Submissive, this word brings trepidation to the hearts of many women. It brings downright fear or even anger to some. It is a word that unfortunately has been used against many of our sisters, when it was meant to be for their good, by a loving, gracious God.
Like many things God has given to us for our good, society has twisted what being a submissive wife really means. The world view tells us that being submissive makes a woman less than, that it is an archaic notion at best, and complete tyranny by her husband at worst. This is not at all the Biblical intention of this word. To really understand what being a submissive wife means, we must look at scripture and what God says about this subject. This week on the blog, we will be discussing submission, God’s design for marital delight.
Before I dive into the Word though, can I be really raw and transparent with you? I was one of those women who thought that this submissive wife thing was not something I needed to follow. I thought that if my husband was not being what I thought he should be as head of the household then these verses did not pertain to me.
So for years, I acted on my own accord, and reaped a bushel of trouble that I had not bargained for. The problem? I had been disobedient. Yes, my husband had been disobedient in some things as well, but guess what ladies? I was not meant to be my husband’s keeper. I am not the Holy Spirit and I am certainly not God and neither are you.
I tried to play those roles and I failed miserably and nearly lost my marriage. I became very good at beating my husband over the head with scripture and telling him why this or that was wrong in our relationship. I became very good at judging. And not so good at loving. Scripture paints a beautiful picture of marriage with clear directions for us to follow in order to have a joyous union. The following passage from Ephesians is one most of us are familiar with:
Let’s unpack some of this. I think I could write a whole book on the full depth and breadth of this passage. However, I feel a few quick key points will steer us in the right direction of lasting change.
5 Lessons From Ephesians 5
Submission places us in our God given role of being under the headship of our husband who is under the headship of God himself
Placing ourselves in submission to our husbands is an act of obedience to God, ladies. It is putting our house in the right order so we do not miss out on our blessings. It is adopting a servant lifestyle just as Jesus illustrated over and over during His ministry. It will produce joy, thankfulness and growth in your marriage. It will produce deeper emotional and physical intimacy.
It is meant to be a voluntary act
Submission puts self second. As you focus on respecting your husband (even when you do not agree with him!) you are showing God that you trust Him to meet your needs. That you are trusting God to work through your husband regardless of what doubts you may have about his ability.
It is meant to be a picture of Christ and the church to a fallen world
Remember back in Genesis, when that serpent tempted Eve? That was no chance encounter! Satan appealed to Eve first for the sole purpose of reversing God’s order! He knew that if he could get the family out of order he could cause destruction. Satan caused Eve to commit the original sin by getting her to think that she could be like God. Ladies you are most God-like when you are acting in your role coming under the headship of your husband. It is then that you are reflecting God’s image, just as the church is intended to do on a larger scale.
It is about respect
I am here to tell you that Biblical submission changes things. As your husband watches your changed behavior he will respond in kind. As you give him respect, he will give you love. As you allow him to lead, he will step up to the challenge. When he shares with you and you listen and act in a sensitive manner to him, he will appreciate that you are no longer being so critical towards him.
Practicing deceit or whining in order to manipulate a situation is not submission! You will get what you want more easily when you submit. You are to influence through a gentle spirit, speaking the truth to your husband in love when he is out of order.
It is not about being weaker than men
And finally, submission does not mean you are weak or inferior. Even Jesus has to submit to the Father. We are equal to our husbands in person, yet not in our roles. We each have our God given strengths that we are to utilize to bring about a successful marriage. A wise husband will see his wife’s strengths and allow her to utilize them in the home for the good of them both. When we act in our Biblical roles, life is sweet!
Verses To Pray Over Your Marriage:
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Peter 3:7 NIV
*Please note, if you are in a relationship where there is physical abuse of any kind, please get appropriate assistance and get yourself to a safe place. Ephesians 5 is not meant to hold women in a situation of danger.