I admit submit could fall into the “four” letter category by default. It causes strong-willed people to bristle at the idea when advised they should submit and those who are meek-spirited to often cringe.
So many people get hung up on the word “submit.” As if it means to bow before an almighty, powerful person, grovelling and acting as if the grovell-er is somehow a “less than” person. It isn’t at all the way Paul wrote the chapter. Paul wrote it from the perspective of freedom. Verse 21 says it best, Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. We don’t submit out of fear, or out of the belief that we aren’t as worthy as the other person. We submit to one another because we believe that the other person is more important than our selfish wants. (For more perspective– study Ephesians 5:22-33 NIV).
We, as wives, can show our love to God, to Christ, by honoring our husbands and showing respect to them and their role as the servant-leader of the home. At the same time, our husbands are showing love to God by loving us and caring for us and the family we created. It can be through working so that we as the wife can stay home with the kids. It could be staying home with the kids while we worked outside the home.
I am frustrated and disappointed whenever I see wives belittle their husbands in public because they don’t make enough money, look like a certain movie star, or because they didn’t do something the wife thought mattered for a moment. It tears down the man. He is created to protect us and when we tear him down, it cuts in ways no one else’s comments would.
Similarly, when a husband withholds love from his wife because she doesn’t keep the house the way his mom did, or because she isn’t the same size she was before she had kids, it cuts her too.
Where did we see Christ withholding love for His Church? Or the saints (Hebrews 11) withholding submission because their ways mattered more than Christ’s?
We are each called to stop demanding the other person think of us first– when we should think of them first (Philippians 2:3-4, 14-16). Can you imagine the way a home would run if couples truly, Biblically submitted to one another? The legacy left to the children and grandchildren would be richer than any bank account could ever hold.
***Note— in no way am I saying a wife should “submit” because she is being abused–in any way– if you are — get out, find help– Traditional submission– “submit because your husband told you to submit and he’s the man” is NOT what we are called to do by Christ. Biblical submission has nothing to do with fear. ****