What is Biblical Submission in Marriage? How can submission have any place in a series on hope for marriage? If there is to be hope for marriage you have to be learning how to be a biblical wife. Sweet Christian Wife, like it or not submission, is a character trait of a godly wife. No, submission is a character trait of a godly person. The problem is that we have a twisted understanding of submission – much like Tatiana of The Musings of Mum did. Today she will share part of her story with us. Her story is all about What Biblical Submission in Marriage is not and how it saved her marriage.
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What Biblical Submission in Marriage is Not and How it Saved My Marriage
Years ago, my husband, mother, sister and I (Tatiana Adurias), were attending a wedding reception. When the gathering was coming to a close, the groom’s mother, asked the guests to join her in prayer over the new couple. Eighteen years later, I clearly remember how infuriated we were during that prayer. Her prayer was offensive, demeaning, and weak. At least that’s how we felt at the time.
The offense in her prayer? An incessant plea for biblical submission in marriage. In her prayer, the mother of the groom had requested the new bride “submit to her husband”, at least 31 times. I counted.
Afterward, we left the reception horrified. I was raised by a single mother, who was raised by a single mother. All the women in my life are forces to be reckoned with. Strong women. Women who submitted to no one.
On the way home, I asked my husband how he felt about “submission”, and to my delight, he completely agreed with me. He too was raised by a strong woman and saw submission as a sign of weakness.
The World’s definition of Submission vs the Biblical Submission Definition
The world’s definition of submission implies weakness. However, submission in the Bible calls us to submit on multiple occasions.
- Biblical submission to authority:
- We submit to government officials
- Obey laws we sometimes disagree with.
- We follow speed limits and understand their purpose is to keep us safe.
Christ was present at the time of creation and all things were created by Him (Colossians 1:16). Yet He submitted to the Father in heaven. Even the creator of all things, submitted.
The reason we see submission as a bad word now, apart from the enemy’s way of twisting every holy thing we know, is that it is rarely talked about outside of references to marriage.
God called all believers to submission but submission in marriage is all we focus on!
Yes, this post is about biblical submission in marriage and yes submission in marriage is in the Bible. BUT… whew, there is a but… Marriage submission is just one example of submission.
What Does the Bible Say About Submission?
Google “Bible verses about submission to husband”. In the New Testament alone you will find 31 bible verses about submission but only 5 of those are Bible verses about submission to husband.
At the time, the Prodigal-living-in-the-world that I was, would have picked a fight with anyone quoting the words of Peter (one of the Bible verses about submission to your husband):
“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands (obey your own husbands *in other translations) so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1 NASB)
In that verse is another word society doesn’t like. Obey/Submit. That is the verse that helped me learn how to be a godly wife.
How Biblical Submission in Marriage Saved my Marriage
Complete and total submission to the Lord as well as to my husband, Biblical submission in Marriage, came 7 years later. One year later, my husband, came to the Lord.
Remember what Peter said?
Without a word. Without nagging, complaining and criticizing, my unbelieving husband gave his life Christ!
For years, I had prayed for my husband to change. I prayed for the Lord to change his heart, for the Lord to pour His Spirit on him. Yet all I had to do, was to get out of the way.
Dancing with the One Your Love: Living Out Submission in the Real World is a good resource if you are struggling with Submission.
Friend, are you in the way? Are you hindering a blessing from the Most High?
Remember Jesus’ words in the garden:
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
(Luke 22:42 NASB)
What Is Biblical Submission in Marriage
By now I hope you can see that Biblical submission in marriage is not weakness. It’s not the only time a believer is to submit and Biblical submission it’s not becoming a doormat for an abusive husband.
What is Biblical Submission?
The word submission comes from the Greek word hupotassó. The Greek definition of submit is also used as a military term. It means to place or rank under, to subject.
We’re not talking about a rank of importance here, but a hierarchy of accountability.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul writes:
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the word, so that He might present the Church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25- 27 NASB)
Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. Taking into account the full authority of the Bible, the church is to willingly submit, follow, heed, every command, so that we may be blameless. Therefore, as godly wives, Biblical submission to our husbands must be voluntary.
Biblical submission is NOT a bad word. Voluntary submission places a godly wife lovingly under the headship of Christ.
Biblical Submission in Marriage Looks like Respect to your husband
The Musings of Mum is giving away an amazing resource to help your Marriage.
The Love & Respect Study Set – Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs (Book + Workbook)
This is a book that helps us understand each other at a deeper level and see our most basic needs. His needs – Respect. Her needs – Love and security!
What Biblical Submission In Marriage Is Not
We disagreed with that very memorable prayer – the one emphasizing biblical submission in marriage – because we misunderstood submission. We pictured that poor bride submitting to her new husband’s every whim.
Then, we imagined an abusive relationship. A dictatorship actually, where she would forfeit all of her dreams and desires.
This is not the picture God paints of Biblical submission. Paul’s admonition begins with love.
“husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church…”
Now, think of how Christ loves you. Broken, flawed, you. The you that has on more than one occasion turned your back from His relentless love. His fierce love.
The man, God gave you, is called to love you like that. However, submission is not putting your husband’s will and authority above that of Christ.
A Challenge to Submit
In today’s society, a submissive wife is a thing of the past. In its effort to empower women, the feminist movement has emasculated men. Submissive wives are no longer the norm or even the exception.
Friend, you are called to submit to the man God gave you.
Godly submission will revolutionize your marriage. My marriage is not perfect, and I don’t claim to agree with every decision my husband has made or will make in the future. However, I will follow his lead. I will honor his position and respect his God-given responsibility to lead.
I challenge you to godly submission and prayer today. You will reap more blessings than you can imagine. Are you ready?
Tatiana is a follower of Jesus, married to the love of her life, and mum to one boy and five girls. Her mission is to inspire, encourage and equip mothers, to raise children who long to walk with Jesus by giving them the tools and resources to teach their children to defend their faith in Christ, and to reach the next generation with the power of the gospel. She blogs about motherhood, home education and organized living at The Musings of Mum.
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- 14 Character Traits of a Godly Wife that will Save Your Marriage
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- How to Fast and pray in a Way that Pleases God