Every now and then, Dr. Smartypants makes an appearance on the blog. I asked him if he would share his thoughts on biblical submission from a man’s point of view, and being the awesome husband that he is, he agreed! Here he is 🙂
The lovely wife came to me and asked me to write a blog post discussing what biblical submission means to a guy. Since this topic is one of the most emotionally charged verses in the bible for women to discuss, I have to admit that it is a little intimidating to place myself in the middle of it. So, looking for some guidance from my wife in order to relieve some of the pressure, I asked, “Sweetheart, is there anything in particular I should talk about?” That way, I have some markers I can use to guide myself in this potential storm of a discussion. Her response however was, “Nope, you can say whatever you want about it.”
Great. Okay, that plan did not work. So, Plan B… I will talk about those verses from a guy’s perspective, put on a blind fold and await my execution….. Actually, once you see what biblical submission means for a godly man, I doubt anyone will be chasing me with torches and pitchforks.
Everyone reading Stephanie’s series on submission so far knows Ephesians 5:22-24
“22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
I went King James Version on this quote because it is nice and blunt. SUBMIT‼ Bow down before me and worship me as if I am some god MUWAHAHAHA‼‼. Oh wait. There is more to this section in the bible, so I guess we need to keep on reading.
Wow… we guys get the next NINE verses telling us how we should handle this submission and what it means for the husband and wife relationship. That makes me think I am going to lose the whole “Bible Tells Me I Get to be a Tyrannical Despot so There!” title I was hoping to pull on Stephanie (Kidding! Kidding!). We will use BTMIGTBATDST! for short from here on out. Well, maybe I still have a chance for BTMIGTBATDST! status (again kidding!), so let’s read these verses and see what they mean.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Yep, no more BTMIGTBATDST! for me, and I will tell you why. EVERY SINGLE VERSE in that chunk of text forbids me from abusing my authority given to me by my wife’s submission. I am to love my wife just as Christ loved me and gave himself up for me. Wow… no pressure there. I am only supposed to try and emulate the love and leadership of Jesus Christ when it comes to the household.
Did Jesus lead the church with an iron fist and beat down all that oppose him leaving a swath of torn hearts and crushed spirits? No, He did not. Jesus led the church with love and responsibility. He listened to his followers and sacrificed himself in order to allow them to recognize their full potential as people of God. Likewise, Stephanie should not fear me, and she definitely does not.
While she may submit to my idea when it comes to major decisions, her feelings and desires weigh foremost in my mind when making these decisions. But, by letting me make these decisions to benefit her and Eli, Stephanie allows me to fulfill my role as a man and thus affirm her trust and faith in me. In response, I feel like a better husband and provider, and am more apt to make the sacrifices for her in the future. We guys have fragile egos, and we need to feel like we are important to our wives. If our wives make every decision without us, we become useless and will begin to harbor resentment as a result of our lack of leadership in the marriage.
Instead, my goal as a man of God is to be like Christ to my wife. I will not want her to see me as Christ, however. There is only one Jesus and nothing I can do will fill the void in her heart that only He can fill. However, I can give myself up to her every day and earn her submission. Stephanie is not foolish enough to follow me if she feels I do not have everyone’s best interests in mind. Therefore, if I am to be the head on the body of the household, I have to earn it. In order to earn it, I need to make decisions that are in the best interest of everyone involved. In order to make the best decisions for everyone involved, I need to make sure I have the input of everyone.
In marriage, no one is closer to me (outside of Jesus) than my wife. She understands emotions and relationships in ways I never will. I, on the other hand, see problems and solutions in ways that she never will. Individually, we each are capable humans and can go on surviving in this world without input. However, if we combine our God given talents, something magical happens. I get input from my wife on how decisions may affect the family on a relational and emotional level, and with these inputs, I can use my problem solving abilities to come up with a solution that is to the benefit of everyone involved. In this process, Stephanie “submits” to me and allows me to make the decision, but in no way does she feel like she is not involved in the process. No one knows what is going on in the house as well as she does, and we both know it. With her expertise, I am more able to make the proper decisions and sacrifices to love her and my family as Christ loved the church. Without each other, neither of us would reach the potential destined for us by God. With her, I am growing in my relationship with God, and as a result, my potential as a man of God.
This post is part of a series. Here’s what you missed!
My So Called Life as a Submissive Wife: Release Day!
My So Called Life as a Submissive Wife: Book Review
Great post! I don’t think I’ve ever heard a man speak on this from his role as a husband (vs. his authoritative role as a minister). I just sent the link to my own husband, and am hoping it’s a conversation starter for us.
Cory Farley says
Wow. I did not expect to spark a conversation when I posted this. However, I really hope it works for you two. This is how I view God’s plan for me in marriage, and I have to admit that when I follow it, good things tend to happen. Have patience with the poor guy if he has trouble with his role. I know I do. For women, being fallen broken creatures makes submission hard for our selfish prideful selves. Likewise, for men, as broken fallen creatures, trying to act like Christ is equally unnatural. They are both lofty goals and worth the effort, but we all slip every now and then when we climb mountains.
It’s really nice to hear a godly man’s perspective. I especially like the last paragraph. I recently wrote a post on how amazing it is when I actually ask my husband’s advice and we work together on solutions for our family. The bottom line being that God’s plans work! Why are we always surprised by that? 🙂
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Cory Farley says
I know! Why does doing what God tells us to surprise us when things work as they are supposed to. Thank you for the support, hopefully I can follow through with what God has laid out for me.
I try to remember that my husband has an awesome responsibility, not just in regards to me but how he treats every member of the family. He will answer to God for any mistreatment of anyone. And with that being said, I feel it is my responsibility to be submissive to him. The Bible says I am to respect him. Show respect to him. HE is to LOVE. He is commanded to LOVE. And when a husband treats his wife as Christ treated the church…never judgmental, selfish, overbearing, rude, crude, hateful, irritated; but always cherishing, loving, laying down is very life for her well being and salvation…THAT is a mighty tall order for any man. But, that also makes a woman want to submit to his leadership because she knows he has her best interest at heart… You are a brave man!!! 🙂
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Stephanie Farley says
Thank you Renee. I couldn’t have worded it better myself. 🙂
Tania Vaughan says
I love this post. I’ve recently talked to teens about submission and the way you explain how every verse forbids abusing the authority given by your wife’s submission is brilliant.
Thank you for braving this topic. It is too often only women who talk about it in this positive way.
And Stephanie what a wonderful husband you have and a great site 🙂
Stephanie Farley says
I must admit that Stephanie does have a pretty awesome husband 😉 When I hear women discuss this topic, I find the conversation usually falls into two categories. One one side, you have Christian women who say, “This idea scares me to death, but the bible says so, so I will try it.” On the other side, you have non-believers who will say, “Ain’t no man gonna tell me what to do!” I am thankful my wife is the former.
You would think that guys would love this topic and be all for it, but honestly they fall into two camps also. One camp is “That much responsibility scares me to death. Please let my wife take control so I don’t have to” and “That much responsibility scares me to death, but the bible says do it, so here goes nothing.”
Yvonne Chase says
That was so well explained. As I read it, I was reminded of how my Dad walks out his role of Biblical submission. My parents will celebrate 50 years of marriage next March. If you keep this up, I have no doubt you and Stephanie will do the same and more.
God bless you and your union!
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Christian Singles Chat Rewind: A Purpose Driven Single Life
Stephanie Farley says
Thank you! I’m inspired by your parents and hope to make it to 50 years with my wife as well!
Mel Caldicott says
I think you have put this really well and was not offended at all 🙂
The thing that stood out for me most in what you say here is trust. I think when we strive for independence, making our own decisions and struggle to submit to those in leadership over our lives it often comes down to issues of trust. I see this applying in my marriage at times and in my relationship with God.
Yet, I am most at peace when I have surrendered to the leadership of my husband and when I have surrendered to the guidance and authority of God in my life. The security and comfort I feel when I submit is far better than the power I sometimes seek.
Thanks so much for sharing your perspective and for linking up at Essential Fridays.
Mel from Essential Thing Devotions
Mel Caldicott recently posted…Problems? How to Cope + Essential Fridays Linkup
Stephanie Farley says
Thank you Mel. When we guys look at that section, there is a tremendous responsibility placed upon us. I also find when Stephanie submits more and fills the role God has given her, she is more at peace and the whole house has an aura of “rightness.” I admit, that you women have a challenge in submitted like God tells you, but the reward is worth the risk.
Christina @ Keeping Home says
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Stephanie Farley says