What is obedience?

For some years now, God has dealt with me over the issue of obedience.  Women of my generation, the Baby Boomers grew up with this in our families where women, for the most part, enjoyed a feminine role and didn’t want “liberation”.  I wanted to be a housewife and mother.   Before the 1960s, a woman’s vow to obey her husband was a regular part of the marriage ceremony.

The journey hasn’t always been easy, and at times it has been confusing, as to what obedience really looks like.    We think so much that women before the 1960s were oppressed but that simply isn’t true.  My mother did pretty much whatever my dad wanted her to.  My grandmother did as well.  They weren’t unhappy about it; they saw it as part of being a woman.

My new desire to seek this out has been for two reasons: 1) A desire to remarry and 2) a desire to truly model wifely obedience within that context.

So, the Bible speaks in three places about wives submitting to or being subject to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18, and 1 Peter 3:1).  One reference even states that Sarah, the wife of Abraham called her husband “Lord”–more on that later.

As I continue this blog, I want to explore more about the actual model for wifely obedience, but for now, I will just provide an outline of what I think it looks like, and in all this, I pray for God’s guidance and His inspiration.  So what is obedience in a marital relationship?

  1. Actual obedience–A woman should look upon her husband as being the head of the household.  He makes all the decisions, though obviously the household matters should be left to her.  She should seek his advice and counsel in important matters related to its management.   The wife has an obligation to yield her will to her husband’s, to do the things that please him and to literally obey him if he makes a decision.
  2. Obedience does not mean a woman does not have thoughts, feelings, opinions of her own or that she is some thoughtless robot saying, “Yes, dear” and “No, dear.” If she disagrees with her husband she should do so in a respectful manner and then strive to understand his position.  In the end, she should always seek to defer to his decisions to minimize conflict within their home/relationship.
  3. A woman DOES NOT have to submit to ABUSE or SIN. A woman’s first obligation is to Jesus.   However, if he is not asking her to sin, a woman should obey him.
  4. The man should share his decisions, opinions, thoughts with his wife in order to build her trust in him as a leader.
  5. Obedience strengthens the husband in his masculinity enabling him to lead the family.
  6. The man has the responsibility to make sound decisions for both of them, or for their whole family if they have children.  He has responsibilities spelled out for him as well, that he should love his wife, give his life for his wife, protect her and support her.  If possible, he should financially support his wife so that she can take care of their home (and children).
  7. Wifely obedience serves to promote trust, faithfulness, and in truth, if it was practiced more, there would probably be less divorces.  Divorce has mushroomed since the 1960s because of a confusion in the roles between men and women, and because of the unresolved needs of both.  When unity in every sense is sought after, divorce would decline.  This is accepting that there are conditions, such as abuse and faithlessness where divorce is becomes the last resort.
  8. Marriage is a loving relationship   While I believe the husband is the boss of the wife, conflict should be handled in a loving, respectful manner.    My feeling is the husband has an obligation to reprove and correct his wife’s behavior, but this should never EVER involve a man striking his wife.  That does not display love.   Rebuke should only be done in public if she has disrespected him.  He should teach her sound biblical behavior and reprove/correct her in private if she is out of line.  He should never treat his wife like a child, which demeans and dishonors her.    A woman is an heir of salvation together with her husband, and she is his flesh and bones, and no man hates his own flesh.

More to come…..

Pamela Parizo © 2017