Christian Women and "S Word"–The Why and the How

Yesterday, I talked about the issue of  “submission” and asked why it is that some Christian women have a difficult time submitting to their husbands (or even the thought of submitting to their future husbands).

Today, I’m talking about the “why” and the “how” of submission: Why should women submit and how do women submit?

Firstly, the husband is to the love his wife as Christ loves the Church, so let’s assume that is the case in my discussion of the “why” and “how” (perhaps a follow-up post about what to do when a man isn’t following the Lord in marriage might be helpful).

So, first off, the “why.” Well, it’s a pretty obvious one…

Because God said so. Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18 tells women to submit to their husbands, plain and simple. Of course, we all know that just because God’s Word says something, it does not automatically make that thing easy to do or even desirable.

Beyond that, we also know that when we choose to obey God’s Word, there is blessing–be it peace, unity, reward, or any other number of blessings.

We also know that obeying God’s Word, in this case submitting to one’s husband, is a great testimony of Christ to others. When non-Christians and Christians alike see a healthy marriage functioning within the commandments of Ephesians 5, they also see the fruit of that obedience.

People are drawn to things that work, and if you’re marriage works and is a reflection of Christ’s love for the Church, then God is glorified.

Which leads us to the “how.” If our desire is to glorify the Lord in our personal lives and, thus, our marriage, then we first must seek obedience.

Sometimes the things God has asked of me do not make sense to me or I disagree with (yes,  I occasionally disagree with God; I tell Him that, but that doesn’t mean I get to be a disobedient kid), yet simply by stepping forward in faith and saying “yes” I receive God’s vision.

For myself, for instance, sometimes just saying “yes” to God in the area of submission and, ultimately, my husband produces a new desire within me to do God’s will.

Also, as we practice submitting to the Lord, submission to our husbands becomes easier and easier.

Having an accurate understanding of the passages in Ephesians and Colossians (as well as other supporting verses)  is also crucial. If you think God means for women to lay down and play dead, well then you might want to reread the text.

Husbands and wives are actually to submit to one another. However, the husband is designated as the spiritual leader or head of the home.

Fear or pride should not prevent wives from submitting to their husbands, because once we understand the truth in God’s Word, we see the wisdom and value in it, as well.

Lastly, I think many women, including Christian women, are susceptible to the lie spun by the world which tells women we don’t need a man, let alone need to submit to a man. We should pray to have God’s heart and desire for submission.

I personally find great satisfaction in considering myself a modern, rather cool (or so I’ve been told), independent woman, who is also simultaneously reliant, dependent, and in love with God and my husband.

The Bible is full of paradoxical statements and the wisdom of man is the foolishness of God. Submitting to a husband may seem foolish to some, or downright repugnant, but to God it is wise and He will pour out blessing, as a result.

My suggestions of “how” to submit are by no means exhaustive. With that said, how do you think women can better submit to their husbands and move past the stigma associated with the word?

8 thoughts on “Christian Women and "S Word"–The Why and the How”

    1. Jay,
      I regret taking so long to respond to your link. I admit, I was just not motivated to read it. However, I have now and let me just say…What the WHAT???!!!

      We could go into quite the theological discussion based upon the link you posted. I will try to be brief.

      You state, for instance, “elder or deacon brought no special religious “authority” over other church members”

      I am thoroughly confused by this sentence. Why would God even establish elders or deacons if they held no authority?

      Why would Paul write in 1 Timothy 5:7: “Let the elders who RULE well be considered worthy of double honor…”

      How can an elder “rule” if they have no authority?

      Paul also writes in 1 Peter 5:5: “Likewise, you who are younger, be SUBJECT to the elders.”

      Individuals are called to be “subject” to elders. This places them in authority.

      I personally do not believe in the concept of equality within the Christian faith…at least not in the same way you seem to.

      Galatians says we are all “ONE” in Christ Jesus. It does not say we are all “equal” in Christ Jesus. This may sound like semantics, but it is not.

      The Bible is ripe with people who held positions of authority or even people who God chose for a special purpose for a special time (John the Baptist comes to mind).

      I take no issue with this. I respect my God who selects individuals for His specific purposes.

      That is not to say that He does not use all of us who are willing. However, we are not all called to the exact or equal walk.

      Equality is a liberal ideal. It is neither wise, practical, nor Biblical.

      Ephesians (and Timothy) clearly gives instruction within marriage regarding men and women’s roles.

      If God were not interested in men and women practicing those roles, I don’t believe He would have made two sexes. What would be the point?

      Furthermore, Paul would not have found it necessary to address such roles in the book of Ephesians.

      Men and women are different, as they should be. These differences play out in daily life, regardless of what we want to happen to desire to happen.

      I find it hard to believe Jay, that you truly believe that no Christian has any authority of any kind.

      Disciplers have authority over disciples. Much of the Christian faith is all about submitting ourselves in humility to those in authority over us.

  1. To me, there’s a difference between need and want. I don’t NEED a man. I may want one from time to time…but that feeling is fleeting. I’m not sure if I’ll get married. I mean really…what is the benefit? I can make my own money, buy my own place, adopt my own child…what would a husband be needed for? I know that may seem harsh but I think I would be being selfish if I only married a guy for his ability to impregnate me lol…It goes both ways too…men don’t NEED women though they may want us…As long as I remain celibate (which is easy by the way), I don’t see what a husband would be needed for…male FRIENDS are enough for me.

  2. Maybe I read your post wrong. It seems to me that the basis for your argument is that the husband DOES love his wife as Christ loved the church. So, here’s my question/issue with the submission of the wife. What if the husband isn’t loving his wife as wholly as Christ loved the church? What happens when he does truly take bad decisions (on a regular basis, not just every once in a while)?
    Maybe it’s the interpretation that has been given to this passage in our culture, but I feel like it’s making women second-class citizens and it discounts the wisdom, the brains and the intuition that we were given.

  3. It’s Jane. I gave my sad story of hatred of men because of the verses you are talking about in your last post. I just wanted to ask you how does it feel to virtually give away your freedom? I know in your last post, you mentioned that your husband was the boss of you. Whenever I am with my boss (at work), I know I am not equal, and that directs our relationship. How can you love someone that is (in your opinion) so superior to you that god makes him your “head”/master? Actually wants you to treat husband like god. When I think of a boss at work, I think of someone who has power, way more knowledge than I, someone who is basically better than I am (if s/he were not, when s/he wouldn’t be the boss of me). Also, if I don’t like the way my boss is treating me, or leading the company, I will find another job. With husbands having such power over you (basically life and death power), wouldn’t you want to find a new boss/master if your currrent boss/master is not treating you correctly? If you equate your husband/master with a boss, I would think divorce is more likely to occur. I think that is why more traditional christians end up in divorce. The wife can only take so much submitting-most women don’t really need a head or a master-they are perfectly able to make decisions about their lives on their own- they want an equal partner and friend. Masters and “heads” are scary creatures-they are not lovable, they invoke fear-order us around. Equal partners (either in friendship or marriage) are fun, loving, supportive people. I know who I’d rather be around. If those submissive verses hadn’t scarred me so much, I might have liked the idea of having an equal partner. Of course, ever since I heard the submissive verses, I hate men, so I can’t really ever experience an equal marital partnership. I just think an equal partnership is so much healthier. When one partner has too much power, it is so easy to lead to bad consequences.

  4. Hi Jane,

    Jason again. The way I see it, Your reason and your heart knows what you want : love and an equal partnership. The “I hate men” part is really a choice. Not the feeling of hatred that comes from a misplaced sense of oppression and the need to protect yourself, but the choice to not look at that feeling with a new light, with the adult in you that recognizes the scarred children or teenager in you and the choice to let go and to choose happiness, now, today.

    I think you need to do yourself a favor and deal with that part of yourself, the healing is the way to feel piece and be at one with yourself and others.

    I think lots of people, especially sensitive and emotional ones have been scarred by a lot of events, people or ways of thinking. Realise that you are not alone, seek therapy if you must and move forward in life.

    Hating men is confortable because it protects you, but the day you’ll meet the love of your life, this shield will protect you from hapiness too.

    A word to Mrs. Cottrell. : In my experience, I met my wife, we fell in love, we NEVER used the word partnership, it’s not a contract, it’s love. We chose to be together because it enriched our life. We are christians.

    So, basically, I fell in love with this person, I could not ask her to change her personality and extinguished the fire in her and submit to me because Paul, 2000 years ago, who was, let’s face it, a man of his time where women did not have autonomy nor the right to speak, said so. It is really outdated.

    So when you say that the Why is pretty obvious, “God said so”….eeeeeh, Paul said so, very different. That’s why Jesus was there, he never ounce ask women to submit.

    What concerns me, and I know you mean well, is that many christians blogs out there promote the absolute submission, even when the husband is violent and abusive. Not at first of course, but it’s a process. Clip wings..use the bible to manipulate, the cases of abuse are countless, I think that whatever positions or divergences we share, it is not safe for a person’s developpment to encourage subordination and submission.

    Equality means harmony and letting one another just be, for me.

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