Military wife and Zachary resident Sara Horn was surprised with her husband’s initial “no” reaction to her writing her new book, “My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife.”
Though she’d written other books on faith, husband Cliff Horn questioned the purpose of her new experiment. “Why would you want to do that (submission)?” she said he asked her.
Sara Horn was puzzled. “I thought he’d welcome the opportunity to have me at his beck and call,” she wrote in her book. “I was waiting for some crack about bringing his slippers and fetching him a sweet tea.”
Then again, she thought about the negative connotation attached to the word “submission.”
“Why would I want to do something so many in our world today see as a very old-fashioned if not archaic idea for marriage?” she said she asked herself.
Then she tapped into her true feelings about her marriage and her worship. “I wanted to love my husband God’s way,” she said during a recent interview. “I wanted to honor Cliff as the husband and leader of our home,” she said.
Cliff Horn supported Sara’s efforts after the pair researched the roles of a husband and wife in Ephesians 5:21-33. In one passage of her book, Horn described submission as a reminder to both husbands and wives that life should revolve around service to God. “This is not some form of old-fashioned twisted slavery but praise and honor and recognition to the one who created us,” she wrote.
In her book, Horn shares her experiences about submission and her husband’s role as head of household through lighthearted and tougher moments including everything from cooking and cleaning the house, yielding to her husband to lead the family devotionals and learning to be patient with her husband’s efforts to take the lead in buying his family a new home.
Now, after celebrating their 15th anniversary in June, the pair has grown even closer, Horn said. “I have never felt more love from him. We’re more focused on each other and our relationship and we communicate better,” she said.
The couple’s 12-year-old son Caleb has even noticed the difference in his parents’ behavior since the experiment, Horn said. “He sees us apologizing and hugging each other when we do argue,” she said.
Reaching this point in their marriage was not without many challenges. As a U.S. Navy reservist, Cliff Horn’s Seabees unit has been deployed to countries including Iraq, and Central and South America through the years. He is currently training in California and will soon deploy for Afghanistan, she said.
It is during such times that the family relies on prayer and seeking God’s strength over their own. Horn said she also gains support through her ministry to military wives that has included two published books and a support organization called Wives of Faith. In all, she has written 10 books.
To improve upon her role as a submissive wife, Horn felt that she had to be more than a partner to Cliff. “I wanted to be more intentional about showing love and respect and showing ways of selflessness,” she said.
Sara Horn had some previous experience of applying Bible standards after she wrote “My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife” several years ago.
During that time, she was humbled, particularly after her family moved into her husband’s parents’ home for a while. But in that time, she said her family grew happier, she cooked more, whined less and put her family first. “For the first time as a wife, I saw myself as the thermostat of my family and realized my actions have great influence …,” she wrote.
Since living in submission, she has learned much.
“The word submit has six letters and it’s sometimes a very offensive word to women and one of caution to men,” Horn said. “It doesn’t mean a woman can’t voice her opinion and speak up, but she does trust her husband to make decisions.
“Being biblically submissive is not becoming a robot. God has created two roles, the husband and the wife. I’m following my husband based on following Christ. It’s a dual role in the relationship. The husband is called to love his wife as the church,” she said.
It was challenging, Horn said, particularly when disagreements arose. “This submission thing was not clicking as I hoped it would,” she wrote, following a disagreement during a house hunt. But before she could fly off the handle, she listened to God, she said. “Once again, I felt like God was whispering a little lesson in all of this about waiting on him, not rushing ahead, not trying to find the answer myself, letting go. Maybe that is part of what submission means too,” she wrote.
In another passage, Horn is angered with her husband after he decides to delay moving her mother’s piano and he proceeds to do an exercise workout with his friends first. “I was in anger overload and about to boil,” she wrote.
Later, when her husband called her, she ignored his call. “Obviously, I wasn’t being very submissive. But I’m not sure Cliff was being very head of household,” she wrote.
The lesson learned, she wrote, “This whole submission idea still feels like there’s a lot of tension in it — there’s a pushing and pulling to be right — or to give up my rights. But I don’t think that’s what God intends.”
She also learned how to keep resentment at bay. “You’re cleaning, working, juggling and your husband is sitting and watching TV? It can feel so frustrating and downright unfair.” To combat those feelings, she exercised kindness. The result, “I’m seeing my husband respond the same way. He helps more. He sees more,” she said.
In the end, the couple work through many of life’s ups and downs as most couples do. “This is my experience. I share the good, the bad and the ugly and I’m honest with the successful and not so successful moments,” she said.
The results were surprising.
“Going through this experience, Cliff changed more than I did as far as leading the family,” Horn said. “By me stepping back, it gave him room to lead as a man.”
Horn also said the experience freed her. “I don’t feel like I have to do it all on my own anymore,” she wrote.
“My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife” is available at all major bookstores. Or visit Sara Horn’s website, http://www.sarahorn.com.