Submission is such a dirty word in today’s society, isn’t it? It can bring to mind many negative connotations: slave, doormat, weak, inferior. The truth is that these associations came from society not the Bible. As Christian women, we need to ensure that we can discern biblical truth from societal deception.
Let’s look at what biblical submission is NOT:
- being your husband’s doormat, for him to trample over and wipe his feet on
- blindly following your husband’s “orders” with no opinion of your own
- being viewed as lesser or not as valuable to God
What it IS:
- willingly (not forcibly) lowering yourself to the God-ordained head of the household (Ephesians 5:23)
- considering your husband’s needs greater than your own (Philippians 2:3)
- doing your spouse good, not harm for all of his life (Proverbs 31:12)
- being supportive of him, without looking for self-gain or “pay back” for all you do for him
- receiving God’s blessing (Proverbs 31:26)
If you are a Christian woman, you know from Genesis 2:22 that Eve was created using a rib from Adam. Have you ever thought about how that is relevant in modern everyday living? I certainly have done so numerous times.
Early in my marriage, I really struggled with the idea of biblical submission to my husband and what that meant. I grew up in an abusive environment which fostered deep within me a need to never be under the “control” of a man. It took much prayer, personal and spiritual growth, and a significant mindset change for me to willingly dive into what the Bible teaches on this subject. In complete transparency, I still often struggle.
For women today, who choose to follow Scripture and be submissive to their husbands it is particularly important for them to realize that doing so is NOT somehow admitting they are inferior. You are not less than. You are not a doormat. You are a courageous woman of God who has a faith that is strong enough to trust in His word and put it to work in your life and marriage.
There is a saying,
“Woman was made from the rib of man,
She was not created from his head to top him,
Nor from his feet to be stepped upon,
She was made from his side to be close to him,
From beneath his arm to be protected by him,
Near his heart to be loved by him.”
The main function of an actual rib is to protect the two most vital organs; the heart and the lungs. So in turn, a woman was made from a rib to serve the same purpose in essence. We are to protect our husband’s heart by giving him the utmost respect, acceptance and love. We protect his “lungs” or the atmosphere by making our homes a loving environment that he feels the most comfortable in, assuring that we do not speak badly of him and not allowing others to do so either. That doesn’t sound to me like a woman is just meant to meekly bow down to a man. Instead, it sounds as if the Lord has blessed us with a unique and important job to support and respect our husbands.
A bible study that I once participated in on this topic genuinely struck a chord deep within me with this statement,
“As women, we see our husbands as strong and not needing our acceptance. We feel like because we are the “weaker vessel” it is more important that we receive praise, acceptance and appreciation from our husbands without realizing that he needs ours to survive.”
As Proverbs 31:12 says,
all the days of her life.”
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives. 1 Peter 3:1
It’s hard to be a godly woman, wife, and mother, especially in a society that scoffs at biblical principles. It’s not a straight, paved road that we can meander down with the gentle breeze in our hair. It’s more like attempting to walk down a cobblestone path in a pair of five-inch stilettos during a rainstorm with no umbrella. That doesn’t mean we should shy away from the harder biblical teachings. We all stumble many times, but the important thing is to remember that when we do fall, God will most assuredly catch us!