Is Submission Unquestioning Obedience?

Is Submission Unquestioning Obedience?

Someone tweeted this comment: “Biblical submission is not the same as the submission some preach. It’s not BDSM, it’s not unquestioning obedience, it’s not degrading or a lowering of the woman’s value…” I would truly like to know WHO teaches that submission is BDSM, unquestioning obedience, or that it degrades and lowers a woman’s value. The ONLY ones I could see teaching this type of submission are those who hate biblical submission and want to twist it into something ugly and perverted.

NO, biblical submission doesn’t include BDSM. It’s not submitting to any type of physical abuse. NO, it’s not unquestioning obedience. It’s not submitting if a husband asks his wife to have an abortion, watch porn with him, or participate in a threesome. NO, it’s not degrading and lowering a woman’s value. Only those who want to cause fear in women teach that this is what submission looks like. They may hate God or they don’t trust that God’s ways are good.

How come it’s only biblical submission that gets so skewered? No one would think that students have lower value and are degraded because they submit to their teachers. No one would think this of citizens submitting to their government or employees submitting to their bosses. Why do they do this with marriage? The most intimate relationship of all where the woman actually gets to choose who she marries?

Submission doesn’t cause anything ugly. Christ submits to God. Is there anything ugly about this at all? In the same way, wives are to submit to their husbands. There is nothing ugly or perverted about any of God’s ways. Many want to twist and pervert them in order to keep as many as far away from God and His ways as possible.

Submission is for our good. It’s order in the family. Two heads create a monster. God ordained the husband as head over the wife. Submission doesn’t cause abuse of any kind. Evil or angry men will abuse whether or not their wives submit. No, a wife should never submit to abuse. But she must remember that it’s not God’s commands that cause abuse. It’s sin.

Can a woman suffer in a marriage? Yes. Read 1 Peter 2. In the same way that Christ suffered, some women will suffer under disobedient husbands (“Likewise…” in 1 Peter 3:1). Is suffering bad? No, God uses it for our good. He uses it to refine us and make us more like Him. Our lives on this earth aren’t intended to be perfect. God promises us tribulation but reminds us that He has overcome the world.

Women whose husbands look at porn suffer. Women whose husbands have problems with anger suffer. But guess what? Many husbands suffer being married to contentious, quarreling wives. We live in a fallen, sinful world with imperfect people. If you’re expecting your husband to be perfect and godly before you submit to him, you’ll never submit and will be living in sin. God commands wives to live in subjection to yes, even those husbands who are “disobedient to the word” in hopes of winning them without the word.

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
1 Peter 3:1,2

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Ephesians 5:22-24

22 thoughts on “Is Submission Unquestioning Obedience?

  1. Amen! Submission is freedom and a good thing. It all starts with submitting to Jesus. He is the only one who has complete authority and deserves unquestioned obedience. The bible says wives submit as unto the Lord meaning in everything but things that go against honoring the Lord aka sin.

  2. Great post. Submission is such a touchy topic for many. It goes against our carnal flesh to submit, as well as to recerence our husbands. Yet the Bible plainly teaches that! Thanks for explaining this more in depth.

  3. Thank you Lori. I appreciate what you wrote here but I have no idea what BDSM is. Call me dense I guess.

    Anyway, I’m finishing up Love and Respect and Dr. Eggerichs makes it absolutely clear that we wives are to submit to our husbands except in areas of sin.

    Debi Pearl says the same in Created to Be His Helpmeet. I’ve learned much from both books and appreciate what I’ve learned.

    To Kevin you always write encouraging comments and my goodness Dude (that’s what my daughters would say) I didn’t know you are so young!

    May the Lord bless you with a godly wife in the Lord’s timing.

  4. Haha thank you so much I’m 29. Just a guy who is living for God. Just love seeing people like Lori who embraces God word and embraces biblical roles. Rare these days.

  5. Whenever I see one of you’re Instagram posts on submission, I roll my eyes and say to myself ‘here we go again’…… Not because I disagree with you, but because of the ignorant women coming up with every excuse in the book as to why they couldn’t possibly submit, or how can you say such a thing! Or so you’re encouraging abuse?… Or coming up with some other exception. I’m glad you took the time to explain what it is and what it isn’t.

  6. I was taught to submit to my husband and have no problem with it. The problem is, women in leadership positions that God only intended for men to have and women being joint pastors with their husbands, is giving new Christians a totally wrong view of male and female roles and relationships in the Christian family. You are writing the right things but in their own churches they are seeing the opposite. Not only are they setting a wrong example to other adults but they are setting a wrong example to Christian children, which I think may send them to hell, going by this verse, “Matthew 18:6, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” There are some churches doing it right but quite a long journey for us to travel to them. It is going to take either a miracle or a lot of work for people like yourself, to teach people the correct way to live as a Christian.

  7. Oh my goodness yes. Either you see this husband wife pastor nonsense or the preacher’s wife up there giving mini sermons in between songs. There is a movement going around saying as long as a woman isn’t the head/senior pastor she can preach but thats just not the case. The church has become weak. Even preaching at a conference is wrong. Key rule of thought if there are men in the audience its not permitted.

    1 Tim 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

  8. Women are submissive.

    They submit to their peer group. They submit to their workplace bosses. They submit to their teachers. They submit to their pastors. They submit to Dr. Phil, Oprah, the ‘ladies’ of The View etc.

    The only submission that triggers defensive rebellion is submission to their husbands. Their husbands are the only people who are commanded to love them as Christ loves the church. Their husbands shall bear at least some guilt for their sins, if they acquiesce to their whims.

    In my own marriage my wife submitted to the women’s group collective decision as to how to perform marital intimacy. Every time, I felt betrayed, humiliated, and degraded. Catholicism has an especially bad tendency to deprecate marital union. I held a deep anger and started refusing.

    In a more recent incident I came home from work, and was told that my son’s girlfriend, by whom he has a child, wanted to visit on Thanksgiving. My wife told me that she spoke with a priest who told her that she must not allow it. My wife submitted to a pastor who told her that I was not allowed to see my son and grandson.

    Her submission to anyone but me has destroyed our marriage and has set a terrible example, that has contributed to 5 of my 6 living children leaving the faith.

  9. In the era of ’50 Shades of Grey’ the word ‘submission’ is just a bit…weird…

    Even I recoil when I hear ‘Submit’ to my husband…and the image in my head is the Hollywood version of the word

    It just goes to show you how words can be remade and changed throughout the centuries

    Submit to your husbands authority—
    Recognize your husbands authority
    Respect your husbands authority
    Honor Your Husband
    Respect your husbands opinions, views and decisions
    etc etc etc

    It’s just words and feeling associated with phrasing

  10. Hello, Lori :). I’m not necessarily new to you, being that I am aware of who you are and some of your posts on Instagram, but I’ve never actually followed you or read your blog. I spent some of the day watching a few of your videos on YouTube. I’m not quite sure where I fit in this world, to be honest. I’ve never been a feminist, and I must say I’ve never been a woman who believes that women can/should do everything that men do (even while I was in the world). In a way, a lot of the ideals I have held are rather traditional. I’m not the most seasoned Christian, and to be honest, I have been on a very slippery slope downhill until just this week when I decided that I would truly like to surrender to the Lord finally and completely , leaving behind my dependence on sin to cope. I’ve seen the verses in God’s Word about women many times now, but I can’t say I understand them exactly. And for that reason, I have always avoided you because your posts made me very uncomfortable and anxious. I’m not sure I can be the kind of woman you speak about. I give weak attempts at trying, but I don’t believe my heart has been in the right place. I’ve never even had an example of this kind of woman in my life. I only pray that God will give me an understanding of His Word, as well as who I am to be.

  11. It’s not your power that will change your life. It’s God’s power living in and through you as soon as you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He came to earth as a man, took the punishment for your sin by dying on the cross, and rose to new life. At this moment, you will be a new creature in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to buy a KJV Bible and listen to this man teach through the book of Romans. God’s Word will transform your life!

  12. Thank you for responding! I know that now, despite how many times I have tried to earn my salvation. The pain was great and so I continued to run back to sin, but now I’m even more broken and my body and soul are exhausted and without strength. I believe in Jesus, and I know that He is Lord, but I struggle with believing I am saved. Because I just couldn’t be and have acted the way I did. And so now I pray everyday that He will help me to believe in Him, completely and fully. To give me a change of heart. I own a KJV Bible and it’s the only translation I read. I’ll look into the man you just sent, thank you very much.

  13. I asked a question regarding submission to husband’s struggling with substance abuse last week, and I haven’t heard back yet. This is not for my family, but for women I wish to encourage that are facing this reality. I’m not seeking an exception, and I am not in rebellion to God, but I really don’t know how to help them. I specifically asked what a wife’s role is in confronting sin areas that compromise a woman’s provision for her and her children.

  14. It’s hard to give specific counsel when I don’t know the specific details. I would encourage a friend in this situation to seek out the counsel of a wise, older woman in the church.

  15. Lori,

    I should not leave a false impression that the blame is solely my wife’s.

    In order to keep the peace and avoid conflict (the Latin temper is not mythological) I abdicated too much of my proper authority, even when I had grave misgivings. This only encouraged her rebellion.

    My free advice to younger Christian men is to put God first. Say the Our Father, and ask God for a spirit of forgiveness. Know that you are under a constant attack by demons, who will use those closest to you. If Catholic memorize the St. Michael’s prayer and the Memorare. If Protestant memorize Ephesian 6: 10-17. Say them whenever you feel oppressed. Do an examination of conscience, and confess your sins and beg God for a spirit of contrition.

    In all things stand firm for God’s will in your own life, the life of your family, and you community.

  16. Hi Lori, I wholeheartedly believe in biblical submission and headship order, so much so that I also write about it. However unfortunately I have had to decline doing something that is plainly evil in the bible. I struggled with that decision. I’m often conflicted on when to submit or feeling like I’m compromising but Debi Pearl talks about defining it by the word evil. That is helpful as many things are not good but not necessarily evil. For the past 10yrs of marriage I have been struggling with the women in my husband’s family. They are used to controlling the men in the family and demanding what they want. They don’t respect marriages which has put a lot of strain on ours as they come and go doing what they please and causing division and chaos then they dissapear for awhile when they have what they wanted. I feel unprotected as their demands are unrealistic and we are being continuously used and abused. My family and friends will no longer come to occasions where they will be due to their behavior. In short they ruin the good times and happy events. We are about to have our 2nd child and they are coming back in after over a year of ignoring myself and our other child and I am feeling very anxious. What can I do?

  17. This is my reality. I am living this. My husband also has recently been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder which explains so much of his behaviour over the years. It is so hard. I am broken. Years of verbal and emotional abuse has worn me down and I am broken.

    Really, the only advice you can give to women in this situation (provided they are safe) is to lean on God. Ask him for strength, for comfort. Bring your burdens to the Lord in prayer. Ask him to help you endure.
    It’s the only way to cope. We can’t do it alone. When we try, we break. I am living proof of that.

    I have stayed away from this blog for a long time because some of the comments from men were truly discouraging but I have missed the wisdom that can be found here.

    Encourage your friends to pray. Constantly. It helps.
    If they are in danger, encourage them to reach out to the authorities. And even then, pray. Lots.

  18. Do you have a godly, older woman in your life who could give you wise counsel and encouragement? Any woman in your situation definitely needs help.

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