Ephesians 5: 22
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
This certainly has to be one of the more controversial verses in the Bible—at least for women. Men love the verse—even my husband quotes it from time to time. Most women brush the verse away with the explanation that it was a custom of the time and nothing to do with life in the 21st century.
I don’t believe we can pick and choose what to follow in God’s Word so I set out to be a submissive wife. Not an easy task for anyone and certainly not for me for a variety of reasons. But let’s take a look at the above verse in context. Yes, wives are to submit to their husband, but husbands, you’re not off the hook. You have something to do as well.
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—
Did you get the point of the verses? If not, let me be very clear. Wives are to submit, but husband are to put their wives first–above their own needs–above their own wishes. Husbands are to love their wives and take care of her needs and desires first.
My husband is a godly, giving, generous man who naturally puts me first. Knowing that, makes it much easier for me to be the submissive wife. I trust him to make decisions based on what’s best for both of us. And as wonderful as he is, I still have to remind him of his part in the above verses from time to time!
For those wives who are in a more difficult marital situations (whether your husband is a Christian or not), understand that there is a difference between submission and abuse. Never allow yourself to be abused in any way. God does not want someone to hurt you, physically or emotionally. On the other hand if you simply want things to be your way because that’s what you want, then I think you need to talk with God about it.
Being submissive isn’t about losing your personal choices.
Being submissive isn’t about being a doormat.
Being submissive isn’t about fear or following rules.
Being submissive is about showing respect to your husband.
Being submissive is about sharing your opinions and feelings, but trusting your husband to make good decisions.
Being submissive is about being a partner in the marriage, not necessarily the boss.
And husbands, the above holds true for you as well. Being a bully to your wife is NOT acceptable in any way. You are to be the leader, but if you don’t act like a leader you can’t expect your wife to follow you.
If you want a more submissive wife, then learn to put her needs before your own. And not just her needs but her desires as well. Yeah, that’s what I said! Spoil her—treat her like a princess!
SHARING TIME: What’s your thoughts? Is being a submissive wife an outdated notion whose time has passed? Do you consider yourself a submissive wife—and what does that mean to you?
Spot-on, Lillian! Submission, in our modern culture, seems to equate the follwoing: “Hey, walk all over me and I won’t even mind…trample my spirit and dreams. It’s ok…” No, no, no, no, no. 🙂 You nailed it with the fact that while wives should submit to their husband, husbands need to be loving, caring and attentive. They need to be respectful and reverent toward their wife and marital relationship. Marriage isn’t about a couple, it’s about a trinity: Man, Woman, and GOD. What an awesome post!!! Love it!
Thanks so much, Marianne. It’s not an easy principle to follow from someone who came from a very “difficult” marriage. But it makes for a more peaceful, harmonious home.
Thanks, Lillian. Like you, I believe the Bible doesn’t call us to pick and choose. God’s Word is timeless because God is timeless, so each command stands. That said, I think of how we poets and writers “submit” our poems and manuscripts to editors for approval, feedback, and, hopefully, publication – an illustration, perhaps, of how wives can also submit ideas, thoughts, feelings, interests, plans, suggestions, and creative expressions – with respect and also with awareness of editorial (or spousal!) needs.
I am a head of music ministry in our church for almost 3yrs, my husband does not attend to our church anymore for some personal reason, in this situation we argue in some matters, he wants me to resign to my ministry and go with him… Im not ready for now. Am I not submissive?
That’s a hard one! but your relationship with God comes first. But the question becomes can you still serve God while following your husband to another church. God bless you.