That Four-Letter Word

This month the hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. We’ve been married what seems like forever and yet, sometimes it seems just like yesterday. When September 2nd rolls around, we reminisce about our wedding day and all the funny stories that went with it. I got two speeding tickets; the wedding cake was leaning; we shoved cake in each other’s faces; the brothers-in-law spilled punch on each other fighting over the garter. I could go on but mainly it was the hottest day in the history of the world!

Okay, maybe not. But it seemed like it in Texas. A whopping 103 degrees. My mother says all she remembers about our wedding was making lots of punch. Anytime we reminisce with people that attended they all say the same thing. “It was so hot!”

We were married in a little country church with a small A/C window unit. It didn’t help that we had all these candelabras in this tiny church with low ceilings. My brother-in-law, my sister’s husband, officiated and I think it may have been his first time. The hubby and I didn’t write our own vows or anything like that, but there was this one thing that I explicitly told my brother-in-law not to say. That 4-letter word – OBEY!

I wanted to make sure the hubby knew right up front that I was not going to OBEY him. He would not be the boss of me. No sir! I was an independent woman! I would love and honor in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, but I was not going to OBEY him! That 4-letter word used to be in the traditional wedding vows for the wife and I was having no part of it!

You know, God has a sense of humor. My brother-in-law stood in his three-piece suit amidst all of these flaming candles in that tiny country church crammed full of people with only the one A/C unit in the very back. He was so nervous, so hot, and probably ready to pass out, that he inadvertently asked if I would “love, honor, and OBEY till death do we part.”


Guess what I said. Any clue? I said, “I do!” Now, most likely you’re rolling on the floor, laughing hysterically. Whenever I think about it I do. I was so adamant about that 4-letter word, about being an independent woman, and nobody’s gonna be the boss of me. I said, “I do!”

I did and I’m still doing!

By the way, it’s not easy.

I wish I could tell you that the hubby and I have a fairy tale marriage.

We don’t.

I wish I could tell you we are good at communication.

We aren’t.

I wish I could tell you we don’t fight.

We do.

I wish I could tell you we’ve never gone to bed angry.

We have.

I wish I could tell you that we are like two sides of a triangle making our way to God, that as we grow closer to God we grow closer to each other. Advice from a popular Christian marriage retreat.

It sounds good, right? It looks clean and neat. And maybe that works for other people’s marriages, but that hasn’t really been my marriage model.

Life hasn’t been nice and neat and straight!

My model is the “crazy straw model”.

Here’s how the crazy straw marriage model works. You take a blue crazy straw from one package and a pink crazy straw from another package. You put the blue crazy straw in a cup with a pink crazy straw to cohabitate. In the beginning, both straws are pretty straight and the liquid travels upward at about the same rate, but somewhere along the way the liquid hits loops. Sometimes the loops are close together. Sometimes the loops are far apart. Sometimes one loop is closer but the other one is far away, and sometimes, the straws have different amounts of loops, all the while the liquid is trying to make its way upward.

It took me awhile to figure out the “crazy straw marriage model”. Who am I kidding? I’m still trying to figure it out. I really want, and even at times expect, my marriage to be like the nice, neat little triangle model, but it just isn’t.

Sometimes, life just throws me and the hubby for loops!

Kind of like that misplacement of that 4-letter word – OBEY.

I’m not sure how the word OBEY got mixed up in the traditional wedding vows, anyway. It’s not Biblical. I couldn’t find the word OBEY in any of the traditional wedding vows on-line, now. But back in the day, it was there and it was a big thing. (A little side note history trivia – It was a huge deal when Princess Diana and Prince Charles got married. Di didn’t promise to OBEY. That’s probably where I got the idea.)

The more I think about it, when you look at some of the famous couples in the Bible what woman was obeying her husband? Eve? Sarah? Rebecca? Rachel? Leah? Job’s wife? Esther? Nope. Even Mary didn’t consult Joseph before she said “I do” to God’s plan. Of course, Mary and Joseph were just engaged and not married.

I think OBEY sometimes gets tangled up with SUBMIT. If you read Ephesians 5:21-33, there’s a whole lot of submitting going on there. It’s my guess that this is where OBEY snuck in the door. But there’s a big difference between the two. Submit implies I have a choice, I yield, or if you’re in Bermuda, “Give Way”. ( Hmmm, I’m sensing a theme in my life). OBEY means to follow the commands or guidance of. When I think back on the crazy straw marriage model, there’s submission. Sometimes I win. Sometimes hubby wins. Sometimes we both win and sometimes we both lose, but it’s submission and not obedience. We try to submit to each other and OBEY God.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

Oh, but for the Grace of God, go I!

Even at my very best submission and obedience, I fall way short. I get tangled up in my own little crazy straw.

Granted this is a story about marriage, but I know God wants me to be more submissive to others. Period. He wants me to do more OBEYING of Him and His commands. If you read that verse again it says:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Can you imagine what our marriages, relationships, churches, jobs, communities, nation, or even our world would be like if we all did more submitting to one another in reverence to Christ? Even just the Christians? True reverence, founded in Biblical scripture, and not words that have been mangled or interpreted to fit our own fleshly desires.

Yahweh, more than ever the world needs more submission to each other and reverence to Christ. I pray that You would open mankind’s eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to any false teachings or mangling of scripture to benefit the flesh of this earth. Start with me, Yahweh!

In Your precious Son’s name, Jesus Christ, Amen!


Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Laura Rodgers
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  1. Rebecca Preston on September 15, 2017 at 7:18 AM

    So funny, Laura. Same thing happened with my daughter’s wedding. She said “I do” to it by mistake, and we all burst out laughing.
    I like the crazy straw theory…a lot like our own marriage!

  2. Sarah Robinson on September 15, 2017 at 9:02 AM

    So true! And your sense of humor comes through, making your marriage more enjoyable, no doubt. Thanks for the wisdom. Celebrating 40 years with my man (in January) by the Grace (and Such) of God, and has it ever been a crazy-straw marriage at times!

  3. Jen on September 15, 2017 at 9:05 AM

    This made me snort. Not just laugh, but snort. And I could hear you telling the story. So funny! And so very true. I’m thinking we’re of the crazy-straw model as well. 🙂

  4. Diane on September 15, 2017 at 9:43 AM

    So funny! Like Jen, I more than chuckled at this cause i could imagine one o both of you blowing bubbles at the same time through that straw and creating messes! The ‘obey’ word is so much more than just a word, isn’t it? And you nailed down the difference between it and submission. Love your wisdom covered with your humor! So refreshing to hear this ‘sermon’ without feeling guilty!!

  5. Diane on September 23, 2017 at 4:16 PM

    I love this post, Laura. It reminded me of my daughter’s wedding a few years ago. It was VERY HOT!! So hot the flowers in the centerpieces on the tables inside the tent wilted BEFORE the reception even started.
    I love the marriage triangle theory too, but it doesn’t always seem to be what’s actually going on in our house.

  6. Gretchen Hanna on September 27, 2017 at 10:45 PM

    Is this where I say, “Bless your heart!” (re: the hot day and saying I DO to OBEY?) 😉

    Kidding aside, I’m so glad you discussed the idea of obedience by submission on your post! A long time ago, I heard something that made sense to me with regard to submission, because, let’s face it: I wasn’t gonna submit to nobody, no how. I was an independent, intelligent woman (rawr!), and that was just a little too sexist for me. 🙂 It’s this: submission can ONLY be given – it cannot be taken. Taken submission isn’t true submission. Sadly, I think i learned this in the context of someone on TV talking about ‘submitting’ to a rapist, rather than ‘fighting back.’ The idea was that even if a woman APPEARED to be submitting, she likely was fighting for her life in the only way she knew how. This type of submission wasn’t indicative of her choice to have sex, but her choice to allow her body to be used so that she could survive.. It’s not like she’s volunteering to be raped, right?

    When we submit to our husbands (which, as you mentioned, is submitting to God) we are doing something beautiful and quite powerful. We are CHOOSING to give our power and trust up to God via trusting and bending our will to our husbands. Now, obviously, our husbands are gonna make mistakes. But God sees not only our heart but there’s, and I think he honors our intentions.

    When I think of the fact that I get to choose to submit, it makes me feel like it is a gift, indeed. Perhaps as Jesus counted it joy to submit to the Father on behalf of this wretched soul.

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