“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord,” Ephesians 5:22. How many of you love this verse? I do!!! It makes me very sad that this verse has gotten such a bad reputation not only among those in the world, but even in the Church. I have personally known sisters who said (out loud!) that they hate this verse. They have said that they are not servants; they have their own rights, wants and needs. I have heard sisters actually say, “I’m not doing it!”
I don’t know if it is because of the way our world has changed over the last several decades, or because of movements like Women’s Lib that fight to put women in roles of authority, or maybe a mixture of the two or something else entirely, but it seems that women are no longer happy in the role God created us for. And that, Sisters, is very sad. This is not a choice. This is a command from God. It is not degrading and demoralizing. It is not servitude and slavery. Rather it is an honor and privilege.
Women were created to be man’s helpmate. God said in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Eve was created because Adam needed a helper. He needed someone with characteristics to compliment his own…a balance. To many, this means a servant, a slave. It means that a woman is supposed to wait hand and foot on a man, to automatically do what he says, when he says, how he says. But that could not be farther from the truth.
My dad (a recently retired minister) has officiated many weddings over the years. One thing he almost always talks about is the fact that God created Eve from Adam’s rib. He mentions that God didn’t take a bone from Adam’s foot so he could walk over Eve; he didn’t take a bone from Adam’s head so she could lord over him. He took a bone from Adam’s side so that she could walk through life beside him. Helping him, completing him. When a man and woman marry, they should complete each other. But as with everything, someone has to be in charge, and that is the role God has given to Adam, to man.
When we continue reading in Ephesians 5, verses 23-24 explain, “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself it’s Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” God has laid out the hierarchy for us as an analogy. Wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ. The church willingly, joyfully submits to Christ in everything we do. This means that we, as wives, should submit to our husbands in the same way…willingly, joyfully, and in everything. When was the last time you heard someone complaining about the church having to submit to Christ? Why then do we complain about it in the husband-wife relationship?
Just as in Ephesians 5, Paul again tells wives to submit to their husbands in Colossians 3:18. In both references, the verses immediately before tell us to give thanks to God for everything. I do not believe it is a coincidence that he mentions being thankful right before talking about the husband-wife relationship. This is simply something else we should be grateful for. We should not resent our role, but embrace it. This submission is not a commentary on women being weak or unable to make decisions. God made men and women for different purposes. Ours is not to be in charge, but to take care of the precious people God brings into our lives…namely our husbands and our children. What more important responsibility could we have been given?
The unhappiest marriages I have seen were ones in which the wife refused to submit to her husband. Sometimes the husband responds by trying to maintain his role as head of the house, but this seems to only lead to persistent arguments. They are always going head-to-head about every issue that comes up. On the other hand, the husband sometimes responds by cowing to his wife and letting her run things, but this never makes for a happy and peaceful household either.
The happiest marriages I have ever seen were the exact opposite. These were marriages that followed the guidelines as God commands. A marriage where the wife willingly, happily submits to her husband, and where the husband sought and listened to his wife’s opinions and ideas, but made and took responsibility for the ultimate decisions. A marriage in which they were truly partners. It doesn’t mean they never argued or disagreed. It doesn’t mean that the wife automatically told her husband that every decision he made is correct. But it does mean that, whether she agrees or not, the wife supports her husband. She respects his authority and trusts him to always do what he feels is best.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord,” Ephesians 5:22. I believe this is one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible. There are so many blessings wrapped up in these few words. Sisters, being submissive does not make us servants, especially when it is done with the heart and attitude God intended. This command provides peace, happiness, and surety for our marriages and our lives.
By Christie Roberts
Christie and her husband Billy live in Ringling, OK with their three precious children. Christie has a B.A. in English, but is blessed to be able to stay home to care for her family. They worship with the Lone Grove church of Christ where Billy serves as a deacon. Christie enjoys writing and helping with various Bible classes as well as any other opportunities God provides.