A comment from my post on Obedience for Wives
Mary's obedience to God's will certainly was extraordinary. My husband, however,
is nowhere near godlike. It seems that you are putting the mother on the
same level as the children in having to submit to the husband's will and this
would erode a child's respect for the mother if her decisions are overridden or
It also seems a great burden to put on a man to have to be
the decision maker all the time.
What's wrong with a united front of two parents?
Children thrive when parents show a united front in marriage. Married couples experience great joy when they live the bond of marriage to its fullest. Many couples desire this type of marriage but in today’s world with epidemic divorce, it is obvious few attain happiness in the union of marriage. I believe obedience is one of the missing elements in today’s troubled marriages.
The Catholic Encyclopedia explains “Obedience is a complying with a command or precept …Stress is put upon the fact that one not only does what is actually enjoined, but does it with a mind to formally fall in with the will of the commander.”
There is great benefit in the spiritual life if one practices obedience. With the practice of obedience we slay the old self and put on the new. Obedience gives us the chance to be a true disciple of the Lord, to pick up our Cross and carry it. Obedience allows us to imitate the gentle Lamb’s sublime manner: He who was led to slaughter because it was the Will of the Father. There is no more effective manner of unveiling our self-centeredness and breaching the walls of our selfishness than by obeying someone else’s will. Obedience is sanctifying.
In marriage, it seems to me there are two types of obedience.
~Obedience in trivial matters
~Obedience in important matters
An example of obedience in trivial matters would be
Dad says wear a coat. Mom says wear a sweater.
I tell the children to listen to Dad when different instructions come in. I don’t think this undermines my authority rather I have the opportunity to provide an example of obedience from which my children learn. St. Catherine of Siena , a fourteenth century Doctor of the Church, proposed that no virtue is passed on to another without good example. (Fr. Hardon’s Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan) Modern pedagogy encourages teaching through example and calls this “modeling good behavior.”
There are several benefits to the wife who practices obedience in trivial matters.
Obedience maintains the “united front”, provides good example to the children,
prepares the wife to practice greater obedience in more important matters, and assists her in keeping her opinion to herself in front of the children. (It is no small task to be able to curb one’s tongue.)
If husband and wife disagree on more serious issues, I believe the practice of obedience in marriage does not preclude discussion. However, I believe the discussions should take place in private. For example, if the husband and wife disagree about where the children should be schooled, the mother can express her concerns, offer her insights and make her case to her husband, but this should be done without the children present. The husband should respectfully consider his wife’s thoughts. But, if the husband and wife continue to disagree after this private conversation, I would suggest the wife offer obedience to the decision made by her husband. If the decision is within moral bounds but not to her liking, it is time to pray that the Lord reward her obedience in the raising of the children, enlighten her husband if a better choice should be made, and pray for resignation and humility. Obedience in marriage should prevent rancorous debate in front of the children another important and worthwhile goal to pursue.
Our Blessed Mother not only showed extraordinary obedience to Almighty God but she also demonstrated a loving and complete obedience to St. Joseph. Her marriage to St. Joseph was a real marriage. She totally understands life in a family. She also understands the great responsibility of one who is the recipient of such obedience. The Lord Himself showed her absolute and perfect obedience as her Son. Husbands and wives can both learn the meaning and practice of obedience by studying the virtues of Mary.