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

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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. First of all I want to say that I love your posts. I read your blog quite often. But this particular post confuses me a little. I’m not sure exactly what you are saying. I was recently divorced after being married to an emotionally and verbally abusive husband for 18 years. I stayed with him for as long as I did because nowhere in scripture did I find that my being a good wife was contingent upon him being a good husband. I believe that wives are given a set of expectations, and husbands are given a set of expectations. But it doesn’t say that we are free of our obligation just because the spouse fails to meet theirs. Ultimately I just couldn’t take it anymore and I chose to leave but I struggled with myself for a long time because I felt like I was sinning against God by choosing to end my marriage. I even tried to reconcile my marriage later, but it didn’t happen. So is your blog post suggesting that I was not at fault for leaving him? I would love it if that were true, but I just can’t believe that. I know that I sinned against God the moment I chose to divorce him. Thank God we have a forgiving God!

  2. When Paul used the term “submission” in reference to women, it was non-hierarchical. Instead if we look at the greek word (hupotassō), it meant, “a voluntary attitude of giving, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”. It implies accountability and responsibility as equals as part of one-body.

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