What Submissive Wives are NOT…
In both Proverbs 25 and Proverbs 26, there is mention of the consequences of being “quarrelsome.”
This is important.
In marriage, being a “quarrelsome wife” results in your husband wanting to “live on the corner of the roof.”
As a man, being “quarrelsome” feeds “strife” like wood to a fire.
Being “disagreeable” or “quarrelsome” is an intimacy destroyer.
This occurs regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, husband or wife, or whether the relationship is with your spouse or with God Himself.
We women struggle with being quarrelsome, and we don’t even realize it.
Much of this comes from our lack of understanding or refusal to obey God’s teachings on submission.
Yep, I’m going there today!
Here we go.
One of the keys to a godly marriage is the concept of “submission” from Ephesians 5:22-24, which reads, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior.”
If you don’t believe the Bible is the Truth, the inerrant Word of God, and great advice on how we should live our lives, then you probably won’t agree with me on this subject at all. I believe (not just by faith, btw, I know this works, and no, I’m not a “doormat” in my marriage) God’s advice and His will to be the best for my life. Even if I don’t fully understand it, I trust Him.
If you believe likewise, keep reading. If not, nothing I say here will make sense anyway, and it will probably just make you angry as well. The Word is either True or it’s not. I’m not here today to debate theology, or whether the Bible is “just a good idea” or whether Jesus was “just a good teacher.” For me, I accept God’s Word fully.
So when I call myself a “Christian,” it means I fully accept God’s teachings in the Bible, in the context in which they are intended. That means I fully accept His New Testament teaching that wives should submit to their husbands.
Careful, don’t get your knickers in a knot yet.
And no, I don’t really actually (or know anyone else who does) wear knickers.
Having said all that, you should know years ago, even though the above was still 100% true, my skin would crawl and the hair on the back of my neck would stand up when anyone even mentioned that wives should be submissive.
Like many others, I didn’t understand what it meant.
But the concept made me angry.
So I asked God to teach me what it means.
I’m still learning, but I know more than I did back then.
And it no longer makes me angry, not even a little bit, and although I’m still figuring out the details of how submission manifests itself in the midst of a godly marriage, I can honestly say I understand significantly more about it now, so much so that I hardly think about it… but I know you are, and that is why you are here today. 🙂
And I have come to realize that there are many misconceptions, even in the Christian culture, about what it is and what it is not.
Based on what the Bible says, here’s my interpretation of what being a godly, submissive wife does NOT mean:
- Submissive wives are “less than” men – the Bible has no “hierarchy” of men and women in terms of worth – we are ALL precious to Him (there IS hierarchy in a family, however, and God made men the “head” of the family – “submission” is a military term. There’s info on this in “The Respect Dare,” for now, know that’s how God established families, and if He hadn’t, it would be like having 2 CEO’s trying to run a corporation)
- Submissive wives are women who are stupid and need to be taken care of (one could actually say that because we are smart and can multi-task and accomplish a ton, so much so that we can actually threaten a man’s confidence in leading – and there’s actually research to back that up – read “For Women Only,” by Shaunti Feldhahn) (Don’t you wonder if that’s why God actually tells us to be submissive? Because He knows how He wired men and us, and what we have the potential to do to our husband’s self-esteem if we are not?)
- Submissive wives are doormat wives – one’s who turn every choice made about everything into a husband’s hands, not voicing any opinions, instead of 1) fulfilling our roles and being competent with our responsibilities in the family, and 2) creating an atmosphere where he feels comfortable leading in a healthy, godly way (being a doormat only encourages him to lead in an ungodly way) (Think about this, btw, do you really want a “wimpy” husband? Did you know many of us create circumstances where our men are uncomfortable leading?)
- Submissive wives are passive wives, waiting for him to take action on everything before anything at all happens or decisions are made, instead of asking him for his thoughts about the family, decisions or choices you have to make, etc. (passivity often breeds resentment and bitterness in women) (Oh, and why shouldn’t he have a say? Isn’t he part of the family equation? It’s disrespectful to discount his input. We wouldn’t like it if he did that to us, would we?)
- Submissive wives are proactive wives who solve all the problems so that the husband “doesn’t have to worry with them,” instead of realizing that Marital Math is 1 + 1 = 1… “one flesh” (from Genesis) and it’s not only okay for him to have some input, but he should – and it doesn’t have to be on everything, for Pete’s sake! 🙂 Asking input on everything might very well drive both of you nuts. “Should I cook the meat first or the vegetables?” “Should I wear blue eyeshadow or green today?” Be competent and don’t treat him like your girlfriends.
- Submissive wives announce they’ve become a “submissive wife” and tell their husbands it’s time for them to lead, instead of asking God to change our heart about “needing to do everything because he won’t,” dominating and controlling in your marriage – husband’s won’t lead if we are in the way, or telling them how to do everything – all we’re communicating is that we think they are stupid, and who wants to take a risk if that’s how it’s frequently met?
- Submissive wives announce they’ve become a “submissive wife” and suddenly start asking him to make all the decisions on everything from what kind of sandwich to make the kids for lunch, to when he wants the bathrooms cleaned, instead of being a woman of strength and dignity, carrying out the role she has in her marriage as agreed upon by both of you (this might mean working or staying home, full or part time, sharing chores or doing all, depending on what works in your marriage and circumstances as agreed upon by both of you) (and sorry, no, it’s not in the Bible that the husband has to manage the money – if the wife is better at it, she can do it, IF that’s what works best and the husband is okay with it)
- Submissive wives think our role as “helper” is knowing how to solve his problems for him, pushing him toward action, instead of pointing him to God and other godly men for direction… this is mothering behavior, and no man will rise to leadership if he thinks his wife thinks he’s a child (even if he does act like one)
- Submissive wives “help” their husbands by giving advice when we haven’t been asked for it, instead of allowing God to work out His relationship with our husbands, letting them struggle with difficulties to grow in their relationship with God and others (rescuing, enabling, etc.), depriving our husbands of these opportunities that God intends (also known as “getting in God’s way” or “being my husband’s Holy Spirit”) (btw, this is not to be confused with actually helping our husbands when God wants us to)
- Submissive wives don’t give input even when asked for it, taking the “quiet and gentle spirit” admonishment to extremes, instead of being our husband’s friend when he needs one (also known as being vindictive, “I’m supposed to be submissive? FINE. I’ll just stop existing or having any thoughts because I don’t matter,” or buying the lies that the enemy wants us to believe about this
- Submissive wives have to do WHATEVER their husbands say, even if it is sinful, because they are under their husband’s authority instead of realizing they serve God first, and have the freedom to choose to obey God first if the two are in conflict – but they also know that if they choose to submit anyway, God will protect them (like Sarah, when Abraham gave her to Pharoah, and not once, but twice!)
- Submissive wives know our role is only that of “maid” or “slave” to the whims of the family members, instead of being a woman of strength and dignity, with interests of her own, activities she enjoys, and encourages the family to understand “the preciousness of others,” which includes her (if this were true, God wouldn’t have made us capable, intelligent, creative, etc. We’d be like mules or plow horses, and we were not created like this)
- Submissive wives always do what other Christian wives and their husbands say to do instead of developing their own relationship with God such that they can know moment to moment, what He wants them to do. Sometimes it’s encourage your husband to talk to someone else, sometimes it’s helping him by gently reminding him, sometimes it’s letting him deal with circumstances, sometimes it’s pointing Him to God instead of giving him the answer you think of…but how will you know unless you are plugged into God? The most important thing we can do as wives instead of taking other people’s advice (including mine!) is to cultivate our relationship with Jesus Christ. Without that, we won’t have a clue, and will struggle endlessly in this area.
And yes, I’ve stumbled through nearly all of those (and more) in my marriage.
<<<Insert sheepish grin here>>>
And none of them have helped.
Truth is, I’m still figuring out “submission” as my husband figures out “leadership.”
Thank God for grace, or we wouldn’t still be married.
This morning, I asked my husband his opinion about something I wanted to do that costs a lot of money. I still don’t know what to do, but he said we’d talk more about it tonight. I will be fully honest and tell you that I mixed being in submission with being un-submissive and quarrelsome.
Me: What do you think?
Him: Hmmm…I think it’s a lot of money, but it’s also something you are passionate about.
Me: So what do you think we should do?
Him: I think we should talk about it tonight.
Me: The boys have Scouts tonight, there won’t be time.
How it should have gone:
Me: What do you think?
Him: Hmmm…I think it’s a lot of money, but it’s also something you are passionate about.
Me: So what do you think we should do?
Him: I think we should talk about it tonight.
Me: Will we have time with you taking the boys to Scouts?
Simple, small change, nothing that makes me a doormat or subservient slave to the man I married, just being respectful, which would be how I would like to be treated, instead of the “mothering” and “quarrelsome” response I gave him.
Again, God just keeps showing me over and over again to ASK A QUESTION.
Sorry I’m such a slow learner, Lord!
Dare you today to ask God how often you are “quarrelsome,” and how this fits into your perception of “submission.”
For guys, that means, “Am I arguing with the Lord about what He wants me to do? Do I even know what that is? Am I cultivating my relationship with Him such that I know what He wants and will obey (submit) to God’s authority in my life?”
Often we wives are afraid of losing control (which is pride and sin, btw) and we get in the way of creating the marriages we ache for, the one where we have a strong, confident, godly man, who loves us like Christ loves the church. Double-dog-dare you to ask yourself if you really want your husband to step up to the plate and lead your family.
Regardless of what gender you are, today I triple-dog-dare you to ask God to help you align your will with His, in this area and others.
May we ALL be less “quarrelsome.”
Love to you,
Thankful to be on the journey with you!
@All female marriage writers and therapists,
See, what I think the problem is in all of this “submit” discussion, is that many women struggle with it because they think women are being done unfairly, and they never see men writers hammering on other men about “giving your life for your wife”. This submit thing that writers take such interest in writing has become like “beating a dead horse”.
Now while, this Scripture is important, there are Ten Commandments that you need to be expounding on. Yet, you writers go on and on and on, about “wives submit”. No wonder women have such a hard time. What do you expect? Women are only human and no more sinning than men. You all have got to wake up and look at this problem that you are contributing to. God is watching everything we do and say. Do you all believe that He wants you to single out one idea for women and not talk about all of His other rules?
I read this whole page and did not see where one woman gave hurting wife commenter, some other truths. You all never talked about about the husband’s roles. I did not see anyone tell her that the husband has a bigger role that he should be doing as “servant leader” and giving his life for the wife as Christ gave His life for the church and us. No person told her that men are sinners too and that husbands can be arrogant, egostisticsl, cold, distant, harsh, selfish, and abusive, therefore making the woman feel anger towards submitting to their husbands. No one laid it all out to this woman. Why? Let us tell the truth about the husband’s and wife’s roles. Tell her that Scripture tells us to submit to one another, because ther will be times when he will need to give in to his wife. I can list some in a later comment. Tell her that she has the will and right to not follow him if he wants her to sin against God
Someone among you has got to understand this and then start a new appoach to this thing about submitting. Because you are unfairly hurting women and allowing these sinning humans called men, get by with no articles to them.. This is grossly wrong. My question is why or why do female marriage writers feel the need to imitate, to repeat each other, and write about the same topic. Why are you all focusing on one or two Scriptures in the Bible to beat up on and make women feel so discouraged? Wake up ladies. Please be loving to your female gender.
Glad you stopped by. We have a community here that consists of more than one blog post, and I invite you to peruse the content, use the search mechanism, and you should find all the things you spoke about above. It is true that I don’t write primarily to men. I am following Titus 2:3-4, as I am called by God. If He changes my calling, I’ll let you know. I am so sorry if you are feeling discouraged and beat up right now – and perhaps you’ll find the encouragement you need if you look a little deeper.
Love to you,
so write to both partners as you yourself say 1+1=1. Ah, the advice has got to be 1+1=1 TOO. you should wake up and know that it takes two to marry and it takes TWO SIDES of the advice to make it whole. come on! if you feel led to address marriage issues you should definitely address both sides of any issue. Look carefully at Paul’s example: he addresses BOTH husband and wife when he gives the marriage advice. if you think you are too inadequate to teach the men then by all means stop giving INCOMPLETE advice and leave the men to write these kind of blogs, IF only they will address both issues. With this said it is actually better for married COUPLE bloggers to do the topics together. Go get your husband to write his part of the topic before you post them TOGETHER. Ah we are fed up with this one-sided view. No wonder the men mostly think it is the WOMEN who have to do the homework about marriage issues. I’m totally in agreement with what Zaylee wrote.
Krista, I can vouch for what Nina said about you are doing the right thing. Even if you are doing all of what a lot of times is considered the man’s job, ask his opinions on things. Get his opinion on what should be done with this or that. Let him make the final decisions if you disagree, unless there is a very pressing reason not to. These are just a few suggestions from another wife who works full time, pays the bills and tries to keep everything running smoothly. I will say it does not always go as smoothly as I would like, but with God’s help it does work out. Bless you!
My husband and I are in the thick of yet another political disagreement; I’ve learned so much from him in my marriage that has brought me from far-left to middle, leaning right….but it’s not enough and emotionally I have a hard time dealing with his extremism and anger toward anyone who disagrees with him. This is what he just wrote to me…..
Respecting me and belonging to me means that my words should hold sway unless I’m really off base. I wish you were in the fight with me. I don’t mean violence – I mean what’s in the heart. Glean to me. Remember what it says in Genesis about “leaving father and mother and cleaving to your husband” (paraphrasing)? I think I would worry less about some issues if I knew you were on my side of it.
That raised ALL of my independent hackles…but I’ve learned enough to keep my mouth shut until I can rationally ask God what to do with my feelings. But I would feel like a doormat if I say I have to agree with him on his political views. How can I be submissive in the eyes of God but still remain true to who I am and my beliefs??
It is also ok to acknowledge that HE IS BEING SELFISH. even he quotes scriptures incompletely – he is the one commanded to do the leaving and cleaving – in the context of growing up from being a mommy/daddy baby, being a man himself and cleaving to his wife to his own family unit. I doubt if he is obeying the ‘love your wife ad your own self’ he would want you to ignore your convictions the way he would not want to do with his. It is not enough for him to keep his own convictions, now he wants yours too by all means. You are a good, wise woman to turn to the Lord to help handle this. but you cut your husband too much slack. pray for his repentance too. God bless us all.
Thank you for this wonderful post Nina, it is a great description for submission.
Please help me. I want to die so bad-I have even gotten the equipment. Bible god thinks I am the lowest of the low because I am female. Why was I made so low that I need a head/master to order me around. I can’t think of submission any other way. I can’t live in this world that thinks of me so low, unclean, and needing a master/head. Do I really want to die? WWhy can’t I live ast the lowest form of human life. You guys are all able to do it. I can’t look at a man without thinking bad thoughts-thaall he wants to do is make a slave of some poor girl. Why can’t I accept that bible god hates me so much-this god thinks I need a master/head? That says on the hierarchy of life I am lower than a bug. After all, the bible doesn’t order a ladybug or cockroach to be a submissive to god’s precious men. So, I am lower than a cockroach in bible g god’s view? I don’t know if I am ready to die-maybe god hate females so much that god makes it miserable for us in the afterlife, as in earthly life. Never free or able to make our own choices. Must obey orders from some man (and they are always kind and considerate-NOT). You are the only people who seem to understand how much I hate myself-and am planning to rid myself of this stupid life-you talked me down before, maybe this is me reaching out to someone. God says I am nothing because I am female-a leteral afterthought. How can I go on living in this terrible world. Thanks for your help- am signing out of this horrible horrible world.
Jane. I am so sorry for your struggle. It is one not uncommon to many people…but you do not have to feel like this. Know that the enemy has been feeding you lies. YOU ARE LOVED – by us and by God – and you are NOT a second class citizen. You are a treasure. THIS is TRUTH: http://ninaroesner.com/who-am-i/ . Dear God, please help Jane see Your love for her. Please keep her safe. Please help her see the Truth, and bind the enemy from this evil. Please help her understand. It’s in Jesus’ name that we pray, Amen.
I agree with Nina. Jane, it sounds like you have listened to a voice that is shouting that “you aren’t worthy, you’re unclean” and are starting to believe it. I don’t think that the issue is submission; you are struggling deep within you, to be clean, to feel like you’re not garbage, and the thought of bowing your head to a man that will mistreat you, and that that is all that life has for you – paints a VERY bleak picture!!!
Jane, you are a pearl of great value. A matchless ruby that no one has ever seen, or will ever see again. You are not dirty, sweet girl. You have been washed clean by your Savior. For about a decade, I struggled with an eating disorder and those exact same thoughts. I was dirty. Something inside me was rotting. I attempted suicide over 10 times, and was desperate to make the pain go away. I know you’re not a huge fan of church, so I urge you to go to a park; go to a playground; go to a garden, and see the miracles that unfold in the changing leaves, the clounds, and the laughter. And then know that the miracle of salvation is greater than any of those things, and that the God who created them, spent far more time creating the masterpiece that is YOU. Don’t take that beautiful gift from the world!!! We Need YOU!!!
Jane, I don’t know you but I feel your heart aching. I want you to know that you are beautiful and loved. The Lord created you for a special purpose that only you can fill. Remember how precious you are to God. You are his beloved child. You are created in His image. You are valued. You are treasured. Don’t let the lies of the enemy tell you anything different. Unfortunately most of society has a view of submission that is NOT what God intended. Submission does not make a woman a lesser person. Submission does not make a woman a doormat to be walked all over. Submission does not mean that a woman has no opinion. Submission is asked of us, not because God is unloving, but because He loves us enough to provide for all of our needs. It has nothing to do with inferiority. In fact, Jesus was submissive to God’s will. That does not make Jesus inferior. Just like your willing submission does not make you inferior. Look at 1Peter 3:5-6. Sarah is used as a model for submission. If you look back at the life of Sarah you will learn that she was not silent. She gave her husband advice. She was actively involved in running their household. Sarah had a strong personality. She was no doormat. And God blessed Sarah making her “the mother of nations”. Submission is simply a choice we make to honor God. I encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal His truth to you and ask Him to reveal the lies for what they are. You are so precious.
Jane, I believe that you said in an earlier post that you have been researching Biblical submission and that you are not married. Even though you are not married, I recommend getting a copy of the book “Women Making a Difference In Marriage” by Lana Packer. Chapter 3 (Week 3) talks about Biblical submission. It is by far the best description I have ever read about what Ephesians 5:22 and Ephesians 5:24 really mean. I know it might not be the best protocol to mention a different book on this blog, but I highly encourage you to take a look at it. I wish every woman would read it. I, too, used to think that submitting to my husband was a big crock of bull. I was raised by a single mom with five girls. We were an all woman household and we didn’t need a man to hold it together for us. Our theme song was “I am Woman Hear Me Roar”. My mom did it all. My dad let us down many times but not being there and failing to show up for visitation. When I married I refused to say “OBEY” in our vows. The thought of submitting to my husband made me roll my eyes. I was independent, strong, and in control. The first time I heard the verse about submitting to my husband I got angry. Then I just chose to ignore that verse when I accepted Christ as my savior. But when I stumbled across this Bible study and suprise, suprise when I got to week 3 and discovered the whole chapter was about submission. I started reading it and it made sense. It changed my whole view of submission.
Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. 11 Her husband can trust her and SHE WILL GREATLY ENRICH HIS LIFE 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of his life.
THIS is the woman you are called to be. Read on in Proverbs 31. This woman was a jewel in her husbands crown, just as you will be someday.
Jane, you have been misled and deceived by the enemy. You seek wisdom and you have come to a place that speaks clearly that wisdom comes from God (Prov 2:6). You need to read the Bible as a whole, understand its meaning as it intertwines with each segment and time and see how those words are ALIVE on the page speaking to you, Jane, today.
John 3:16 For God so loved Jane, that He gave His only son so that when Jane believes in Him she will have eternal life.
Luke 12:7 And the very hairs on Jane’s head are all numbered; so do not be afraid, Jane, you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
1 John 3:1 See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him
Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you, Jane, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.
Sweet Jane, you, and any other beautiful lady that has been attacked with this same sense of unworthiness, are being prayed for by hundreds today. We are longing to hear from you.
Hi Jane, I’m praying for you. I pray you can know and feel the presence of Jesus today. He loves you so much. He wants to heal and restore you, redeem you and free you. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” Isaiah 61
Don’t despair, He never leaves you. He will carry you. Love to you. Angie
Hello, I appreciate this article very much. I am a christian, but recently have gotten away from God because of anger and bitterness. I have been married to my husband for 2 years and have come to realize that I am in an emotionally/verbally abusive marriage. We are Christian. My husband is now using the submission bible verses to try and control me to get his way because he is untrusting and thinks I am having an affair because of his abuse. That is just a small part of it. I wanted to say that my view on submission is so distorted because of my current marraige and I am just at a loss for words because of what I have been through. I think it is sad that some men use these scriptures for control and manipulation in relationships.
I’m so sorry for what you are going through – but hang in there…and know that God loves you to pieces.
For what it is worth, we’ve seen women in your circumstances leave for a while, and we’ve seen them stay. I am praying wisdom and discernment for you so you know the will of the Father. 🙂
Love to you,
Thanks all for your comments. I have given up christianity because of the submissive verses, and have followed my own God. The bible god just does not appear to like women, even though you have given me some stories and verses that God does appear to like women a little bit. When I was forced to go to church, one day I was actually listening. It’s when I heard those horrible wives submit verses. I decided then and there that I would not continue in the church, and I would never get married. Thinking men wanted to be a “head” or dominate. These verses caused me to hate men, and more importantly, hate myself. Why would bible god make me so low? I have kept my word made that day at age 17. I do not go to church, nor have I gotten married. It was a long time ago, but those words still hurt. In fact, they have ruined my life in a way. It’s my fault, I let them. I rejected the source (bible), but the words are still in my mind. The horrible shut up and submit verses. Words do hurt. And when someone tells you you are so low on the heirarchy of life, it does make a difference. And that is how I took those words. I see you all are not offended by the words, but I was terribly affected by them. Anyway, I just wanted to vent a little. Do you all think that other women are damaged because of the words? That they may hate themselves because of this God’s opinion of them? I realize you do not feel that bible god puts you down, but do you think someone may come to that conclusion? I feel that the bible is toxic to me. Whenever I started to like somebody, I would look at those verses and run the other way. I once had a therapist that was christian. She took my bible, saying that it was not good for me at that time. I started liking someone, and got a new one. Looked at those verses, and ran. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism. Thanks again for all your comments.
Your words have so much pain underneath. I just want to acknowledge your courage in being so honest and transparent here. To give a quick answer to these three questions – yes, I think there are women who have been damaged either by the wrong teaching of these words or a wrong understanding of them. Yes, I think there are women that hate themselves because THEY believe this is God’s opinion of them. Yes, I think there are women that do come to the conclusion that God “puts them down” or some variation of that. I have known these women, and I have been one of those women.
Now, I believe you are not here by some chance, asking the questions you have asked, pouring out your pain and confusion. Something is driving you to ask and seek. What do you think? What is deep down, underneath it all, your heart and soul desiring? I have been here as well.
I’m going to be honest and transparent with you. I have been a Christian since I was 19. However, I was broken and hurting and scared and angry all those 19 years before, and I had a lot of brokenness and hurt and fear and anger to deal with after. I’ve spent a majority of life so far (I’m 37) hating men, being afraid of men, being angry at men, not trusting men, running away from men and also hating myself. I got married at 22, but that doesn’t mean I did not have these issues. I had lots of reasons to not trust men. Multiple men in my life abused me. I grew up in violence and perversion. Many women, perhaps some here on this blog, have experienced pain and suffering at the hands of men – earthly fathers, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, and men they did not know until they were assaulted. My heart aches over it.
Whether you have experienced any of this or not, I do not know and I do not need to know if that is something you want to keep private. I mention it because it is very easy to have these life experiences be the lens we look through when we look at those submission verses. So we hear something ugly and horrible and cruel and degrading, because we have experienced the horrors and the cruelty and degradation at the hands of men.
We can also have the experience of being taught these verses, and having them be twisted into something God never intended. There are all kinds of false teaching out there and not just on this subject. There is teaching out there on this subject that does put women down and does create pain and suffering – that is what false teaching does. It pulls us down and it pushes us away from God. We have to acknowledge that this DOES happen.
We can also hear correct teaching on this subject, but then misunderstand it ourselves. It is very easy to do this, especially without the Holy Spirit to give us understanding and discernment. I know I have done this myself, and when it comes to this particular subject I am willing to admit that my own misconceptions about who I am, about who God is, and about how God made me and sees me, has contributed to my confusion, pain, and misdirection. That is why I am now seeking the Truth out for myself and trying to honestly look into my own heart too. I just want the Truth so that I can live it. I want freedom! That’s right, like you I want freedom and you know what – the Truth is what sets us free. I want to correct the misconceptions I have, and I don’t want to accept wrong teaching.
Let me share a little secret here with you about Christian women – we don’t have it all figured out or have it all together. We have messy lives. We have pain. We have fears. We have stuff we would like to hide. This stuff isn’t neat and pretty and it doesn’t fit in a nice little box with an easy to follow prescription for living! It’s hard. But just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing and trying to do well. Just because something is hard doesn’t make it bad. But never for a moment think there is a formula or pat little answer out there. We have to work these things out, wrestle with it, and we have to be willing to be changed.
Like I said in my previous post, I have been married nearly 15 years. I don’t have this stuff figured out. I screw up. A lot. I’m working on it, and will be ‘til the end. I’m a work in progress. We all are. I want to encourage you to think about the question I asked at the beginning: What is deep down, underneath it all, your heart and soul desiring? I’m going to suggest something else too; actually I’m going to ask you to try something. Will you try to let go of what you thought you heard that day in church when you were 17? It’s so hard I know! I have had those same beliefs. I have had to also let go. You said those words were still in your mind, and that you have been a prisoner to them. Would you consider letting them go and just see…until we let go of what we are tightly grasping we can’t receive anything different.
I’m here if you want to share that answer. You can email me privately too at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I agree with Angie’s post below. I can see how someone can be where you are and I’m so sorry you have gone through these things. I also admire your transparency and bravery in being honest with where you are at. Great courage is seen in people who are real, and that is what I see in you.
Please know that God’s opinion of you is that you are an amazing, beautiful, precious treasure to Him. On my last post this week, I put up a few verses to remind ALL of His women (because you are not the only one who has been influenced by this world we live in and that other guy) what He thinks of them. This Truth girds everything because God Himself IS love…probably hard for you to understand right now, but I am praying, beautiful one, that you continue your journey, because God will never leave you – He loves you too much. He is always singing and speaking His love to us, we just don’t know how to hear Him sometimes, and we have to learn how to listen. I’m placing them here, so you don’t have to go look for them:
My Identity in Jesus Christ
I am God’s child. John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
I am a friend of Jesus Christ. John 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
I am one with God. 1 Corinthians 6:17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
I am worth a great price, and have been purchased with God’s own Son. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
I am pursued, sought after, precious, honored, loved, wooed and worthy of nations by the Lover of my soul, the One who knows me, who created me, the One who formed me. Isaiah 43:1, 4 (NIV) But now, this is what the LORD says — he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine … Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.’
I am a member of Jesus’ body, the Church. 1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
I have been specially chosen by God, adopted into His family, redeemed and forgiven. Ephesians 1:3-8 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
God wants to talk to me any time I want to talk to Him, and I can approach Him with confidence because of Jesus. Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
No one can judge or condemn me. Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
God has a plan for good things for me, regardless of what I am going through right now. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
God has a plan for me, and listens to me, and allows me to find Him when I look for Him. Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
God started a good work in me and He will finish it. Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I have a citizenship in heaven. Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
My fear and lack of self-discipline is not from God.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Through Jesus, my work will have a lasting effect.
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
I am made new and am a reconciler and ambassador for God and His people. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
I am made in God’s own image, and a joint heir with Christ. Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Galatians 4:6-7 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, ” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I am a saint. Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 1 Corinthians 1:2 to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ their Lord and ours:
I am righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
I am the devil’s enemy. 1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Thank you, Jane, for the privilege of dialoguing with you about this. Thank you for being real, for being brave.
Love to you,
I’m holding up a crisp new $100 dollar bill. What is its value? It is obviously worth $100. Now I’m taking that bill and crumbling it up, throwing it on the floor, stomping on it, and it is getting dirty. So…I pick it up. Now what is its value? Still worth $100! You see, the value of that bill was assigned to it by the one who created it! And nothing that anyone does to it or says about it will change its value. Because the value is determined by its creator.
YOU, Jane, were created with such a value! Your value has been determined by YOUR Creator! A great and loving God who created us all! If we consider ourselves to be so low, then we must think that He is also low–because, as He has told us, we have been created in His own image! YOU have been created in the image of the most high God! And YOU have been fearfully and WONDERFULLY made! And He knew YOU before He formed you!
Now…let’s look at the “shut up and submit” verses. They are in no way to say that you are of low importance or low on any totem pole of humanity. In fact, if you will go back to Genesis and read the story before God created Eve, you’ll see (as I and others mentioned in our comments already) that God’s creation simply wasn’t complete, and wasn’t “very good” until He made the woman. God does have an order in which He wants us Christians to live by–but submitting is an active thing! It isn’t a place that someone else puts you! If I am a submissive wife, it is because I CHOOSE to be submissive, not because my husband has MADE me submit. I’m being obedient to the Lord by choosing to submit. A friend once defined submission to me as “placing oneself under”…..meaning that I put myself there! And “under what?” you may ask…well…under his leadership, guidance, protective covering, etc. Headship–just like the body has one head to guide us…just like the body of Christ has one head (Christ)…we are to put ourselves under his (our husband’s) authority–and the benefits are OURS!!! We are spiritually, physically, and emotionally covered! Like standing under an umbrella in the rain! It is truly a beautiful place to place myself!
But one thing I hear in your words is that you do not value yourself. And I love how Nina gave you scripture on who you are–and WHOSE you are (or can be, if you choose to accept Him as your Savior!) You are SO valued! SO loved! No matter how much you are crumbled up or stomped on–it isn’t your Creator doing that! Your value is the same, with every wrinkle and blemish!
My prayer for you is that you will allow Him to love you! And that you will allow Him to show you just how valuable you are to Him. You are precious–the daughter of a King! See how valuable you truly are!!!
Melissa – I LOVE this analogy of the $100 bill!!! It’s right on. Thank you for listening to His leading as He helps us show His Great Love to others. 🙂 I like to think of the “place oneself under” thing as choosing to drive, volunteer, or work, or any of the other bazillion choices we make where we have to “submit” to someone’s authority. I took my daughter to a store yesterday to buy some clothing – we chose to purchase the clothing instead of stealing it (not that it was even a question in our heads, but you see my point) and in doing so, agreed with the store’s policy to require money for items. I thought things were expensive, however, and asked the clerk if she had any discount coupons – because it was our first time in, she gave us 40% off our most expensive item! Nice that it happened, and little did I know it would show up in a comment stream here today, but the point is, we make choices to submit all the time – and seldom have issues with it. Only where the enemy would like to destroy do the lies begin to affect us – we forget that we choose, we forget that there is give-and-take, and we forget Whose we are and how precious we are – our VALUE.
Ok, here’s a question for everyone. I’ve read a lot about submission, but I have not yet seen an author address the difficulties of being a spouse to someone with a serious mental illness. How does this situation fit in with what you are describing?
Many times I must be the one in charge and make the decisions for the family. After my husband’s hospital stay last year, I took control of the finances. I am also the one who provides for the family financially. I do try to respect my husband and encourage him in his own pursuits, though.
I struggle to negotiate these aspects of our relationship and not be “bossy.” I also don’t want to lessen his view of himself as a man. (The worsening of his illness and his inability to work has been quite hard on him.)
Nina and the other good ladies reading this, how do you navigate this issue and still be a good wife?
Sounds like you already are, girlfriend! There is absolutely no place in the Bible that says you should not manage the money, or work. We see your heart when you say, “I don’t want to lessen his view of himself as a man.” BEAUTIFUL! 🙂 Being disabled is difficult, and it sounds like you are respecting him and encouraging him. Be wary of teaching that prescribes ONE way to do family life. Sounds to me that you and he have worked things out well for your family. As long as he agrees, it appears that you both are doing what you can in this fallen world to honor God’s view of marriage. 🙂
Love to you,
Genius! Ask a question. So simple yet easy to forget. My husband and I have interactions just like that or even worse when he’s talking to someone else. I chime in with my “no that won’t work because…”. I swear I should tattoo ask a question on my wrist. Or maybe just get a bracelet.
I have to say I giggled at one part. My husband and I have an amazing marriage. He works out of state so sometimes we do have to get back in to our roles when he is home instead of me taking charge because I’m usually the one here. Anyways, we were shopping for some new tops for me. At the checkout I pointed to a bag and said to him “that’s a cute purse”. He looked at me and said “I can’t be everything to you”. I asked what he meant by that and he just said “I’m your husband”. I’m a little slow but I finally picked up on it and said “you aren’t my girlfriend? is that what you mean?” such a fine line sometimes when you are married to your best friend!
Do submissive wives ever miss their freedom? Do they have any rights or privileges? Or do they just do as the master (husband) commands? Do you like living life this way-with no freedom or decision making? Does it make life easier?Do you consider yourselves free people? Do you think the bible considers women the bottom of the barrel (God is first, then men, and at the bottom-women)? Do you literally shut-up in church or anywhere?Do you think the god of the bible likes women at all? After all, bible god does say that women are the lowest form of human life? Do you always agree with what your master/head orders you to do? I would sincerely like answers to these question. I am doing research on christianity and women, and would really appreciate input from submissive wives. Also, do you feel inferior, superior, or equal to your master/husband? After all, as a woman, you are the low one on the totem pole (God…men…………women)? I really want to see how some sub wives justify these passages. I know you said that the life hierarchy was not an indicator of inferiority, but Icannot understand how. Do you think a master is equal to a slave? Why do you think wives are compared to slaves in bible? or children? I’m not trying to put down your lifestyle, only trying to understand it. Thanks.
Dear Jane, You are seeking after the best thing–God’s holy truth! One thing you should know is this–any Christian wife should be a submissive wife. I’m not saying that one who steps out of line (which I’m guilty of myself) is not a real Christian, but as believers in a most high God, and as believers of a Savior, Jesus, we are called to obey. Obey God–for that is how we show we love Him. Obey our husbands–because God says so. It isn’t our husband’s requirement–it is God’s requirement. And He, our loving Father, knows what is truly best for us! After all, He created us! You know how the sayings “Mother knows best” or “Father knows best” go? Well, it’s because we “created” them (our children)! And we know more of the big picture in this life than they do…and we’ve learned those lessons ourselves already. Well…God saw the end from the beginning…so He knows what is best for us every day of the week. 🙂 As far as your questions…the answers must all come from an understanding of God and His word.
(1) “Do submissive wives miss their freedom?” That is a bit of a misleading question…and it assumes that we HAD the freedom to begin with. Well, in our country (USA), we DO have the “right” to do/be/say/act any way we want. There are consequences for some things, and no consequences for others. But there ARE spiritual consequences for not submitting to our husbands–so are we “free” to not be submissive? Yes–we still have the free will, the ability to choose, which God gave us–but we are not free from the consequences of disobeying God’s command to submit.
(2) “do they just do as the master (husband) commands?” Again, knowing God’s word, I know that I am to obey God first, my husband next, and any other “masters” after that–SO LONG AS they do not contradict the ultimate authority (God) on the matter. Do people obey their boss? Do people obey police? They are also our authority figures here on earth. The difference in obedience to a husband, much like obedience to our God, is that we WANT to obey him/Him…because we love him/Him…because he/He loves us!
(3) “Do you like living life this way-with no freedom or decision making?” Hahaha…oh how I WISH I didn’t have to make any decisions any day!!! My decisions are different–but rest assured, I do have to make them…ALL.THE.TIME. They DO fall in line with the leadership and guidance from my husband. And there is freedom there too. Sorta like being in a fenced in yard–but free to run about within it. I’m free to arrange my day as I need to–knowing what I am responsible for as my “boundaries”. I’m not standing in one spot waiting on him to tell me when to take a step, what to wear, whether to answer the phone, what to say to my children, etc. I DO appreciate and often ask for his advice on things like that–but he isn’t commanding my every move. So there IS freedom and decision-making. But he holds the responsibility. That is SO freeing! Which leads to #4…
(4) “Does it make life easier?” YES! Imagine being at work, taking care of all that is on your job description, but when things fail, you aren’t the one taking all the blame for it. Sure, you’d be held accountable for your part–but overall, your boss, CEO, etc. is the one in the newspaper article. That’s kinda like I feel as a godly wife, who is in submission to my husband. I’m FREE from the ultimate responsibility in our home–to provide, protect, and such. My role is just as important–but I don’t hold that weight of responsibility on my shoulders.
(5) “Do you consider yourselves free people?” Back to #2 and #3…yes! I’m free within the bounds of God’s word. I’m accountable to God for MY role. And it is, again, a mirage to see American freedom as the same as Biblical freedom. It simply isn’t the same to be free in this country as it is to have “freedom in Christ”. In BOTH cases, you are still accountable to some form of boundaries. In America, you are not “free” to drink and drive–and if you are caught doing so, you go to jail. In my marriage, I’m “free” to speak disrespectfully to my husband–but in doing so, I am accountable to God for disobedience. I read a great book once–it is called “Liberated Through Submission”. Highly recommend it!
(6) “Do you think the bible considers women the bottom of the barrel (God is first, then men, and at the bottom-women)?” I want to say, “Are you kidding??” If we look back at the story of Creation, in Genesis, we see that God’s creation was INCOMPLETE…UNTIL He created woman! Only AFTER she was created and brought to the man was God able to rest. Only after woman was formed was God done making something new. So–we are not bottom of the barrel! We are a necessary part of creation! Without us, there would have been ONE man–Adam–and then, you and I wouldn’t even exist!
(7) “Do you literally shut-up in church or anywhere?” God says women are to be silent in church. Yes. He says we are receivers–whereas our husbands are initiators. That is evident in the sexual relationship–but also overall between the genders. God says that women should remain silent because He wants the MEN to lead His church. Women have a vital role there–but He has a certain order He wants–and men are to lead. It doesn’t mean I’m silent–not even in my faith! But it DOES mean that in church, or any gathering of believers, I am NOT to teach or have authority over a man. “Let the women learn in silence and if she does not understand something, let her ask her husband at home.” Again–instilling that he (my husband) is the spiritual leader for me and our family. It doesn’t mean I never have anything to say or offer.
(8) “Do you think the god of the bible likes women at all? After all, bible god does say that women are the lowest form of human life?” I’ve put these two questions together, since they seem to go together. God most definitely likes–and LOVES–women! See #6…His creation was incomplete without us! AND…Jesus died for us, too! And we see that He sent Jesus to die because He (God) loves us! I do not see at ALL where God says in the Bible that women are the “lowest form of human life”. In fact, we are valued SO much, that He gave us our own special role to fulfill–which NO OTHER can fulfill! Motherhood is one…but just being a woman and fulfilling the role He established for us is of the utmost importance! I used to work as an office manager for a company–and I worked for seven men. They looked at me as though my position was worthless–UNTIL the day I was off work! THEN they realized my value! Let’s not devalue women altogether! Just because our roles are different doesn’t mean that we hold less value in the eyes of our Creator!
(9) Do you always agree with what your master/head orders you to do? Nope. Not always. Plain and simple. I have my own way of thinking and way that I’d do things–IF I was in charge. We aren’t called to AGREE, though….we are just called to submit/obey. 🙂
(10) “Also, do you feel inferior, superior, or equal to your master/husband? After all, as a woman, you are the low one on the totem pole (God…men…………women)?” Again (see #8)…I’m in no way “lowest” in value…not to God, nor to my husband. In God’s word we see that our roles are DIFFERENT–but they are not of any less value. So I feel equal! God is a god of order–so there is an order of responsibility–but, just like the office manager position I mentioned above, if I’m not there to do my job, it has an effect on those in authority to me being able to do theirs…which makes me HIGHLY valuable!
God bless you on your journey to find research! And I truly hope I’ve shed some light on the fact that we aren’t sitting around waiting for our “master” to tell us what to do in every moment of every day. We have so much to offer–but it must be done according to God’s will, and with the appropriate order. And there is TRUE freedom there!!!
Jane – I was surprised by your questions, as it never occurred to me that someone would wonder these things about me. Women used to be considered property in ancient times, but those times (and that thinking) has long ago passed. I’m not sure what is providing the basis for your understanding of Christian wives, but in the modern world, “inferior” is not a label I would put on a Christian wife, regardless of which branch of the faith she belonged to – granted there are cults which promote abusive behaviors, but the mainline Christian denominations do not subscribe to such thinking and you’ll find women in ministry throughout. If you do a study on women in the Bible, you’ll also find tons of women in ministry with Jesus.
I think the Bible is pretty clear in that we are equal – equal heirs to the throne, and equal in that both men and women were made in God’s image. As a matter of fact, the man is considered “not complete” without a woman, as she completes him. God refers to women with the same word He uses to refer to Himself and His Holy Spirit. There’s no concern for “freedom,” “rights,” or “privileges,” because that would imply something missing that simply is not missing in a healthy, non-abusive Christian marriage.
My husband treats me as equal, and I treat him likewise. “Submission” as it applies to wives, is simply a military term applied to the hierarchy of the organization of the family, meaning, husband is CEO. I’m the President. We consult each other, but have different realms of responsibility. In the extremely rare occasion in which we cannot reach consensus, his vote prevails, and I don’t worry about it, because I trust God. I make gobs of decisions, many I ask his opinion about, not because I’m under his authority, but as a stakeholder in our family, it’s just the right thing to do in certain cases. LIke if I had a friend, and was going to make a decision that would affect her, I would probably talk to her about it first. That’s respectful. It’s really just common sense. You might find this article interesting: http://bible.org/article/christianity-best-thing-ever-happened-women for your research.
Jesus Christ was the best thing to ever happen to women. He crossed cultural boundaries, during a period in history when women were not to be taught, He taught them. He revealed His deity to a woman first, and He went out of His way to meet with a woman. There are those who like to keep women oppressed, but most of the Christian marriages I am familiar with treat women with honor, respect, and love. Course, these are solid Christian men, who have deep relationships with God, and obey God – who tells them to love and respect their wives, or He is not going to answer their prayers. That’s a pretty powerful statement.
Oh, and I really liked the points below that Lisa Kesler made – submission is a bigger issue in terms of submitting to God. Most people don’t like that, but it’s there. It’s huge. And it’s not what you think, either. 🙂
Nina since you asked, this is what I would share with Jane.
Jane, you ask many good questions. 20 years ago I thought submission was a profanity word. I admire Nina’s courage to broach an unpopular and misunderstood concept. There is a mission within submission. It will challenge you on all levels. Biblical/godly submission under the Judeo-Christian God is a choice, a matter of faith and offered from the heart. Have we perfected it here? No, but we keep pressing into it in order to embrace it wisely. Since you are doing research I’ll share the pages I have gleaned from that have helped me to mature my understanding in this area.
(This is the hard core version that I use discerningly -the author of page uses many “must’s” and “need to’s” and supports submitting to abusive spouses which Nina deals with too. I do like their umbrella image at the bottom of the page and scripture references to study it out in for myself.) “Few subjects create emotional stirs like that of a wife being subject to her husband. Yet the Bible is crystal clear. For some women, truly accepting this one Bible teaching may very well be the ultimate test of their faith in God. This subject is greatly misunderstood by the worldly and Christian alike.”
Blessings to Jane as she learns to make friends with the idea of “submission”.
Here’s some thoughts for Jane…
Let me preface my responses to your questions with this disclaimer: I am not even close to an expert on marriage, submission, role of women in the Bible/ church, etc. I’m a wife of nearly 15 years and a mother of 4. I am a believer and imperfect follower of Jesus Christ. I am a woman currently seeking the truth about this very issue and other issues involving women and what the Bible says about us. So please understand, these are just my thoughts as I am on a similar journey.
Q: Do submissive wives ever miss their freedom? Do you always agree with what your master/head orders you to do?
I’m no pro at being a submissive wife, but I have worked on being respectful to my husband. I think just about anyone – complementarian and egalitarian – would agree that a marriage relationship needs 2 people being respectful to each other. Men, in general, have indicated a great need for respect. It makes sense to work toward providing something our men need. Am I a submissive wife? Honestly, I don’t know. I have functioned for a long time under that teaching, and I have “submitted” in many instances to my husband’s decision as final, whether that benefitted our marriage or our “testimony” is debatable. In the past couple of years, I have seen our relationship evolve to one that I would call more about mutual cooperation. We work as a team now more than we have in the past. If a decision is necessary, we talk about things until we agree or come to some conclusion. There have been issues that we have really struggled to be “in sync” on, and I have to say the work of digging into those problems, the struggle to speak and to be quiet and listen, has shown us areas of ourselves that really need Jesus! That’s been a good thing. We have each taken our turn confessing our own sin to each other, and we have each taken our turn forgiving each other. It has built a stronger foundation – because it is Christ at work in us. If we were functioning with my husband being the “decision maker” and I being merely the “submitter” to his decision making, I can’t imagine the intimacy and the growth we would be forfeiting. I will say there are matters I have left to my husband because he is just more knowledgeable or better suited for it. There are other things that he would say he has left for me to “decide” or research or do, simply because it falls in an area I have more experience or knowledge or more the personality for. Since every marriage is unique, I think there will be differences in the way each married couple works out what “works” for them. I respect that other married couples have a different way of working out problems and making decisions. In the end, my husband and I have to ask ourselves, are we glorifying God in our relationship? Is our marriage one that points to the example of Christ? Do we love as He did, forgive as He did, serve as He did? Are we helping each other, pointing each other, to the grace poured out on us at the Cross of Christ? As I ask these questions, I am painfully made aware of my shortcomings and failings, however; I am also rejoicing that I am not left in them, but am Christ’s work in progress. I have found myself turning more to the study of Jesus than the study of the role of a woman. He is the perfect, complete embodiment of ALL I need. I trust He will lead me, and yes, lead my husband also.
So as to have I ever missed my “freedom”? I don’t consider my relationship with my husband to be a slave/ master one. I have not felt bound or restricted by anything other than my own sin and/or my own misconceptions/ misinformation about what God has said is true. I have not felt that I was restricted from speaking, making a decision, thinking for myself or having a differing opinion.
Marriage, in essence, does require a “giving up” of many of the “freedoms” we experience as an unmarried person. Marriage requires both people to sacrifice self-interests and desires at times because that is the essence of having another in your life. It’s not all about you anymore; so I guess in that way you could argue a giving up of freedom, but it is for the good of the other person and the relationship. It is not a forced relinquishment. It is a voluntary choice to consider another person’s needs before your own. We do the same as parents. I really would have preferred an uninterrupted night’s sleep to all those hourly feedings, but I put what I wanted at the time aside for the good of my babies. Christ did the same. (Phil. 2:1-8; Rom. 15:2-3; John 13:1-17; Matt. 20: 25-28)
Q: Do they have any rights or privileges? Or do they just do as the master (husband) commands? Do you like living life this way-with no freedom or decision making? Does it make life easier? Do you consider yourselves free people?
I have all the privileges and benefits that come from being a woman redeemed by the Blood of Christ. I am His bride. I am His beloved. I am loved and never forgotten and never forsaken. I am protected and provided for. I am a co-heir with Christ. (Isaiah 62:4-5; Rev. 19:6-8; Rom. 9:24-26; Is. 49:15-16; Rom. 8:16-17; Gal. 3:29; Eph. 3:6; Deut. 31:6,8; Heb. 13:5; John 16:27; Ps. 36:7; Ps. 59:16; Ps. 86:13; Ps. 103:11; John 17:23; Rom. 5:8; 2 Peter 1:3-4).
Personally, the most “empowered” I have ever been has been in my realizing my status and position as a child of God, a sinner redeemed by the Blood of the Messiah Jesus Christ. I am not ruled by a “master husband”, but I seek the Presence of my Lord and to be made more like Him.
I think our correct understanding of who we are in Christ is critical to understanding our role in all of our relationships, including marriage. How do I relate to others? I need only look to Christ for my example. Ideally, my husband is doing the same. Regardless of that, (my husband’s actions), I can still look to Christ, cling to Him, and be renewed in my mind and have my heart attitudes and actions conformed to the living Word. I can trust Him because there is nothing He cannot do and nothing that can separate me from His love. (Rom.8: 38-39; Job 26; Psalm 62; Isaiah 40:28-30; Eph. 3: 14-20).
Q: Do you think the bible considers women the bottom of the barrel (God is first, then men, and at the bottom-women)? Do you think the god of the bible likes women at all? After all, bible god does say that women are the lowest form of human life? Do you feel inferior, superior, or equal to your master/husband?
Nowhere does the Bible say woman is less than, inferior, at “the bottom of the barrel” or “the lowest form of human life”. Quite on the contrary, Christ came, was sent by the Father, to lay down His life for human life – sinful man and sinful woman. Does God like women? Just look at Jesus and His interactions with women. It is breathtaking and beautiful. In a society and Jewish culture that gave woman no status, rights, or freedoms, where Jewish law subjugated women and reduced them to a possession to be discarded at a man’s will, Jesus went to the woman at the well, spoke to her heart, and met her need for living water. (John 4:7-42) Jesus turned around and looked at the woman washing his feet with her tears, and he praised her, he used her to teach the Pharisee Simon about love and lay bare the arrogance and pride that prevented it, and then He forgave her sin and gave her peace! (Luke 7:36-50) When He saw a crippled woman, bent over for 18 years, He called her to Him! He immediately healed her. He gave a woman with no hope a new life that glorified God. In many ways her bent over body represented what the women of that time must have felt like – no hope, defeated, helpless. Jesus again used a woman to point out the hypocrisy and shame in the Pharisees attitudes and behavior, while at the same time giving hope to all those in bondage. (Luke 13:10-17) The woman caught in adultery, brought to Jesus in humiliation, and used by the scribes and Pharisees in the hope of trapping Him, found mercy instead of condemnation. It was the men that brought her forward that had their sin, shame, and hypocrisy revealed by Jesus. (John 8:1-11) God chose a woman to carry and give birth to the Savior. What a beautiful portrait of courage and humility we have in Mary of Nazareth. (Luke 1:26-56) There have been many women God has commissioned in His work, and He named them in His Holy Word so that we would know it. Abigail, Anna, Rebecca, Rachel, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha, Sarah, Deborah, Dorcas/ Tabitha, Esther, Hannah, Lydia, Ruth and Naomi, Huldah, Eve, Elizabeth, Jael, Priscilla, Phoebe…to name some. Many have said, rightly so, that Christianity – Jesus, is the liberator of women. Truly, Jesus is the emancipator of us all.
To be clear, I do not think I am superior to my husband, just like I am not inferior. I see us equal, different obviously, but equally loved by God, both sinners saved by grace through faith in Christ. We are both joint heirs with Christ, we are both by faith children of Abraham, and we are both of equal value and worth to God. There is “no partiality with God”. (Rom.2:10-12; Eph. 6:8-9; Acts 10:34-35)
Q: Do you literally shut-up in church or anywhere?
Certainly, at times, I remain quiet because it’s just wise to do so. The Bible is clear about “the tongue” and the damage we cause with our words. Just read through the book of Proverbs and James chapter 3! However, our words also have the power to heal, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24) I do not remain silent at all times, and I do not remain silent in the church. If I am silent, it is because I have nothing to say or nothing GOOD to say, that is edifying to others. Unfortunately, there are plenty of times I should have stayed silent and did not. The point is, there are times when silence is good, and it is the right thing to do in a given situation. Words are powerful and we can’t take them back…therefore we need to use them carefully and with much wisdom and discernment.
The teaching that all women of all time in all churches are to remain silent, I do not agree with. A valid interpretation of Paul’s instructions to the churches in Corinth and Ephesus is that these instructions addressed specific problems (big problems!) happening in these churches, including false teaching, sexual immorality, confusion and chaos in church meetings, and confusion and a devaluing of the sanctity of marriage and family. Pagan practices had corrupted the teaching, worship, and relationships of these new, early Christians. Specifically, Paul says the women in these churches needed to be quiet, because they needed to learn. It’s hard to learn when you’re still off and about spreading false teaching. Consider also all the women Paul himself named as being important members of his ministry work (He names 9 in Rom.16). Even at the end of his letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 16:19), he mentions Aquila and Priscilla and their house church. Why would he tell the women in Corinth to be quiet, but obviously sanction the ministry work of Priscilla? I suggest it is because he was not instructing all women, of all time, in all churches to be silent. This couple of passages of Scripture has LONG been debated, and still there is no consensus among all Christians on this issue. Many of my complementarian brothers and sisters in Christ will disagree with me on this. That is okay. I am forming my own conclusions as I study the whole Word of God and I ask Him to show me the Truth. After years of not delving into this myself, I realized I needed to. Ultimately, I’ve got God to go to and I have God to answer to. I trust Him to lead me and use the gifts He has given me how and where He wants. That is a process I am still in the midst of. You said you are also in this process, so I commend you for delving in and seeking to understand.
Q: I know you said that the life hierarchy was not an indicator of inferiority, but I cannot understand how.
At this point, I can’t say I agree or disagree with the “hierarchy” teaching you are referring to. I am still searching understanding on this point. I struggle with the idea that in the Trinity there is a hierarchy (that in essence Jesus is subordinate to the Father), when that seems contrary to the unity of the Godhead – and that this hierarchy within the Godhead sets the standard for hierarchy within the family. I am also not sure I see the hierarchy of the family in the Genesis account, especially before the Fall. I have even more problems with taking something that is the consequence of sin (Eve turning away from God to her husband and the condition of that, her husband ruling over her – something that God did not intend at creation), being made into something He did put into place and as something good. So you see, I am still on this journey of understanding myself. I have read differing opinions on the translation of “head” and “submission” (different than the traditional complementarian interpretations). They make sense…so I am not ready to make my conclusions. I encourage you to do your own study and to pray for discernment, that you will be able to understand. It is not that we need to understand another person’s interpretation – we need to understand what His Word says. Those are often 2 very different things. I will be the first to say, don’t simply trust what I say or believe – seek the Truth out for yourself. God certainly uses others and their knowledge and experience to help us, but they are not the final word. Lastly, let me add, it’s okay to not understand some things! Especially the Godhead – wow, I really question if we can ever really understand the trinity. People who claim to have figured out the trinity, well, that just scares me too. Let’s face it, there are many things we are probably not going to understand or are not meant to understand until we are present with the Lord. Don’t let that discourage you. Remember you are not inferior – God does not say that anywhere.
Q: Do you think a master is equal to a slave? Why do you think wives are compared to slaves in bible? or children?
I don’t find wives compared to slaves or children in the Bible. Do you have specific Scriptures you are referring to?
1 Cor. 12:13 says: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
Gal. 3: 26-29 says: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
I know that there are instructions about masters and slaves in 1 Peter 2 which is followed by instructions to wives and husbands in 1 Peter 3. And in Ephesians 5 there are instructions to husbands and wives followed by instructions to children and parents, bondservants and masters in Ephesians 6. Is this what you are referring to? I do not read this as comparing one set to another, it’s just written in the same letter. They seem to be distinct parts.
As for your question about master equal to slave. I consider all people equal in the eyes of God, however; society did not and still does not. Again, we have Paul giving instructions to new, early Christians on how to live life as a Christian, but as a Christian in these specific roles in their society. All of his teaching is applicable to us today; we just have to understand the context. In the not so long ago past, these very Scriptures were used to validate and justify slavery in this country. Obviously, that was taking the Word of God out of context and using it in a way that neither God (nor Paul) intended.
Q: I would sincerely like answers to these question. I am doing research on Christianity and women, and would really appreciate input from submissive wives. I really want to see how some sub wives justify these passages. I’m not trying to put down your lifestyle, only trying to understand it. Thanks.
I don’t know that I am a “sub wife” or that I have given you answers that “justify” the passages, but I have answered honestly what my thoughts are right now concerning these issues; I am still trying to figure this “submission” stuff out. I hope I have given you one perspective among the many to consider, and I pray for wisdom and truth for you as seek the answers to your questions. Blessings.
Dear Jane –
Responding to your question #1 (Do submissive wives ever miss their freedom?):
Submissiveness is not the antonym of freedom. We do have both at the same time. For instance – we live in a country where traffic is “ruled” by traffic lights (among other things). We are free to drive insofar as we submit to the rule of the traffic lights – stopping when red, slowing when yellow and going when green. When we don’t submit to the rules – we are in danger of losing life, limb and property. I enjoy the “freedom” of driving most fully when I submit to the rules of driving.
The same is true of my marriage. When I submit to the “rule” (or law) of God, when I follow the counsel of my husband, my freedom is magnified – not diminished.
Thanks for asking and giving me the opportunity to reflect (once again) on the true meaning of freedom.
One other thought I had this morning, Jane. Submission is something that *I* must choose to do. It is an active thing on my part–not something I’m forced into. Submit, from scripture, means “to place oneself under”–much like military rankings. It doesn’t make one person or ranking better than or more valuable–only qualified to hold that rank. We are qualified in our roles by a great God…and because of His love, I obey him by choosing to submitting to my husband “as unto the Lord”. So I am VERY much acting on my freedom of choice by choosing to submit, very much not a slave in this decision, and very much valued by my husband for doing so. 🙂
Hold onto Him, baby!! God will teach you through this! Your heart is lovely – the learning can be messy, but is worth it!
I thank you very much for this information. I am having a very hard time trying to follow being a submissive wife. I find myself being one and then crying about the situation wishing I would have known about how marriage actually worked instead of getting married so young. I would have rather waited. It becomes a lot when I have to watch what and how I say my feelings, which usually turns into a cry attack or swallowing my words. I am really trying to work hard and asking the Lord for help, but reading posts and blogs like this help me. So I thank you, but it gets hard. Thank you, I may cry 50 million more times, but I will try twice as much, and keep you in mind.
I have to say that God is going after me on this one and I know it. My spirit wants it but my flesh is putting up a big fuss. In all the years we have been married he was checked out and I did everything… he worked. Recently w both went through a course called making peace with your past. I’m discovering the bitterness I have towards him and my deep hatred for men… my dad was useless to me as a father because not only was he not there for me but he hates children and most of all me so he told me at the age of 12. My husband was a control freak for the first 23 years of our marriage to the point that I was leaving him but God got a hold of him and changed many things in him. Right now like I said God is bringing up a lot of pain and once again is asking me to help him and even though I know it is the right thing to do, i resent it. I’m supposed to feel safe and protected and loved but there is none of that…. so we are supposed to lead them into becoming leaders…. like I said I know my flesh is wrong but I am fighting not only my bitterness towards my hubby but also against the bitterness I feel against allthe men who made me feel unloved and abused! I know the fight will be won but right now I am just really frustrated with what I know to be Gods perfect will and plan for my life. It’s just that we are called to make being what they should ne easier but tell me when do they make life easier for us? It seems like it is always the women who have to help them out …. kinda hard not to mother them when they are so useless at times. Isn’t the mandate for them to cover us? It’s kind of like we have to make the blanket, our it into their hands, show them how to hold it and then encourage them to hold it when it would be much easier to hold the thing ourselves. I know that I have a yucky attitude but I am just being transparent. I do want what God wants but I am fighting with my “self” … and on days like today where he hurts me…. I wonder if its all worth the effort. But if for nothing else than Gods kingdom purpose… I want it.
This is very well stated.
I love this post! I’m still struggling in my relationship, which is very complicated, but I will keep a lot of this in mind, for the day when I see my husband again. What I can start using is the “Asking-A-Question thing… Just today I was skyping with him and thought, I should start asking him more questions… I’m doing the divorce busting program with him…. Thank you, Nina, for telling me about it some time ago =) stay blessed and anointed as you are!! =)
seriously one of the best posts (if not THE best post) i’ve ever read on this subject. Thank you for putting it all out there like that!
Learning every day Nina !!! It is such an encouragement to hear a like minded woman who honestly bares her struggles as well as her victories in her walk with the Lord 🙂
I was asked to lead 3 classes on “submissive leadership..stepping up in faith” this past summer. I was thrilled at the opportunity, but then it hit me…”Lord, why did u pick me? I struggle with this subject too much!” Lots of tears and repentance was fruit in this area as I dug into my Bible research. I too accept God’s Word rightly divided in context as authoritative. Let me just say I commend you on your research, gleanings, harvest and now breaking the submission-bread with us. Cheers to your grace-filled chutzpah. Hear my applause on all your efforts to not only talk it but walk it out, tweeking as you go!
Points I would add:
-Submission is not suppression. There is a difference in worldly and godly submission. Godly submission a choice from the heart and motivated by our Lord Jesus’ example, even in innocent suffering.
-words we associate with godly submission:covering, protection, giving preference, yielding, respect, being subject, willingness, cooperation and support. It connotates a relationship of one who leads and another who follows, with a readiness to renounce one’s own will for the sake of others.
-Submission applies to both male & females, on a variety of levels and a broad range of circumstances, We tend to narrow our focus on just women. Scripturally, mutual submission is in the Godhead, it’s in our relationship with the Lord, between husband and wives, between masters and servants, between citizens and government, between Shepherds and flocks, between the young ones and the elders. It’s the basis for servant leadership. Christians need to learn/walk this right.
-There is a mission within submission
Problems/Misconceptions about submission: We can submit to wrong people, false gods, wrong standards/teachings and really miss the mark in submission. Pray for discernment.
Jesus teaches submission happens at multiple levels without conflict: Mark 12:17. However, when submission to one authority conflicts with another authority, submit to the next or highest authority which is God. We see that demonstrated with Abraham and Sarah when it came to Hagar. Nabal and Abigail when it came to David. Daniel & friends and the Babylonian authorities. Peter and the other apostles with the message of Christ Acts 5:27-29. Sapphira might have had a different story if she had chosen the higher authority.
Submission is inevitable, best choose it now 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Phil 2:9-11.
Lisa – NICE. Thanks for the confirmation today! And I love your added thoughts – I’ll be pouring over those Scriptures tonight, I hope! 🙂
Thank you so much for being part of the discussion, Titus 2 lady! 🙂
Thank you for the post – very well said. 🙂 I appreciate your real-life application. Amazing how such a simple shift of wording and tone can take a conversation 180 degrees.
🙂 He’s so very good…all the time! 🙂
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