Re-defining Submission in Relationships

Reading time: 5 to 8 minutes

submission – a word that has been thrown around rather loosely in recent times. The elements of submission have been widely debated in many female groups and even in male groups. Some men, alongside their female counterparts believe the elements of submission  include drooped shoulders, no eye contact, shy smiles and a constant bowing of the head as one addresses the man in question. Afterall, women are the ones that ought to be submissive. But before I throw this definition of submission out of the window, let’s go into a bit of history shall we?

Back in the day, female children were hardly considered the cream of the crop. Men waited outside delivery rooms as midwives tended to their wives. The announcement of a male child was celebrated in all its glory, while the birth of female children not only received sombre responses but also permitted husbands to seek other women whose loins were more capable of making male children (I guess then, they had no idea that the sex of a child is fully dependent on the chromosome donated by its father but oh well…). Female children were trained for one thing only – to discover their purpose in marriage. In case you’re getting excited, let me burst your bubble. The purpose females were expected to discover was the art of caring for a man, and standing by to attend to his every desire. Not being in the mood for sex was not a topic for discussion, she had to do it. Too tired to cook? There were no pizza delivery services back then. And of course it was the general assumption that children only needed their mothers to care for them, not their fathers. Men could dictate how their wives felt about an issue, they could dictate how her life turned out. She was an acquisition that resulted from the merging of two families. While the families’ strongholds played ball, she was expected to just take orders…and it worked… until society liberated women and gave them a chance to live like humans, to discover the music in their souls, and to stand with their shoulders back, head held high, and pursue their dreams.

 I am not a fan of the word submission, mainly because one word in its definition bothers me.

submission: An act of submitting to control by someone or something (merriam-webster dictionary)

Perhaps I wouldn’t have a problem with submission if the word ‘control’ did not exist in its definition. Like all human tendencies, we have taken submission to the extreme. Women who want to pursue a career at no one’s detriment are considered to be haughty more than submissive. A woman who works hard to attain success and walks with her shoulders back and head high is not submissive because she doesn’t have those fits of shy smiles men love, and of course, there’s the issue of acquiring any form of asset. Some men still believe till this day that a single woman who has a car will not be submissive, not to mention one with postgraduate degrees.

In the name of submission, men cheat on their wives, mistreat their wives, squander the family’s funds and when some of them are feeling a little blue, they pummel their wives to a pulp. In this 21st century, in the name of submission, insecure men seek to cut short the dreams of their wives, they hint albeit slightly at  the fact that they’d prefer a woman who stays home to look after the kids, then they cheat on these women, claiming they are not contributing anything to the family. Submission as we understand it is yielding to abuse- emotional and physical. Back in the day, submission worked because men took care of their wives. They cared for her every need, and she in turn did her part. It was a team effort, and together everyone achieved more. Can the same be said for the men of today who for no reason chase after every fresh pair of thighs they see, or every velvety skin?

Perhaps it is time to stop preaching submission. We should instead preach mutual respect. See, respect is an act I cherish more than anything in the world because it is devoid of any element of control. To respect someone sincerely means you value that person, with all of his or her attributes. You value that person’s contribution to your life and you value that person’s future aspirations. It is difficult to take for granted someone who you sincerely respect. It is difficult to cheat someone who you respect. While submission preaches control of another individual who just like you has aspirations and dreams, respect preaches admiration. Men and women alike should submit to respecting one another in a relationship. It doesn’t in any way diminish a man’s leadership, as many people seem to think. Instead, it creates a balanced platform that’s devoid of fear, and filled with utmost sincerity.

Respect: a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievement

Mutual respect in relationships will eliminate the need to express power, the need to control, and the undeniably idiotic need to constantly outsmart someone you claim to love. Respect means understanding that you ought not treat a person a certain way because you understand empathy. Respect means you value a person for who they are, what they can do, and not for how much control you can have over them. Sadly, I have often heard men say “I can’t marry her, she has a masters degree. She’ll be walking all over me”, or “she has a car, she’ll be difficult to control”.

Question: Why are men looking for women to control? This is a question I intend to address in my next post: Independent women are scary. For now, XOXO.

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About Demilade Fayemiwo

I am a woman on an adventure; a student of life; a voice for the hopeless. I'm a city set on a hill. Motivation is what I do; it is who I am; it is hardwired into my DNA. I can't help but get you moving!
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