Being a submissive wife can lead to a more fulfilling marriage. Let’s look into the teachings of the Bible and what genuine and godly submission means.
Conversations about submission in marriage are frequently controversial and filled with bias. This is due to the misconception that a submissive wife is a wife who is seen but not heard. She’s also implied as a woman who endures constant abuse that can be sexually used whenever desired. This article piece is not about such a lowly wife.
Here, we will see the submissive wife as a valuable half of the marriage union. She keeps her independence while giving her husband priority in all decisions. Let’s unpack the biblical meaning and value of being a submissive wife.
What Does it Mean to be a Submissive Wife?
Each of us has had a superior we had to submit to at some point. We had to obey our parents and elders at home when we were kids. We had to respect the rules in school and listen to our teachers when we were students. At work, we report to superiors and follow company policies. Our community must abide by the laws and submit to government authorities to maintain peace and order.
Trouble ensues when we try to defy established authority. In a company, the role of department heads is to lead their teams toward greater efficiency and effectiveness. Their team must have a common objective they should all strive to achieve. No one is going to get far if they each work independently of one another. However, they have boundaries and limitations that prevent them from abusing their power.
As someone working under authority, we can recognize instances of authority abuse. For example, a superior who gives an order does not even bother to find out if you are up for the job. Similarly, in marriage, a submissive wife knows when to submit and recognizes when the husband is already abusive. She doesn’t follow blindly but yields with wisdom and discernment.
Meaning of submissive wife
Let’s first examine the definition of the word “submissive.” It implies a readiness to submit to another’s authority. This means that yielding is always an intentional choice of the wife. She obeys her husband’s lead, just like a Christian follows the Word of God.
It doesn’t mean that women should be quiet and rely solely on their actions. The important thing is how women use their words. Both words and deeds must show genuine submission. Wives must obey their husbands just as much as husbands must abide in God (Ephesians 5:22-25).
Even though husbands are expected to take the lead in the home, wives are not forbidden from voicing their own opinions and perspectives. Proverbs 31:26 says “She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” The wife is free to express her thoughts to her husband about family and home matters, but she must do so in a way that honors God. How will she do that? She needs to use caution when deciding what to say. Being right doesn’t mean she needs to start an argument to prove it.
The role of the wife in a biblical marriage is that of a supporter and companion to the husband. She should encourage him and offer suggestions. On the other hand, the husband must base his decisions on his understanding of the Bible and his wife’s sincere counsel and education.
Characteristics of a submissive wife
While several things describe a submissive wife, here are some of her most distinguishing characteristics:
- A submissive wife submits and follows her husband’s spiritual leadership because she loves him.
- She assists her husband as they collaborate to accomplish their objectives.
- She is a devout lady who upholds the Word of God.
- She is a courageous woman who decides to support her spouse in his decisions.
- She is a woman who thrives on respect between people.
What a submissive wife does not mean
Because there is a lot of controversy surrounding the meaning and role, it should also be clear what a submissive wife is not.
Submissive wives are not passive and are not doormats. It doesn’t mean you should tolerate and accept physical or emotional abuse.
Being submissive does not equate to being meek, inferior, timid, or weak. It is not shameful or dishonorable in any way. You should not be pressured into engaging in illegal or unethical behavior because your husband orders you.
Giving in isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength, and to submit more requires more strength of character.
Why is it Essential to be a Submissive Wife?
A union where there is a submissive wife is exceptional. Its foundation in time-honored principles is refreshing in this age where superficial values are more embraced. And because she operates with such worth, she also positively affects her husband, family, and home.
Just a few of the many benefits you will reap from being a submissive wife are:
- You and your spouse will have a godly marriage. You will receive direction and leading from the Holy Spirit.
- There’s a lesser chance that your quarrels and arguments will lead to physical violence.
- Mutual respect is the foundation of a happy home.
- A loving and considerate husband would express his love and admiration just as you do. It’s more likely to be a give-and-take union.
- Infidelity is less likely in relationships where partners routinely and voluntarily submit to each other.
What Does the Bible Say about Being a Submissive Wife?
Since our foundation of being a submissive wife is biblical, let’s take a closer look at what the Bible says about it.
Submission in Marriage
To better grasp this concept, we can look to the Bible, which portrays the Christian wife as her husband’s aid in a traditional Christian marriage.
God tells Christian wives to support and help their husbands in everything they do. Proverbs 31:11 says, “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.”
In a nutshell, biblical submission is a commitment to loving your spouse and marriage as much as you love Jesus.
Subjecting to your husband
The New Testament directive is always the same to wives: “Be subject to your husband.”
Observe that it says submit is “subject to,” which is different from being “a slave to.” According to the Bible, being submissive means subjecting to your husband’s authority. Husbands are commanded in Ephesians 5:25 to “love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Wives are commanded in Ephesians 5:22 to “submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.“
Therefore, we see that biblical submission is a role you can actively choose to play by acknowledging and submitting to the authority God has established. It is not the result of a chauvinist male putting pressure on a female.
Instead, it requires a woman of remarkable spiritual fortitude who accepts her God-given place of subjection. As a woman of God, you will recognize that you may submit to your husband because Jesus also surrendered to the will of the Father out of love for him.
Submission when the husband is not a Christian
If your husband is not a Christian, do you still need to submit to him? The Bible has an answer to that in 1 Peter 3:1-2: “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.”
This verse shows that wives can submit to non-Christian husbands. He must know that your devotion is first and foremost to Christ. You can win your husband over if he sees your behavior and values match what you say when declaring you are a follower of Christ.
Ways How to be a Submissive Wife to your Husband
Sometimes being a submissive wife doesn’t come naturally, especially when pride gets in the way. As much as you love and respect your husband, there’s something in you that wants to do things your way.
So how can you learn to submit to your husband? Whether it seems simple or complex, here are some ways that all wives might better submit to their husbands.
Draw up a strategy on how to assist him.
It may not have occurred to you yet, but your divine calling is to be your spouse’s helper. God said in Genesis 2:18 that “He shouldn’t be on his own. I’ll design and build him the perfect helper.”
How can you best support your husband? Let your mind wander for a second. Remember to consider how you can use your gifts to the most significant advantage of your husband.
You can use the special abilities God has given you to support your husband and give glory to God.
Treat him like he matters a lot.
There are various ways of showing your husband how much you care. Identifying your husband’s primary mode of receiving affection is the first step (the book The Five Love Languages is an excellent resource for this.)
Then, once you’ve figured out what makes your husband feel the most loved and valued, you can start making changes.
Spend more time talking to him, making healthy meals, or packing his lunch. These are just a few suggestions; there are countless other ways to show your husband how much you care.
Over the week, if you do little things to show your spouse you care, it will stack up and give him the impression that he is your top priority. A servant’s attitude toward your husband can also bring you joy.
Be careful about how you “instruct” him.
How you “instruct” your husband matters a lot, so be careful. Remember what Proverbs 31:26 says about speaking in wisdom. Make an effort to choose your words carefully before advising him or telling him how he can do things “better.”
You can give constructive criticism if you perceive an area for development. The key is in how you convey the message. A submissive demeanor can be primarily achieved by speaking respectfully to your husband at the appropriate time.
Be appreciative of your husband’s help and support.
Take a few minutes to think of all the beautiful things your husband does daily. You might be amazed.
Thanking your husband aloud is a simple approach to demonstrate your submission to him. If you compliment him frequently on the positive things he does, he will start doing even more of those things.
Let him take on the role of provider and protector; that’s his divinely appointed job. You might discover that he’ll be happy to do it for you.
Ask God to grant you a willing spirit of surrender.
The most effective method for developing a humble disposition is to pray about it.
Seek God earnestly and ask that He give you a humble spirit. Practicing outward displays of submissiveness toward your husband without developing a genuine submissive attitude is pointless.
That is, essentially, God’s ultimate desire. He wants our hearts. Part of that is learning to respect and obey your husband. Pray:
Dear Lord, guide and teach me how to submit to the leading of my husband. I prefer doing things my way, and subjecting myself to his authority doesn’t come easily to me. But I want to win Your approval this way, and I know obeying You is the best way to go about things. Kindly change my hard heart so that I may submit to my spouse as You would have me do. Amen.
Biblical submission is not a matter of subordination due to weakness. As Christians, we believe that mutual respect is the foundation of a happy marriage. Obedience to God’s word and genuine love is at the heart of this concept. Contrary to popular belief, husbands are not superior to their wives. A Christian spouse respects his wife and listens to godly advice rather than his ego.
You must have faith that what God has stated is true. Your upbringing may have taught you the exact opposite, and a submissive attitude may feel foreign to you. But if you are keen on following God’s will, God will honor you for doing what you can to be a godly and submissive wife.
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