• Kelly Hazelton

Biblical Submission in Marriage

Ephesians 5:22-24 (Wives) Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

As women, it can be tempting to read this and roll our eyes. Yet there is beauty in this. A few verses later, Paul tells husbands that they must love their wives as Christ loves the church, and they must be willing to lay down their lives for her.

Ephesians 5:25-28 (Husbands)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Ephesians 5:29-33 (the Church)

After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church- for we are members of his body. "for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery -- but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you must also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

In the church, submission does not mean "to obey." The Greek word for "obey/obedience" is hupakoe, which means to listen to or to harken to. Submission (hupotasso) means to get under and lift up, or to put in order. It does not mean obedience. It is a voluntary raising of everyone else to your own personal level of importance and worthiness.

Many people read the first passage but then forget to read the rest, biblical submission is not one-sided. It is an equal command to both husband and wife. It was the wife's duty after becoming a follower to then live in a way that would lead her husband to Christ as well. She now has a higher law that guides her and allowing abuse upon her is not included in that. When a man left his parent's home he became one with his wife. So to harm her was to harm himself and God who had ultimate authority. Peter basically says, "if submitting to your husbands will win them to Christ, then do it." Again this does not condone violence or abuse of any kind.


So what does it look like in actual practice in the 21st century? Well it looks much like any other husband and wife relationship except that in true biblical submissive marriages there is much more communication about all areas of the home and a level of respect and support that is needed to grow strong in this world together.

Every aspect of family life from budgets to diet, from travel to child-raising, is discussed at length and often as circumstances change. Household responsibilities are divided and purposefully defined to each member of the home including the children. If there is an area that the couple can not come to agreement on Godly counsel is sought and the husband will decide the final outcome. God has placed him in a position of sacrificial leadership and He holds Him responsible to lead and guide his family in the right direction. This doesn't mean he orders everyone around like a drill sergeant. He takes time and prayer with God to determine what is best for his family and will be more pleasing to God and the church.

No one person has ultimate authority only Christ has that power because man can not be trusted on his own to make the right choices. We are all sinful and can not do this life on our own. Woman was made for man and from man as an equal partner to accomplish the purpose of God. I mean how successful were you when you decided to do what you wanted instead of what you knew to be the better option? How many nights in the dog house will you spend before realizing that open honest communication is the key to respect and trust in your marriage?

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