Wives submit to your own husbands as is fitting in the Lord.” (Col 3:18).
Okay, let’s just skip that verse, because I know from just mentioning “submission”yesterday that I’m opening a big ole can of worms!
I’m tempted to just move on, but I know my heart needs ALL the Word—not just the easy-to-do, feel-good parts.
If I truly trust God is for me, and powerful enough to help me, I have to believe He controls what is in the Bible and that what He says is for my good.
So, I want to understand what His Word means when it comes to things like submission. I want to understand well so I can apply the Word as He intends.
So, right off the bat, let me be very, very clear-we are not to submit to our husbands if what they are asking us to do involves sin.
Secondly, I’m not suggesting any woman stay in an unsafe situation or keep her kids in one where she or they are subjected to abuse.
With that said, what does submission look like in a marriage?
Typically, I go to my study NKJV Bible (Thomas Nelson), the Enduring Word App, and books like Systematic Theology (Grudem) to help me dive deep and study a topic. I read what others have written and I test it all against the Word.
If you want to read more specifically about how I study the Word check out https://www.facebook.com/282411148452509/posts/4387210954639154/?mibextid=cr9u03
But back to submission. The topic many of us wrestle with!
I found these statements from the Enduring Word particularly helpful-
“Wives, submit: The ancient Greek word translated submit is essentially a word borrowed from the military. It literally means “to be under in rank.” It speaks of the way that an army is organized among levels of rank,”…”We know that as a person, a private can be smarter, more talented, and be a better person than a general. But he is still under rank to the general.”
“Wives, submit to your own husbands: This defines the SPHERE of a wife’s submission – to her own husband. The Bible never commands nor recommends a general submission of women unto men. It is commanded only in the spheres of the home and in the church. God does not command that men have exclusive authority in the areas of politics, business, education, and so on.”
“As is fitting in the Lord does not define the extent of a wife’s submission. It does not define the limit of a wife’s submission. It defines the MOTIVE of a wife’s submission. It means, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands because it is a part of your duty to the Lord, because it is an expression of your submission to the Lord.” They submit simply because it is fitting in the Lord to do it. It honors God’s Word and His order of authority. It is part of their Christian duty and discipleship.”
“When a wife doesn’t obey this word to submit to your own husband as is fitting in the Lord” (as explained above), “she doesn’t just fall short as a wife. She falls short as a follower of Jesus Christ.” (Ouch)
“This means that a woman should take great care in how she chooses her husband. Remember, single ladies: this is what God requires of you in marriage. This is His expectation of you. Instead of looking for an attractive man, instead of looking for a wealthy man, instead of looking for a romantic man, you better first look for a man you can respect.”
But what if you married an unbeliever? Is this your ticket out? Nope! (See 1 Cor 7:14 on this)
But as far as submission goes, as I said earlier, —“As is the case in every human relationship, the command to submit is not absolute. There are exceptions to this command for a wife to submit to her own husband. When the husband asks the wife to sin, she must not submit.” (Enduring Word)
But when it comes to God’s perfect plan for marriage it absolutely includes submission. We are without excuse. We need to obey in this area of our lives, just like all the others.
I’m 54 (that’s me and my man in the pic below) and is submission easy? Not at all! Just ask my husband and my kids (or, rather, please don’t! 😉)
But, when I pray, when I pause and turn my eyes to God, He provides the strength and wisdom to do this.
And I know, as I submit, as explained in Scripture, I’m demonstrating that I trust the Lord more than I trust me. I’m getting out of His way so He can do the work in and through my family that He wants to do.
And God can do a lot with that!
Now, before you start to comment about that undeserving, low-down, messed-up man your “friend” is married to, hang on and we will talk more about the man’s role tomorrow.
And because some practical examples can be helpful, I’m including a bit on that in the section below—
Is it going to be hard to respectfully state our case when we disagree and then to be quiet about it afterwards? For sure!
Can God help us to do this? Absolutely (Luke 18:27 “nothing is impossible with God”. )
Are we going still blow it sometimes and need grace? Yes! Yes! Yes!
So let’s talk about some examples—
Example 1 -You believe Red Bank should be your bank. You’ve researched their fees, you’ve looked at reviews and you’ve shown all this to your husband. However, his friend works at Blue Bank so he wants to use them. You still feel Red Bank is better but you agree and move on.
Later, Blue Bank slaps you with lots of fees and your husband’s friend leaves to work at Red Bank. You prayerfully ask the Lord to help you control your tongue and you don’t say “I told you so”, because you don’t want to discourage your husband as the leader of your home.
Example 2 – Your husband wants to rob Blue Bank. Of course, you don’t go along! You even call the cops because this is sin!
Example 3– Your husband wants to homeschool your kids. You’re really great at your job and you love it. You explain all this to him but he still thinks you should do this. You ask him to pray with you. You talk with him about the subjects you don’t feel comfortable leading and you find a co-op to help with this. Years later, you find yourself leading a homeschool advocacy group and helping change laws to allow more families to teach their children and include biblical values. From your simple decision to submit, God has impacted hundreds of families . (He does this you know)
Example 4- Your marriage has felt cold. You find yourself arguing more than normal. Your husband suggests you watch porn together the next time you have sex. He tells you the Bible says you aren’t to refuse your body when he wants it. You know from studying the Word that God never wants you to participate in sin. So you refuse to have sex while watching porn, because you know you are to obey God over the sinful wishes of your husband. You worry that he may be unfaithful but you pray and you remind yourself that you trust God to take care of you. You ask the Lord to intervene in your husbands life and you confidentially seek prayerful support and counsel from your pastors wife. Will he leave you? Perhaps? Will God take care of you? Always.
Again, submission is difficult. But, the more we study the Word and prayerfully ask for wisdom, the more confident and free we will become to obey in this area.
I’ve also found it very helpful to build friendships with other women who love Jesus and love you and who can be a safe place to discuss these things.
We don’t want to disrespect our husbands, and share everything with everyone, but having a few wise female friends in your life can sure help you walk this out.