I’ll admit it…when I first thought about submitting to my husband, I immediately dismissed the idea.
“That’s for those crazy, pioneer women!”
“It’s the 21st century!”
“My husband and I are equal. Why on Earth should I submit to him??”
I bet you can relate to at least one of those statements in some way. Becvause of our sin nature as humans, it doesn’t usually come naturally to us to submit to our mate, and the age we live in doesn’t help much either. Everywhere I turn, I see women pushing boundaries to be “equal” or prove that they are able to do anything a man can do and probably better. And while that is probably true in a lot of cases, the urge to push boundaries and become the quintessential “independent woman” seems to be a cry for purpose and stability. (in my opinion)
Okay, let me back up a bit. What are we talking about here? What does it mean to submit to our husbands anyway? Where am I even getting all of this? Check out the verses below. I’ve added 3 different bible translations to make it a bit easier to understand!
(1 Peter 3:1-2 ESV) Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
(NIV) Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
(The Message) The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.
These verses seem to ruffle a lot of feathers in our modern world, but let me tell you something…submitting to my husband in our marriage has only changed it for the better. I think that when we hear the word “submission” it brings up thoughts of being a slave to our husband or spending all day cooking and cleaning for a man that doesn’t appreciate us. Am I right? Well, that’s what I thought, at least. 😉 I was forgetting who I married, though! I didn’t marry a man that would see my submitting to him as something that he could take advantage of. I didn’t marry a man that views submission as a way to tower over me with power. I married a godly man who views my submission to him and respect for him as a beautiful thing, and he returns the favor with his unconditional love.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. -Colossians 3:18-19
This verse right here is how it all fits together to create a marriage that works. I wouldn’t feel comfortable submitting to my husband if he didn’t value that act and love me with his whole heart in return. My deepest need, as a woman, is to be loved unconditionally and cherished wholeheartedly. His deepest need, as a man, is to be respected and valued by me. By submitting to my husband and being a noble wife to him, I am fulfilling that need!
Okay, let’s get to it. What the heck do I mean by submission?
To me, submission means…
- respecting my husband’s desire to lead our family and allowing him to do so
- sometimes asking permission for things that, normally, I would do without a second thought (we are in this together)
- praying for him when he is struggling to lead
- praying for myself when I am struggling to allow him to lead in his own way
- acting in modesty in everyday life and striving to reflect him in a positive light to others
- thinking of his needs before my own
- making the choice to make intimacy a priority
- seeking unity with him over individuality and ambition in the world
- not criticizing him, speaking badly about him to others, or thinking negative things about him
- encouraging him and uplifting him as much as possible
Wow! Even just typing that all out makes it feel like being a submissive wife is impossible! There is no way that I accomplish all those things every single day. I am definitely not the picture-perfect wife…no woman is. The key is that we remind ourselves of these things, and try our best to do them. In a nutshell, being a submissive wife means stepping aside a bit so that God can show our husbands how to lead our family in the way He intended. It’s about giving grace and respect to our husbands on a daily basis. It’s about being obedient to God by embracing the roles of marriage as He outlined them in the Bible!
“Okay, I get it. But how do I get started? This is all so foreign to me, and I’m not sure about this submission thing or how to implement it.”
Give up some things
Hear me. You do not have to do everything. I know that as women, we often feel like if we don’t do things, they just won’t get done right. Now, that may be true 😉 but that doesn’t mean that we need to be in charge of every little thing! It’s time to hand over the reins to our husbands. When we stop micro-managing and nagging, we create an environment much more conducive to a happy family. When we allow our husbands to take charge of things instead of saying, “No, honey…I’ll just do it so it gets done the way I like it.”, we make them feel valued and strong. If you’re “wearing the pants” in your marriage (I’m talking to my old self, here), take them off, and hand them to your husband. Let him take the lead, and watch your marriage flourish.
Speaking of taking off pants…get intimate! Are you tired of hearing about this one yet? Well, if you are…get used to it. I have said it once, and I will say it again…
Opening my heart and allowing God to work on the intimacy in our marriage has been the best thing I have ever done.
Men NEED sex. Now, I know that’s blunt, but hear me out. Intimacy isn’t just something in our marriage that we can wave off and discredit as, “Oh, he’s just being a guy.” Sex is very much tied to the emotional part of a man’s brain. I’m not going to go way deep into it, but if you haven’t already, check out the experiment I did in my own marriage! (Read: My Intimacy Experiment)
Now, how exactly does getting intimate = submission in marriage? When we submit to our husband’s desire and NEED to have an intimate, emotional connection with us in the marriage bed, we are showing him that we respect the ways in which he feels love. Each and every time that we have sex with our husbands, we are validating the marriage vows said on our wedding day. We are saying, “I care about you, and I want to prove it.” It’s not about getting it over with or just doing it because that’s all that men want. It’s about acknowledging his need for intimacy and deciding to be obedient to God by submitting to our husbands.
Ask more questions
I know that for me, it’s really easy for me to to just go ahead make A LOT of the decisions regarding our everyday life and spending habits without really thinking twice about Alex. I mean, I’m the one who does all the shopping for groceries, I do a lot of the cleaning, and I generally am better at remembering the events we have coming up or the things around the house that we are running out of. I used to use this excuse all the time when justifying why I made the budget without really consulting Alex or why it was okay for me to make plans for us without asking him how he felt about them.
It was only after gentle prodding from the Lord and a few comments by Alex, that I really got convicted about submission and what it would mean for my marriage. I now realize that, even though I probably do know better what we need for our home or what events are coming up, it still means a lot in my marriage when I ask my husband for his opinion. I know that when I discuss the budget with him he probably won’t have a single thing he wants to change, but that’s not the point. Each time that I make it a priority to include him and show that I value his opinion and guidance, I am reaffirming that he is the leader of this family. I am reaffirming his position as the head of this household, and I know it’s what God demands of me!
Encourage him to lead in prayer
Oh, how I love when my husband leads us in prayer! First, because I’m a little shy about praying out loud in front of him and second, it’s so nice to hear the things he asks the Lord for and to hear how his faith is growing each and every day. And Alex has expressed that he enjoys doing it and feeling like he’s really leading us in a good direction. The moral of the story? Encourage him to lead the two of you in prayer! The more that you ask him to pray for the two of you in the middle of tough situations, the more second nature it will become for him (and the two of you) to turn to God in times of trouble! This kind of leading on his part may be the most important of all.
Where does submission come in here? Well, I’m a talker. I used to always talk my husband to death after an argument or a tough marital decision-making session. I would poke and prod until finally he gave in and told me all the things I wanted to hear to soothe my worried heart. It could last for hours…no joke. I finally submitted to the Lord and my husband instead of my own desires, and it’s made a huge difference! Instead of leaning on words of affirmation aimed solely at me, I’m now encouraging my husband to speak to God on behalf of our marriage to receive affirmation and grace from God! I’m submitting to the Holy Spirit by allowing Him first dibs on helping us through our situation. And I’m submitting to my husband by respecting his need for space instead of hours of conversation and softly encouraging him to lead us in prayer. Give this one a try in your marriage, and see what happens!
Don’t leave him in the dark
One of the easiest things you can do to get started is to talk to your husband about the changes you’re trying to make in your marriage! Don’t leave him in the dark! If you’re not sure how to get started in submitting to your husband, try talking to him about it and see what his suggestions might be. Chances are, not all of the things on this list will work for you. I’m hoping that at least one things does, but I hope this at least sparks interest for a conversation between the two of you! Telling your husband about the new things you’re going to try also gives him a chance to back you up + give you some grace if you start to slip a bit. The main thing is to find what works for the two of you!
Lastly, I just want to make one last point that hopefully gives you the extra boost needed to get started on this journey with your husband. Sometimes, our husbands can be big ol’ brats. 😉 I totally understand what it’s like to be frustrated by this whole submission thing because you feel like your husband is the one that needs to change. At first, I resisted this whole thing because I felt like my husband needed the extreme marriage makeover…not me. Both of us needed to start making changes. If you’re having trouble mentally giving your husband grace so that you can start making changes on your end, I encourage you to think of how many times God has offered you grace when you didn’t deserve it. It’s on a daily basis for me! God loves us and is so patient with us even when we mess up time and time again. If you’re getting irritated by the things your husband is doing, don’t let that deter you from embarking on the journey to be the wife God designed you to be! We aren’t called to respect our husbands because we feel they deserve it. We are called to respect them because we made a marriage vow. It’s all about asking God to help us offer grace and respect to our husbands just as God gives us grace time and time again!
Let’s chat! How do you feel about the topic of submission in marriage? Is it something that you struggle with as well?