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Don’t write me off just yet. I know you come to my blog for sound biblical advice and trust me, you’re going to get that in this post too. Even though the title may lead you to believe differently. Let me start by saying, I wholeheartedly believe in honoring my husband. I believe that’s a biblical mandate and it’s one I’m committed to following. What I will not commit to is the blind obedience aspect of honor that we seem to view as a parallel to biblical submission. You know, the husband says and the wife follows without even contemplating what God has to say about the matter. Would you believe me if I said that idea of submission is NOT biblically sound? Not in the slightest.
But Isn’t There Scripture On This?“Wives submit to your husbands…” This is often the phrase wives are directed to when they’re taught the biblical views of how marriage works. What seems to go unmentioned is that “wives submit to your husband,” is not the entirety of the verse or instruction given to us in the Bible. In fact, when you paraphrase that portion of scripture and dilute it down to those five words you distort everything about how God intended marriage between His followers to work.
- It elevates men to the position of “God.”
- It offers zero accountability to the husband as the leader of the marriage or household.
- It suppresses wives, instead of allowing them to be a source of wisdom.
- It distorts God’s character as our Bridegroom.
- It distorts the calling of the church (since marriage is supposed to be a reflection of the relationship between God and the church).
So what does the Bible REALLY Have to Say About Submitting to Your Husband?Let’s look at this verse in entirety AND in context. Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord.” Notice anything different in comparison to the paraphrase noted above? In just this one verse God has already put boundaries on the husband’s authority. He has made it clear that man’s agenda and authority are never to supersede His. God sets this boundary as protection for BOTH marriage partners. It opens the door to accountability for husbands. It keeps husbands and wives working in partnership with each other and dependent on one another. It encourages husbands to seek counsel from their wives and encourages wives to speak up when they feel that something is moving in opposition to God. God never intended for wives to be silent partners. We were created with the ability to bring value and insight to the table (our home) and the community. A wife after God will use her influence to do just that. And a husband after God will recognize and honor this calling.
Where’s the Scripture to Back this Up?
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When Husbands Refuse to Let God LeadIt seriously breaks my heart how many women are turned off by God’s design for marriage because this one scripture, “Wives submit to your husbands, as unto the Lord” is so greatly misused. I’ve heard it used in support of abusive husbands. I’ve heard it used to condone men in their selfish ambitions. I’ve seen it used to dominate households, churches, and communities. And Y’all, that is so not God’s heart. Unfortunately, as long as there is sin in the world we’re going to have to deal with people who use the Bible to create their own gospel. So what do you do when your husband is leading your family down a road that you know God is saying no to? There are so many situations that come to mind, many of them that don’t have a textbook answer. Ultimately, when you know your husband is choosing sin over God – you are by no means obligated to support his behavior. Your ultimate allegiance is to Christ first. I love what Sheila Gregoire had to say about this.
“The Bible is clear that we should confront when someone is in sin, and we should deal with that. Loyalty is not actually a Christian virtue; the truth is.”God doesn’t expect you to go along with sin but He does expect you to call it out. He expects you to stand for the truth even when it’s uncomfortable. Which means when you KNOW your husband is walking outside of what God approves and calls good and just and tries to subject you or your family to the same; in this case, no you don’t submit to your husband’s will (on THAT matter).