Q. This Submission thing confuses me and, in Marriage, even angers me. As a wife I always seem to get the rough end of the bargain! Help! What does God want of me?
A. Perhaps you should start by asking what God wants for you! The Bible tells that He wants only good for you and Jer 29:11 says His plans for you will give you hope and a great future in Him.
It is not surprising that we have conflict with God’s ideas. He is totally good and we, with our fallen sinful natures, are selfish and hold others in suspicion. That’s why this ‘submission thing’ is a tough one.
Now this Good God has shown us the most amazing example; He sent His Son to ‘lay down His life for us,’ 1 Jn 3:16 – the ultimate submission! He did it for our sins and sinning nature but, with a glorious Eternity in mind, He asks us to lay down our lives in His loving hands! If you read that verse carefully, you’ll see that here we see God’s love!
As imperfect partners in Marriage it is illogical to expect perfect love, consideration and support from each other. Naturally we can get hurt and resentful and end up in a ‘tit for tat’ self-preservation which ends up destroying the Marriage.
More important than any contribution that you or your spouse can make to your Marriage is the Foundation the Lord Jesus wants to be in your union. You probably invited Him to hear your vows at the Wedding; why not invite Him to stay for the whole Marriage – as your Senior Partner. He wants to bring more to your ‘party’ than either of you, or both, can bring. You desperately need Jesus – as does every other married couple!
In the process of married life some folk erroneously believe that the husband must be the demanding boss and the wife his doormat. If that lasts at all, it lasts only in misery. But it’s NOT what the Bible says! God says in Eph 5:21-25, Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 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 everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; …
The principle of Submission in Marriage is vital. But it is a mutual, three-way Submission. The husband and the wife submit in love, primarily to Christ, and then to each other. And this is so easy when you get a grip on the truth that Christ has submitted Himself to you and your eternal needs, not only your temporal ones, when he gave Himself for you on the Cross! That word ‘gave’ means He ‘surrendered’ Himself to your eternal salvation! Submission is an issue for both the husband and the wife – and for the Lord Who loves them!
By the way, you’re not in your Marriage for yourself, but for each other and, moreso, for the Lord. Phil 2:1-11 is a brilliant passage that teaches the glory of doing what’s best for each other. It also tells the wonderful beauty of our Lord Jesus’ submission to the will of the Father – for our sakes! Verse 9 says that the father responded by ‘highly exalting Him …’ and that same response will come as you learn the great secret of walking together in love, humility and consideration with each other and with God.
Your best interests are served when you serve His interests; your greatest success is achieved when you promote your partner’s; your highest joy is realised when you raise your partner’s joy!
Last thought: Mutual submission leads to peace in the home – provided you let Jesus be Lord. Prov 17:1 says, Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices with strife.
Submission is not a dirty word; that’s the enemy’s twist. It is the most wonderful way to live and prosper as a couple and as a family. And it will be perpetuated in your children.
Now that’s a huge bonus!