Road Trips, Baby names, and Submission

Last month Josh and I spent a lot of time in the car. I kept my sanity and did not keep track of the time or miles, but it was enough to visit these states (most at least twice).

Sometimes we slept, sometimes we listened to techie podcasts, sometimes Josh read to me, and sometimes we played “choose the baby’s name.” You’re not familiar with the game? It is simple. Any place name seen is taken into consideration for naming a child.

Our upstate New York babies were named Hudson Leroy and Verona Schenectady. I tried and tried to convince Josh that it would be better if little Verona were given Albany for a middle name instead, but he was adamant. So adamant in fact that there was nothing for me to do but submit… once I remembered that there was no actual child who would have to carry this name.

The incident reminded me of reading a blog post by a woman whose husband had wanted to name their second daughter Marian after they already had a daughter named Marianne. The woman liked both names but was concerned about the daily difficulties of calling their daughters in for lunch etc. Yet as far as she was concerned, she could only tell her husband her objection and then accept the fact that he was the one in charge of their family.

I cannot help but think that “submission” is often an excuse for laziness and poor communication. Instead of working through issues to find the best answer, couples rely on an idea of running families like corporations and relationships are replaced with religious hierarchy. It is may be easier than actually working through disagreements, but it is certainly not what I want for my life! Unless, of course, it is an issue of a non-existent baby being named in road trip game. In that case, I’m all for laziness submission.

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21 thoughts on “Road Trips, Baby names, and Submission

  1. Maggie

    Oh boy… we are in the process of narrowing down names. I am NOT submissive at all. Perhaps too stubborn? My husband isn’t submissive either. This has made this process very interesting. Thankfully we believe in communication and compromise, so we’re closer everyday to a name!

    1. Rae Post author

      This is why you should have done what Josh and I did and started discussing baby names before you were even engaged. ;-) Good luck!

      1. Maggie

        The funny thing is, we’ve discussed names even before we were engaged! But now that the time has come to actually PICK one out… well… it’s been interesting!

  2. Michelle

    This is actually one of my favorite passages in scripture. I think it *can* be used incorrectly. I like it’s applicability regarding marriage. I especially like how it instructs men to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. And I have never thought of submission part of the passage to mean, “women, let your husband make all decisions…”

    I do think that passage is most applicable to all people and how they interact with God and the Church. I think it has a lot to do authority…and let’s face it, we live in a time and place when most people do not recognize authority. Everyone seems to think s/he is his/her own authority on everything.

    As for the baby names…what a cute game!

    1. Rae Post author

      I think that Geneva is better than Verona, but Josh said that he’d actually consider Verona in real life! Just come back 5 years from now to see that I’ve totally caved and we have a daughter named Verona Anne.

      1. Tienne McKenzie

        My daughter is Geneva Anne! I like Verona, too.

        The baby name game is tons of fun. I love the cities aspect of it. My sister wants to name her non-existent daughter Valetta, which is the capital of Malta where our father was born. I like the idea of it…but the name itself kind of strikes me as a, how do I say this? A name for a girl who is very good looking but perhaps not altogether very modest…You know?

  3. alison

    Really? but Schenectady has such a nice ring to it…especially as it gets stuck in your nose…

    And yes, I agree that sometimes submission means laziness, because not all things are worth fighting over! Sometimes its nice to just say, ah, it doesn’t matter, so I default to you.

    I’m not sure if naming children falls into that category however…

    1. Rae Post author

      Oh you made me laugh. :-)

      I think that the hardest thing for me has been getting to the point where I can say that a decision does matter, but after thorough examination of the issue I recognize that my preference isn’t actually important in the particular situation, so I’ll go with what Josh wants.

  4. Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

    Ah, Schenectady, if I get in my car right now, I can be there in about 10 minutes!

    Seriously – what a lovely post. I hear you on submission. One of my things is etymology and the etymology of let go is about “being under” and “letting go.” That is quite a different image than one of slavery, which is what the word submit elicits in me when I hear it.

    I guess we all have to let go… even at my age, this is no easy task.

    In any case, I think what you say is correct – about submission a poor path when communication can’t function. So true.

    1. Rae Post author

      Would it really be *that* much harder for you to go to Albany? ;-)

      I like your thoughts about letting go and being under. It seems to me that this is simply part of the supreme giving of self which is required of all Christians.

  5. sophia

    I used to get angry and indignant whenever I saw that verse in Corinthians, but women submitting to their husbands. But I’ve come to realize that this “submission” isn’t a blind following…but a show of gentle respect that EARNS the husband’s respect so that your voice isn’t poo-pooed. And I think that submission is easier than the commandment to love the wife unconditionally! :-)

    1. Rae Post author

      I hope that respect and love can go both ways in my marriage! I don’t think that the instructions for a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the Church means that a wife is *not* required to love her husband the same way. :-)

  6. Mrs C

    Agreed re your submission point. I tried to do it for a couple of weeks and my husband hated it. He felt like he wasn’t getting all of me – that I was zoning out or deadening part of me in order to conform to what is a very Protestant understanding of submission. My husband felt that this was a very unloving thing to demand from me and that, really, he loves the woman he married – the one with opinions and spirit – provided those opinions and spirit are properly ordered by and towards God and love.

    I was also very passive aggressive about the whole submission thing at times – when I thought he was making the wrong choice but went along with it anyway out of ‘submission’. We’ve decided – together, as a team – that we won’t do it that way. Rather I aim to treat him with respect, trust and love and he works to treat me with gentleness, affection and trust. It works for us.

    1. Rae Post author

      My husband feels the same way: why would you want someone to give you less than all of themselves? And isn’t that what is required of “submission” as it is taught by fundamentalist Christians?

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