I was doing some research for this post and saw an article titled, “Provocative Bible Verses: Wives Submit to Your Husbands.” It made me laugh. In an age where women are fighting to be seen as equals, the word submit has turned us off. I’ll be the first to admit that the passage in Ephesians calling wives to submit to their husbands has rubbed me the wrong way for a long time.
Until now. This weekend, I attended a marriage conference along with 1,000 other engaged and married couples. During their session for women, they explained what it means for wives to submit to their husbands, and it completely changed my heart.
Before, I viewed submission as an act of weakness, like a dog following its master. But when God directs women to submit to their husbands, it is not an issue of power and equality, but of the roles for which he created us. In Christ, we are all created equally in his image. So how can submission mean men ruling over women? The answer is it doesn’t.
For women, submission to your husband means encouraging him to grow in his relationship with Christ, being open to his leadership, and trusting his knowledge. I wouldn’t follow a God that I didn’t trust wanted what’s best for me. In the same way, I wouldn’t have married my husband if I didn’t trust his ability to guide me. If you have an issue with submitting to your husband, maybe you need to examine the amount of trust you share.
For men, leading your wives means loving them the way Christ modeled his love for the church. In the same way we’re expected to submit to your guidance, you’re expected to demonstrate love the way God does for the church: unconditional, sacrificial, and selfless (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). That’s a big deal.
So what does this mean? As women, we have been called into Godly submission of our husbands who have been called to love us the way Jesus modeled it. I believe that our problem with submissions does not lie in the fear of breeding inequality in our marriages, but in our inability to trust our spouse. Although my husband takes seriously his call to leadership in our relationship, he does not use it as a way to control or rule over me. He doesn’t expect me to blindly follow him into sin or stumble along while he makes wreckless choices. Rather, Jeremy strives first to submit to Christ and then to lead me. As a result, I am able to trust that Jeremy’s pursuit of Godliness in his own life will produce Godly leadership in our marriage. That makes submission easy.