Male Headship and Female Submission, Part One: The Bible

by Kathleen Quiring on June 7, 2010

Ahhh, female submission.

churchgoers sign biblesI don’t know if any other biblical issue has been more prominently featured in my spiritual education than female submission. It is arguably the most important feature of my Old Colony Mennonite background, the topic most often highlighted in our sermons, the most fiercely defended biblical precept amongst my extended family, and it has been, without question, the greatest source of strife within my family’s household.

In a word, this is a deeply personal issue.

Because it has been such a major part of my spiritual education, I’m reluctant to talk about it. To be frank, I’m tired of male headship and female submission. And I don’t have that much to say about it. But I feel I must at least go over the topic to be clear on where I now stand. It’s pretty essential to any Christ-centered understanding of marriage.

I’m going to break my discussion of this topic up into two parts. Today I want to discuss the more abstract, biblical side of the issue which informs my take on the subject; and in my next post I want to discuss my personal experiences with headship and submission in my own marriage.

The Bible Verses

Even though I’ve been taught from the womb that women are supposed to submit to men, I always feel a little punch of nausea in my gut when I read these passages from the Bible. They feel so out of place from the rest of the Bible, which I otherwise find so liberating and elegant and sane. To be perfectly honest, these verses embarrass me. I feel averse to drawing them to my non-Christian readers’ attention because I don’t want to over-emphasize their importance. I grew up with these verses being over-emphasized and I’m sick to death of them.

But I think they’ve been misunderstood throughout the majority of the church’s history, and we take for granted that we know what they’re really saying. So I feel we need to read them again to really understand them before discussing the issue further. If you can stand to read this short passage, please do.

The clearest explanation of gender relations, I believe, comes from Ephesians 5.

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 Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. [22-25]

The first part of this passage is the probably the most oft-quoted piece of Scripture from my childhood. And on its own, it seems so straight-forward: Wives, submit to your husbands. Wives, do what your husbands tell you to do. Have sex with them whenever they demand it. Cook food for them the way they like it. Wear the clothes that they deem appropriate for you. Yield your own desires to your husbands, because they are closer to God than you are. Disobedience to your husband is tantamount to disobedience to God.

Easy.

The part that my Mennonite forefathers seem to find more vexing is the second half: Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church.

How did Christ love the church? By lovingly telling her how to fulfill his every need and desire? By lovingly telling her to be quiet and clean off the kitchen table so that he can settle down to some game shows on TV? That’s the idea that I was given. But let’s take a closer look. The next part of the verse says that Christ loved the church by “giving himself up for her.”

What? I don’t remember hearing that, growing up!

marriage submission husbandLet’s go further. We don’t just have to look at this passage to learn how Christ loved the church. Christ’s relationship to the church is encapsulated in two of his actions: first, the washing of his disciples’ feet (John 13). In this act Jesus took on a servant’s role, kneeling before his disciples and taking their dirty feet in his hands. Second, he willingly died for the church, sacrificing his life for her.

Paul (the same author who wrote the submission verses) describes Christ’s attitude like this: Jesus, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, [and] made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” He “humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross” (which we know was a humiliating death, generally reserved for the lowest of criminals). [Philippians 2:6-7, 8b]

So if husbands are to love their wives the way Jesus loved the church, they should be willing to humble themselves and submit their entire lives to their brides. They should willingly take on the role of servant in their marriages. They should not consider themselves too high for anything, but be willing to take on the most humiliating forms of service out of love and devotion.

At the same time, though, wives are told to submit to their husbands. So both members are submitting to one another. This would explain Paul’s counsel to “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” [Eph 5:21]. Ahhh. Now that makes sense to me. Husbands and wives both serve each other. They both treat the other as being more important than themselves. And this is how we are to treat all human beings.

I’m not sure why Paul had to go about discussing this issue in such a convoluted way. Why couldn’t he have left it at verse 21? And I’m still not quite sure what’s going on when Paul talks about man being the “head” of woman (1 Cor 11:3). Is man more special and important than woman? I don’t think so — that doesn’t jive with anything else that Jesus taught. But what does it mean, then? I do know that it doesn’t mean men get to boss around their wives and leave their underwear on the floor for their wives to pick up, because that’s not how Jesus treated the church.

Perhaps you have some thoughts. Let me know what you think about the whole headship thing. In my next post, I want to explore how submission and headship looks in our marriage.

Questions: How have you generally responded — emotionally and otherwise — to the verses about headship and submission?

Part 2: Male Headship and Female Submission — Our Story

Photos courtesy of mark.mitchell.brown and Alexander Danling.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sue June 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Good post Kathleen. But the one thing that really stuck, is the image of Jesus dropping a pair of underwear on the church floor. That’ll be with me for while.

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2 Terry June 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I never understood this issue until a few years ago when I listened to Bruxy Cavey’s series called “His & Hers” (October, 2008 – http://www.themeetinghouse.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=121&Itemid=3)

He has had many other talks on the subject in other series as well, including answering the question about women’s roles in the church (2005/10/23).

Instead of summarizing here, I’ll leave it at that.

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3 Kathleen Quiring June 14, 2010 at 7:58 am

Thanks, Terry — I hope to check this out yet. I love Bruxy Cavey.

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4 Becca June 7, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Another great post, Kathleen!

These verses are why I eventually decided not to “be” a Christian – or rather the fact that people still seem to interpret the first part of this verse without giving the second part much thought, made me feel that this faith is not a place where I belong. It might have been different within another church, I am not saying that all Christians would adhere to this school of thought, but I am simply describing what happened in my case. I think you make a very interesting point. I feel the same – to me the only message that could possibly be true is, that both should treat the other as being more important than themselves. But if someone tells me that the husband should be the more important part of the couple, that the wife should “submit” to him, I feel a little bit baffled. Today I can understand these sorts of verses in the historical context of dependance that women had in relation to their men, men being physically stronger, and breadwinners, and women often busy looking after a large brood of children. It seems that women needed to ensure their husbands remained with them by being submissive, but that because of this submission that almost seems like a sacrifice, the Bible asks the men treat their women very very respectfully in return – in the way Christ treated his church. Nowadays, to me, the meaning is much altered. I have never had the idea that I should be submissive to my fiancé, and he wouldn’t want it any other way. But we do make a point of treating each other very respectfully and try to fulfill the other’s needs before our own (well – most of the time! I would argue that you need to be rather satisfied yourself before you can start spreading satisfaction to others.)

I remember the day when our priest read such a passage from the Bible, and I was expecting him to interpret this historically. When he didn’t, I looked up and said “You are kidding me, right?” He wasn’t. And that gave me the same punch of nausea to my gut that you describe.

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5 Judy Long June 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I feel the same way, Becca. Because of those verses, I left christianity for good. I just can’t see women being the slaves of men-and that’s how I read it. When reading those passages, my self-esteem was nearly non-existant. As a kid, I thought god only loved boys, god cursed girls. Women should reject the bible – the bible hates women.

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6 Mark July 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Judy smarten up. If u dont’ make it to heaven, it is u’r fault. God’s ways are higher than ours; The male is of importance than the female. NOt to say that the female is of no use. But God chose a male, a firstborn to be sacrificed. Adam was responsible for the family arangement of Eve and himself. When Eve sinned before Adam did, God approached Adam out the situation, He did not approach Eve first. The head of every woman the bibles says, is Man. The head of every Man is Jesus. Woman love having woman movements against the headship arangement. Do u ever see men having a men’s movement disputing the heading of them?? The headship of Christ?? Woman, smarten up, u who think u are all so wise and smarter than the man. Get it right. Co-heirs in Christ. Women are co-heirs with their husbands IN Christ. Either u are In Christ or u are OUT. please choose.

7 Arturo August 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Now you are threatening people? If you are so convinced we are going to go to hell, it would be interesting that you provide us additional evidence (besides what the bible says) that your god is real.

8 Mrs. Levine June 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I love your take on this. I like the image of Jesus leaving his underwear laying around on the church floor. Who would have followed someone like that? Ew, no one would!

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9 Scott June 7, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Sorry to barge in here with a male perspective, but you’ve hit upon what really is my life message when it comes to marriage. I’ll try to be succinct, but this is my passion.

First of all, on behalf of the church I wish to apologize to women everyone who have been subjected to erroneous teachings of partial truth based on Ephesians 5. The chapter is filled with what I call truths in tension: things that are completely true, but that must be held in healthy tension against other things that are also completely true. This is part of why it’s so hard to get your head around it. I actually just blogged about this a few weeks ago.

“As easy and tempting as it might be to isolate on one statement or principle, it is also dangerous. For example, if all you consider is the submission part of what is taught in Ephesians 5, it’s easy to draw the completely wrong conclusion that women are to be subjugated by and subservient to men. Likewise if you only see what that chapter says about a husband being the head of his wife, without understanding what that looks like, you fail to see that the model for leadership is Jesus laying down his life for his bride.” (the full post is here: http://tinyurl.com/29pmeq6.)

You really have to consider the topic of headship and submission as one topic, because they aren’t separate issues. Why so many fail to see this is beyond me. I guess some men would use the scriptures as a weapon to bolster their own power and position. I believe strongly that marriage was God’s idea, and that he gave us the ideal picture of what that should look like in the relationship between his Son, Jesus, our heavenly bridegroom, and us, the church, his bride. Ephesians 5:31-32 makes that clear when it says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

I believe in mutual submission. But I also believe that submission looks different on a husband than it does on a wife. It comes down to, as you said, each putting the other first – another basic biblical principle. I can’t ignore what the Bible says about a husband being the head of his wife, but this doesn’t imply the common view of authority, which is the corporate executive barking out orders to his minions who cower around doing his bidding. Jesus wouldn’t do that any more than he would drop his underwear on the floor.

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10 Kathleen Quiring June 7, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Scott: thanks for offering your take on this. I think you say it beautifully. I can’t argue with anything you’ve said here — excellent job. I especially appreciate the point that “submission looks different on a husband than it does on a wife.” I agree that this is true, although at this point I am still unclear on what exactly that difference is. I intend to explore this idea much deeper — thanks for putting it that way.

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11 Judy Long August 22, 2011 at 3:32 pm

So, it’s okay if you are a nice master? Are you men just looking for someone to feel superior to? I hope you are a nice master to your wife, maybe she doesn’t want the responsibility of making her own choices, and needs a head/master. If this kind of lifesyle works for you, that’s great, but most people want an equal relationship, not a head/slave relationship. I don’t kill people who work on Sundays either. I guess I’m just a bad person, huh. Don’t believe in slavery of women or killing people who work on Sunday.

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12 Morgan June 7, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I totally agree with you here. I am always disappointed when I see people interpret it the old school way. I feel like if both parties work to honor and please one another, as commanded, then it all works out (hypothetically). I think people also need to remember that the female and male rolls are different, so how you honor and make sacrifices for each other is going to look different.

I’ve also seen the passage that follows abused in the same way- children honor your parents, but parents do not exasperate your children- and I think it steams from the earlier passages, misinterpretation. I’ve seen many parents completely exasperate their children (I’ve experienced it myself as well), with no justification, and use the “honor your father and mother” passage as their justification. I think it works the same as above, if you always strive to honor each other, then it works out in the end.

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13 Kimberly June 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Or as I’ve heard once before:
The man is the head but the woman is the neck.
;)
lol

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14 Joy June 8, 2010 at 8:13 am

Excellent post, am really looking forward to the second part. Having worked with many women seeking to make sense of abusive relationship ~ wish we (or specifically those teaching us) would do better job of making clear that only if a man/husband is sincerely seeking to love as Christ did is he worth of any sort of ‘submission’

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15 Bryssy June 8, 2010 at 10:56 am

I struggle every day with this message to wives. My bible study circle (made mostly of married, churched women with children) read Creative Conterpart by Linda Dillow several years ago. It is a great resource for being a biblical wife and partner – it helped me look at submission to my husband in a different way, more as part of the Godly woman I should be. I find myself frustrated at trying to be that woman. Sometimes I just give up. Then I try again, only to fail, of course. I wasn’t raised to be a dormat either. I str

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16 Adventure-Some Matthew June 10, 2010 at 8:52 am

Great post, and I can’t wait to read the next one! This is a subject that I’ve never quite understood, as well.

My wife and I’s take is pretty similar to yours: the wife is to submit to her husband, just as the husband is to put his wife first. They hold each other up. It doesn’t work one-sidedly, at all.

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17 Paul Byerly June 12, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Kathleen,

A great post, and very interesting given your background. The one place I lost you was:

“So if husbands are to love their wives the way Jesus loved the church, they should be willing to humble themselves and submit their entire lives to their brides. They should willingly take on the role of servant in their marriages. ”

I do not see servant leadership as submitting your self. I certainly don’t think Jesus has submitted Himself to me!

That said, most guys who are all about headship have no concept of what being a servant lead means.

Paul

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18 Kathleen Quiring June 14, 2010 at 7:57 am

Paul — it is quite possible that I am misunderstanding St. Paul’s use of the word “submission” . . . I assume that it is basically synonymous with servanthood, but perhaps they are two different thinks. Perhaps Jesus does not in fact “submit” to us, but I took his self-sacrifice and humility as forms of submission. Either way,though, I’m glad that we agree that he became a willing servant, and that husbands are called to willing servanthood towards their wives, too.

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19 John Delcamp June 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I am a pastor that began a study on rebellion in 2009 as a result of seeing rebellion in the church and then seeing it spread into my marriage. One thing I learned from the study is that submission is NOT what we think it means, it is a WILLFUL giving of our selves in service to fulfill the desires and wishes of the authority over us. I also learned that men don;t have a clue how to be the husband’s God has called us to be because of the sinfulness of our lives. Another principal I discovered was that our wives and children will never be any more submissive to us men (God’s indirect authority with great responsibility over them) than what we are to God’s direct and indirect authority over us. Men are to treat their wives the way Christ treats us when we act just like them – whether positive or negative. God submits to our will – He never forces us to do anything we don’t want to (although the consequences or our rebellion sometimes makes us wish we would have submitted) and men must act the same to their wives. Forced submission is not submission, it is compliance.
Rebellion is the lack of submission and the lack of submission is caused by the lack of honor given. The lack of honor is the result of the lack of love. We can say we love God, love our husbands and our wives but the evidence of our love is in our giving them so much honor that we live a submissive life.
I have spent the last 7 months teaching on submission to a small group of 30 or more and as we are applying God’s principal’s it is leterally changing our lives and we are seeing our relationships with God become more intimate.
Don’t fear submission (I call it the church’s curse word), but embrace biblical submission – it literally sets you free.

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20 Judy Long September 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Freedom to what? Freedom to be a slave? Freedom to obey order? Freedom to have absolutely no control in your life? Freedom to not make decisions? Just asking.

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21 Judy Long June 4, 2011 at 3:11 am

Submission is certainly not freedom. To submit means to yield to the will of another. So, you have no free will. That means you are not free. So, freedom is only for men, huh. The opposite of submission is DOMINATION. My God would never want me to be someone else’s slave, even if my master was nice to me. Because I still would not be free. If the bible is really the word of god, then god hates you!!!!Many Americans died so you could be free, and yet you throw it away because your master is nice.

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22 Michele November 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Gah! I wish I wasn’t on a mobile device right now. I’ll try to respond the best I can anyway.

This is a topic I’ve studied a lot and is near and dear to me. In fact, it was what I have planned on doing my PhD on if I ever returned to school.

First of all, a definition if terms is in order. The Greek word that is translated as submission lottery means to order under. It is told to the woman, not the man. It is not that the man is supposed force his wife to be a doormat as so many have twisted it to mean. Rather it is a loving thing the wife does for her husband. She submits to him in that she trusts him to care for her. Because men have been made the head. What does that mean? It means that men are held responsible before God not only for their own actions and words, but also for their wives (notice that original sin is attributed to Adam, despite the fact that Eve ate first), similar to how a captain is responsible for the actions of all his men. Men are to give themselves up for their wives as Christ did the church. Christ took on the sins of His bride and paid the price for them Himself. Christ served the church, not by doing what she wanted, necessarily, but by doing what was best for her. He loves her unconditionally and no matter what. That is true headship.

See you have to remember that God displays His power in weakness and foolishness (I.e. the cross, coming as a servant, etc.). So too men are to have “headship” not as the world defines it but as God does. In service. It is to this headship then, that women are to submit. They are to allow their husbands to care for them and to serve them. A wife refusing this care is the same as a person refusing salvation (in the analogy).

If “submission” is used to make a slave out of a woman, it is not Biblical. It is twisted and warped. The reason the word “submission” rubs against us so is two-fold. One is just the fact that we are sinners living in a broken world. But I think the bigger one these days is because of all the twisted uses people have made of this passage in the past. If you look more carefully, you’ll see the Paul write a lot more to husbands than to wives. Husbands are to mirror Christ and women are to mirror the church (at least as it is supposed to be).

I think that’s about all I can write on a mobile device, though I’d be happy to explain myself further if I’ve come across unclear in anyway. I will finish by saying that once I understood submission and headship int this way, I found it to be a freeing and joyful doctrine (at least for me, not sure about men since they have much more work to do ;) ).

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23 Peter May 12, 2012 at 12:41 am

If I were a woman I don’t think I would like these verses about wives submitting; it doesn’t seem fair.

Nevertheless, although I’ve heard people from different denominations attempt to teach what Paul “really” meant, all of the alternate explanation seem quite forced. In 1 Timothy 2, Paul links female submission to the fact that Eve was created after Adam, and Eve was the one who was deceived and became a transgressor in the garden.

So while I agree that it seems unfair, I also think that me inheriting Adam’s sin seems unfair (Romans 5:19).

My boss says fair is a place where pigs earn ribbons : )

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24 Rebecca May 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Hi Kathleen, just to say I think your blog is great! Also, with regards to the issue of headship, I had a Lebanese teacher who claimed that the issue here is one of mistranslation between the original script and the English; he suggests that what is translated as ‘head’ actually is closer to ‘source’, ie. woman came from man just as Jesus came from God. Something to think about anyway!

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25 Rae June 30, 2012 at 2:45 am

I highly recommend checking out http://newlife.id.au/ – very eye-opening and freeing information on issues like this.

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26 Suzanne August 5, 2012 at 10:34 am

When I was a kid, my parents made me go to church. I knew at a young age that christianity was sexist, and I would not continue once I was an adult. I remember one day I was in church at 17 years old. I had already decided that I would not continue that religion because of sexism, but I was still underage, and was forced to go. I was actually liestening that day. Well, unfortunately the submission verses and “head” verses were read that day. My life has never been the same (or even good) after that. I thought “I am almost 18-almost free, why would a woman ever want to get married and loose their freedom, become a sort of slave to some man”. I started to hate and fear men-all-all they wanted to do was dominate, and become a master to some poor slave (woman).Although I have tried-that hatred never went away. An myself-boy do I hate myself. After all, god wanted me to be a slave, a nothing, an inferior creature mad to be a slave of men. Even though I have rejected christianity, the pain and hatred and self-hatred is not as easy to reject. Our minds are complex things, and even if you reject a theory, its not like your mind just erases all the hurt and pain. I am now middle aged, and true to my word I have never married, and still dislike men. And I still hate myself. Why can’t I get over a derogatory remark that was made 30 years ago, that I have rejected the source of this message years ago. Why can’t I just be normal and love others. Why do I see men as the enemy? Why can’t I be normal? That fateful Sunday service 30 years ago ruined my life. But I let it -for 30 years I let it . any advice? I just want to salvage what’s left of life.

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27 Kathleen Quiring August 6, 2012 at 9:23 am

I am so sorry to hear that, Suzanne. I’m so sorry for your suffering. I don’t know if I can offer advice; all I know to say is that Jesus loves your dearly and absolutely doesn’t want you to be a slave — he wants you to be free. So many men and women are discovering the truth that God meant for us to be equals in every sense. (See Michele’s definition, above). I hope you continue to explore and learn and discover God’s love and freedom.

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28 Judy Long August 12, 2012 at 11:37 am

Women should reject religion in any shape or form. All religion is horrible to women-at least if they want to live as free people. To the ones that want to be mindless little puppy dogs at their master’s feet, christianity might not be so bad. I repeat, any religion that attempts to make women slaves to men should be rejected by any woman that believes in equality for ALL people. One sided submission (slavery) to a “head” is not, has never been, or never will be equality.

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29 Judy Long August 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

To Michelle, if I go out and kill people will my husband (head, master) be the one going to prison. Absolutely not. If my head/master orders me to kill people, will I go to prison-absolutely. Will god condemn my husband, and not me, if I kill people? If he is responsible for my actions, that would be the case, no? As a slave, submissive wife-would I have a ‘get into heaven free card” since my husband is responsible for what I do? Are not all people responsible for their own actions? Or are just the husbands reponsible for the wife’s actions? No wonder they want their wives to be slaves of them-after all, they will be punished for the actions of the wife. And, of course, the wife is not responsible for anything, right? do you have ANY rights, privleges, and freedom in your home? Only what the master allows, I’m assuming. If he allows you to nurture your children-you do? If he takes a disliking to one of the children (probably female-who I would assume he thinks of as inferior) you nuture that child only to the extent your master allows? If he is mean and verbally abusive to your child, you should just put up with it, right? Well, that child, when grown, will not only reject her father, she will reject you as well. A verbally abused child will not think “oh, mom is okay, after all it’s the father that is the head, she had no right to assume “authority” over her “head”, and get me out of that situation”. No, the kid will blame you both, and possibly reject you both. I’m not saying that sacrificing and doing nice things for others, especially your spouse, is bad-it’s not, it’s good. But the idea of having a head/master in one’s total life is just incomprehensible to me. Freedom should be something for everyone-not just men. In response to Peter- women are too good for heads, and should not marry any man that feels he is her “head”/owner/master. In an ideal situation, women would not marry at all. Since all religions (with the execption of Wicca) treat women as slaves, no woman should ever marry anyone religious (if she values her freedom). I know there are some men that may not believe in the submissive and head veses, but still consider themselves as christian. I guess individual women should make that decision-I don’t think I would, though. I guess if a woman likes to sit back and let her husband make all the decisions for the family, it would be okay for her to marry a christian man. But, if she does that, she would have to realize that he feels that he is the head of her, which means he basically owns her. If a woman is okay with being owned, then, yes, she could go ahead and marry him. I guess my answer is that the woman involved is the only one that can make that choice. I, personally, would never choose to enter into a master/slave marriage, whether it be with a christian, wiccan, or atheist. But many women, like some on this blog, enjoy the master/slave type relationship in marriage. I can’t answer that for everybody-just for myself (which, let’s face it, is different from some of the women in this post, and even in my feminist posts, may be a little different). P.S. I’m really not offended if a someone says ” I am submissive to my husband, and he is my head in everything”. What I do get offended about is someone saying “all wives should be submissve to their husbands, and he should be her head in everything” (or you will go to hell). Thanks.

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30 todd January 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Humiliating? No,respect each other.

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31 Benjamin A. Okuo August 16, 2013 at 6:03 am

There is no ambiguity in the responsibilities of ‘submit’ and ‘love’. Submission is submission. Love is love. But they are related in the Bible – ‘if you love me, you will obey my command (John 14:15; 13:34-35). Christ the head and the Church submits to Him without arguments. Christ will never force the Church, for we are called to the righteousness that comes from obedience through faith (Roman 1:17; 3:22). Everything is obeying God by faith, yet, as a believer who has entirely submitted (not perfect any way as a believer) by truly accepting Christ, you tremble when you realized your disobedience to His Word, to the point of shedding tears on your knees in prayers.
By my experience, the problem is with both of us. And the problem is that most Christian women today truly lacks the submission required of them. And men lacks the love requirement of God (Christ). There can be no two captains (heads) is what the Bible tells us. But the issue is that the husbands should not forget their responsibility in Christ – love, the Christ leadership. This is where I erred and I would have divorced my wife, but for the sake of Christ, whom genuinely I love and I want to submit to His Word. The Spirit just asked me one day about the truth of Christ’s leadership. I learned I could not lead my wife by the force ‘command’ or else I would never be like Jesus – the end result will never represent the truth of Christ. It was tough for me to submit to the command ‘love’ as defined by ‘actions’. I finally buckled to fulfill my own side of the Lords command in love. It has worked but that does not mean that my wife (wives) truly had become submissive. Starting the ‘command’ way again will bring trouble back because of the wife’s non-submissiveness. But I have started acting love the way Christ commanded and it is working – fulfilling God’s command (Christ law) and will for me for the sake of others around me – ‘Do unto others as you would want them do to you (Matt 7:12)’. This means I am better a person at obeying Christ. I am stronger than I thought – in my weakness to love. I am softer now where I could have hit hard by force. I am even softer with my children than I had been. I can go on and on, but the final Christ’s command is ‘we should examine to remove the plank in our eyes first before trying to remove the speck in another man’s eye. As Carnegie said in his book ‘how to make friends’, none of all the greatest crime offenders have ever accepted their errors. They must give you their reasons (excuses) for what they have done. Carnegie is only preaching Christ way to us in another perspective. We cannot change people by force, but by love. Thanks.

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32 David Williams August 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Submission is not slavery! The Lord of God left us his word to teach us faith, in him. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. We will be judged by our Faith, not by our sin. Do not confuse Religion with Christianity. Religion is a doctrine of men; Christianity is doctrine by the word of God. Faith is a learning process as is Love. Submission is a act of Love , as a man is to Love his wife as Christ Loved the Church. Paul was teaching Charity, not a commandment. Have Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ ,so that you may have eternal Life!

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33 Kathleen Quiring July 7, 2011 at 7:43 am

Well, there you have it, Judy. Apparently it’s that simple.

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34 Judy Long August 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm

If you are a biblical wife-you are not a partner-you are a slave. The bible advocate slavery for women, I can’t believe women don’t see that. A partner is an equal, the bible certianly do not advocate equality in marriage. It is more of a master/slave relationship they are advocating.

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35 Judy Long August 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Thanks, Kathleen.

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36 Peter May 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Judy, would you say that Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim wives are also slaves? If so, is there a religion that you think gets it right or should women just marry atheists?

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