The Submissive Wife
Before I even start this article, I just want to preface it with… I am NOT condoning abuse of ANY kind. If you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help. That is NOT what this article is about. I know that this issue causes a lot of controversy and I am writing from my own opinions based on scripture and Bible study I personally have done. I am not the end-all authority on this. Only God thru His word and the Holy Spirit can be your counselor.
Having said all of that, I find it sad that in our world, the term Submissive has been so redefined to mean “Door Mat” that I would even need to have prefaced the article. But, never the less, here we find ourselves. Some of us are wives and some of us just hope to be wives one day. Whatever walk of life you are in, I hope that we can take a look at the scripture on submissiveness together.
First, before we talk about what Biblical submission is, let’s address what it is not. Being submissive does not include never voicing your opinion. It does not mean that you are agreeing to become a punching bag for your spouse. It does not mean that you are forced to have sex at your husband’s will. It also does not mean that you are agreeing to be verbally abused or put down.
Biblical submission for the wife (in my opinion) is rooted in the curse that was issued by God at the fall of mankind into sin. – 16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 (bold emphasis is mine) That part “Your desire will be for your husband” had always puzzled me. I thought that it was an odd curse since our desire as wives should be for our husband. But then I realized it meant that your desire will be to control your husband. OH!!! Yes! I see that now. So, later in scripture when we are commanded to submit, we are basically commanded to voluntarily suppress that sinful desire to control our husbands.
A husband is charged with leading the family. Without a good leader, no team will survive long. So, there is a lot of responsibility there. AND add to that the dissension that comes when a wife is trying to be the leader or lead the leader, and you have a recipe for disaster. We as wives need to let our husbands lead our family.
How is that going to happen? Well, it is different in every situation, but I know from experience that in my own marriage, that happens when express my opinion gently and as opinion only (not as a command). And then, if that isn’t the route my husband decides to take with our family, I suppress the urge to be hurt that my opinion wasn’t the route taken.
The second way to become submissive, is to ensure that you are praising your husband. Yes, that may seem obvious, however over the years of marriage, we tend to notice all those things that our spouse does wrong and less of those things that they do right. Notice those things that they are doing right. The things that are really good for your family, and praise him for them. They need to be assured that you are still on their side and that we appreciate them.
The most important way, Pray for your husband. We are ALL a work in progress, and need daily prayers. Prayers DO change things, and mostly it is our hearts. It changes our hearts to be more loving and forgiving to our husbands. And when we see that our husbands are trying to live up to all of those responsibilities that have been laid upon them, we appreciate them even more.
One last way, never talk bad about your spouse to anyone and especially not in front of your children. Our husbands are the leader of our household and they needed to be respected as such. Speaking ill of them will only cause us to think more about those negative things that bug us each and every day. It will also cause our children to see those things in their father.
In our culture where the word submit has come to mean so many negative things, I think it is important to remember that there are some cases where we are CALLED by God to submit. And this isn’t just a quick “One-Verse” in the Bible, this is repeated. Here are some of the verses I used for this study. I welcome your comments as we all strive to become more Godly Christian women.
Ephesians 5:21-23 (NIV)
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 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.
Colossians 3:17-19 (NIV)
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
And this one that deals with an Non-Christian Husband
1 Peter 3:1-2 (NIV)
3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.