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Much-hated Word ~ Wives Submit!

Ephesians 5:22-24 is one key passage that explains the type of love a wife is to have for her husband:   

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 Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

The idea of submission does not mean wives are to be doormats for their husbands, but it does mean they are to respect their husbands in their applicable roles (husband, father, provider, etc.) just as they respect the Lord.  Granted, the husband’s attitude will greatly help or hinder the wife from putting this to practice.  If he is not fulfilling his role in loving his wife as Christ loves the church, it will be difficult for the wife to submit to him as the church submits to Christ.

As mentioned above, women often have a tendency to want to control their husbands.  A controlling attitude conflicts with the idea of submission.   A wife can easily frustrate her husband with a controlling or argumentative spirit, derogatory words, or excessive criticism.  Solomon reflected on how this can affect the husband in Proverbs 21:19 NIV:  “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.”   The challenge for such a woman will be to use her words to instead edify her husband, and surrender her desire to control him to God.   Practical examples of submission can include:

  • Praise your husband’s good qualities in public and private
  • Avoid excessive criticism
  • Don’t crush or belittle his dreams 
  • Don’t manipulate him 
  • Don’t purposely do things to frustrate, mock, annoy or anger him 
  • Entrust your husband and his negative qualities to the Lord’s care (Philippians 4:6-7) and don’t try to change him.  Intercessory prayer for your husband can work wonders behind the scenes, because it releases the Holy Spirit to convict him of sin, righteousness and judgment. 

Other key points for wives include:

Adorn your heart with a gentle and quiet spirit:  Peter wrote: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV).  These qualities of your inner self will flow directly from your relationship with God.  They are closely related to the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), which grow in you as walk with the Lord faithfully.  The world values everything contrary to this, so you’ll need to be relying on God for strength to live as a “counter culture” woman.

Show your husband due affection: 1 Corinthians 7:4-6 describes the mutual authority of the husband and wife over each other’s  bodies.  This is not a mandate for you to give sex whenever your husband wants it, but it is a reminder to be sensitive to his sexual desires.  This also does not mean that you should submit to sexual acts that you feel are wrong.  Your availability and willingness to participate in “normal” sexual relations will help your husband be less vulnerable to external sexual temptations he faces.   If your husband is doing things that are causing your sexual desire to dry up, seek the Lord’s direction in how to best communicate your feelings with your husband.  

Seek wisdom from Godly women:  Since there are no perfect marriages, putting the scriptural model for marriage into practice will present some challenges.  A valuable source of wisdom and insight on these challenges can be other Godly women.  Paul wrote to Titus about how the older women in the church were to train the younger women in the various aspects of love:  “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:4-5 NIV).  You may have to look hard to find a Godly older woman who will help you and perhaps mentor you.  This underscores the need for you to be plugged into a church where people are living for God.  If you are unable to find a woman to help you, at the very least you can use 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 as the pattern for loving your husband. 

With God’s help, you can love your husband in the above ways, no matter what his disposition.   If that is the desire of your heart for your marriage, please pray this suggested prayer:

“Father in Heaven, I desire to show pure love for my husband (and family).  I confess that I have failed to love him in the following ways: __________(list).  Please forgive me for those failures.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I break any curses that have been affecting my husband, myself and my marriage.  I surrender any desire in me to control my husband to you, Father.  Please work in his life as you see fit.  I trust him in your hands.  Please help me resist the desire to control or fix his life.  Please grow in me all the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and especially that I will have a gentle and quiet spirit.  Please help me be sensitive to his needs and faithful in speaking edifying words to him.  Lord, please lead me to a woman (or women) in my church that I can learn from.  Finally, Father, please ignite the fires of passion between my husband and I, and teach us healthy sexual desire for one another.  Thank you, Father!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”  



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