These things have been on my mind and heart, and I as a married woman I believe it’s such a helpful thing to meditate on as I walk out my role as a wife. I am excited to share a few of the things the Lord has taught my heart through His Word in regards to this subject.
Let’s look at Ephesians 5 together:
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
I put the parts of this Scripture that directly speak to wives and their part in this beautiful picture in bold so they would stand out to us.
Wives, we are to be subject to our husbands, submitting to them as unto the Lord (vs 22), why because we are part of a bigger picture…. a picture of what the Church looks like. Unfortunately in our American culture, many marriages and many churches don’t look like this, so it can be difficult for people to wrap their minds around. Many people call themselves Christians, but do not submit themselves to the Lord Jesus with their lives. Unfortunately for these people they have bought into a lie, they think that saving faith is merely giving a mental acknowledgement to the truth of Jesus’s death on the cross and being raised from the dead, followed by simply confessing it with their mouths whether or not the truths or words impact their lives. The truth is in Scripture we see other descriptions of a true believer that don’t line up with this idea. Take this one for example:
Romans 6: 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Being under grace means that we no longer let sin reign in us; we are now instruments of righteousness.
The Picture: Christ and the Church
It is the same in many marriages today, people don’t see the value in serving their husbands and submitting to them as unto the Lord. Now truly, you are in a marriage commitment whether you submit or not (the analogy does break down at this point), but try to follow me here on the topic of this bigger picture.
We are a part of a picture that we see here in Ephesians represents Christ and His Bride- the Church. For this reason our submission is very important so that we can be an accurate representation of this beautiful picture.
The S word
“Did she just say submit?” To some women this may be almost repulsive. Our culture has taught us to fight for our rights to be equal with our husbands, and to have equal say in everything….. or perhaps even fight to run the show. Many television shows today portray the father is the dumbo who doesn’t know anything and messes up everything; and mom is portrayed as the completely competent hero. That is a message that is being sent in almost every teen Disney or family sitcom out there. It’s sad.
Truth is, that is a total mockery of what Christian marriage is designed to represent. As the Church, we are not equal in authority with the Lord Jesus, He is our master! He does love us, He has called us friend, and He even gave up His life for us and bore the wrath that was meant for us because of our sins, but He is still our Lord. If we are in Christ, we do not run our own show, we are not in charge, we don’t even have equal say in what we are going to do…. we are to submit to His Word and commands.
Submission in marriage is a part of God’s perfect ordained order, and it has a greater purpose because of this profound mystery of us imperfect people being able to reflect the beauty of Christ and His Church.
Many women fear this submission thing…. they are afraid of becoming “door-mats”, or being taken advantage of. The believe that their husbands will make a bad decision that will affect them negatively, but this is where we have to trust that God’s wisdom is much wiser than our wisdom. This would not be in His Word if it were not true. We need to trust the Lord in this! And we can not do this without His Spirit indwelling us!
I believe that this looks a little different from marriage to marriage, some husbands desire more input from their wives, and others desire more respect without many questions being raised against what they are leading them to do. Sometimes this varies from situation to situation and we need to learn our husbands and learn to be discerning in each of situation. We should honor our husbands by communicating and asking them how and when they want our input and help in decision making. Within my own marriage there are many decisions that we make together and my husband desires my input and wants my help with discerning what we should do, and there are other instances that he makes a decision for us and even if it may not have been the decision I would’ve made, I agree and commit to it with him with my whole heart. This is a picture of how submission works in our marriage. I have to admit, this isn’t always easy. But the Lord continues to work in me and make my heart more submissive and less self-seeking. We must be honest with ourselves, and repent to the Lord and apologize to our husbands when we push our own will against theirs. We are not perfect, neither are our husbands; thankfully we can confess our sin to the Lord and He will forgive us. The more we walk in the Spirit, the easier submission becomes. We must be abiding in Christ in order to have the humility it takes to serve our husbands and think of them more highly than ourselves. We all know this truth, and it applies to this aspect of marriage as well: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
And we really can! And when we are walking in this way, what a beautiful part of a picture we get to represent! To be a part of that glorious picture of Christ and the Church is a great honor!
I hope you continue to be encouraged by this, I know that this is not often talked about in certain churches, and for many of you this really upsets you because of the things you have been taught by our culture, and maybe even things you have been falsely taught from churches. Many pastors tip-toe around these Scriptures and change the meanings of them to fit with the ideas of the culture. I pray that you will be receptive to God’s truth. If this is not something you’ve ever heard before, or even if this is something that upsets or offends you, I beg you to seek the Lord in prayer and search the Scriptures for yourself to see what they say on this subject. The above verses are not the only ones that you will find if you look, there are many others.
Blessings to all of you as you serve your husbands this week!
For your further pursuit:
- This book has been a huge help to me in walking this out in my marriage: The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace (aff link)
- Recovering Biblical Womanhood by John Piper and editors Wayne Grudem and J. Ligon Duncan (aff link)
- Recovering Biblical Womanhood sermon by Paul Washer