The other day I published a blog entitled Some Thoughts On Being A Woman And A Wife. In that blog I wrote:
I would like to start out by saying that the Bible does not tell a woman to submit to every man. It tells her to submit to her husband (Ephesians 5:22). In that same passage further on, the instruction is also given to a man to love his wife but more about that later.
It is now later.
I could not tell you how many times I have heard these words quoted and preached over the years:
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)
I agree with these words and in fact the wife who fails to do so brings trouble upon herself, her marriage and her home. The problem occurs when we try to use the Word of God to say something it is not.
Far too often, the word "man" is substituted for "husband" in the mind of the person who is referencing it as well as in the mind of the listener or reader. The words are not interchangeable. It is not only foolish but dangerous for a woman to place herself under someone simply because he is a man and yet there are religious groups that demand that very thing. Now before anyone gets upset at me, I want to make it clear that I have brothers in Christ who I submit to as well. These are men who have proven to me that they are godly men who have no desire to "dominate" but their heart is to serve and protect as well as teach within the Church. Words cannot express how thankful I am for these men!
Ephesians 5:23-24 is wonderful but we cannot stop there. We must continue on and read Ephesians 5:25.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Ephesians 5:25 (KJV)
A number of years ago, I was listening to a message and the preacher paused for a bit after reading this passage. He then asked the question, "Men, do you realize what this means?" He then read the words again and when he did, the enormity of the words hit me. Jesus Christ willingly suffered and died not just for our salvation but for the Church! This is the type of love that a husband is commanded to have for his wife. He must be willing to cast aside his own will and yield to the will of God. He must be willing to give himself for his wife. This means doing what is best for "us" as opposed to what is best for "me". The married couple is after all, one flesh and that must never be forgotten. A husband and a wife are a part of one another.
The husband who truly loves his wife is not threatened by her talents and ability. He rejoices in them and he encourages his wife to develop and use them. He is not threatened nor jealous if she receives honor or earns more money than he does. She is a part of him, a reflection of him and when she is honored or does well, he is also. The same is true of the wife. There is no competition, they are a team.
Like the wife, a godly husband does not bad-mouth her when he is alone with the guys. He respects, honors and when necessary, defends her. He is not blind to her faults but he sees beyond them and he strives to help her be the woman God meant for her to be.
He also leads rather than follows.
Sometimes, in striving to not be domineering and in listening to the wrong voice of society, men fall into another trap. They do not lead. A wife needs her husband to lead.