As with all of my opinions, this is a work in progress. I may not think this same way in six months. I am not the final authority on anything. I know you know that, I just wanted to get that disclaimer in.
This topic is one that I have been praying about and learning about for quite some time. And over time, my opinion tends to lean more strongly toward the opinion I am about to share.
I believe that wives are to be submissive to their husbands. I do not believe that men are superior or more capable in general. I do believe that men are superior in certain areas and more capable of certain things. I also believe that women are superior in certain areas and are more capable of certain things. I believe we are equal, but different.
Along with the differences come different roles. The man is the leader. The head of the wife and of the home. In the same way that Christ is the head of the church. Meaning, a man and wife are one body as Christ's church is one body. A body can only have one head.
The woman was created to be man's helper. This isn't a demeaning role. This doesn't mean slave. This means supporter, helper. The word in Genesis 2:18 that is translated helper or helpmeet, is the word Ezer. It mean helper and every other time it is used in the Old Testament it is in reference to God. When someone is in dire straits, a life or death type of situation and God comes to help - the word Ezer is used. So we aren't talking about finding our husbands socks, although we do that, too. We're talking about life and death. The word helpmeet can be translated "sustainer beside him". Our role is essential. We possess qualities that men do not. Fierce loyalty, determination, long suffering, nurture, etc.
The concept of submission is one of order. It isn't one of value. We are equal in God's eyes spiritually and as far as our value goes. But we do have "physical, positional and functional differences" according to Zodhiates dictionary. We each have a designated function ordained by God.
Submission (hupotasso) means to obey - yep, like it or not- to put under, subdue unto, subject to. To place under in an orderly fashion.
We don't like it. We fight against it. I know men who don't like it. They don't want that kind of responsibility. And it goes against our nature. It is natural for women to want to control people. We like to be in charge. And for many men it is natural to let us. But since when is our nature right?
This is God's design and everything He does is perfect.
Now, in no way is God saying that we have to submit to anything illegal, immoral or dangerous. We do not have to obey our husbands if he wants us to rob a bank to send our kids to college. We do not have to submit to abuse.
So, how does this work? What does it look like? Marriage is full of decisions, big and small. Do I think you should ask your husband about each purchase at the grocery store? Goodness, no. And if he expects you to, then you both need to get some help ASAP.
But when an important decision comes along, I think both need to pray about it and seek God's direction. If you come to different conclusions, the husbands is the one you go with. I think the wife has a right and an obligation to lovingly share her opinions and concerns, but in the end, the husband's decision is the one you go with.
What if he's wrong? Well, that's between him and God and as for you/me? We trust God. If our husbands make a bad choice for us and our families, God can take care of it. He will honor us for being obedient to Him in our submission.
Husbands are accountable to God for the decisions they make and for the way they lead. We are accountable to God for our response to those decisions.
Now, I will tell you, in case you didn't know. That I do not practice this well. It is very difficult, but it is something that I strive to do. A crucial part of this is to first learn to properly respect your husband. You cannot submit if you don't respect. You will only feel resentment.
A wonderful resource for you on the topic of respect, is Laura Schlessinger's book called The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.
In researching for this post I used The Complete Word Study Dictionary, both old and New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates. I also read a little bit in Captivating by Stasi and John Eldredge.
The scripture passage is Ephesians 5:22-23.