This is quite a controversial topic. Many people feel as if wives submitting to their husbands is a thing of the past. The times are changing. Women don't have to do what they're told. Women run the world.
And while I believe that women are strong, that their opinions matter and that they're capable of many things... these thoughts consume our culture in an unhealthy way.
It is for this reason that Candace Cameron Bure received so much media attention when she wrote about this in her book, Balancing It All. She wrote, "I am not a passive person, but I chose to fall into a more submissive role in our relationship because I wanted to do everything in my power to make my marriage and family work."
Candace did interview after interview, and not once did she recant her statement; rather, she stood by it and defined what she meant to the world. When she used the words "submissive role," she was referring to the biblical definition, which points to meekness, not weakness. She referenced 1 Peter 3:1-2, which says, "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct."
1 Peter isn't the only place in the Bible where God mentions marital roles. One of the more popular passages recited at weddings is Ephesians 5:22-33. And in verse 22 says, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord."
Where else in the Bible does it talk about the role of a wife in marriage? Colossians 3:18, Genesis 3:16, 1 Corinthians 11:3.
God is pretty clear on this subject.
I have been with my husband, Joel, since 2009. We dated for 4 1/2 years, became engaged, got married 11 months later, and we've been married for over a year now.
Some may say that a year and a half of marriage does not stamp the word "experienced" across our foreheads, however, I will not let this make me feel disqualified to share what God has placed on my heart.
I have prayed these verses over our marriage. We had Colossians 3:12-19 read at our wedding. I so deeply believe in this model for marriage.
We've all heard the expression that actions speak louder than words. It's one thing to read God's words and it's an entirely other thing to live them out.
So, what does it look like to submit to our husbands?
Here are a few things that God has revealed to me in the months that I have been married:
Pray fervently for a submissive spirit. Prayer is a very real, deep and powerful method of communication to our Heavenly Father. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that following God's commands is easy. Our fleshly nature will try to fight it and Satan will try to get the victory, but don't let him. Storm the Kingdom gates in prayer over you and your husband's marital roles–and watch the Lord work in supernatural ways.
Start with the little things. If you happen to have a controlling personality, like me, you might tend to exhibit this nature even in small decisions. Maybe you shoot down every idea your husband has, and give your opinion without it being asked. Maybe you constantly tell him what to do or what you would have done in his scenario. Perhaps you display anger or frustration until you get your way in a certain argument. Most of the time, you probably have good intentions for trying to control situations. However, I challenge you to look back and see the patterns of your personality. Collectively, are you displaying this behavior frequently? If so, try something different. Try being submissive and letting him lead, whether it's a big decision like moving your family or a small decision like parking at a restaurant. Men receive love differently than women. I'm certain that they will feel refreshed and empowered.
Don't submit and tell. I strongly believe that submitting to your husband does not mean "submitting to his face" and then turning and complaining about it. It should not be used for blame or to win an argument. Example: "Well, I was trying to submit to you, but now look what your decision has gotten us into..." It should not be a conversation topic with your girlfriends. Example: "He is so hard-headed about this decision, so I am just going to submit to him and we'll see..." It should not be something you explain to your kids. Example: "I didn't want to do that either, but I'm submitting to your dad. If I had things my way..." It's easy to see how these words, while the intentions may be harmless, can do more harm than good. By submitting to your husband, you are being obedient to the Lord and His calling on you as a wife. We do not live to please man, but God. If you're frustrated because you feel like you're doing the right thing, but no one sees, remember this...God sees. He will reward and bless your obedience and faithfulness.
People joke around with sayings like, "Happy wife, happy life," or "The wife wears the pants in our relationship." And although I understand the humor, these statements can be unsettling to me. When it really comes down to it, I pray that my husband never truly feels/believes those things.
Like every area of our lives, we have to rely on the Lord's strength to behave in the way He calls us to. This world is full of distractions and we are born sinners. We must consistently pray to be the wives our husbands need us to be.
***This article focuses on the wife's role in marriage. I am in no way disregarding or dismissing God's specific call on a husband. This blog post is just specifically talking about the call on a wife to submit to and respect her husband.***