“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.” Ephesians 5:22-23
Oh the verse. The verse that 21st century women love to run from and the only verse that, that one guy knows and loves to use at his convenience. My whole life this verse has terrified me. It scared me because I was always given the idea that submissive meant “without a voice, no choice, just kids and kids and kids.” If you have ever read “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt than you kind of have an idea of what kind of life I was always picturing.
I could not stand the idea. Honestly, It is because I couldn’t understand it. “If God loved us so much, why would he expect the woman to just succumb to that type of life?” I would wonder. Then again, Eve DID eat that forbidden fruit after God was like “Seriously, don’t do that.”
(Side Note: Do you ever wonder if she is nervous to see our entire species when judgement day comes considering downfall of humanity started with her? I mean, we ALL would have ate that fruit but nevertheless, that anxiety level has to be risen slightly.)
I wanted so badly, and still do, to live for God in every way that he asks but I was scared this verse would ruin all my chances. I did not know how to be this version of submissive I had always believed. I have always been opinionated, a big decision maker and loved working. I love watching the fruits of my work come to life. My mind is always running 134 miles a minute, with scheduling, organizing, running finances, etc. Everything in my personality collided with “submissive.”
Then I married Cole. If you know Cole, you know he is the most easy going, content, down to Earth man on this planet. Since we have been married Cole has worked hard, I have worked hard, we were always sure to discuss every decision with each other, have never once gone to bed angry at the other, and have tried to always keep Christ at the center. Our marriage has been great overall up to this point. So I pushed this verse into the back of my head until that man, you know the one who only knows and ever refers to this verse because it works in his advantage, refused to even speak to me about a personal financial matter a few weeks ago because I was a woman. He then made the comment that Cole and I’s marriage was completely wrong, completely void of Jesus, because Cole should have control over me. This hit me like a train.
It hit me because someone thought I was void of Jesus, that my marriage was void of Jesus when I want nothing more than for God to shine brightly through me. I want people to be able to hear my words, or watch my everyday actions and know that God is in there running things. Some people think evil cannot recognize good but that’s wrong. It is evil, it is that darkness that first notices the light. This man didn’t see my light. Why?
Because all this man knew truly about God and his truth was this verse. This was the only room he had allowed himself access to. If this light inside me was dim in this area, I really didn’t want that darkness to slowly keep spreading, I had to fix this. I have been studying, thinking, and praying hard over this for about two weeks now and my whole perspective has changed. All these years I have been so focused on what submissive means to certain individuals, that I never thought to ask God. So to teach me what submissive means, God gave me the most wonderful husband in the world who taught me to focus first on what submissive is NOT.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[a] 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 their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:25-33
Submissive is NOT:
Being Forced to Agree on Everything
Keep your opinions, just keep your opinions respectful. If you have worries or doubts, express them to your husband. Husbands are smarter than we like to sometimes give them credit for (winks at my husband as I type this). Some men are natural born leaders who just know what to do and how to do it. Some men just don’t know what to do, not that they can’t or won’t, they just don’t know how to yet. Cole, for instance, is a super hard worker but not the best with finances. He becomes overwhelmed and most times forget what money needs to go where. I am better in this manner. I am constantly doing the math in my head, I just have to lay it all out, explain to him these are the priorities, this is extra money, this is my suggestion but ultimately he makes final decision. However, If I have brought up a good point, he is very open to listening and will more times than not go with the choice he feels is better for us.
The husband is called to be the head of the household, the leader. Signs of a good leader include confidence, communication, and humility. Confidence to stand firm in his relationship with Christ, confidence to stick to his guns, not allowing himself to be swayed if she is in the wrong, because believe it or not ladies, sometimes we are wrong and if our husbands are to lead our household, wouldn’t you want him leading you in the right direction? Communication- Communication is important for both husband and wife. The willingness to listen to, learn from and even teach is key to keeping a harmonious decision making process. Humility, because like many others have before and still do, LACK of humility can cause a man to start telling a woman when to eat, sleep, and use the bathroom and a woman to start conforming her life around a controlling, void of Christ relationship. This can go vice versa, many men can find themselves being controlled in the same way. Most sin is run by pride and it is easy to let control get to our heads and we run with it.
Avoiding trying to bring your husband closer to Christ // Putting the will of husband before Christ
Sometimes, we don’t marry the perfect Christian guy who loves you and loves the Lord more. Sometimes they may have no desire to grow further in Christ at all. Being a submissive wife does not mean you have to accept that and be unwilling to try to bring him closer to Christ. Continue to show him the Lord’s love, teach him the Lord’s word, and never ever allow yourself to go against Christ in order to submit to your husband. Christ first, always. This does not mean to be arrogant or haughty if you ever have to go against the will of your husband. In all things, be respectful.
Acting in Fear
In Ephesians 5:25-33, it states that a man should love his wife like Christ loves the church. The man is instructed to LOVE.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Does that sound like something you should be fearful of?
To be a submissive wife, respect is the key. You do not have to lose your free will to think, and as far as women in the workplace/their position in the home, that is still something God and I have to talk about. I still have so much to learn, and I’m sure I will write many things that others do not agree with. If you disagree, or feel a verse is teaching something different than the lesson I had taken from it, please let me know. My goal is to grow further in Christ, I am always open to hearing different perspectives. Being a submissive wife is something I have struggled with, even before marriage. I have thought long and hard, and prayed and prayed, and I’m still unsure of what all is included in being a submissive wife, but these few things I’ve listed today I am pretty sure are not part of the job description. Ladies, don’t be afraid of your husband being the head of the household, you married him because you thought he was worthy of filling that position, let him do his job. Christ only ever has our best interest at heart, he is here to build us, not bring us down. Let’s follow his instruction and see where it takes us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”‘ Jeremiah 29;11