Mom: The Transformation of Motherhood in Modern America) speculates, “My sense is that their usage reflects the notion that the most important thing that the woman who stays home actually does is to focus on her children and foster their development, with an increasing emphasis on intellectual/cognitive development.”
Both “housewife” and “homemaker” connote domestic drudgery like toilet scrubbing (which no one really wants to do). “Housewife” in particular emphasizes an old-fashioned devotion to the husband, while “stay-at-home mom” shifts the focus onto the children. "

Going back to the topic on death, why would wives submit to their husbands if their male counterparts in marriage will surely and inevitably die? What is the purpose of that? Doesn't that encourage "dependency" and "parasitism" and teach the children "helplessness"? Shouldn't we teach the children "independence", "self-reliance" and "empowerment"?

From a practical world-view, it does seem that submitting to a human being, even if that is one's husband is "foolhardy, nonsensical and to some, even irresponsible". But from God's Point of View, Him Who created all of us according to His Image and Likeness and Who designed male and female as mirror images of each other, with the "woman made for man, and not man for woman" (1 Cor 11:9),   following one's husband "makes perfect sense."

1 Corinthians 11:3

But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man,[a] and the head of Christ is God.

For as long as one is married to one's husband, he is to be the God-ordained leader. Wives are to be their God-ordained helpers. There is just no going around that. It is God's Design. The clay cannot question its Potter. It's just the way He made us.

                                       Titus 2:3-5

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine,but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
The only time we are "freed" from this commandment of subjecting ourselves to our husbands' headship is when our husbands die.
My deceased parents - Thea and Butch Cleofe

                       Romans 7:2

For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.

                     1 Corinthians 7:39

39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

In heaven though, there are no married people anymore. Our husbands are no longer our husbands and we are no longer their wives...

Mama and Papa visiting Papa's deceased mother on their
wedding day - April 15, 1975

 Matthew 22:30
"Together Forever, Together At Last" was the epitaph
on my parents' grave. In heaven though, they
will no longer be husband and wife, but will be like
angels in heaven.
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Biblical submission is an alien concept in this era of "empowered women." We may not be "hard-core feminists" but much of our thinking, whether we admit it or not, are (gravely) affected by feminism. 

April Cassidy, the Peaceful Wife, enumerates it for us in her post on "We Have All Been Greatly Affected by Feminism". Here are some of those "feminist thoughts" or "ideologies" that you may be embracing knowingly or unknowingly: 

  • Men are the problem with society and marriage.
  • Men are bad/evil.
  • Women are wiser than and better than men.  If only women were in charge, they would fix all the problems in society.
  • Women are good.  Women are not really “wretched sinners.”
  • Women’s sin is “better than” men’s sin in the eyes of God.
  • Men and women are/should be spiritually, emotionally and mentally the same. There should be no spiritual, emotional or biological differences in the way that men and women experience and perceive the world other than the genital tract. Men need the same things and think and feel the same ways as women do – and if they don’t, then they don’t have emotions or they are wrong.
  • A man being masculine in a godly or traditional way is wrong.
  • A woman being feminine in a godly or traditional way is wrong.
  • Women should be aggressive, assertive, domineering and controlling.
  • Men should be passive and allow women to do what they think is best and they should agree with women because women are right.
  • Male leadership in marriage, the family and the church (patriarchy) is oppressive to women.
  • If a man ever has a chance to be in charge, he will be abusive 100% of the time.
  • Husbands must earn respect and if a wife doesn’t “feel like” her husband has earned her respect, she is totally justified to treat him in any disrespectful way she wants to no matter what God’s Word says. A wife has no obligation to obey God if she doesn’t agree with the Bible in her particular circumstances.  She is lord and master of herself. Christ is not to be her LORD.
  • Be your own goddess. What you want is all that matters. Who cares what your husband wants or what he needs and who cares what is ultimately best for your children?
  • Your own happiness is what is really important. If you are not happy, then you are justified to do anything (including sin) in order to try to be happy. Your personal happiness should be the ultimate goal (idol) in your life.
  • The Bible is not authoritative. It was written by men and men are evil. There is no Holy Spirit.
  • God is not a “He” and the God of the Bible doesn’t exist. Feminism says that God is female, or there are many goddesses, or you can become a goddess.
  • The Bible is not true and is no longer “culturally relevant.”
  • All of God’s commands and instructions specifically for women in the New Testament are oppressive and culturally irrelevant today.
  • Any authority instituted by God is to be undermined and replaced by women and what women think is best because women know better than God and women know better than the Bible and women know better than men and women should be worshipped, submitted to and served as goddesses.
  • Motherhood and marriage imprison women and keep them from becoming all they are meant to be.
  • Originally, feminism was about women’s suffrage and voting rights. But it didn’t stop with equal rights to vote and equal pay for equal work in the workplace, feminism began to also demand that women were “equal” to men in marriage, that marriage should be egalitarian, that women and men are essentially the same and that the roles/jobs in marriage should be split 50/50 down the middle. Both men and women should be in charge in marriage – but this ended up meaning that ultimately women should be in charge and control their men if the wives don’t agree with their husbands.
  • Husbands should submit to their wives and do what they say without questioning them.
  • Women should not only compete with men in the work place, but they should compete for power and position in marriage, as well even though God clearly designated the husband as the spiritual head of the marriage and home in I Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22-33, I Timothy 3:5 and Titus 2:3-5.
  • Women should assume masculine personality traits at work and in the home. They should look, dress, talk and act more like men.
  • Women don’t need a family, husband or children to find fulfillment.
  • Men should become more feminine and more in touch with their feelings and more domesticated.
  • Children don’t need a mother’s influence.
  • Children don’t need a father in the home.
  • Marriage can be whatever we want it to be.
  • Women should find their worth and identity in their careers, not the prison and drudgery of home-life.
  • Men should be their wives’ helpmeets. Men exist to give women what they want.
  • Women can “have it all!” – career, marriage, children and she won’t have any issue juggling all of those things at one time.
  • Motherhood and/or being a housewife are worthless, meaningless, valueless positions. Your time and work is only valuable if you are paid money.
  • The roles of husband and wife are the same and interchangeable. God’s design in Ephesians 5:22-33 is wrong.

I have never been able to witness a "Biblical marriage" growing up. I was mostly surrounded by married couples, including my parents, who believed in the "equality of the sexes." Whereas this is true, (we are equal in the sight of God in essence), we are NOT equal in roles. The Bible clearly points that out in the following verses:

These Bible verses on God's Design for Marriage were so "shocking" to me because I did not know of them, or simply skimmed over them so many times. :(

But, it was only when I practiced it in my own marriage, that I got the surprise of my life! Not only does it "work", it also has so many bonuses -- peace, joy, harmony... all the fruits of the Spirit!

I have to warn you though that it is not in submitting per se that I was able to experience all those. It was in submitting to God first, then to my God-ordained earthly authority, my husband Dong, that I was able to experience a nearly "shocking" out-of-this-world kind of FREEDOM.  It was when I let go and let God did I start feeling finally FREE from the worries, anxiety and depression that had bound me for years!!! The Peace that Christ gives is really not of this world!


If the Lord wills that our husbands die ahead of us, then so be it. "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the Name of the Lord be praised!" (Job 1:21) But, we do not know for sure, when that will be exactly, so let us focus on the NOW.  As long as our husbands are alive, let us follow God's Design for Marriage. At present, if you dear sister in Christ are married to a breathing, living human being, by virtue of marriage, you are asked by God to respect your husband and his God-ordained leadership role in the family. 

The argument on not Biblically submitting because our spouses might die is about as flimsy as:

...a student saying, "I will not study anymore, because  there is a great possibility that I will die tomorrow. It doesn't matter if I fail the exam!"

...a mother saying, "I will not give my children proper nutrition because they might die tomorrow.  It's useless to fix up something healthy!"

... a husband saying, "I will not love my wife the way she deserves, because she might die tomorrow! What's the point? My efforts will just be useless. She will die anyway!"
Serious Dong :) - Jan 2014

When put this way, it does not make sense too, right? :) Not doing something (Biblically submitting) just because somebody (my husband) has the possibility of dying (which is an inevitable fact of life) is just a "lousy" excuse based on any one of the following reasons: cynicism, ignorance, or pride. None of which are godly reasons. All of which are based on either disillusionment, lack of enlightenment, or fear. :(

However, in any circumstance, let us never forget that God's Grace is sufficient. And it always pays to do what is right. It always is a blessing to do what the Lord wants us to do... Even if things do not turn out the way we want them to, even to the point of death, the Lord will still see us through...

To quote my favorite author, Nancy Leigh de Moss in her book, "The Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free":
However, whether I choose to believe it or not, if I am His child, the Truth is that "His Grace is sufficient for me." (This is assuming of course, that I haven't taken on myself responsibilities He never intended for me to carry. If the burden is God-given, I can go on by His Grace.) His Grace is sufficient for every moment, every circumstance, every detail, every need, and every failure of my life.

When I am exhausted and think I can't possibly face the unfinished tasks that are still before me, His grace is sufficient for me.

When I am having a hard time responding to that family member or that person at the office who really gets under my skin, His grace is sufficient for me.
When I am tempted to vent out my frustration by speaking harsh words, His grace is sufficient for me.
When I don't know which direction to go or what decision to make, His grace is sufficient for me.
When my heart is breaking with an overwhelming sense of loss and grief, as I stand by the grave of a loved one, His grace is sufficient for me.

Fill in the blank. Whatever your story, whatever your situation, right now, His grace is sufficient for you.  His divine resources are available to meet your need - no matter how great. That's the Truth. And the Truth will set you free.

So, dear sister, what are you waiting for? Are you ready to submit to your husband but are afraid because he might take advantage of your humble heart? Do not worry, God's grace is sufficient. 

With our youngest child, Isabelle :)
Are you scared to follow his leadership because he might lead you to a "path of destruction"? Do not worry, God's Grace is sufficient.

Are you worried that in acquiescing control of your life, you will now tread a life with no direction? That is actually a lie, but know too that should that happen, whatever happens, God's grace IS sufficient. :)

In this season of my life, I am currently a housewife and a stay-at-home mom, with part-time work. :) Having been a full-time career woman all my life, it does not make sense to simply quit and take on my Biblical role as helpmeet to my husband. What a "waste" it is in the eyes of many. But I am convinced that this is what God wants me to do right now. My ministry at this moment is our home.  With all eyes set on Christ, in any circumstance, I know that God's Grace is sufficient. Praise Him Whose Grace is boundless and Who renews it daily! :)

                                          Lamentations 3:23
It is wonderful that the Lord's Grace is given in new doses daily! "They are new every morning -- great is your faithfulness!"
The Alejar Clan - Dong's parents and brothers with our sisters-in-law.
Praise God for giving His Grace to Wowa for 78 years! - March 3, 2014 :)

If you do submit, dear sister, you won't become help-less.  You will become your husband's help-er. And the Spirit will help you if you call on Him.

Death did not make me fear submitting to my husband, Dong. In view of death and how short life was on earth, it even made me re-assess my life and my priorities. If I were to die tomorrow, what would I have wanted to have done with my life? My answer: I want to have made a difference in my husband's life and our children's lives. With death in mind, things do have a way of becoming clearer and simpler. And for me, Biblical submission is my means towards experiencing a glimpse of "heaven" here on earth. :)
Mr. and Mrs. Alfredo Andre P. Alejar - April 17, 2004

May we all be richly blessed! :)


  1. I think the husband should be in charge of finances even in situations where the woman is the only one capable of working e.g. husband was fired. It is suggested by our elders that at least the husband pays the bills always no matter who earns more. What is really really crucial is that the husbandis the head of the family. :) just giving another perspective of the same point. As a housewife myself, I am grateful that Heikki has taken his role seriously without leaving me with all the housework. I also still contribute to the household pot but we have a clear rule that there is no such thing as "my money." It is always our money no matter whose account it is under.

    - Erica

    1. Hi Erica,

      Thanks for your insight! :)

      In cases wherein the wife is the only breadwinner (for uncontrollable reasons or otherwise), respect is really hard/harder to give to the husband. Something about the husband being the main provider guarantees a level of "instant" respect from the wife. It's just how God wired men and women. Men are to be the providers/leaders, women are the helpers/responders.

      When the ideal is not followed, respect can still be given to the husband, but according to many Christian authors and counselors, it is really, really hard to do so. What we can hope on though is that with God anything is possible! What you shared on the husband still making the decisions even if the wife is bringing the bigger bulk of the money is a good way to still not "steal" the headship from the husband.

      It is nice to know that your marriage setup is working very well for you. It really pays to follow God's Design for marriage. I admire that about you and Heikki and I am sure the Lord is pleased with how you do your best to have a godly marriage.

      As you very well know, and I have shared with you in the past that the wife staying at home (or at least, not being super busy) and the husband working outside the home is ideal. I experienced that for a brief period early in our marriage and it was a lovely time. But I had to pursue all my career ambitions to the hilt, and when I did (in a small scale), I realized for myself that it still left me feeling empty. I am grateful though for the chance by God to experience all those, so I would have no regrets later on...

      Yes, when it comes to money, it should be a joint thing. It has always been that way with me and Dong, but when I started being the main breadwinner, it just made the whole dynamics out of whack. I perhaps felt "entitled" to decide on matters or at least, have the final say, since I was the one bringing home the bacon. That was a very odd and dark time for the most part but I am grateful I experienced that in order to help others in similar situations. It takes one to know one. ;)

      God bless you and your family!



Feel free to comment. I would love to discuss things with you. :)