When I got engaged to Kyle and was instructed to “submit” to him… oh, there were some problems.
In my head, I was all like, “oh, so that means you’re supposed to just win from here on out simply because you’re a man?”
Yeah. I really took it there. And even though it made no sense, in my mind, I thought that submission meant a great deal of what a strong woman was not.
I come from a family of strong women. If we get knocked down, we get right back up. We’re hard workers and we love hard.
Back then, I thought that to “submit to someone” it meant that you were weak. Unable to fight back. Surrender. You give up. You lose.
Kinda like a cage fighter who was severely twisted into some radical arm bar with only seconds left before someone ripped their limb completely off. Not the person I wanted to be modeled after once I became a wife.
So yes, I struggled with this. Sure, I knew that the Bible commanded it, but
While Kyle was doing his thing trying to lead us into a relationship designed by Christ, I was too busy trying to prove how strong I was and how capable I was at being my own leader.
In case you didn’t know by now, I was a pretty stubborn and independent woman back then. Probably still am today. But my perception of this role has changed tremendously. And all for the better.
So for anyone out there who is perhaps engaged, and/or are planning on becoming someone’s wife someday, then let me break this down for you in the way that it was broken down for me.
And just so we’re clear, I received my biggest ah-ha moments on this topic while doing our premarital counseling book, “Preparing for Marriage“. I still to this day think that this is the greatest premarital book out there.
Back to submission. I think what has happened over time is that we (as women) see how mistreated other wives have been. Many have lost their voice over a lording husband. Because of that, we tend to associate that result to wives having to submit to their husbands.
It’s been displayed everywhere too. In movies, TV shows, cartoons, etc. Big, bossy, thick-headed husband is running shenanigans while mousy, “submissive” wife says nothing and cares for the home.
And now with the way that feminism has evolved, we are seeing
Women are no longer sitting still, pretty, and quiet. We are speaking out, and proving to the world that we are strong, powerful, and amazing.
So to me, when the Biblical truth of what a wife must do within a marriage faces what women are now being shown to do in society, the two worlds collide.
Engaged women (and single women for the most part) are feeling this pressure to dim their lights simply because the Bible tells us to submit.
But the truth in the meaning of the word itself is not what the world
First off, we get this whole, “submit to your husbands” from Ephesians 5:22-24…
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 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. 2Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.Ephesians 5:22-24 (NIV)
And yes, according to that definition, the word, “submit” does indeed mean to “subject oneself”. But I’ll come back to this.
There are other things that a wife is called to do besides “submit”. We are also called to…
- Love their husbands
- Love their children
- Be sensible
- Stay pure
- Be workers
- Be kind
- Show respect to their husbands and others
Now, if this isn’t a good list of what you would want to become as a wife, then I don’t know what to tell you. All of this came straight from Titus 2:3-5. Also,
Here’s the part that really helped me understand why a wife should submit to her husband.
There is one other thing that God commands us to be as wives. And that is to be our husband’s helper.
Back then, I thought of the term, “helper” much like I thought of the term “submission”. I thought of Batman & Robin, or like Vanna White from “The Price is Right”. They were there, but didn’t say much nor do much in the grand scheme of things.
But if you look carefully at that word, “helper” in the Bible, it’s used time and time again to also describe God.
God is our Helper! That was my ah-ha moment!
Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.Psalm 54:4
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.John 14:26
The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?Hebrews 13:6
So you see, God has compared a wife and her godly responsibilities to that of Himself. And when you put it that way, being my husband’s helper doesn’t sound weak at all!
The opposite of being a helper is to be a competitor. Rather than to provide aid, you find a way to get ahead. And when both people within a marriage are attempting to become the leader of the household, competition arises.
And when there’s competition, there is no unity. This is why we must become our husband’s helper and submit to his leadership. Hence, the submission part.
As wives, we shouldn’t get married to someone simply to compete with them, rather, we should be getting married because we compliment them.
Now why must the wife be the one to submit while the husband gets to lead? Simple.
- The Bible tells us that that’s the way it is. (Feel free to share your disagreements with God on the case when you reach heaven.)
- The husband’s responsibility is not only to lead but to lead as Christ lead. And you know where Jesus lead us to? Umm, the cross. He died for us. He lead us to complete sacrifice. And your future husband is supposed to live his life daily, as a living sacrifice for you and your family. Trust me, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
- It was Adam’s natural and original job to lead before Eve ever came about. He was in charge of the animals, the garden, all that. Nothing about his role has changed,
Just because we are called to submit to our husbands does not mean that our strength, our gifts, and our voice must be taken away. God made us this way for a reason.
And I’m pretty sure that the reason has a lot to do with how each of those qualities will compliment your husband and his strengths, gifts, and voice so that what you do together will ultimately glorify God.
It’s time we stop listening to a clueless world and start understanding God’s ultimate plan. By agreeing to His plan, you are giving Him your total trust over your marriage!
Remember, our God is not a crazy-machismo-woman-hating God. When He made man, it was good… but it was also missing something.
When God made woman and the two were brought together, then and only then did His creation become “very good”. Women are the enhancement of man. We make them better. So our roles are unique and equally substantial to the marriage.
Once I understood what it meant to submit to Kyle in our marriage, we totally balanced each other out.
He makes sure everyday that my needs are meant, and that I am loved the right way.
And likewise, I help him become the leader that this family needs. I affirm him in his role as my husband and baby-daddy. And I use everything within me to compliment everything that is within him. And vice versa. That’s why our marriage works. Because he is not greater than I am and I am not greater than he is. But together, we become great in Christ.
A few last things here…
Just because we are called to submit, doesn’t mean we are also called to be taken advantage of. Or to be abused in anyway. Or even to be lead into living a sinful life.
So if your future leader husband is treading along the lines of any of those things, then yeah… all bets are off. That’s not godly leadership. And that’s sure as heck not a good foundation for a godly marriage.
Need more help in preparing your heart, mind, and soul for this upcoming new role and all of the responsibilities it comes with? Then check out my latest book, “The Engaged Woman’s Prayer Book” today!