To Love, Honor, Vacuum, and Obey

To Love, Honor, Vacuum, and Obey

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.
Ephesians 5:22-24

42 thoughts on “To Love, Honor, Vacuum, and Obey

  1. Amen you guys did a good job here. Always amazes me why people disobey God’s clear commands. The churches are lukewarm, the feminist movement is taking over, there is no fear of God, christians are getting censored for speaking about anything that goes against the world, etc.

    Now days no one is including obey in their marriage vows sadly. All you hear is mutual submission, we make decisions together, always say yes to your wife in marriage, etc. Whether submission is an salvation issue is debatable because how can you call yourselves a christian but don’t obey God? Plus people don’t talk about the rewards in heaven. You will be rewarded in heaven based off how you lived your life out biblically on earth.

    People need to realize how the family unit is so important and how the enemy is winning right now in destroying it.

  2. From our Proverbs reading this morning: “Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.” Proverbs 25:12

    Debi’s book was also the catalyst in our marriage. I think most feminists are so busy yelling they never take the time to actually quiet down enough to listen to the Word of God.

    Submission to my husband is such a beautiful picture of the relationship between God the Father and Christ the Son. And realizing that my obedience to God does not depend on my husband’s obedience to God was freeing. I am only responsible to God for how I obeyed, not how I may feel my husband did or didn’t love me. And when I started submitting, I was freed to be the woman God truly created me to be.

    Thanks for unashamedly speaking the truth, Lori. Don’t let the feminists get you down.

  3. I wondered about it being part of a salvation issue, too, Kevin, since I can’t see how one can say they are a Christian and then live in disobedience to Him but then Ken asked me, “So all those years when you weren’t living in submission to me, your salvation wasn’t secure in Christ?” He had me there because I knew my salvation was secure in Christ even when I wasn’t being a submissive wife.

  4. You’re welcome, Sarah, and I won’t! They’ve been after me almost since I began writing almost nine years ago. I know that greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. In this, I take comfort.

  5. I don’t know not doubting your salvation but it is something to think about. Being a Christ follower means we follow Christ how can you follow Him and love Him if you don’t obey His word? Yes there are grey areas that everyone will differ in but a wife submitting and gender roles is CLEAR as day there is no argument here. A lot of professing christians think they are saved but the verses that screams out at me is….Matthew 7:21-23…….

    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    But hey just my thoughts, listen to your husband 1 Cor 14:35 :).

  6. Yet, no one will follow Him perfectly while on this earth since no one is perfect. I don’t always submit to my husband perfectly and he doesn’t always love me as Christ loves the Church perfectly. It’s not what we do to earn our salvation but what He’s done for us. This is why we live our lives in joyful thanksgiving!

  7. I kept the word obey in my marriage vows, and I was only married 5 years ago. ?
    In all terms of being practical, “mutual submission” between a husband and wife can’t work, anyway. Someone has to lead.

  8. Read Matthew 5 and Romans 3. If Grace-Faith-Works, and if we are all judged by our works that follow faith, then we are all condemned. Every human being sins in some area. Just because another person’s disobedience and dirty rags look different than yours doesn’t mean they’re not saved. And if we could earn salvation through works, there would be no need for a Savior. Obedience is the fruit of faith lived out in Thanksgiving to what Christ has done for us.

  9. @Sarah Brown No we are saved through grace but if we are truly changed and a new creation works should follow. You can tell someone is a christian by their fruit. We are sinners saved through grace for sure but once you are born again it should be evident by how you live your life :).

  10. Before I became a stay at home wife, my husband and I spent Saturdays dividing up the housework. By his choice, he always “did the floors”.

    I tried to assume floor duty when I became a stay at home wife, but he wont allow it. He says he has a system and he insists that he continue to “be in charge of the floors” LOL

    What could I do but submit to his wishes??

    Anyway, the larger point is, that, as you described, Lori, my husband and I continue to grow in our Biblical roles as a husband and wife. Prior to knowing each other, it was completely foreign to both of us. Gradually we have chipped away at our old worldly ways, which is how I became a stay at home wife.

    And yes, I practice being a submissive wife. I was not good at this at all in the beginning. But I have made a lot of progress. Honestly, it has lifted a lot of burden and is a relief. It is true the marriage is blessed when we are obedient. We have experienced it firsthand!

    We have attended several different churches in the last few years, and have never heard this even mentioned.

  11. I think it would be great if there was a way for engaged couples to include in their wedding registry Biblical books on marriage. I use The word Biblical because not all “Christian” marriage books out there are Biblical.

  12. I literally cringed when I read your title to this article. I try to find biblically based authors that will encourage my wife. I thought I may have found that in the author of another site, that uses almost the same phrase. However, not only is obey absent from the author, but a complete twisting of scripture is present. I don’t expect to agree with every theological issue, but so many things are crystal clear in scripture and I can’t ignore or blindly accept people calling themselves a Christian author when they speak and write things that are blatantly contrary to God’s word. Sorry, enough about that. I will take a breath.

    As to the point of your article, I don’t find my wife struggling to obey. There are, at least, two reasons for this. First, she knows she is to first and foremost obey God. Just as we are to submit first to God before we submit to our government, she is to submit to God. Her submission to me is in response to her relationship with Christ. Second, she knows that I have her best interest at heart. I do not ask anything of her out of selfish motives. Yes, I have to continue to ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit to keep my heart in check, but my goal is not to rule over her but to protect and provide for her. She is a precious gift from God.

    I know I have written this before, but I am so grateful that you are writing and encouraging women to follow Christ. I had nearly given up on finding a biblically focused author that I could encourage my wife to read. I pray that God will bless you and Ken as you seek to share truth from the scripture.

  13. I have to be careful about pointing out the speck in my neighbor’s eye when I have a log in mine. While I strive to obey my husband, there are other areas of obedience where the Holy Spirit has A LOT of work to do. I occasionally get overwhelmed and yell at my kids, I sometimes struggle with gluttony. I can place my faith in man instead of in God. The neighbor down the street who is a female CEO of a large corporation may look at my life and say, “Wow. Look at those bad fruits. Doesn’t she know what scripture says about anger and gluttony? Where is her faith? Surely she’s not saved.”

    Sanctification is a process. I don’t think any of us will ever be fully sanctified until eternity. And we can believe differently on specific scriptural topics and still be brother and sister in Christ. 🙂 But yes, thank God for the saving grace of Jesus Christ!

  14. We know the author of the blogger of whom you speak. We both tried for a long time to convince her that a wife’s submission and even obedience to her husband is mandated by God but to no avail. We were both eventually blocked by her but that’s okay. It’s her blog and she has the freedom to teach what she wants.

    When a wife lives in submission to her husband, she is living in submission to Christ. Unfortunately, all husbands aren’t like you and my husband who have their wives’ best interests at heart and this is why God wrote 1 Peter 3:1, 2 for those who have husbands who are disobedient to the word. But these wives can actually win their husbands by living in subjection to their husbands! God’s ways are so opposite of our ways.

    Thank you for your kind words and support. We both love the Lord deeply and know that His ways are far superior to our ways!

  15. I agree, Regina! This is why I wrote my book “Biblical Womanhood: a Study Guide.” Most young women have never been taught biblical womanhood and its essential to having a solid, biblically based marriage. I also wrote it as a guide for older women to teach younger women since many have no idea how to teach this. I believe if young women are taught their role in marriage, their marriages will be strong, especially if they marry a strong believer in Jesus Christ.

  16. Being submissive and being quiet and gentle go together. When a Christian wife submits and is quiet in a meeting, the Holy Spirit is some how present or you could say in operation. I don’t know how to explain it, but I know wives submitting and being quiet, some how proves the existence of God. The atmosphere is different. The husbands are more confident. In fact all the men are more confident. I know this from going to friends churches. Plus the one we go to. In short, where you find quiet submissive Christian women you will also find confident Christian men.

  17. We attended a church service where the men were the ones speaking and the women were all quiet and submissive. It was beautiful! There’s nothing ugly about God’s will for our lives.

  18. I was raised in His word and was taught early on that a women’s place was in submission to her father, and then later, her husband. My mother and aunt’s were the model of joyful and submissive wives and I grew up sound in this conviction.

    it wasn’t until after my marriage that I realized that other women were not taught this. I had not had much interaction with the world, only with extended family and a few select other families who shared our christian beliefs.

    our first year together, my husband and I lived for some time in a small home a state away from my family due to a career opportunity of his. it was my first experience with having neighbors within walking distance. my husband worked long hours and I was often home alone for most of the day. Several of my female neighbors introduced themselves to me and at first I thought they were kind.

    later, it turned out that although they claimed to be christians, they were ungodly and not submissive. they tried to humiliate me by calling me “slave” to my husband, and they often brought up the fact that I couldn’t drive as an insult. I tried to teach them about god’s word, but it all came to an end when my husband’s co-worker informed him that the town believed he and I were “in a cult”.

    my husband prayed to Him and sought advice on if the job was worth staying in such a place, and after much prayer and deliberation, he decided it was time to pack
    up and leave.

    no matter what they call us, we must remain strong in our belief in the Lord. He has called me to be submissive, no matter what the world may say.

  19. Amen and amen! Living God’s way IS the best way and I am living proof of that. I spent the first 10 years or so of marriage not living in submission to my husband. We went through some very difficult times but praise God we made it through. Not passing the blame for my behavior, but submission was definitely not something I was taught, but rather I was encouraged to stand up for myself from other Christian women in my life. However, my heart changed when I actually went to an above rubies meeting close by (I live in Australia), and what they taught was music to my ears, it was so refreshing to hear biblical truth and let me tell you, I learnt more about how to be a godly wife in that hour or so than I had in all my life.

    Anyway, after that meeting I went home and repented to my husband and since then, well, our marriage has gone from strength to strength. We even welcomed our third child into the world earlier this year, something I honestly thought would never happen as my husband was adamant we would have no more. God can and does change hearts and living HIS way is the best. I honestly love serving my husband and not only that, but knowing my true calling is as a homemaker, wife and mother takes away all my anxieties and feelings of inadequacy of feeling like I’m not doing enough (such as working outside of the home). I now know I am right where God wants me to be and that brings me so much peace.

  20. I listened to a really good sermon on submission the other day by Larry Brown. A lot of people think that the husband should love the wife first and foremost but scripture actually teaches that women should submit first. Here’s the sermon if you would like to listen to it ?
    God bless your ministry Dear Lori!

  21. After years of observation, I came to the conclusion that in a successful marriage it all comes down to the emotional maturity. If both spouses are emotionally mature, most of the problems that Lori talks about shouldn’t happen. A mature person would know how to establish healthy boundaries, how to respect other people, including their spouse, how to not put their own wishes first, how to communicate in an effective way and how to negotiate differences. Mature people tend to be reliable and rational, but it’s very difficult to make a marriage successful if one of the spouses does not have this maturity, this can lead to a husband who is selfish and values submission for the wrong reasons (to boost their self-importance, for example, or to exercise control for the sake of it) or a wife who treats her husband in a disrespectful manner or uses manipulation techniques to get her way instead of communicating her wishes.

    My husband is like this, he is very kind and confident, he does not need to feel like he can control other people or to get his way to feel important or just to have the last word, and I admire him for that. His confidence comes from his faith and his relationship with God and he has always been such an example for me. And I think this is what makes it easy to be married to him, his decisions are rational and his requests always make sense, and he always puts other people first. I try to be the best wife I can for my husband and Lori’s blog has helped me a lot.

  22. Powerful sermon! The subordinate always submits first. If the leader/superior “submits” first then the roles would be flipped and that changes authority structure. The one in authority doesn’t defer to the subordinate. BUT once the subordinate completely submits it makes the husband or the one in authority change and want to do anything for the subordinate.

  23. You are blessed to have a man who is easy to submit to, Leslie. Some women aren’t so blessed but God can use them in powerful ways to affect change in their husbands by walking in love and showing their husbands Christ’s grace and mercy every day. 1 Peter 3:1-6 is God’s perfect prescription for them and all of us! We all have bents to want our own way and be our own leader at times. This is why we must be continually renewing our minds with Truth.

  24. people can be harsh about what they don’t understand. the women were far more judgmental than the men, but once the rumor mill got started my husband decided that we should put down roots elsewhere. it was no
    place to raise a child in His word.

  25. I agree with all you have said, but i have a question. Is making decisions together okay, as long as the husband has the final say? i cannot see why it is wrong to discuss the pros and cons of things together.

  26. Of course, you can discuss the pros and cons IF your husband wants to do this. If he doesn’t want to hear your opinion (most husbands want to as long as the wife isn’t forceful about what she wants), then let it be. But as the head over his wife and in the God-ordained authority position, and the wife in the God-ordained submissive position, God has given the husband the responsibility of running the marriage as he wants.

  27. Agree with Lori. A Godly husband should value and want to hear the opinion of his wife before making the decision but if he knows the wife is always second guessing him, trying to manipulate him to changing his decision, etc he might just make the decisions without her thoughts which is totally ok and biblical. The husband is the head of the home and the decision maker in the family. The wife is the subordinate and defers to her husband in all decisions.

  28. “In short, where you find quiet submissive Christian women you will also find confident Christian men.”

    Amen so true!

  29. Tamara, can I ask why you didn’t drive? Thank you for sharing, people can be so mean and it is not called for.

  30. I struggle with submission. I submit a lot, but my husband is always after me to submit. He actually showed me your article. I’m a full-time working wife and mother of two young kids. There are things that I resent, because I feel like I’m doing all the work while my husband relaxes. I’m not saying that my husband does nothing, but I feel taken advantage of. For example, just this Thanksgiving, I did all the cooking, then I did all the clean up and washing. It wasn’t a holiday for me. Then it seems that every time I ask to go to a Christmas event, my husband finds reasons not to let me go. He also nitpicks and micromanages.

    God, I draw on Your strength everyday. You’re the only reason why I’m still a wife.

  31. Submission is not always easy. Read 1 Peter and be comforted and encouraged by God’s Word to you in this book. Yes, the joy of the Lord is our strength.

  32. Thank you for sharing about your own journey. Sometimes it’s discouraging to see so much anti-submission mantras everywhere so thank you for your bold honesty.
    I’m blessed to have been brought up by a mother who both submitted AND had a loving husband, my father. Beautiful. So far my own marriage has been the same way if not better. Hallelujah!

  33. Totally agree with you. My marriage of 57 years has bless us so much more after agreeing to follow God’s design for marriage.

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