Is he right about submission?

Am interested in hearing your response here – seriously would like to know what YOU think about this guy and if he’s right about submission! 🙂

My husband insists that I ‘obey’ him. He says that ‘submit’ is exactly the same as obedience and that I am sinning by not doing everything he says without question. Is this true? He’s not asking me to do anything really wrong, but I don’t feel like this is right. And I can’t give him ideas or suggestions – he says it’s disrespectful for me to offer to help him when he has a conflict or problem with one of our teenagers. Is he right? What do I do if he’s not? 

What do you think? What would you do if you were her? The emails and questions come and this isn’t an infrequent one. I will share my response next week.

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Love to you,

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

17 thoughts on “Is he right about submission?

  1. I respect him, I submit to him, I obey him, I love him, I cherish him, and my body is his 24/7. We are still equal in our relationship because we both have strengths in different areas. You would be amazed at how well you are treated when you do these things. When you treat him like a king, you are treated like a queen…

  2. This husband has the wrong idea about submission. We are to respect our husbands, and follow their guide. However it does not mean to be a door mat for him to wipe his feet upon. It also says in the Bible that husbands and wives are to submit one to the other.

  3. . . . . . Last week when I first saw this post, my mind immediately went furiously into rendering a dogmatic, lecture-style-advice response based on an inadequate fact pattern. Finally, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. . . . .You know what, Rebecca? Look at all the pages that have just gushed out of your head unabated onto that ipad. —Do you realized you don’t know anything about their real situation? It finally hit me that dumping an entire word and verse study here not even knowing the situation was/is negligent. I stopped and put my ipad away. . . .Having now thought more about it, I would now ask: —What is the Holy Spirit telling you (the questioner) to do? —Is He telling you nothing? Because God will give the Holy Spirit to you if you ask Him to (—Really it is better rendered flat-out beg Him to. See Luke 11:5-13, it is an unqualified promise!) The Holy Spirit is our forever counselor and THE BEST marriage counselor ever. . . .RE: ask the Father, and He will give you a Counselor to be with you forever (John 14:16)! That is the “Go To” place —vs— my ridiculous lecture: . . . . In healthy marriages in which husbands love and serve their wives sacrificially. . . blah, blah, blah, blah . . . .“hupeiko” (meaning submit to) . . . . blah, blah, blah, blah . . . “obey” is hupakouete. . . . blah, blah, blah, blah . . . hupotasso means “support or carrying a burden” . . . . . . blah, blah, blah, blah . . . that interminable screed went on for pages. The place to start: —What is the Holy Spirit telling you (the questioner) to do? . . . and if the answer is “I don’t know” —or— “Holy Spirit???” —You know what you need to do: Luke 11:5-13 (RE: “. . . .how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”), et. al. —And we will be praying for this couple too!

  4. One of the things I love most about our community here is the many different perspectives, thoughts, and experiences we cumulatively bring to the table. 🙂

    Like the church (and no, I don’t claim to be a church 🙂 ) community needs different people with varying experiences and perspectives. We need hands and we need feet. We need hearts and brains… the list goes on and on.

    I read through all the responses – and I agree with most of what’s been said here. She IS a person – accountable first to God, and some men don’t make it easy nor do they want help – and that’s okay. And we can create environments where the last thing they want is our help.

    Given the little we know about this lovely, I choose my standard response – I pray for her. I know I know but a fraction of the story, and while she is asking for advice, what she really needs is a Who – she needs more of Him, because if we, as Titus 2 style women can point her back to Him, we can trust He will give her exactly what she should do in the moments she is in.

    So thankful for this community! 🙂

    Love to you!
    Nina

  5. Here are a few thoughts, realizing that we only have one side of the story. Obey and submission do not mean the same thing. Obeying is something a child does. It implies that there is not a choice. Submission must be voluntary. Plus, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. The disciples were allowed to question Jesus and questioned quite a few of his decisions. I can only think of one time when Jesus basically told a disciple to shut up in the Bible: when Jesus was predicting his death and Peter said God should forbid it and Jesus said Get thee behind me Satan. Though I wonder if that was really a way of strengthening his resolve and showing his true enemy was Satan and not Peter who had good intentions. Other than that, he dealt gently and seemed to encourage the disciples to discuss issues and to question. So if Jesus is to be this man’s example, then that is how he should treat his wife as well.

    That said, if the woman is using a disparaging tone as she discusses things or a you are so stupid tone of voice, then that is not discussing or offering opinions. The Bible tells us to speak the truth in love.

    Parenting is tough. I think you have to be careful of how you offer your husband advice. If what he is doing is not physically abusive or sin of some type, then you can say something once or twice ( I think Nina has a good example of asking her husband if she can share something she noticed with one of her children. It is all about how you phrase it), but then you have to let him reap what he sows. If the result is a poor relationship, that is not your fault. You cannot control this relationships.

    My therapist gave me a good example. I used to come between my husband and one of my sons, tying to smooth everything out and make sure there were no conflicts. She said that I was like the pulley. She drew a picture of the two of them with me above and showed how they both went through me instead of through each other. Well guess where all of the stress is in that situation??? On me instead of on the two of them where it should be. The two of them never work out their own relationship. It has been hard, but I have stopped and you know what, their relationship is getting better. So be careful that you do not put yourself in the middle. They each need to be responsible for their part in the relationship.

    Just a few thoughts. It is hard when you only hear one side though.

  6. “obey without question”? Wow. You are not his child. You are a lovely woman and human with dignity and a voice. Sounds like he has some major insecurity/esteem and control problems. It is not acceptable for him to speak to you like this or demand ‘obedience without question’. That disgusts me. Check your heart and attitudes, your approaches, (adjust where needed) then keep your head up and do what God calls you to, as a woman with a voice and dignity and an identity as a daughter of the one true King. Do not allow someone to twist scripture in an attempt to control and demean you. By the way… any ‘submission’ stuff in the correct, appropriate sense, is an issue between you and God NOT between you and your husband. A husband who is loving a wife “as Christ loves the church”, as a humble servant leader, is likely never going to even mention the word “submission”. And a man who knows his wife is his helper and appreciates her for that is going to gladly listen to appropriate (respectful, helpful… not controlling) feedback and even seek it. It’s worth looking into ways to make him feel respected, but regardless of whether he feels respected or not, him treating you this way is unacceptable. Do not confuse his words with God’s views and words.
    – from a wife of a controlling, manipulative, bible-twisting, bully, demeaning husband (who has learned LOTS about the subject through counseling and other outlets)

    • Allison, I have some questions… I definitely agree on the “Obey without question” statement being wrong. However, I was concerned at the way you said some other things in your reply.

      You said submission stuff is between us and Jesus… but we are also to submit to our husbands AS to Jesus. If we can’t submit to our husbands, I believe it’s indicative of our relationship with the Lord. Of course, if he asks us to do something that goes against His Word, we are to respectfully refuse. Also, you said that a husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church… that is correct. However, one of the things Jesus did (and does) is lovingly speak when something is happening that is not right, such as instances of sin. He was a servant leader, to be sure, but He also did not shy away from confronting sin. Even after He showed grace to the woman caught in adultery, he said, “Go and sin no more.”

      Your reply came across to me as very angry. The end of the comment concerned me even more so. How has your prayer life been going? What has the Lord shown you recently? Have you been able to do a self-check of your heart, lining it up with what the Word says to do? I definitely understand that some husbands are more difficult than others… my momma-in-law is married to a man who’s extremely difficult… yet she’s never said something like that about him. In fact, she examines herself to see if she could be contributing to the problem, though she’s absolutely sweet and wonderful and nine times out of ten, there is no wrong on her part. I think her approach is really nice: she stays silent most of the time when he’s being grumpy, and then later the Holy Spirit convicts him and he apologizes. It’s also a good technique because people see her reaction to his anger, and they think, “Wow, she is such a patient, kind, loving and tenderhearted woman…” and they know that she’s allowing God to shape her and speak to her heart. It’s a beautiful example of Christ’s love and humility… Jesus could have said a lot of things about his accusers when He was on the cross dying, but He chose to say, “Father, forgive them… they don’t know what they’re doing.” I love talking to my momma-in-law because she really understands a lot of biblical principles that I didn’t have growing up (I was raised in a non-Christian household and there wasn’t much respect in the home). I’m SO thankful to have her as an example… I’m surrounded by a great deal of fantastic examples, amazingly! 😀

      Anyway, thank you for sharing and I’m praying for your situation.

      Love in Christ,

      BlessedOut

  7. If the situation is as this woman describes, then I agree with all that is being said. However…. It also may be that the husband is responding to a wife that is constantly correcting, suggesting, and instructing in a way that is disrespectful, not “helpful”. We are hearing how one person is feeling, and don’t know the details, but my guess is that they each have their own sin to deal with in this situation (imagine that!) And that she needs to look at her own behavior as well. Not that overly controlling men don’t exist… But the average guy who is trying to take control of the relationship dynamics is doing so because he feels like the woman is out of control and he feels disrespected to the point that he can’t function, and has been pushed to his limit. No way of guessing from what we are told here which way this one is actually playing out….

    • Amen. I was thinking that as well… there is always another side to a story. Sometimes people can be completely irrational, yeah, but usually there is fault on both ends. 🙂 I know I’ve had to be really honest with myself in how I’ve reacted to things my husband says or does. I might think I responded appropriately, but I know how I really FELT in that moment and it’s possible those feelings seeped through into the conversation. 😛

  8. This woman might be sinning against God, if she does “everything” this guy says without prayerfully considering whether what he is telling her to do is what God wants her to do. The husband is the head of the wife, but Christ is his head, and our highest allegiance is obedience to Christ.

    Sounds like this couple probably has deeper issues than communication. I would say that he certainly is not submitted to God is she can’t offer him ideas or suggestions. God said “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18) Because he who finds a wife, finds a good thing, a godly husband ought to see his wife as a “good” in his life whose help is also a gift from God.

    Since Scripture teaches we are co-heirs of the grace of God (1 Peter 3:7), it seems that the wife should be able to share ideas and thoughts with her husband. He’s under no obligation to do what she suggests. But it seems only right that he honor her by hearing her out. That said, we wives must be wise about how we offer our husbands help. Attitude is really important. Men don’t like to be “told” things. We need a lot of wisdom when we are sharing things that may be hard for them to hear. “How” we say something is almost more important than “what” we say.

    Finally, when our help is rejected, we have to humbly step aside and trust God to work. I am a witness that God has a way of making Himself heard! Still, this is a hard place for this woman to be in. Like tiffanie2014, I’d suggest that she “pray like crazy!”

  9. “My husband insists that I ‘obey’ him. He says that ‘submit’ is exactly the same as obedience and that I am sinning by not doing everything he says without question. Is this true? He’s not asking me to do anything really wrong, but I don’t feel like this is right. And I can’t give him ideas or suggestions – he says it’s disrespectful for me to offer to help him when he has a conflict or problem with one of our teenagers. Is he right? What do I do if he’s not?”

    (I copied and pasted so I’d have the words closer to me when I’m responding. :P)

    OK, so in the Bible, it definitely tells the woman to submit and the children to obey. I think that there is definitely a difference between the two. Submission, to me, would be the act of an equal, deferring to her husband out of love and respect for him (as Sarah did with Abraham when he told her to say she’s his sister). However, obedience is something that children are to do, as those under their parents. I’m not saying a husband isn’t head of the household, because he is, but a wife is definitely his equal, though she doesn’t carry the same role he does. Eggerichs talks about this distinction in “Love and Respect”… it’s a pretty fantastic book! 🙂

    “…sinning by not doing everything he says without question.” That, to me, is a red flag that perhaps his priorities and intentions are not where they should be. The Bible says to submit to husbands, yes, but the ultimate authority is the Lord, and if the husband tells the wife to do something that goes against Him, we are to respectfully DISOBEY our husband’s wishes. I have a good example of how “doing everything he says without question” got a wife into a load of trouble: Ananias and Sapphira. I’m sure Ananias told his wife, “Let’s lie to the apostles about how much we got for our land!” and she did… what was the result? Both of them were struck dead! This, to me, is a prime example that we should NOT do everything our husbands say without question. We certainly are called to weigh whether they are asking us to sin, and if they are living in sin themselves, we are obligated as help-meets to confront the sin lovingly and respectfully, and if the sin be severe enough, to separate from our husbands for a time (what I mean is, if it puts your family into danger or if the sin is being willfully engaged in with no evidence of repentance).

    “He’s not asking me to do anything really wrong, but I don’t feel like this is right.” This statement confused me a bit. Now, I’m definitely not saying your husband is right to feel this way and express it to you this way, but if he’s not asking you to sin, then scripturally, I think it’d be a good thing for you to defer to him as long as it’s not a sin issue. Now, if he is reacting in severe anger, even if it’s not involving physical violence, I’d say that’s a sin issue. I believe that, even it’s not physical violence or using profanity… just the tone and volume which he uses to speak can tell you whether he’s letting that anger get the best of him. “In your anger, do not sin,” the Word teaches us. That means it’s OK to be angry, but we have a responsibility as believers to handle our anger and bridle our tongues.

    That last sentence though… THAT is crazy business. “… I can’t give him ideas or suggestions – he says it’s disrespectful for me to offer to help him when he has a conflict or problem with one of our teenagers.” There is nothing disrespectful about approaching an issue the way tiffanie2014 outined (the second example, definitely not the first LOL). In fact, that is PART of being married: you get to state your opinion on the matter, and he states his… and ultimately, you trust him to make the decision as head of the household. If he never even bothers to get your thoughts on it (or doesn’t WANT your thoughts), then (as others have said) your marriage is less of a partnership than a dictatorship.

    I think that his motives behind his statement are probably not good, and it will take much prayerful consideration and listening to the Holy Spirit before you will really know what to do. I am going through something similar myself: it seems when I try and offer a helpful suggestion, no matter where or how respectfully I try and do it, my husband takes it badly and, though he doesn’t say it, seems to take it as a matter of disrespect.

    We had this exact issue (discipline) come up with our four-year-old daughter… he handled it one way, and later (when the kids were in bed and wouldn’t overhear) I tried to offer a helpful suggestion/observation, and he didn’t want to hear any of it. It can be a bit frustrating at times… I wouldn’t assume to know as much as he does about his workplace/job, or think I know more than he does about it… yet at the same time, I spend a TON of time with the kids (AND I work with kids) but he was taking something that I saw merely as a matter of confusion/not knowing what to do specifically as a matter of disrespect on her behalf. I tried to explain that I am around kids and I know what I’m talking about (without, of course, putting it that way… that REALLY would have rubbed him wrong), but he insisted that she was purposely disobeying him.

    I really don’t know how I could go about approaching that sort of thing differently in the future… so far I’ve stepped in to help (without being disrespectful or invalidating what my husband says) and that seems to help a little, although I do wish he’d approach things differently in the first place. I’ve noticed he lacks a lot of patience in that area. I’ve been praying a lot (as other wives have suggested) and I do see some changes, which is good. 🙂

    I hope this helped a little bit… 🙂 Excited to hear Nina’s take later.

  10. I can’t take credit for this, a friend of mine nailed it though, she said “chauvinism is to men, what feminism is to women, it’s an imbalance and it’s not Gods plan” I love that! Did she nail it or what? When either person gets caught up in their own desires and their own “rights” rather than serving one another and esteeming one another as better than themselves this stuff happens. I highly recommend a movie, silly as it may sound, it helped me sooooo much. “Taming of the Shrew” it absolutely must be the Elizabeth Taylor one. It is so right on, and shows the remedy for this type of behavior 😉 just love him and pray for him, really, really pray for him! Respect is so important to a man and oftentimes this kind of behavior is a screaming out for a need to feel respected (feel is a key word here, doesn’t mean you aren’t respecting him, but perhaps his love language is different from yours and he isn’t seeing your respect as respect). We can work on how we communicate that respect so they “get it.” We can only work on us, God however changes hearts! The best thing I ever did for my marriage was counsel with a Godly woman who mentors me Titus 2 style. It’s been a huge, huge blessing in my life. We so need one another in the body of Christ. Nina and friends here are so helpful too! So often what I was learning in counseling would be confirmed here! We all have broken spots, we all have hurts, and we need to be transparent and love on one another. That’s what I love so much about this website 🙂 be blessed in the Name of Jesus!

    Tara

  11. God created marriage so that man would have a HELPmate, not a slave. He is commanded to love his wife as Christ loves the church, and she is to respect the husband. It does not mean she cannot have an opinion and share it. The man is called to be humble. There does not appear to be any humility in this man.

  12. Sounds like she needs to get on her knees and pray like crazy that her husband will be able to hear the TRUE voice of God. What this man is saying is actually NOT biblical. The bible does command us to submit to our husband, but he is also commanded to love her. it is not very loving to be a dictator and to discount the thoughts and feelings of your wife.
    Also, I belive there is a verse that speaks to the fact that a husband SHOULD listen to his wife if she is speaking in a respectful way that is meant to be helpful for him. I don’t mean that just because WE think they should listen.. It is NOT disrespectful to offer to help a conflict with joint children. It depends on the approach though. If you go into it saying “you should do x, y, z.”… then YES that is rude… but if you go in like “honey I see you are upset, have you thought of trying A, B, or C? It seems to work for me.”….

    Some men will never accept a woman as equal partner in Christ. And that is one of their sins.. We do not have have to choose to sin right along with them… As women in Christ, we can choose to still submit, try to influence with our quiet countenance, and pray like crazy..

    • Love that last paragraph! So true, there is so much power in releasing our husbands to God!! Well said 🙂

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