Submit yourself to your husband. [bible]Ephesians 5:22-24[/bible]This can be a big can worms in that all too often only the submission piece is looked at while the love piece is virtually ignored and therein, I believe, lies the problem.
I am extremely blessed to be joined to a man who understands this. While I always knew this to be true, he has especially proven it over the past few months since I was diagnosed with cancer and he has had to take on numerous roles as my caregiver.
I have to say I have no trouble whatsoever submitting to my husband. Why? He understands and practices the following: [bible]Ephesians 5:25-28[/bible] Over the years, I have watched this man put me and our son ahead of himself. While things have not always been easy, he has always striven to care for us and put our needs above his own. I have watched him sacrifice for us time and time again. He doesn't bad mouth me or criticize me; even when I probably deserve to be. Instead he lifts me up and treats me as if I am a part of him.
Just this morning I cried out when he brought me some breakfast and checked with me to make sure I would be comfortable while he was gone. He's working part time right now while I'm on chemo, arriving back home before noon and taking full days off on my worst days. I cried because I felt like I was a burden rather than a help-meet. He wiped away my tears and told me the only thing I needed to be thinking about was taking care of myself so I could regain my strength. I was no burden rather it was a joy to have me to care for.
Submission is easy when you are submitting to your beloved. You understand that even if you don't see it, Love has your best interest at heart. Love is thinking of what's best for you, even if you don't always agree with the decisions. You can trust your life with this man because you know that he loves you as himself and he would sooner destroy himself than destroy you. He will protect you and care for you the best he can. Sometimes that involves allowing you to be hurt but he never takes joy in doing that. You are his most prized-possession, his greatest treasure...he recognizes that you are God's very own gift to him.
When a man truly loves his wife as God commanded, submission on her part is an act of love...she is giving herself to her beloved.
Unfortunately, too many "Christian" men have ignored this portion of scripture. Instead they have focused on what their wife is to do...submit herself to her husband. To demand submission without love is slavery. While God simply called other female creatures into existence when he created living things, the same was not true of Eve. He literally created her from Adam's own flesh. She is the only thing in creation made from living flesh which God had already breathed into. Can we fully understand what that means? No wonder women feel and respond in ways men often find difficult to understand!
I sometimes wish men could understand how frightening it was for Eve to suddenly find herself cast aside by Adam. She, who had always been a part of him, was suddenly on her own in a world which had changed in an instant. No longer could she be confident of his protection and love. This fear has plagued women ever since. Will she be abandoned? This is one reason women return to abusive relationships...the fear of being alone and unwanted.
To the men who truly love their wives as Christ loves the Church...may the blessings of God be upon you for stepping up and being men after God's own heart. In doing so, you not only bless your own wife; you also bless other women you encounter because we see the image of how God intended man to be and it gives us hope.
To the men who have demanded submission without love, I pray that you will take these words to heart and recognize the charge God has given you. He has given you a great gift in your wife. I'm not saying wives are perfect by any means either however, this is who God has given to you. He commands you to love her as Christ loves the Church. This is as much a part of the Word of God as "wives submit yourselves to your husbands."