3 Things “Wives Must Submit To Their Husbands” Doesn’t Mean

Biblical submission is a highly controversial topic in today’s society and I believe the definition has been twisted and molded into something it was never meant to become.

I believe submission within a marriage goes hand in hand. And while many people like to spin scripture in order to hold an iron first over their wife, I believe God’s intention for marriage was something quite different. It was never meant to be about control. It was never meant to be about ownership.

Our Household

When it comes to the Wilson household, my wife and I have come to the agreement that we will discuss big decisions as a couple—all in hopes that we are truly seeking what is best for our family in the eyes of God. Your household might be run a little bit differently, and that’s okay. The point is to come to a decision as a married couple that you can both get behind.

My wife has entrusted me with leading our family, but that doesn’t mean I am the almighty dictator. In fact, it’s quite opposite. I never make decisions without her. I value my wife’s opinion and voice just as much as I do my own. It’s an honor to lead our home together, and the reality is I couldn’t do it without the support and wisdom of my wife. She’s a champ. We do it together and that’s how it should be.

What Does The Bible Say?

“21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”—Ephesians 5:22-33

After reading through those passages of the Bible, it’s clear what God’s intention for marriage is. But while the intentions seem clear to me, I believe many others have interpreted these words for their own benefit. Let me explain…

3 Things “Wives Must Submit To Their Husbands” Doesn’t Mean.

1. A husband gets to bully his wife around.

Biblical submission and bullying don’t mix. Let’s not forget that Ephesians 5:25 states that a man must love his wife as Christ loved the church. Christ never bullied his people, but instead loved cared and nurtured it on a daily basis. Let’s also not forget that Ephesians 3:28 states that husbands must love their wives as their own bodies. When putting both of these verses into personal application, a husband is not to bully nor control his wife, but instead love and nourish her the way Jesus loves his own people.

2. A wife must submit to whatever her husband says.

A man isn’t his wife’s boss, nor is he her slave master. Being a man doesn’t give one any special treatment in the eyes of God, nor does it give someone the freedom to make one’s wife do whatever he pleases. This isn’t a dictatorship. Mutual respect and honor must be present in any marriage that is yearning to last the test of time.

3. A wife has no say in decision making.

As much as some men would like it to be, this isn’t true either. Marriage is a joint effort. And although some households might decide on giving the man final say in big decisions, one must understand that a woman’s voice is just as important if not more in certain circumstances.

The Bible states that a man and woman will become one flesh in the eyes of God, which means both parties must work together for the betterment of their marriage, family and life.

—Jarrid Wilson


What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.


Published by Jarrid Wilson

Husband, Father, Pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship & Author of a few books.

19 comments on “3 Things “Wives Must Submit To Their Husbands” Doesn’t Mean”

  1. Yes, Ephesians has some lovely verses on wives. Let us not also forget 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Churches and Christian blogs rarely seem to want to bring that one up. We like to live in a revisionist Church, so that we can hold the ideals of modern, secular society, yet claim that we’re loyal to the commands of God. In the context of the modern world, the Bible is an extremist document with a radical doctrine. I try not to forget that, even though the wide gate is easier.

    1. 2 Peter 1:
      20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
      21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

      The Scripture does not belong to you.

      1 Timothy 2:
      11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
      12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
      13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
      14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

      Jude 1:
      16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

      Matthew 5 (in the words of CHRIST):
      17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
      18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
      19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
      20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

      The husband and wife are one flesh and body; with the husband holding the same referential authority as CHRIST. Ephesians 5:21 commands the submission of that one body within the bodies of the Church.

      How do you serve GOD within this? Remember the command to Love came from HIM.

  2. So often this is looked at as, either I’m in charge or you are, ignoring joint respect and responsibility. Instead of seeing my husband as having power over me, we see him as having responsibility for my well being. God holds us each accountable for caring for each other according to His example in Christ.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.