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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Isn't "Submission" a Bad Word?

My last post addressed the issue of the role of women in the family, the order that God set up long ago.  We talked about a woman’s value being equal to a man’s. We talked about headship and what it actually means.

We began to look at the word submission in Ephesians 5 and in 1 Corinthians 11. Here are another few verses where we find this same idea:
  • I Peter 3:1 admonishes women, Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands. . . . In verse 6 we are given the example of Sara, Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord . . . .
  • Colossians 3:18 says, Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 

According to the dictionary, submit means “to yield to the action, control, power, etc. of another or others.” That’s helpful! It means to yield to.

Our husband is our head. That means that he’s the one who calls the shots, the planner, the ultimate decision maker, and the one who is responsible for the family. Headship is his role. He is in that position because God put him in that role. It’s not more important or more powerful than our role. It is different.

We wives decide to yield to his leadership.

We need to let him be the head of the family. It requires a conscious effort. It isn’t something that just flows from us naturally. It’s something we must purpose to do. Submission is a gift we give our husband.

Many women have a problem with yielding to their husband and especially with letting him be the head of the family. If the wife doesn’t agree with her husband, she argues or shows her disapproval. Or she might even rebel against him, ignore his wishes, and do things her own way.

Many women simply refuse to hold their husbands up as the head of their home, especially to their children. They don’t give their husbands the position of respect. The Bible says this is wrong! We are to yield to the authority and position of our husband. He is the head of our home.
Does this mean you have no input? Can you not have a say? Of course you can! You can make suggestions and express your opinions. But there’s an almost magical way of giving your input. There are procedures you can use in order to be a submissive and effective wife. And they all begin with respecting your husband and yielding to him. 

For example, you can tell your husband (and mean it!), “I will be fine with anything you decide. But let me tell you what I’m thinking . . . .” Or you can say, “I understand your thoughts on this. Did you think about . . . ?” Or you can tell him, “I trust your judgment. Whatever you decide is fine with me.” These kinds of statements do not threaten his headship. Rather, they let him know you have confidence in his leadership. They show submission and respect.

When your husband suggests something, whatever it may be, don’t reject his idea outright. Turn it over in your mind. Pray about it. Consider his suggestion. Then, if you genuinely have a problem with it, ask him if he had thought about it your way. After explaining your point of view, let him know that you will be okay with his final decision. Then, leave it with him.

Your husband’s ideas are different from yours. He has another way of looking at things. He may spend money more easily than you do or think something is more (or less) important than you do. Remember, God made men and women different from each other. You married your husband because of the qualities you saw in him that you didn’t have yourself. Consider his ideas. Many times they will be wise.

Your husband’s word should be law in your home. His decisions should be happily followed by you and your children.

You might protest, “You don’t know my husband!” “My husband doesn’t know what he’s doing.” “I think this whole submission thing is for the birds! I will do what I want to do, and no one will stop me!” “But my husband doesn’t deserve my love, let alone my respect or submission!”  

You may indeed have a difficult husband to live with. (There are plenty of them!) But consider this: Does anyone truly deserve anything good? Only God.

The Bible commands us to love our husbands, respect them, and submit ourselves to them. We are to submit ourselves to their headship as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). Christian married women will embrace their special role in the family. We will not fight our husbands but will rather yield to their leadership. It’s an act of obedience to God.

Do you have any stories to share about biblical submission? Do you have any practical hints to share with other women?

(Most of this post is edited from my new book His Ways, Your Walk.) 


  1. I remind myself that submitting to my husband is a wonderful way that I can honour God. I love that :)

    1. Exactly, Lauren. The Bible says we do it "as unto the Lord." It makes it a happy thing to do. Thank you for your comment.


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