We live in a society that preaches feminism and breeds strong, independent women. We live in a culture that tells us as women, we don’t “need” a man. Somewhere in the middle of all of that, as Christian women, we struggle to fit in with that culture and still be obedient, submissive wives who accept the authority of our husbands.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22.
The world tells us that we are in charge. The Word tells us that we are not. Our ultimate authority comes from God. God has given the responsibility of authority over us here on earth to our Husbands. I say this is a “responsibility” because by having authority over us, our husbands are called to protect us, lead us, and love us “as Christ loves the church”. (Ephesians 5:25-33). There is a heavy burden that comes with being a protector, spiritual leader, and loving unconditionally. Our husbands should not take this role lightly, but in all things conduct themselves “in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ”. (Philippians 1:27). To me, having authority means also being held accountable. God is trusting our husbands to lead and love the way Jesus did. As wives, we must trust God with our husbands and trust that He will lead our men so that they can lead us.
“This is how holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands.” 1 Peter 3:5 (NLT).
So how, as wives, do we fully submit ourselves to our husbands and accept their authority? How, in a world that tells us we have our own authority, do we show the world what a marriage that honors God and obeys His Word truly looks like? We must start by knowing what His Word says.
We seek Gods approval, therefore shouldn’t we be also seeking the approval of our husband? We respect God and His Word, which also tells us to respect our husbands. We ask for Gods wisdom and counsel in our decision making, should we not also ask for our husbands counsel in decision making in our marriage? We trust God to lead and follow Him, so should we also allow our husbands to lead and trust that we can follow them?
Scripture doesn’t just tell us to “submit ourselves to our husbands”. The second half of that verse is “as you do the Lord”. Let’s think about what God is calling us to do. He is not telling us that we are to be a slave to our husband. In fact, He tells us the opposite in 1 Peter 3:7:
“Treat you wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life.”.
God is clear that we are not a slave to our husbands. So, what does He mean when He calls us to submit? Well, how do we submit to Him as our Lord? We surrender our lives to God, fully trusting in Him to have “good plans for hope and a future” for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and to keep His promises (Joshua 21:45), to protect us (Deuteronomy 31:8), to provide for us (Job 38:41), and to love us so deeply that our salvation comes at no sacrifice of our own. (Romans 3:22-23). This isn’t a slave and her master, but this is the picture of someone who is deeply loved and cherished by her Savior. We should be so blessed that our husbands would love us and lead us in this same way.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly pray that I can trust my life to my husband in the same way I do the Lord. I would happily accept this kind of authority from my husband, and praise God for giving me a man who is able to gracefully accept that huge responsibility.
Now, I am not saying that if your husband cannot carry the weight of this authority, or if he abuses this authority, that you need accept that. God doesn’t lead us away from Him, but He draws us nearer to Him (James 4:8). Our husbands as leaders should not only draw near to the Lord but pull us in along side them closer to Him as well. Our husbands should not make selfish decisions, because we know love is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5). Our husbands should not use their authority to hold things over our heads, because just as God forgives us freely, true love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5). It is a privilege to be a husband, just as it is to be a wife.
We do not serve a God who leads us to destruction. So hear me when I say, ladies, the Bible does not call you to serve a husband who leads you to destruction. The man God has created with a specific purpose to be your husband will be equipped by God to fulfil his role as a husband to you. God needs to have ultimate authority over your husband. Only then will your husband truly be able to love you and serve you in the way God commands.
1 Peter 3:7 specifically speaks to our husbands and warns them to “treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered”. A man who loves and serves the Lord will take this to heart and be convicted by the Holy Spirit when his actions don’t align with a life that lives by scripture.
It is so important that we know what God’s Word tells us about submission and acceptance of authority so that we understand how sacred the role of a husband is in our lives. This is given only to our husband because no other person will love us as unconditionally here on earth in the same way God loves us. If we choose wisely, with the guidance that comes from the Lord, we will be led to a husband who serves us just as the Bible teaches him to. We will be able to surrender that freely to our husbands and respect them in that role because we trust them with it just as we trust the Lord.
So ladies, it is not a scary or shameful thing to allow our husbands to be the leaders of our households. It is not something to be looked down upon that we accept our husband’s authority that God has given them. In fact, it is truly a gift from God to have husbands who can care for us in the way God cares for us and be a reflection of Jesus Christ through their role in our marriages. What a blessing to have a marriage that serves the Lord and reflects His love for us!
I want to challenge this generation of Christian wives to truly study what the Word says about submission and authority. Don’t skip the hard parts but instead dive in headfirst and pray for God to give you understanding for what He is calling us to in marriage. As young wives in a culture that is so against surrender, I am challenging you to wave the white flag and give it up to God and allow Him to work in you, your life, and your marriage. When we give ourselves completely over to God incredible things happen! If we know this and we believe this to be true, let’s give our marriages completely over to Him too, husbands included, trusting Him to work in them and provide for them so that they can provide for us.