If you’ve missed any posts in this series, you can catch up here.
Over the last few months there has been a lot of talk about submissive wives around the internet. Wives who must be controlled by their husbands, otherwise why would they submit to him? But being submissive is more than just doing what he says or asks. It’s about loving your husband as the man of the house. It’s about following God’s command to “submit to your husband as to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:22, ESV) It’s not always easy, but God warned us of that too. Genesis 3:16b says, “your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.” (ESV) We are fallen women who want to love our husband as the head of the house, while still trying to hold on to some of that power and control that we sinfully desire.
But what exactly is submission? Webster defines submit as “to yield oneself to the authority of will of another; surrender.” Did you catch that? Surrender. Remember what Ephesians 5 said? Let’s look at it again.
…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to
your husband as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even
as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now
as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything
to their husbands. Ephesians 5:21-24 (ESV)
We are to surrender to our husband as we would the Lord. Not because we have to, but because of our love and reverence for the Lord. But how much do we surrender? How much is too much or not enough? Well, let’s take a look at it from the Lord’s point of view. What does He ask us to surrender to him? EVERY. THING. Completely. As sinful humans, this is a constant struggle. But, through prayer and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we seek to give over everything in our lives to His will.
Similarly, we are called to give the responsibility of the household over to husband. That means we surrender to our husbands decisions regarding all the household – spiritually, physically and emotionally. The Lord has placed your husband in a position of authority over you in the marriage relationship and you are to honor and respect that position.
Does that mean you have to agree with your husband in everything? No.
Does that mean you give up your own opinions and bow to him? No.
What do you do when you disagree with your husband? You approach him with the honor and respect he deserves. You calmly and respectfully present your disagreement. You talk it over and discuss why you disagree. Ask him the reasoning behind his decision, so that you can see things from his point-of-view. Then, you may have to discuss some more. But, this is not a debate. It is not a democracy. Ultimately your husband has the final say.
So what if you still disagree? You no longer have the right to approach him and you’re not to make a spectacle of the issue. Go to the Lord in prayer. I know this sounds trite, but it’s what we are called to do.
“but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable
beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For
this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by
submitting to their own husbands.” I Peter 3:4-5 (ESV)
So Peter tells us that we are to have a gentle and quiet spirit – not a loud, opinionated voice. But why? Because we are following in the footsteps of the holy women. And those women understood something we seem to lose sight of in this world of women’s rights and liberation – submission. Their hope was not in their husband, but rather in God.
So even though we may disagree with our husband, we need to remember that they are human too. They need the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. So pray. Pray for the Lord to lead them and guide them to His will. Pray for the Lord to control your tongue and temper when things may not go “according to your plan.” Rather than putting your trust in your husband, which only leads to unnecessary pressure not only on your husband, but also on your marriage; know and trust that God is in control of the situation.
So how do you love your husband as the man of the house?