Before you start reading this one, you have to promise me that you’ll read it all the way to the end. Really, promise me. Don’t bail out when you see the “S” word I’m about to type. It has gotten a really bad reputation, but it’s not a bad word. Really, it’s not.
Ready to continue? Here we go!
Tip #8 – Husbands, love your wives. Wives, submit to your husbands. Yes, I said “submit”, but WAIT! Don’t go anywhere. You promised you’d keep reading, remember?
There are a lot of great in depth studies out there on this passage, so I’ll keep it as brief as I can. In Ephesians 5, Paul talks about marriage and the roles of the husband and wife. One of Paul’s points in this passage is that the roles of husband and wife in marriage are not arbitrarily assigned and they are not reversible without obscuring God’s purpose for marriage. God means for our marriage to be a symbol of Christ and his love for the church body.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
We are to submit to our husbands just as we do the Lord. That means trusting him to make smart decisions for our family. Letting him lead the family in spiritual matters, financial decisions, job choices, parenting, and other issues that come up. Work together as a team, even have a friendly debate on the topic, but ultimately let him guide the family and have the final say. If you trust that your husband is in daily communion with the Lord, and he is letting the Lord lead HIM, then it will be easier for you to follow your husband because you are doing it for God. You can rest in knowing that your husband is making the decision because he feels it is what God wants for you, not just because it is in his best interest.
Submitting to your husband is not meant to be slavish, or coerced or cowering. It does NOT mean that your husband gets to bark orders at you, talk disrespectfully to you, sit back while you do all the work, or mistreat you in any way. If that is happening – seek counseling immediately. Christ doesn’t want you to submit to your husband in fear. He wants you to submit in the same way you do to His leadership – free and willing, happy and refining.
The scripture goes on to say,
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.”
Husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loves the church. The husband should love his wife as his own body. That is a serious endless & deeply sacrificial love! Our husbands are to wash us with the Word – that means he should be spending time reading his Bible and then discussing that with you. Teaching you, praying with you, keeping you accountable with your quiet time. He has the responsibility to practice good stewardship, to provide for the needs of the family, and to heal discord.
This God given responsibility is NOT bossy, oppressive, or abusive. It is being a servant-leader. That means helping, not bossing. Christ was the ultimate leader, and he washed people’s feet. Guys, you can help with the laundry or dishes.
Now, I’ve heard wives say that they aren’t going to submit to their husbands because they don’t feel like he is being the spiritual leader of the family. That he’s not seeking God so she doesn’t want to trust him with those decisions. Or maybe the husband is not loving her the way she wants to be loved. He doesn’t romance her or help enough with the household chores, so she doesn’t feel he deserves that respect.
Some husbands say they can’t love their wife well enough because she never submits to him. She doesn’t let him make any decisions for the family and she acts like she has to be in charge all of the time, so he feels justified in not treating her like a princess.
There is no “IF……THEN” in this passage of scripture. God’s word is speaking to both the man and the woman individually here.
Husbands and Wives, you are each accountable to your Heavenly Father for your actions. You alone will face our Lord on judgment day and your Heavenly rewards will be based on what you did, or did not do. If your spouse isn’t doing their part, you still do yours. If your spouse isn’t doing what they should, they will answer to God for it, but that is not an excuse for you to ignore God’s instructions to you.
Wives, you are to submit….even if your husband is not leading. I suspect, the more you submit, the more you will see him step up and take the lead.
Husbands, you are to love your wife just as Christ loves the church, even if she isn’t submitting. Seeing you as a loving, servant leader will likely make it much easier for her to submit.
If you are interested in reading more on this subject, I recommend John Piper’s sermon.