Subscribe in a reader or enter your address to get posts via email: 
Like this blog on Facebook!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Bible speaks in many books about wives submitting to their husbands. Isn't marriage supposed to be an equal partnership? Where does this state this in the Bible?

Marriage on Earth is a picture of Christ and the Church. The Word says that the wife is to submit to her husband as the church is to submit to Christ: see This does not mean that the wife is inferior to the husband in any way; in fact, Christ cherished His bride (the Church) so much that He gave His very life for her! And it doesn't take a whole lot of searching in the world around us to find a woman who is successfully leading a business or corporation or other organization; women are perfectly capable of leadership. It's not a matter of whether women are able to make wise decisions and lead. It's about roles, and of obedience to God.

Each of us is created in the image of God ( The roles within the marriage relationship are not a function of the importance of the individual to God (see, especially verse 7, which affirms the equality of husband and wife before God). So God is not trying to illustrate anything about the eternal value of men and women; he values each of us equally. In fact, Jesus seemed to indicate that the institution of marriage is not even something that will carry forward from this life into the next one ( It seems that women submitting to men in a marriage relationship may be something that only occurs in this lifetime.

So if it's not a matter of the capabilities of the individual, the whole "submission" thing must purely be a matter of roles. In general, the wife and husband should find a place of agreement on decisions, but in (hopefully rare) cases where agreement is impossible, a Godly wife will defer to her husband's judgment, not because he is superior or even right, but because it is God's command that she do so. She should of course pray for her husband so that God can change the husband's mind if need be! By remaining within the role God has set out for her as the wife, she remains within God's will and is able to receive God's blessings. Notice that it does not say that the wife should "obey" her husband, but to "submit." "Obey" would mean that the wife has no choice but to do as she was told; "submit" indicates that she is willingly yielding her will to her husband's, not because he is someone more powerful but because it is the role she chooses to live within.

That said, remember that the husband also has a responsibility to fulfill. The wife is to "submit" to her husband, but the husband is to "love" the wife, and Paul also adds "do not be harsh to them" - A husband who is truly loving his wife in the active sense of the word (not just emotionally feeling love for her, but showing his love through his actions) will not ignore her advice, will not steamroll over her feelings; he will value what she has to say, and take her advice when he can see the wisdom in it. So in the proper marriage relationship, the wife does not have an inferior role; her role is just as important as that of the husband. Her thoughts are taken into account and treated with respect. Her husband has no authority in the home unless she gives it to him by "submitting" her will to his. She chooses to give him that authority not only because she loves him, but because she loves God and wants to remain within God's will for her.

I strongly believe that the marriage relationship is the most potent picture of God's love for us and desire for relationship with us that exists. When someone looks at your or my Godly marriage, they should see past it to the relationship between God and His people. Even if they don't realize that's what they're seeing, they should be able to see that there is more going on there than just two people who like to live in the same house and have sex. God has painted a picture for us. He has written a play, and we are the actors. A participant in a dramatic presentation has not given up her free will in order to be in the play; she chooses to play the role in a certain way in order to tell the story that needs to be told. Even so, different actresses will play the same role in slightly different ways, even when they are given the same lines and directions. At any point they could quit playing the role they were presented with, but they choose of their own free will to play the part as written, injecting a little bit of their own personalities and life into the character but always trying to stay on-script. Godly husbands and wives have been given the task and the opportunity to demonstrate Christ's sacrifice, His love, and the Church's submission and devotion in the world. It's not a matter of who is the more important partner in the partnership; it's a matter of voluntarily living within the confines of the role we have been presented with, and by doing so, demonstrating Christ's love to the world.

Ask me anything

No comments: