Tuesday, April 15, 2008

submission to husbands

Alrighty then.  My friend Sue asked for me to blog about submission.  Well, okay.

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.


  1. I totally agree with what you've said, Kay, particularly with your statement that we can't submit unless we first respect. Although not respecting our husband does not let us off the hook, so to speak. We are still to submit. It just makes life a lot easier if we have that respect in the first place.

  2. I was told by a counselor that to keep from nagging tell your husband once, and than it's between him and God. Say the dishwasher is broken. Tell him once and than drop it. If he fixes it good if not good. Do the dishes in the sink,BUT don't grouse about it. As you do the dishes by hand count your blessings. What can you be
    thankful for? dishes, silverware, water in the house, people who share the meals with you and on and on. With a thankful joyful spirit. Hubby will come home to a happy wife doing dishes by hand and will possibly think Oh yeah! I need to get that dishwasher fixed. If he doesn't thats between God and himself like you said. And you haven't sinned by developing a hateful, nagging attitude. Trust God's hand in all things. And this does work...the weight just lifts off.

  3. Well done, Kay. My favorite reference book for this is Dr. Emerson Eggrich's Love and Respect.

  4. Bravo, Kay. I heard once that submitting to my husband is like submitting a proposal to an editor. You give it to them and then you accept the results. I give my husband my opinion on a decision and let it go. I, like you Kay, are better at this than earlier in our marriage, but still have a long way to go.

  5. Great post and great comments. I'm so not there either. Why can't it be easy? I know nothing worth anything is easy...

    I guess the hardest part is watching them make poor choices knowing that they will hurt the family. But you bring up good points in saying that God will take care of the family...

    Let's pray for each other that we become the godly women that God wants us to be and that our husbands need...

  6. Great post! I find when we do it God's way..no matter how our flesh may fight..when we give it wholeheartedly to the Lord and obey the Word....it just comes out better. Submission works...even when it seems like the wrong thing and the hardest thing to do. I believe the Lord desires our obedience and there is great reward in obeying Him.

  7. I'm always upset that the media leaves out the very next chapter when reporting on this subject.

    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

    I would think it would be easy to submit to a husband who follows this directive.

    Also, Kay, although I haven't read the book, when I heard Dr. Laura discuss her proper care and feeding book, my response was Wow, finally, a woman who gets men.

  8. I wasn't surprised to see what an awesome answer you had for my query, Kay. I have printed it out and plan to carry it in the bag I take to work with me, to meditate upon.
    You have reminded me that I can be a powerful and precious part of my marriage, through my submission. I want very much to be the woman God has designed me to be.
    Never stop writing, Kay. It's so obviously God's Gift to you. Thanks for such a detailed answer.

  9. WRONG. This whole idea is based on so many misunderstandings, misperceptions and mistranslations that is would be almost laughable if it weren't so tragic. No ladies, you are NOT called upon to "obey" your husbands. This order of things is NOT God's design; it is a result of sin, it is part of the CURSE women brought on themselves as part of the Fall, and part of God's redemption is removing that curse as much as is possible on this earth in this time. Furthermore, the word "head" does NOT mean "boss" as it does in our society's lexicon. From the original Greek it means "source" which is quite a different thing. STOP stuffing your true natures in order to defer to some man, including your husbands. This is NOT God's perfect will for you and will stifle his creation - you. This is a wrong teaching and has done much, much harm int he world. It makes me so sad and angry both to read such drivel. Wake up ladies. Wake up.

  10. I always love it when someone has such a strong opinion..but logs in as anonymous.

  11. To anonymous. The part about submission being part of the curse, and that part of God's redemption "is removing that curse as much as is possible on this earth and at this time", is very intriguing. I wonder if you'd share those scriptures with me. Thanks.


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