“Wives must submit to their husbands” is a biblical teaching many still adhere to ’til this day, but for most it’s an archaic way of living."
That was the first sentence in Safaree Samuels' Ebony Magazine interview with Glamazon Tyomi about relationship role reversals. As we all know, Safaree took a back seat in his own rap career in support of his ex-fiancee, Nicki Minaj. Safaree helped craft her career as one of the most successful MCs in the game by allowing his woman to take the lead, and that's not a bad thing at all to me.
The problem is the line of thinking associated with the Biblical reference. I'm not a dedicated church-goer by any means, but I've read the Bible enough to know that people have taken that sentence and ran it into the ground. The verse comes from Ephesians 5: 22. But if you look one verse upward, and 10 verses afterward, you'll see that submission doesn't mean that you have to be a doormat.
When you submit to your spouse, you're putting their feelings first. You love them as you would love yourself and God. You make decisions good for you and your spouse, and you work as one single unit, instead of two roommates just buying groceries together and screwing each other.
In the interview, Safaree dropped some surefire ways on how to make this kind of relationship work without thinking that you're giving up your independence. Here is what he said that is most certain to work for anyone in a relationship that requires a man to let his woman take the lead.
1. Self-sacrificing is an act of love.
We all hear about women who have sacrificed their careers in support of their partners. The fact that a woman loves a man so much that they'd let him take the lead is an act of love in itself. It should not be a crime when a man does the same thing. Safaree said:
“For me, support comes naturally. So if I have a connect or can make a phone call to help someone out, I will in a heartbeat. The same gesture applies to whoever I’m dating. Growing up, I wanted to be an MC. But I put my dreams aside to play the role of the supportive boyfriend.”
This is where people get the word "submission" twisted. Support could be a phone call, a foot rub at the end of a long work day, or cooking dinner when she's coming home late for work. Really, it's that simple.
2. Taking the lead means doing what is best for both of you.
Every day, we do what's best for ourselves in any and all situations, because our own self-preservation matters. When you get married, you take a pledge to love your spouse as you love yourself, and you do what's best for the both of you. In order for that to even happen, you have to be humble, because your need to be the leader in the relationship isn't doing anything but driving you closer to being single. Safaree touched on this during the interview.
“To be a submissive man, you have to have a submissive bone in your body,” Samuels said. “The relationship isn’t going to work out for the man who has a short fuse or can’t handle being told what to do. A lot of men look for women they can mold into what will fit into their lives, but you can’t do that with a strong-minded woman. If you’re going to be with her, you have to be okay with her running the show at times.”
What he said was 100 percent true.The checks she's bringing home, the moves that she's making, and the games she is playing in a male-dominated world is for the benefit of both of you. This is why she needs you to have her back on the home front. Being submissive isn't a sign of weakness. It's a sign of winning.
3. Ladies, you need your man's insight.
Speaking from a woman's perspective, fighting for wage equality and fairness in the workplace often feels like a war that can't be won. You have to know your enemy in order to successfully fight him, and what better way to win the war than to get your battle strategy from a man who has already played the game?
This is why it's important for women to submit themselves to actively listening to their partner. When it comes to a woman taking the lead, your partner is the one who is going to help you successfully navigate the war so that you both win. To think any other way is a loss for the both of you.
“A man is a second pair of eyes giving a woman feedback on her ideas and the male perspective,” Samuels said. “We are there to say ‘yes, this is a good idea’ or ‘no, this may not work.’ We can see things that she may not be able to see. [Supportive men] have your back.”
If you think that your relationship works better with you not submitting yourself to commentary that may make you a better woman, then go for it. But don't be shocked when your spouse admits that this is one of your worst qualities.
4. Edify your spouse in public.
This is also where people have twisted the word submission. Just because a man is allowing a woman to take the lead doesn't mean that he's less than you. Submission is not synonymous with slavery or abuse. It means that you don't expect to be catered to, and you look for the needs of others besides yourself.
“Sometimes a strong woman doesn’t know the difference between her man and an employee, especially when mixing business and pleasure. She has to know how to turn it off when it’s time to be the girlfriend or the wife,” Samuels said. "Respect is major in this type of relationship, so don’t just talk to your man any kind of way...let a man be a man in terms of respecting his opinion and what he has to say."
Respect goes a long way. So if your man pisses you off in public, that doesn't mean that you snap on him in public. Suppress your feelings until you can talk to him in private, because you'd hate it if he snapped on you in front of your people. Have enough respect to treat him the same way.
5. Put the whip away in the bedroom.
Simply put, your boo doesn't want you cracking the whip on him in the bedroom. Just because you lead several people at work doesn't mean that he wants you bringing that attitude home.
“You have to know when to turn it off and be affectionate. Your man doesn’t want to feel bossed around the bedroom. He wants to feel loved, respected and desired."
Sex is an act of sacrifice in itself, and the best sex happens when you put the needs of your partner before your own.
6. Communicate with each other.
Early in my marriage, my husband once told our marriage counselor that he didn't have to communicate with me if he didn't want to. She gave him with the craziest look and said, "Yes you do." He tried for several minutes to argue with her, and finally she told him that he obviously didn't want to stay married. He finally realized that if he wanted to be with me, he had to talk to me, even if he wasn't feeling up to it. This is where Safaree also nails it.
“If you feel some type of way about something, speak up. Don’t just let those things sit and spiral out of control. Set boundaries and have a conversation with your significant other and let her know what you will and will not tolerate.” Samuels suggests men draw a line for how they expect to be treated in public and within the household. “You can have a conversation and say, ‘It’s okay for you to talk to me this way at home, but in public this isn’t going to fly.’ Put those rules and boundaries into place. And if you have trouble with getting your message across to her, please seek out a mediator or a counselor that can help you do so.”
You have to make sure you're on the same page when it comes to communication, or any relationship that you're involved with, role reversal or not, will go down in burning flames.
In the end, you both must be willing to sacrifice yourselves for the greater good of the relationship, and that takes humility, love, and loyalty.
Mona Scott Young said it best when discussing her own role reversal relationship. Mona said that she was sure that his vision for his own life didn't include being a stay-at-home dad, running to soccer games, music lessons, and rocking babies. But he did it because it was best for the both of them.
I have reverse roles with my husband. He is a stay-at-home dad. And this is a man by traditional means would have never even considered the idea. 260 LBs, looks like a linebacker, but took on that responsibility because he recognized I was on a path and wanted to support my path. Not only for my happiness, but for the stability and well-being of our family. And he knew he had a role to play in there, so I recognize that he sacrificed.