Submission

July 29, 2013

in Headship/Submission, Series

The other side of the headship issue is submission. Some men are fast to point out the places in Scripture where women are told to submit, while ignoring the commands to the husbands that come just before or after those verses. Personally, I do not feel I have much right to point to what she is supposed to do if I am not doing a good job with what I am supposed to do! I am NOT saying my failure justifies her failure, but I do know I am commanded to remove the log from my eye before I try to deal with whatever may be in her eye.

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Our wives are told to submit, but nowhere are we told to push them to submit. We need to understand submission is voluntary. We have free will, and if God will not violate our free will to save us from hell, why would we think He would violate our will for anything else? If God does not force us, why do we think it would be acceptable in God’s eyes for us to try to force submission from our wives?

The best way to “get her to submit” is to woo her. If you love and protect her, she will be more likely to choose to submit. If you sacrifice for her and make it obvious you put her first, she will be more likely to choose to submit. If you demonstrate servant leadership, rather than trying to control or manipulate her, she will be more likely to choose to submit.

What if you do all that and she still chooses not to submit? I do not think anything you can do will be as effective as what God will do. Besides, if you try to do something about it, you will likely get in the way of what God wants to do about it.

A word to the wives: Yes, submitting is scary, and yes, your husband is imperfect and he is going to make mistakes. Thing is, God is good about helping and protecting those who are in His will, while those outside His will often find themselves outside His protection as well. I am NOT advocating doing anything that is wrong because your husband tells you to, and I am not advocating a shut up and do whatever without saying a word. For more, check Lori’s Submission Series

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15 comments
Oldschool Husband
Oldschool Husband

Does not God ask and even demand our submission to Him?  Does He not even go as far as telling us if we do not we will spend eternity in hell?  God is love.  God, thru Christ forgives.  But to say he does not demand our obedience and submission to HIs Word is false.

janna94
janna94

"The best way to “get her to submit” is to woo her. If you love and protect her, she will be more likely to choose to submit. If you sacrifice for her and make it obvious you put her first, she will be more likely to choose to submit. If you demonstrate servant leadership, rather than trying to control or manipulate her, she will be more likely to choose to submit."

I agree with this, but there has to be a balance.  My husband was doing much of what you share, but he was "passive" and it was like he feared me.  All his "decisions" seemed to fall on making sure I was happy, and he would always default to "ask your mom" with the kids. He was inadvertently putting many decisions on my shoulders.  He was trying to make me happy and to "live in peace", but I saw him as weak, and not a "worthy leader". 

It took him casting off that "fear of man" (which included me), and to actually stand up and lead ("like a man"), for me to recognize that he was a man worth following.

MyFamilyDynamic
MyFamilyDynamic

Good perspective on submission!  Enjoyed the post!  - Joey

partanon
partanon

What is ironic for the modern age is that due to the nature of sexual desire of a healthy husband, a wife can have far more power, control, and dominance through sexual submission than they ever could have with mere equality. The Bible gives opposite examples: Esther vs. Jezebel and Delilah. It is important for wives to recognize that they be cautious with that power. Joseph and Onan were the only men in the Bible to resist a woman, one right and one wrong.

marseille55
marseille55

One of the interesting facts about the marriage passage is that it is really an extension of the discussion immediately preceding about being filled with the Spirit.  "Be filled with Spirit" is follow by 5 participles describing what the filling looks like.  The 5th is "submitting to one another in the fear of Christ".  The marriage passage then, is actually an illustration of how submitting to one another works out.  The husband's laying down his life for his wife is an act of submission, to Christ and to his wife, and the filling of the Spirit is absolutely necessary to doing successfully.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Oldschool Husband Ask, yes, demand no. I think Deut 30:15-19 makes it very clear:

"See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live."

The Hebrew word there is Bachar, which means "to choose, elect, decide for". 


partanon
partanon

@janna94Sorry for the tangent, but this isn't the Janna from SGP '94? If you don't recognize my name, apologies, never mind. Just too odd a coincidence to cross paths here not to not ask.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@janna94 Great point. Jesus is anything but passive, and we are to follow His example. Trying to make someone happy is not leadership. Good leadership includes the well being of the other person, but that is not the same as trying to make them happy.

MyFamilyDynamic
MyFamilyDynamic

@marseille55 Good Point!  A husbands submission to Christ FIRST provides a nice environment for a wife's obedience to the mandate to submit.  This environment not only provides a safe place to do so, but also beautifies a wife's submission, particularly to the observing world around us.  Her submission is already beautiful to Christ!   - Joey

Oldschool Husband
Oldschool Husband

@TheGenerousHusband @Oldschool Husband 

Yes, the choice is ours but the consequences are severe for a sinful, unfaithful, disobedient choice.  A choice becomes a demand if when you choose to not do as said you are either forced to do what was said (what you seem to imply) or there are severe life altering consequences.  You chose Duet.  A passage that talks about hundreds of years of slavery because of their disobiedience, the killing of those who did not worship The Lord but false gods...I could go on for pages.  Disobeidence had and has severe consequences even from a God of love.  One could even argue that consequences, punishment is a vital part of love.  If good is not rewarded and bad is not corrected, "eat, drink, & be merry..."  Yes, grace & forgiveness 100% necessary but you seem to be of the opinion that a husband cannot be righteous enough to demand submission from his wife.  Can he force her, no but he can be in a position to make the demand.  In every position of authority, there are demands made.  God to people, eteranal life in heaven or hell...plus many earthly things.  Government, they hold earthly life and death, and freedom in their hands.  Employeer, they tell you what to do and if you choose not to you are no longer employed.  Church, you don't live a christlike life to a certain threshold while proclaiming to be a Christian you are excommunicated.  Parenthood, spanking, grounding, time out, the ability to take away "toys"...name a position of authority that does not "demand" a certain level of acceptable behavior.  There is not one.  In fact if you are not "demanding" a certain level of acceptable behavior/decisions I would argue you are not in fact in authority/leadership. 

Oldschool Husband
Oldschool Husband

@TheGenerousHusband @Oldschool Husband Do you then not demand of your children not to hit their mother?  How about drink and drive?  Smoke pot?  Or does the Holy Spirit also do that?  If God does not use his clay vessels here on earth to do his work, what's the point of anything we do?

Your idea of authority is you have as much as she gives you and not as much as HE gives you...hence the rub.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Oldschool Husband @TheGenerousHusband

I think we are into semantics. If you see a choice with a horrible penalty for not making the choice a demand, I can go with that. It still is not done in a demanding way, but rather a calm giving of the results of each choice. I have no problem with a husband calmly explaining the results of choices. I would not call it demanding, but God does it so whatever we call it, it's fine.

Then of course we must discuss what right consequences would be. God is clear that disobedience is a horrible thing, and that there are inevitable consequence for disobedience. Those consequences are a part of life, and we don't have to do anything to bring on the "punishment". I don't see any biblical indication that a husband is to punish his wife for not obeying - do you?

All that aside, if say God demands, then He has also demanded that wives submit. If He has demanded it, and a woman has not obeyed, I doubt a man demanding it will be any different. A woman who does not respect God is not going to respect her husband! I'm not saying ignore it because it won't matter, but I doubt it will bring about change. I'd speak the truth in as much love as possible, then let God work on her heart. I find the Holy Spirit has a much better success rate than I do in dealing with sinful hearts!

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