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Submission: Is it a One Way Street?

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Why does much of the Christian community have this strange idea that men are supposed to be the ones in charge, calling all the shots, while women are supposed to learn to submit to what their husband says? That’s what I want to talk about.  Most people would actually use scripture to explain why they believe such a thing, so let’s take a look at the scripture describing submission.

Ephesians 5:21-28 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

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Ok now as you’ll notice, I made one little section bold. That’s where this idea comes from. I’ve heard a lot of different viewpoints on this topic, because of my struggle in the early years of my marriage I read a lot of books about breaking a woman’s strong will, and learning to submit to your husband in all situations (no matter what). I’ve even seen people who attempt to redefine the word submit, just to make this whole ordeal a little less ugly and unlikable. Basically in the original Greek translations, the word submit means to be subject to. There’s no way around what the word actually means, but I want to share something that may really open your eyes when you read the whole portion of scripture that I provided for you.

Submission should be something that goes both ways in a marriage.

I hope that didn’t shock you too bad, there. Because honestly, 7 years ago, if I had read that in a book, I would have closed it and assumed that person was deceived. But I’m not deceived. It’s right there spelled out for us in scripture in verse 21 (the one everyone with an agenda skips). Let us look at the whole passage of scripture again.

Ephesians 5:21-28 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

In a marriage, we should submit to one another.

Things should be give and take. If only one party is doing all the submitting, then there’s no balance, and they wouldn’t be submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ, as the bold portion of scripture above states.

It’s a big problem when someone decides to pluck one verse out and nail someone else with it to try to make them do what we want. That is not healthy. The Bible has to be taken as a whole. It makes sense as a whole. The Bible balances itself and explains itself as a whole. Taking one scripture out and not considering it in light of the entire book as a whole, is a confusing and slippery slope.

Just because the Bible doesn’t specifically spell it out in that passage of scripture that husbands should also obey their wives (Just like God told Abraham to do when Sarah wanted to cast out Hagar), doesn’t mean it isn’t God’s will. That is skewed logic. Let’s use that same skewed logic to look at a different portion of that scripture. When we do, I think you’ll start to realize with me just how ridiculous that skewed logic is.

Ephesians 5:21-28 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

This time I put the emphasis on the “husbands love your wives” part. Well that portion of scripture does not tell wives that they must love their husbands. So using the skewed logic that many people use with verse 22, should I then come to the conclusion that it isn’t God’s will that wives should love their husbands? Some of y’all are thinking I’m nuts to say that. Of course the Bible says in other places that LOVE goes both ways, so you can’t just take that verse, and assume the love only goes both ways. Except that’s what people have done with verse 22. They don’t quote verse 21, and they pretend like it doesn’t exist, and they pluck that one verse out and use it to control others.

It is not God’s will that people be controlled by other people. It is His desire that people would have self control, which is a fruit of the Spirit.

Now before anyone misunderstands me, let me make some very clear statements: I’m not saying that wives should demand submission, any more than I believe husbands should demand it. I am not taking a stance against men, nor am I throwing biblical headship out the window. I’m simply proposing to you that there are many people misunderstanding this submission thing, and it’s about time we put it in proper context. 

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2 Comments

  1. Terri

    October 27, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Sometime, for fun, go through the Bible and list all verses/passages that are addressed directly to husbands (such as “Husbands, love your wives”). There is not a single verse or passage that directly address husbands that commands husbands–or even allows them–to boss or direct their wives.

    All of these verses, all of them, talk about love, sacrifice, praying for the wife, being faithful to the wife, etc. Nothing at all about being in charge of her.

    • Amber Picota

      Amber Picota

      October 28, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      You’re so right! Good points you bring. Thanks for commenting Terri. Be blissed! 🙂

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