by Andrew Cromwell
Of all the advice offered on how to succeed in life, yielding is not commonly found on the list. Almost anyone will tell you “be true to yourself” and always be sure to “pay yourself first.” Then there is the ever popular, “stand up for yourself” and “don’t let them see you sweat.”
In Christian circles, there is frequently a strong emphasis on the teaching that the man is in charge and should lead his family. This seems to imply that the man should have the final say in every area of family life, how the money is spent, the activities in which they engage, the children’s discipline, the family’s spiritual life, and everything else. Wives are told they should “submit to their husbands.”
This teaching is a distortion of what the Apostle Paul was saying in his letter to the church in the city of Ephesus. It is only half the story. But the directions given to the husbands are often de-emphasized or ignored completely.
Here are the two relevant verses side by side, Ephesians chapter five verses 22 and 25:
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.
Wives submitting to their husbands is only half of the story. The other half is that husbands are supposed to love their wife the same way that Christ loved the church. Specifically, Christ died for the church! That’s how much He loved her.
Paul was not advocating actual physical death for husbands (at least in most cases). But he was definitely advocating for a kind of death. This death is death to the self and to selfish motives and desires.
Christ died for the church so that the church would have everything it needed in order to be the best and most beautiful that it could be. The only way for that to happen was for Him to give His life. In the same way, husbands should so love their wives that they are willing to do whatever needs to be done to help their wives be the best and most beautiful that they can be inside and out.
And this is where “yield” comes in. Very often, what is best for a wife is not what is most convenient or easiest for the husband. It requires the husband to yield his desires to the greater desire required by love.
We yield to demonstrate our love for them. We yield to serve them. We yield because our preferences don’t always need to be in first place.
When we choose to yield to the other out of love, then we are giving up our desires for their good. The goal isn’t to make someone happy, the goal is to love them in a way that demonstrates to them how much they matter.
The difficulty is that we don’t like to yield. We like to be the boss. We like it our way. We have saying’s like, “my way or the highway.” This phrase communicates power, authority, and determination.
Yielding is not about losing, it is about releasing. When we yield out of love, we release the need to always have our way. We give up the need to always be right. We gain freedom from our own selfish desires as we yield to the desires of another. We also gain relationship capital with the other person for we have demonstrated that we actually care about them.
What will yielding do to you? Hurt your pride? Make you feel second? Force you to wait? I can’t think of a better reason for you to yield.