An anonymous guest post from a wife, which I think puts the matter rather well:
“As humans, we use symbols to understand and remind us of reality. We use letters to build words to express thoughts, to convey meaning. It is no different with our bodies. When we align our bodies with truths we are creating symbols of realities. This body language is an acceptance of and acting out of our roles.
My favorite wedding photo is one where I am sitting on my husband’s lap. No other picture captures the peace I felt that day. His arm around my waist, satisfied with his conquest. And later, on our honeymoon, my husband stopped me mid-step, lifted me in his arms and carried me over the threshold. In honor of the Sabine women he said, smiling down at me. Taken in violence. Of course, there was no resistance on my part, but the symbolism was keenly felt; I was his. I melted.
We’ve been married for several years and we have found little ways of expressing our roles. My husband sits at the head of the table, drives the car when we travel together, at times of leisure I sit at his feet and read, or on his lap, and I enjoy greeting him at the door when he comes home. Putting myself in such positions feels right, puts me at peace. Because these are all expressions of truth. Reminders of our roles and duties.
We should strive to fill our lives with such symbolism. It is one way we are able to encounter and accept reality. I believe this is why some women find comfort in dresses and skirts: they are symbols of femininity and by their very nature encourage feminine body language. When I wear dresses, I am more likely to seek help with strenuous activities, sit more lady-like, act more feminine.
I also find using submissive body language helpful in overcoming the temptation to rebel when conflict arises. This body language does not even have to be dramatic. It can be slight. Breaking eye contact first, a lowering of the head. Do these submissive gestures change his mind? No, that isn’t the point. I aligned my body to reality. He is the head. I used body language to humble myself. Believe me, a small act of humility in a time of temptation can be extremely efficacious!
The metaphysical poet John Donne wrote,
Love’s mysteries in souls do grow
But yet the body is his book.
Our souls are filled with mysteries but our body is the book. We are acting out parts we didn’t write but are nonetheless written. Aligning our bodies to these truths is an act of unfolding and reading the mysteries.”