Godly Women · Submission · Traditionalist Bird

The “you submit to your boss” Argument

In debating submission often the argument of “you submit to your boss, but not your husband comes up”.  The point is made to show how silly it is that you care about your boss and give him more respect than your own husband. On the surface this sounds good, but the more I have thought about it over the years there is one big flaw. Your employee-employer relationship is not a “until death do you part” relationship. You are not locked to your employer until you die. It is generally an “at will” arrangement where either party can cancel the relationship at anytime without giving a reason.

With marriage, if followed properly, you can never just get out by your own will. It is for life. Jobs are not.  There is a lot more incentive on a job to submit to your bosses will, please them, respect them, etc, or else you can very likely lose your job.  In marriage there is no overriding motivation for women to do these things because after all he vowed to never leave, cheat, divorce (to never fire you). You don’t just get fired from your marriage as you do from a job (like I said, if you take marriage seriously, otherwise divorce or threatening divorce is akin to be fired). There is low incentive for good behavior.  Marriage is for life for better or for worse and if the husband doesn’t like a wife’s behavior, I can see this rationalized as “too bad for him, this is just part of the worse he will just have to deal with”.

Imagine how the workplace would be if employees could not get fired. If no matter how you behaved, there was always job security.I think both men and women would slack off a bit as its human nature. We see this with tenured professors and some government workers. The forever clause to marriage creates a breeding ground for bad behavior because no matter how bad your behavior, you have guaranteed marriage security. When jobs get worse, people often leave them and seek out better opportunities. Do that in marriage and its called divorce and/or cheating.  So, of course women submit to their employers much more eagerly and pleasantly. There is a lot to risk if she doesn’t. If she doesn’t submit to her husband, oh well –what does she really have to lose. He is the one stuck” A crappy attitude for sure, but it a logical conclusion on a cost/benefit analysis. If she doesn’t submit to boss, gets fired. Doesn’t submit to husband, stays married, keeps her wife job. I don’t like how the forever nature of marriage can so easily make both men and women complacent.


5 thoughts on “The “you submit to your boss” Argument

  1. I find a lot of these arguments and analogies do nothing to edify other people’s marriages, or promote the permanency of marriage for the general population.

    One thing I dislike about the boss argument is it removes the idea of marriage as a holy relationship. It’s so funny because no one thinks of God as our “boss,” firing us when we piss Him off because if He did, we’d all have drop dead by now. Marriage isn’t supposed to be about complacency or analogous to an employment relationship where you’re only there to earn marks for “meeting expectations.” These are all senseless analogies.

    The permanency of marriage isn’t the problem. People with their stupid ideas and attempts to impose them on other people’s marriages is the problem.


  2. Yes, you really can’t compare the two. Submitting to an employer isn’t being done out of the sweetness of their hearts but because they want something in return– a paycheck. Given “Today’s average employer has the loyalty and integrity of a street whore.” ( http://www.returnofkings.com/104868/how-to-survive-losing-your-job), a statement I totally agree with, do we want to compare husbands to that or the whole marital relationship to the dirty working world.


  3. It does make you question the validity of how “natural” the ideas people propose over “roles,” doesn’t it? As someone once pointed out to me, if these roles are supposedly natural, why do people need to spend time writing countless essays of Biblical exegesis on them? If they are so “natural,” shouldn’t a lot of things be intuitive? It is easy to put your own spin on it and say you are the person who’s the source of truth. I’ve fallen into the trap of “am I submitting right” and resorted to a lot of the stupid analogies. I say keep it simple and women should seek their husband’s input.


  4. I’ve been meaning to talk about this one but not getting around to it. I think this is more convicting when it’s phrased “you are polite and cooperative with your boss and the Starbucks barista and people you don’t know–why can’t you pull it together more for your spouse and children?” We probably all have been around people (of both sexes) who can turn on the “nice” for near-strangers–but don’t make an effort in the privacy of their own homes when there aren’t any outsiders around. And that is backward–our families deserve our best, not our worst behavior.

    Now, let’s have a go at the boss/husband analogy! (I will make the assumption that the husband is not actually the woman’s boss.)

    1. “Submission” to a boss is definitely limited. If he tells me to make copies or pick something up across town, I do that, but if he solicits sexual favors from me or is systematically violating the law or company policy, I don’t have to cooperate with that. (Of course, I may lose my job no matter how right I am, but I’m not morally bound to do everything he says to do.)

    2. “Submission” to a boss is not a 24/7/365 thing. I get to go home at night, I get days off, and I get to go on vacation. Obviously, the technological leash a lot of workers are on now makes that time off less free than it used to be, but there’s going to be a lot about my time off that my boss doesn’t know and doesn’t have a right to know. As long as I answer my emails promptly, it doesn’t matter if I’m doing it in pajamas.

    3. The boss and I are not (hopefully) having sex. He doesn’t have marital rights over me, and I don’t have marital rights over him. We do not have a home together, we do not share a bed, we do not have children together, he does not buy me saltines when I’m sick, I do not buy him socks, we do not share mutual responsibility for each other’s financial activities, I don’t go to his mom’s house for Thanksgiving, I’m not going to comfort him through his final illness and I’m not going to get all of his stuff when he dies.

    4. It’s morally OK to have another boss in your time off from your primary job, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your performance of your primary job.

    In fact, it’s even morally OK to have many “bosses” at the same time and be a freelancer.

    5. It’s morally OK to quit a job and take a different job. In fact, it’s morally OK for the boss to fire me if he feels like he does not need my services. A job is not (in the US) normally a lifelong relationship.

    6. If my boss stopped paying me, I would quit working for him.

    7. Bosses can be fired by higher-ups for malfeasance and then I might wind up with a new boss.

    Etc. You can do a similar thing for military obedience. Not to belabor the point, but a) soldiers are not supposed to obey illegal orders b) officers can lose their authority c) soldiers get to go on leave and d) the military is not typically a lifetime commitment d) it’s possible to get discharged e) an inferior might theoretically rise to a rank higher than a former superior.

    Marriage is an interesting and unusual institution because the term of commitment is potentially much longer than any other chosen commitment (aside from maybe being a monk or nun or priest).


  5. Yes, its true that because we are the most comfortable with family they also are the ones more likely to see our nasty side. Out and about and with strangers manners control us, but in the safety of our own homes its easy to let our guard down for sure.

    Your last part is a good point too. There is nothing else in life that is a life long commitment, which I think makes it hard for young people to really wrap their head around it all. I mean if You don’t like a job or college you can quit, yet we expect people to just blindly enter marriage as if it is a job or college and making analogies that compare bosses to husband doesn’t help. If I should treat my husband like I do my boss, well I can quit on my boss so I guess I can also quit on my husband.


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