Wake Up and Start Living the Marriage God Intended Part 5: Submission
Alright wives, here it is: submission. It’s a word many don’t want to think about, talk about, or do, especially in the world we live in today. One thing that we know as Christians is that we are called to be different from the rest of the world. Wives, submission to your husband is one of the most beautiful ways to stand out in this generation. It’s a way we can live like Christ and shine His glory.
Ephesians 5:21-24 (NIV) states “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do 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.”
Likewise, Colossians 3:18 (NIV) states, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”
I’d like to offer a few thoughts about submission.
1. Submit to position, not perfection.
Wouldn’t it be nice if that was my little catch phrase? It’s not. Lisa Chan, in You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, reminds us that “when we submit, we are respectfully submitting to a God-given position, and not perfection.” God has given our husband the role of headship and authority in our homes. We need to respect God’s best design and our husband’s roles and submit! If we sit around waiting for our husbands to be perfect and perfect leaders, we will never submit because they will never be perfect! Instead, we’ll miss our own call from God to act in submission. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t marry Jesus. Just like I’m not perfect, Mathman isn’t either. We are called to submission, even when it might be difficult. When our husbands aren’t perfect.
2. Ultimate submission is to God
Sometimes we may feel like our husbands don’t “deserve” our submission (they aren’t perfect and neither are we! I can’t stress this enough!). But no matter what, God deserves our obedience which includes submission to our imperfect husbands. Some days, we need to let petty things go and submit anyway. Ladies, we live in a sinful, fallen world, and therefore submission doesn’t get to be black and white simple. The only being we must absolutely submit to is God. God doesn’t intend for us to submit to our husbands if they ask us to sin (lie, steal, etc.) Also, biblical submission doesn’t support abuse. Your husband is NOT God, and if you ever find yourself in a place of abuse, please seek help from those who can hold your husband accountable to God and the law.
3. But what about what I want?
Let me tell you a little story about us and our home. When we first bought our home, we knew it was a complete fixer-upper. Everything needed redone from the outside in. Mathman wanted to start with new windows and siding to help with insulation- to keep the house warmer in the winter, and cooler in summer. I, on the other hand, detested the orange kitchen countertops and greasy, old kitchen cabinets. The kitchen was MY priority. We each had our own ideas and not enough time or money to do both. We had hours of talks and arguments (note: I didn’t want to “give in” and I wanted MY way). Mathman encouraged me and we finally went with his plan. I had to step back and realize he was really looking out for my best interests, even when he didn’t appear to be. He too, didn’t want the kitchen we had, but he had the wisdom to know the biggest priority, and this time, it wasn’t the cosmetic kitchen. For me, it wasn’t easy to submit to Mathman in this instance. I struggled. I wasn’t getting my way. He “was” getting his way (or so I sinfully thought and twisted my thinking to). In reality, he was providing us with a more energy efficient, warmer home that would save us a considerable amount of money every month (hello kitchen savings!). This southerner-moved-to-be-a-northerner would have frozen all winter. Looking back, I’m thankful I waited. I’m thankful I submitted to my husband’s knowledge and wisdom. It was best!
Maureen Anderson in A Marriage Beyond the Dream writes, “Some women get upset if their husband overrides their wishes. But we shouldn’t want our husband to be passive and just cater to our every whim. A man needs to be able to hear from God and obey Him to the best of his ability without having to struggle with his wife to do it.” Wow. That’s convicting for me. I don’t want a passive husband who does what I want only! I married a man with a solid head on his shoulders and I want for him to make wise decisions. Catering only to me means he is not following God’s will- and that would be a dangerous and scary place to be. I’m sinful, and yes, I do get upset and hurt when I don’t get my way. Praise God that as my relationship with Christ grows, this happens less; but when it does, it’s because I’m not willing to 1) hear from God and follow His way and 2) hear from my husband and submit. Instead, I want to give in to my flesh. Don’t get me wrong, wives, it is good and right for us to voice our opinions, concerns, cares, and desires. God has given us wisdom too! Submission doesn’t mean to be quiet and passive. It is ok to have healthy discussions and for you to give your input! A wise man will listen to his wife and consider her input.
4. There’s more than just submission
The Amplified Version of the Bible reads as this regarding wives in Ephesians 5:33, “…the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear].” Not only should we submit to our husband, but also we should respect and delight in him! We need to esteem our husbands and support them. Give words of encouragement to him. When we speak to friends and family, coworkers or acquaintances, we should speak highly of our husband, esteeming and supporting him. Let Psalm 19:14 (NLT) guide you as you speak and think about your husband, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” How can we submit to our husband if we can’t respect and esteem him? Let’s start looking for the good and positives in our husbands. When we put our minds on what he does well, on what is good, and on how he honors God, we will be better equipped to easily submit. The more we seek to live humbly and live in submission, the closer to Christ we will grow and we will be better able to live out our God-given role of submission as wives!