Monday, October 15, 2018

Should Wives Submit to Their Husbands?

When I was saved by Christ at 26 years of age I identified as feminist. Soon after my salvation experience I realized that I knew nothing of what the bible said about women! I believed only what I had heard; I listened to the arguments of those around me instead of gleaning the truth from the bible. In the last six years I have been on a journey to find out what the bible says instead of what "I feel" or what the world says around me. And I no longer identify as a feminist. I have had to redefine everything since I accepted Christ. My doctrine changed, my marriage has changed and grown, I have different ideas about child rearing and many aspects of my life have irrevocably altered.

But this is about wives. So, should wives submit to their husbands? Are women inferior to men? What does the bible really say?

I draw most of my conclusions thus far from Ephesians 5. 
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
I find this verse very helpful in defining my role as a wife. I am not told to be submissive to all men, but only to my husband. Thus the above verse does not place women under the authority of men: but only a man-- her husband. So what does that mean? Am I to ascertain that I am inferior to my husband? Should I give him his own way in everything?

I've found that finding the anwser to one question usually begets more. Thus my search continues. Discovering that I should submit to my husband only makes me ask "how" and "in what way". 
1 Corinthians chapter 11, verse 3 reads “I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man; and the man is the head of a woman; and God is the head of Christ.” Paul is just saying this to show that there is an authority and submission principle built from God in heaven on down to men and women. This isn’t something cultural; it isn’t something just recently invented. There has always been in God’s plan and God’s economy a place for submission and authority. So I am to submit to my husband the way Christ submits to God.

Is God greater than Christ? No, they are equal. They are both God. They are equal spiritually. God the father is God and Jesus is God. Thus I surmise that am equal to my husband. God's idea of submission of wives to husband has nothing to do with inequality. I think it has everything to do with his plan and purpose for marriage.

As to what submission means in my marriage, or what it means between all men and their wives--I  am still researching. I know what it does not mean. It does not mean I don't have an opinion. My husband and I speak about everything when we can between nursing and caring for babies and trying to get adequate sleep. It does not mean my husband controls me or rules over me like a tyrant or is allowed to be abusive to me. I have a loving husband who is supposed to love me the way he loves his own body and the way Christ loves the church. Christ gave his life to the church! And thus my husband gives his very life over to me, to our family. He does this by working daily to earn money for us to live. He does this by caring for me and tenderly ministering to me. He does this by taking care of our children, working in our yard, and even cooking and cleaning. He never demands but instead gently leads as Christ leads him. These examples (and many more) are the ways my husband loves me.

In order for our marriage to work as God ordained, in order for me to submit to my husband--my heart must be in full submission to God. Also, my husband's heart must be in full submission to God. If he is not he will lead not only himself astray but me as well.

Oh God, let not me listen to what the world tells me my role should be, but let me only lean on you and incline my ear to your Will for my life. Let your truth be my truth, and let my ear be ever listening to your word and my feet seeking your ways.