Submission is beautiful. Submission is strong. Submission is not a dirty word.
Not to long ago I was talking with my big sister about the subject and this is how she described it:
Submission is strong. Only those who are confident in themselves, or (better) in God, don’t need to throw their weight around. Sarah left her home and followed her husband Abraham on the journey of faith to an unknown country, because she trusted in God and didn’t give way to fear (1 Pet 3:5-6). Only women with a big picture of God – a God whose eternal purpose in making men and women was to display the love between Christ and the Church, and who works every circumstance for our good and His glory (Rom 8:28-29) – are able to submit with trust and joy.
Submission is not a dirty word. We honor submission in Jesus, in Christians, in children. But when it comes to marriage, we have a mental block. When the “s” word comes up in a talk or a Bible reading, it makes some squirm with embarrassment.
The word “submission” may bring to mind mental pictures of a (perfectly dressed) housewife taking (perfectly baked) biscuits out of her (perfectly polished) stove, or the “little wife” who brings a “masterly man” his slippers and pipe, or the human doormat who has denied her own intelligence and person-hood to say “yes” to everything her husband asks, however demeaning or stupid.
My own journey to seeing the beauty of submission wasn’t a very long one, when it was seen that God ordained the courtship and then the marriage of my husband and I; I felt at ease simply taking God at His word. I don’t remember thinking much about submission in marriage as a child probably the affect of being the oldest of two girls in a single-parent home, where my father WAS there. Yeah, that’s different in and of itself. As a teenager, the idea of having a husband of which I could care for and submit to was at the forefront of my mind as I embraced the idea of marrying the guy I spent all my high school years with despite his fleshly and worldly behavior. So as a teen and also young adult, I embraced the role that I knew I had been created for; sometimes maybe too much. I was prepared to be a wife, fresh out of high school as I fed into the lies of a wedding after graduation and not having a mother figure in the home—I actively watched my elders in an preparatory manner to see what all I was going to be faced with as a “for worse” partner.
I only accepted submission as God’s will for marriage after much study, conversation and heart-searching and spent many hours studying the Bible passages on men and women (Gen 1-3, 1 Cor 11:2-16, 14:26-40, Gal 3:28, Eph 5:22-33, Col 3:18-19, Tit 2:3-5, 1 Tim 5:14, 2 Tim 1:5, 3:14-15, 1 Pet 3:1-7).
After my own study, I concluded that the Bible is actually very clear: “Now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Eph 5:24). You have to jump backwards through many exegetical hoops to get it to say anything else. So as I was pursued and prepared for marriage the correct way, based on that scripture alone I knew the “s” word was something within myself I wanted to walk out daily. So at my wedding, I made the good old promises of love and submission.
With few models of submission in marriage to imitate, especially in my own home and few older, Godly women who practice submission to teach me the practicalities, I took God at HIS word on what headship and submission look like in a healthy marriage.
Sadly, these days, I find young Christian women and even some older, not very willing to accept the idea of submission. But they are clearly confused about the practice. One of the questions I’m asked most often by other young women is “What exactly does submission in marriage look like?” This is just the preface and over the span of the next couple entries I’d like to demonstrate with biblical truth what that looks like. Are you ready?
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