I’m writing a book about biblical submission, and I felt very strongly that it should begin with Ephesians 5. When we look at the whole question of how a married couple relates, how the marriage is supposed to look, I don’t think one can get a grasp on obedience and submissiveness without putting it within the context of the relationship between Jesus and His church. After all, this is the example that Paul uses, and it also helps to reflect love as the overall aim of submission. A bride who loves her husband will submit herself to him and not see it in the context of the struggle for control.
Paul’s admonition for wives is that they: 1)submit themselves unto their husbands as they would unto the Lord, and then that they 2) be subject to their husbands in every thing just as the Church is to Jesus. When we look at it in this context, it doesn’t seem so strange or peculiar that a woman should submit herself to the will of her husband. He is God’s authority over her life, he shoulders the responsibilities for their relationship and he has the incredible duty of portraying Jesus to his wife. Even if the husband is not saved, though, the woman should still submit herself with the end that she will help her husband to see Jesus in her and possibly save him. The woman then, should do everything she can to obey him and let him lead her.
The man has an even greater responsibility. As mentioned above, he is to portray the love of Jesus to his wife. His love should be sacrificial, selfless, with the mind that he is helping her to become more godly and holy in her Christian life. His desire should not be so much to control her as it is to protect her, relieve her cares, and draw her toward the Lord. He is the head of the family, and is accountable to Jesus in his care for his wife. But within this context, he should expect that his wife would honor and respect him, defer to his decisions for the family, indeed, give him obedience. When approached in a loving manner, he should be able to win his wife’s agreement to his decisions. He should share his plans, his dreams, his vision with her to win her trust. Of course, there will always be differences of opinion, and that’s where the work comes in.
Our society today views marital obedience as something repressive, but it is intended to be anything but. It is intended to bless the home with marital harmony by actually working to unify the man and woman. The woman is blessed by the man’s pouring out his love on her. When a woman subordinates herself to her husband, it strengthens him as the leader. An obedient wife is the glory of her husband.
Pamela Parizo © 2017