Regarding The Wife

I feel compelled to share a little bit about Rob’s sermon this week on wives since his sermon the week before on husbands prompted this post. And may I be honest and say that wouldn’t you know it, the whole week before his sermon I fell behind in just about all my chores and tasks around the house 🙂 Ridiculous sounding I know but I wonder if any other ministers’ wives have experienced the same thing?

Knowing it was coming (so thinking about it) and after hearing his sermon on wives and submission I have a few thoughts that I wanted to share here. It has been my experience that no matter how sweet the place your relationship may be in at the moment we must be ever mindful of the sin that lurks seeking to destroy us and our relationships. Submission, and the lack thereof, is not a dragon that is simply defeated once and all is well. He attacks in subtle and not so subtle ways and we would be wise as wives to know and understand this besetting sin. 
And that’s really where I want to start. I think for most of us church going God loving believing wives we don’t really know what it looks like to be unsubmissive. Probably because we don’t really understand what submission itself is but I’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s work backwards and talk about what unsubmissiveness is and is not. 
It’s possible that we view an unsubmissive wife as one that argues with her husband on every issue and belittles him in public and has a general lack of respect and disregard for him. I won’t argue that this is less than submissive, obviously it is. But it also doesn’t go far enough. Because, again as church going God loving believing wives, we probably don’t do that. So we tend to think that submission probably really isn’t something we struggle with. But Scripture tells us that as a consequence of sin a curse was pronounced on all of womankind and that our desire would be for our husbands. I was a grown woman, married with children before I realized that this didn’t mean I would have some kind of frustrated affection for my beloved. It literally means that the desire to master or control the husband is now woven into the fabric of our feminine DNA and is the same phrase that is used in Genesis chapter four when God told Cain that sin was waiting for him at the door and that he must rule over it. So it is my sin. And it is your sin. And we must keep watch so that we can do well and rule over that urge.
So what is submission then? Submission is joyfully placing your husband’s decisions, desires, and will above your own. It is preferring him over yourself. It’s doing things the way he wants them done even when he isn’t around. It’s honoring him with your actions, your words, and your thoughts.

It’s not enough to do as he asks and wants but speak poorly of those decisions and desires. It’s not enough to refrain from speaking against his wishes or wants but to entertain unloving and unlovely thoughts in your mind. Because we’re told that what is in us is what comes out of us and what comes out of us is what defiles us. If these three things: actions, words, and thoughts are not kept in harmony than a discordant song will be sung.

Not completely comfortable with my definition of submission? My words are not perfect by any stretch and you may have a better way of saying it. But here is the litmus test for any definition of submission. We are exhorted in Scripture to submit to our husbands as the Church submits to Christ who is her head.

What is the role of the Church? She is to glorify Christ in all that she does. She is to proclaim His way, not her own. She is to abide in His commands, not rebel against them. She is to carry out His work and make His name known among the nations.

This idea will surely upset and enrage some women but a wife, if she is to imitate the relationship of the Church to Christ, is called to glorify her husband. She is to accept her husband’s way and make it her own. She is to accept his commands and carry them out and see to it that those around her and in her care sees her faithfully fulfilling his wishes. Everything she does is to ensure his success.

But we don’t want to be told that. And heaven forbid that we train up our daughters with that expectation because we’re just brainwashing them into accepting a life of abuse.

I can hear some of you now with the buts and what ifs. But what if he abuses that submission and just takes her for granted? What if he just uses it as an excuse to get things the way he likes them with little or no thought to her well being?

It’s true. That may happen. It does happen. Some men will neanderthal their way through their marriage. Some men will take their wife for granted. Some men won’t lay their lives down for their wife. All men will do this and not do that at some point because all men are sinners. But all women are sinners too and that means sometimes we will seek our own good rather than our husband’s.

How many times do you forgive? How many times do you joyfully submit even when he won’t hear your counsel? Over and over and over again. And it’s not foolish or being a doormat.

It’s being Christ like.

*This post and my position on submission in no way advocates or condones abuse by husbands. I believe that Scripture holds women in high regard. I believe that a truly Biblical Christ centered view and application of submission bestows great honor and value upon women. A beautiful and functional pitcher isn’t squelched when it is used to offer refreshment instead of being used to dig a hole in the yard.


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