Home marriage Me, Submit to Him?

Me, Submit to Him?

by Kelly Crawford

The following is from an anonymous reader:

“…as wives we are supposed to submit to our husbands? It depends on how you take that. I have my own opinions and I voice them. I discussed this with my husband last night and he said he would never want me to submit to him in the way I have seen mentioned, such as not asking him why he does things or not telling him I don’t agree with him. He prefers that I voice all my opinions and disagreements so that we can work it out as a team. If he spends money on something stupid I tell him. And vice versa. And it works for us. We are a team, and we are both able to let each other know when the other is doing something wrong that we may not have noticed ourselves.Is something wrong with that? Because if submitting myself to my husband means I cannot tell him when I disagree with how he’s done something, or let him know how I feel, then that is something I wont do.”

This comment comes from a self-professed “Christian feminist”. She asks a simple question–“are wives supposed to submit to their husbands”…to which Scripture gives a simple answer…”Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord” Eph. 5:22

Maybe it’s the definition of submission that is not so simple, or is it? From this comment we can hear the undertones of feminism…”submission is synonymous with door mat”…or “submission means I can have no opinions or voice”…etc.

Maybe a clearer understanding of biblical submission needs to be rehearsed among Christian women, to keep us from getting swept over to an anti-biblical picture of marriage.

Look closely again at Scripture..

“Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church, and He is the savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Eph. 5:22-25

This causes the feminists to shudder. This even causes “Christian feminists” to shudder. Our anonymous reader stressed the point that “we are a team”, which is a wonderful thing, UNLESS you don’t recognize that every team must have a captain. “We are a team” all by itself is egalitarianism…50/50, no one’s “in charge”, so to speak. This is where Christian feminists get caught off guard. It sounds so wonderful to talk about equality within a marriage, and it’s not that the concept of that is wrong; it is that it is incomplete.

So what is biblical submission?

First, I’ll list what I believe it is NOT.

It is NOT a husband lording over a wife.
It is NOT a wife without opinions, or the ability to express them.
It is NOT an arrogant husband who delights in making his wife feel small and insignificant.
It is NOT a husband who makes careless decision with no regard for his wife.

Biblical submission is best understood when we see the parallel drawn in Scripture. “Submit to your own husband as to the Lord.”

Submission is voluntary. It is a cheerful willingness to place one’s self under the authority of another.

“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

This is certainly not a picture of “lording it over” someone. This is a beautiful picture where “the one in charge” is actually sacrificing his life for those under him. And frankly, where else would I want to be than in the loving, comforting, secure care of my husband–to know that I have a man who is willing to lay down his life for me, both literally and proverbially?

This is what the feminist don’t understand. And sadly, many Christians don’t either.

Every time you pull up to a stop sign, you are submitting to an authority. Why? Because you know that authority is for your own safety. You don’t sit at the stop sign seething and gritting your teeth because you feel inferior to the law, you willingly obey, because you know the ones who wrote that law had your best interest in mind.

Why is it so hard for us to know God has our best interest in mind when he asks us to submit to our husbands?

Can I share my opinions? Or tell my husband what I’m thinking? Or offer my counsel as his help meet?

Certainly. But because GOD placed him over me, as a loving protector, I will obey GOD by being reverent to my husband. (“Let each one of you so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Eph 5:33) I will share my opinions, but I will try not to use cutting or sarcastic tones. I will tell him how I feel about things, but I will speak (or try! I fail at this, and must constantly repent!) to him as one who deserves honor, not because his ACTIONS always deserve that honor, but because God has placed him in the position of honor.

And the beautiful thing? God knew what I needed, and what my husband needed. I need love, and he needs respect. When I obey God by respecting my husband, his natural reaction to me is love. Isn’t God’s way a beautiful thing?

When there is tension or an atmosphere of strife in our home, I can almost always look back and see where I did not react in a reverent way to Aaron. He is ready and willing and even STILL continues to love and serve me when I sin, but when the Lord provides grace for me to obey Him by respecting my husband, I most certainly reap the rewards!

Be encouraged!

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Mrs. H. January 29, 2008 - 10:32 am

I think submission looks differently to every man, or marriage. For instance, my husband expects me to listen to him, take his opinion seriously, and not doubt him when he makes a decision. However, I am more than welcome to voice my opinion, he often asks me what I think, and I have a lot of sway over his decision making. This knowledge actually keeps me in check, because I know that an uninformed opinion can affect the decision my dh makes. He is sensitive to cruel, sarcastic remarks, and takes my worrying seriously, almost as if worrying means I am doubting his ability to provide or make good decisions. I have to guard myself against undue worrying, or at least, worrying out loud to him about matters.

For what it’s worth, I enjoy serving my husband. I tend to pamper him, but not because he demands it, or because I think that’s what submission is. I do it because it shows him I love him. Acts of kindness and service are his love language, so that is what I speak to him. My mother thinks I am a doormat, and doesn’t serve her husband. He irons his own clothes and does his own laundry. They have separate checking accounts, and they fight a lot.

Does I think that every woman should serve her husband? I don’t know, but I do know that you must live as a team, and not separate lives where ‘every man/woman is for themselves’. Learning what makes your husband feeled loved and then doing those things can make/break any marriage, regardless of what submission looks like to you and your husband.

Debbie January 29, 2008 - 12:20 pm

I cringe at the anon’s words words “let him know how I feel”, and pointing out “stupid”

I don’t believe that we must often let our husbands know “how we feel” I see this used as an excuse to not fully submit. “I will obey, but he will know how I feel about it.” I was once wisely advised to take my negative feelings to God first, not my husband. (Ahh it is a struggle sometimes) After mulling it over w/ God I often find there is no reason to let him know “how I feel”

I also generally don’t tell my husband about the “stupid” things he does. Only if it is necessary because of special knowledge I would have. (ie. Don’t give the 5 month old peanut butter) Generally he is quite aware or eventually becomes aware of it’s stupidity and does not need the reminder. I appreciate that he doesn’t point out my mistakes too often as well.

I have certainly rarely regretted holding my tongue in check. Where as the regrets for pouring out my “feelings” and “opinions” are common.

Anonymous January 29, 2008 - 1:14 pm

I really enjoyed reading this post. Thankfully, submission is not something I struggle with (I have a million other things, don’t worry!). But I do understand that some women have a harder time with authority. Like any other struggle, we must turn to God’s Word and turn to prayer.

I just want to emphasize what a *beautiful* situation God set up: wife submits to husband, husband submits to Christ. When our priorities are in order, there is such unbelievable FREEDOM in this!


Ashley S. January 29, 2008 - 2:52 pm

Submission doesn’t mean not letting my husband know what I think. Submitting comes into play when he decides to go with his choice anyway!

I am a *very* vocal woman, and my husband thinks I’m really smart, too. That said, he really has his way of doing things. And often it turns out to be the best way. When it doesn’t, I smile and tell him that’s okay, and that we all make mistakes. He’s got a heavy responisibility being in the leadership position, having the final say on things! I sure wouldn’t want to be there!

I want him to be my leader most of the time, but if I drag my heels 15% of the time and make him feel like he makes poor choices, he won’t want to lead. Then I’d want him to take charge and he wouldn’t.

I like to tell my husband that I trust his judgement. If he’s still in doubt, I would rather suggest that he pray about it rather than make a final call in many situations.

I’ve heard of a couple that is buidling a house, and because there is no leader, they argue over everything and nobody ever decides anything. Ouch!

Good post!

Suzanne January 29, 2008 - 3:13 pm

This is such a timely post for me. I felt like I was being submissive to my husband, but in reality, I wasn’t voicing my needs and wants (which he welcomed) and instead expecting him to guess. Then when he guessed wrong or not at all, I was “suffering” for being submissive. It was very painful to have this (lovingly) pointed out to me, but I now realize I *can* speak up with my needs/wants and yet still be submissive. This is something I’m working on; thank you for the great post!

Word Warrior January 29, 2008 - 3:21 pm

You bring up another good point, Mrs. G…it may not be exactly what you were talking about here, but it reminded me of something I’m learning.

Dr. Laury Schlessinger, in her book, “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands”, hits on an important truth for women (in only the way Dr. Laura can 🙂

She says, in so many words, “Ladies, for Pete’s sake stop expecting your poor husband to read your mind! Don’t wish he would take you out to dinner just to prove his love, and then silently fume when he doesn’t read your mind. He shows you he loves you every day by getting up and going out to work…or by fixing the car so you won’t be broken down on the side of the road…etc. It may not be the romantic ideas you have, but it’s love all the same. Love him enough to tell him what you desire and take the chip off your shoulder because you didn’t marry a mind-reader.”

Isn’t that so true of us? I thought that was excellent advice for wives.

But yes, Mrs. G., along the lines you were talking about, we often get “super-spiritual” about what submission means and think a wife is not to say anything at all. I, too, am very “vocal”, and I admit I struggle a lot in this area. But knowing that it is OK to speak our thoughts and opinions within the context of respect is freeing.

Kelly January 29, 2008 - 3:39 pm

Well said Kelly!
I too am a very vocal wife, and my husband comes to me often for advice and counsel. For me submission comes into play when he asks my advice on dealing with his work. (I worked in the business world in management for five years.) I give my advice which is usually much more ah agressive than he is willing to go, his personality is just different than mine. I’ve had to learn to give my advice, when asked, and then keep quiet afterwards even when he doesn’t take my advice.

Gombojav Tribe January 29, 2008 - 5:16 pm

Well said, Quinn!!

Mommy Reg January 29, 2008 - 7:10 pm

So well put! I really love how well you defined submission. To submit to your husband is to obey God. If you do not fully submit with your heart then you are not obeying God. (I have a hard time believing that the anonymous comment came from someone who truly submits with her heart.) A wise woman in my life gave me very sound advice once she said to bite my tongue. I have heeded that advice on many occasions and have been blessed every time. When I don’t bite my tongue, I usually regret it.

Adlyn January 30, 2008 - 8:43 am

dear Word warrior.
Dr. Laura’s “the proper care and feeding of husbands” is why I no longer a feminist! and thanks for clearing up the submission thing


Anonymous January 31, 2008 - 9:11 am

Hi my name is Uri. my wife (i think she went by anonomous)told me about her comment and showed me some of these comments that were written back. i was suprised people would put down my wife for the way she is and how we are. i find that kind of ignorant to say one way is the way for all couples. One of them was most hurtful to me-somene seems to think I let my wife walk all over me and dont say anything. whoever wrote this youre very misguided nor do you know me.

“Let’s face it, based upon this woman’s own confession of how she treats her husband, do we really think that he would feel comfortable telling her that he would indeed enjoy her submission? I doubt it! It was a loaded question and I’m certain that he knew how to respond so as to avoid a confrontation.”

who are you to say this? im her husband not you. dont try to say how i am until you know.
im not sure what kind of relationship you ladies have, but I’m quite comfortable telling my wife what I think too. That’s how we work. And I don’t want her to “submit” to me, I don’t believe that’s right for our marriage or for me. I wouldnt “enjoy” my wifes submissin. she enjoys serving me as do i enjoy serving her. we serve each other is that so bad? i want us to be equals and im ok with her having her say and me having mine …maybe I just have diferent ideas than some of your kind of guys, but we both respect each others ideas and to do so we have to BOTH feel free to say what we want to each other. we also don’t fight alot, like you might try to imply…we get along very well. we have the same goals and dreams for us and we have an equal marraige. nothin wrong with that guys!
i guess im some weird backward young artist who believes in todays womens rights…but to each their own no?
so give my wife a break…you dont know her. shes intelligent, beautiful, she has good morals, (you all probably think shes the devil just cuz she says shes a feminist”) but i knew when i met her there was something about her, and part of it was her faith. I am a christian too, but she lived it like i’d never seen before in the way she treated people and how she acted. she’s helped make me a better person and to become stronger in my faith as well. im not sure what you all consider christian, but ganging up on an idea that just doesnt match yours doesn’t seem that nice.if none of you are sinners and are all perfect then let me know…well talk then.

by the way she mentioned to me that she has nothing against you guys, she got on this board to simply voice her opinions and find common ground. have a littl respect for her too.

Anonymous January 31, 2008 - 9:16 am

btw if this is about serving and not submitting…my wifes got that down and so do i. she serves me everday in her own way, and i do the same for her. she shows me she loves me every day, it may just be different than how you show it. celebrate differences, don’t curse them.

Word Warrior January 31, 2008 - 11:05 am


My intention through this blog is never to personally attack anyone, but to expose the *proven* harmful effects of feminism on the family.

I’m sure your wife is wonderful, and I would never imply otherwise. And I’m so glad y’all have a happy marriage…I would never imply that you don’t.

But there’s one thing–one error in your perspective. You said:

“im not sure what you all consider christian, but ganging up on an idea that just doesnt match yours doesn’t seem that nice.”

This “idea” of submission is not “ours”…it’s God’s. If you re-read my definition of submission (taken from Scripture), and if you are a Christian, you cannot emphatically say (and be right) that you “do not want your wife to submit to you”. To say such a thing is to defiantly reject the Word of God.

I’m sorry you and your wife were offended by some of the comments. I am here in love, but I must speak the truth. This is one of those topics that is not an opinion…it is strictly taken from the Word of God.

P.S. I will remove the comment you mentioned that was particularly hurtful to you.

Barbara August 22, 2010 - 1:34 pm

Very good. I’ll read this several times and share it with others. Thank you.


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