Here are two scary Bible verses:
“Wives submit to your husbands.” (Ephesians 5:22).
“…husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” (Ephesians 5:25).
Right off the top let me say that a Biblically submissive wife is not a downtrodden servant property of the husband. It is far from that. And giving up your life for your wife is not quitting your job or giving up who you are in order to make her happy. The truth is far from these lies that actually stop us from enjoying healthy relationships.
What is a submissive wife and how do you get one? You get one by being the type of husband she respects.
What is a loving husband and how do you get one? By being the kind of wife, he wants to be with.
A Biblically submissive wife is not a doormat or a ‘yes’ person. Anyone who reads about the women in the Bible knows that the character of these women is strong, loving, and supportive. Eve, the first wife ever, was created to be a help-meet. Someone who would walk alongside her husband supporting him and helping him make wise decisions and seeing things from a different perspective. I am a husband and I know this is not a job for wimps!
Sin entered when Eve believed a lie and then the husband, Adam, submitted to her and not to God. The roles were reversed. Whenever that happens, trouble ensures. In this case, it was the fall of mankind. In most modern cases, it will be strife, disrespect, and conflict.
Notice what I am not saying here. I am not saying that Adam was more important than Eve. Only that their roles were different. God created men and women to be different from each other. Not that women are better because they can give birth. Not the man is better because he is the head of the woman. For instance, Eve knew the rules God made about not eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Had Eve been submissive to Adam at the time of the original sin, she would have asked Adam first before believing the devil’s lie. Had Adam been the head, the devil would have had to go through him to convince them to sin.
I am not blaming Eve or Adam though. How many times in a day do even good strong Christian men and women give into temptation? How many times do we think we know more than God about how to handle certain people or circumstances?
A Biblically submissive wife works with her husband to create a safe and loving home. A Biblically leading husband is a servant leader. He willingly seeks to promote his wife and to support her in her life. He puts her needs above his own needs in the same way that a submissive wife puts his needs above her own. And we begin to see a wonderful example of Christian love in action when this happens.
This is a symbiotic relationship as the man and the woman become one. (Genesis 2:24). The wife chooses to submit because she feels loved and knows her husband can be trusted to help meet her needs. The husband can give up his life for his wife because he knows that she can be trusted and will support him. They have each other’s backs. And their hearts, minds, and emotions.
If you want your wife to submit to your leading, then become the kind of husband that invites such love and support. Be kind, loving, and supportive to her. Be a man, but not a jerk. If you want your husband to lay down his life for you? Be the kind of wife that would invite such devotion, love, and support.
Modern culture tells us the opposite. Especially for women, it is tough to hear and grasp the Biblical message regarding marriage. Feminism, the rise of humanistic sermons in churches, and the entitlement movement all point to putting self first. Too many non-Biblical husbands have abused their role as family heads and have not given their lives for their wives. Men, it is on us to be the true servant leaders in our families that Jesus asked us to be. Women, it is on you to love and support your husband. Let’s both try to be the kind of spouses the Bible says we ought to be.
Andy Becker is a retired counsellor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon) as is, Stupid Thyroid, a book he co-wrote with his wife, Stella. Andy and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministry in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest areas. He is a retired counselor, speaker, and writer. Andy Becker is working on his second book about spiritual warfare. His first book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.