Written by me, Lori, with help from my husband, Ken.
There are four things that God asks wives to do for their husbands: love, honor, vacuum (housework), and submit, but the hardest of these things for me is to vacuum. It’s not that I don’t want to vacuum but due to a bad car accident years ago, the motion of vacuuming hurts my neck. But why is it that most Christian women will vacuum without much complaining but struggle greatly when it comes to obeying their husbands when it’s clearly commanded by God?
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement” (1 Peter 3:5, 6).
The bigger question is why do pastors everywhere, female Bible teachers, and bloggers all treat the word submission as a bad thing (using the word “obey” would be completely off limits), even when God calls it good, the key to a harmonious marriage? We can blame the feminist culture of our times and blame the fear of women who need to stay in control to feel protected from their man and to get their perceived needs met. But is there more to the story as to why pastors and female Bible teachers everywhere are purposefully butchering the clear teaching of the Word on a wife’s submission to her husband?
For pastors, the answer is simple and clear. They live in fear of their congregation and watering down the Word to protect themselves and the flock from infighting as it seems justified in their minds. Some will purposefully muddy the waters leaving no one satisfied with their sermon but not upset enough to call them out or leave the church. Many pastors avoid the subject altogether or just as bad, they teach a sermon on a wife’s submission to her husband by explaining everything he is supposed to do for her and not do to her, even going so far as to say, “A wife was not born to serve her husband.”
I thought the Word of God teaches that all believers are born into Christ and are to serve others and that this service begins with serving our spouse, family, and fellow believers, then extends to all others in need. What a lame thought to put in the mind of a believer that we are not here to serve. What are we here for if not to serve God and in turn serves others?
So why are so many Christian female teachers and bloggers against submission? It’s not like submission is some fringe view taught only by some cults, but rather it is spelled out clearly in eight to ten places in the New Testament and modeled in both the Old and New Testament and for 1,980 years of the Church age. So what makes submission all of a sudden such a pariah to these women?
I wish I knew exactly, but I will postulate that many of the most articulate and famous of our female Bible teachers had childhoods that were messed up. Such childhoods can instill great fear in trusting men. Others may recognize that if they taught submission, they might actually have to learn to submit to their own husbands, and God forbid if they ever had to do that as it may destroy their running around to do their “ministry” while neglecting their husbands, children, and homes.
I think that many of them still don’t get it. They don’t see the beauty of a wife’s submission to the man she chose to be her husband and leader, and they cannot grasp the true oneness and intimacy when they can give themselves fully to their husbands with good will, then trust that he will seek what is best for her; for we are promised that we will reap what we sow.
So under the guise and excuses of “potential abuse” and the excesses of some men, Christian women everywhere are losing out on some of the very best that God’s ways offer them. They are making themselves into islands who are separated from their husbands physically, emotionally, and spiritually, all in the name of protecting themselves from something God says is good.
I understand these women because I used to be this way myself. I must have read every marriage book I could get my hands on, and I saw the submission passages over and over again, but I convinced myself that until my husband loved me as Christ loved the church, I did not need to submit to him. He needed to lay down his life for me, just as the pastors would tell me every time they preached on submission before I could submit. Oh, and he must be perfectly godly, too.
I became the prosecutor judge and jury when it came to determining if my husband truly loved me or not. And being leery of any man’s love, not feeling truly loved particularly by my father growing up, I, like so many of these Christian female teachers, could not see how I would be able to submit to a husband. So I found every excuse in the book not to submit, not realizing how many years would be wasted by not doing things God’s ways.
Thank God that He brought me to my senses with Debi Pearl’s book Created to be His Help Meet. Sure, Ken had been working on me for years to try to get me to understand what was going on in my mind and in my soul, but I could not see it until the Spirit opened up my mind and the blinders fell off. I will always regret all of the years that we could have had a great marriage if I had just listened to God and my husband in the first place.
I apologize if I come across strongly against these female teachers who crisscross the country teaching Christian women everything except what God tells them to teach. I know how hard it is to trust God at His word, but His word and His ways are good! I have tasted and seen that they are good. Jesus said that He would lead us into truth, and one of the greatest truths of the Christian marriage and family is, “Wives submit to your husbands.” For it is in our submission that our humility, vulnerability, and love can flourish as we learn we can indeed trust the man God has given us as our husband, leader, and lord.
Don’t be angry at me about this but talk to Sarah about it when you get to heaven. My guess is she will tell you, “I sure wish I had trusted God and my husband more fully and not made the mistakes I made by taking on the leadership role at times in my marriage, in spite of God’s Word, because I feared that my needs for a child may not get met in spite of God’s promise to me.”
Trust the Lord, Christian women, at His Word. Begin with baby steps if you must but learn to place your trust in God by trusting the man you chose to be with as your husband. In time, not only will your intimacy and connections grow, but he will grow up in his role as the loving leader of you and your home. Although a wife’s submission to her husband is a non-essential for salvation, it is an essential for those who desire to please God by keeping His Word. Many marriages are finding the blessing that can only come by enjoying living life God’s ways.
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.