Submission: Three Biblical reasons why husbands should never expect their wives to obey them.
June 16, 2017

I was taught for years that the Bible teaches wives to obey their husbands because husbands are the “head” of the household.

This comes from a verse in Ephesians 5:

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of his wife…”

After 16 years of marriage and 21 years of pursuing Jesus, I see these scriptures very differently now.

In fact, the teaching that wives should obey their husbands is wrong. Even harmful.

Here are three reasons why:

Reason #1: The context of Ephesians 5 tells husbands and wives to submit to each other

When we take any scripture out of context, we usually misunderstand its meaning.

If you’ve ever been interviewed, then quoted out of context, you know how this feels:

“Hey! I didn’t say it like that!”

This is precisely what happens with Ephesians 5 teaching about wives and husbands.

Let’s look at the context of the scriptures in Ephesians 5 surrounding “wives submit to your husbands.”

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 For wives, this (submission) means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

25 For husbands, this (submission) means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…

31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5)

Paul here gives advice about husband and wife marriage relationships:  Submit to one another.

Wives are to submit to their husbands. And husbands are to submit to their wives!

It’s easy to misunderstand scriptures like these if one views them through a hierarchical lens – requiring one person to be “in charge” and the other person subservient/obedient. More on this in a sec…

Paul then elaborates. I’m paraphrasing here, but it’s like he’s saying, “For wives, my advice for how to express submission is to treat your husband with respect. For husbands, my advice for how to express submission is to show love like Christ loved.”

Think about it. Christ, in a way, actually “submitted” to His church by loving her and giving his life for her. He led through submission. Not a pansy pushover, mind you. A strong, decisive, sacrificial leader who submitted his natural desires for the betterment of his bride, the Church. Christ showed his authority and power by lifting up His bride through His humility, courage, and sacrifice. If you are a Christ follower, then you probably know the “Bride” of Christ in the New Testament scriptures refers to all people who have entered into a covenant with God based on faith in Jesus and his death and resurrection.  (And I’ll explain in a moment we can’t understand Biblical submission if we view our relationships through a hierarchical lens, where one person exerts power over another.)

In Christ, God and People become One. In marriage, husband and wife become one. Submission is not about hierarchical authority – it’s about relationship and oneness like God showed us in Christ.

submission and obedience

Reason #2: The meaning of the Greek word translated as “submit” does not mean “to obey”

In Greek, the word “submit” is “hupotasso”. It means to get under and lift up. It’s a very different word than the Greek word (“huakoe”) which is translated as “obey.”

Sandra Clements elaborates on this:

Finally, submission does not mean “to obey.” The Greek word for “obey/obedience” is hupakoe, which means to listen to or to harken to.  Submission (hupotasso) means to get under and lift up, or to put in order.  It does not mean obedience.  Gundry well defines this equalizing principle as a sort of voluntary raising everyone else to your own personal level of importance and worthiness. It is interesting to note that other languages further reinforce this concept.  For example, Kluane Spake, writes, “The German translation of that word, sich unterstellen, means to place oneself at a disposition of another.”  It can also be a military term referring to the equal sharing of tasks, to support, to fulfill one’s part of the assignment.”*

hierarchy and submission

Reason #3: A hierarchical view of relationships contributes to our misunderstanding of authority and submission.

submission and hierarchy

When we view marriage (or a church organization for that matter) through a hierarchical lens, understanding submission gets really foggy.

When I got married, I thought I was the boss. Sure, I needed to listen to my wife, love my wife like Christ loved the church, etc. I had all the good sayings down. My intentions were good.

But I had this subtle belief that, at the end of the day, I was the one who called the shots.  After all, I was “the head”. It’s Biblical, right?

When it comes to understanding relationships and authority many of us see the world primarily through a hierarchical lens. Jesus had (and has) all authority. But he never built a hierarchical system of order.

In fact, he shatters the paradigm of hierarchical authority:

24 Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. 25 Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. (Luke 22)

Think of it this way. The one who has the most authority must be the one who submits the most. Jesus lived his life and fulfilled his ministry by getting beneath others and lifting them up – this is the essence of great leadership.

It’s what he did as he taught his disciples. When he fed the crowd, taught them the way of His kingdom and healed their sick. It’s what he did when he bent to the floor and washed the filthy feet of those he led. It’s what he did when he took the worst place imaginable at the cross. He was a leader in the greatest definition of the word imaginable.

It’s not about pandering to others whims and wills. Certainly, Jesus didn’t live like that. Jesus led well. The one who wishes to lead must lead in the same fashion. Jesus broke down the traditional ways of dividing into hierarchy.

26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.  (Galatians 3)

The church which silences women will be found to silence the Holy Spirit,” and “a sect or sex, or race which attempts a monopoly of the Spirit’s voice and power, will find that the Holy Spirit will flee far from it.” — Dr. Katharine Bushnell

Jesus shattered hierarchy in our relationships based on ethnicity, economic status, or gender. He calls us to a wholly unique way of relating to one another in Christ. This is how we change the world.

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (Jesus in John 13)

I haven’t found it easy to always figure out exactly how this mutual submission thing works in marriage and decision making.

Sometimes it’s slow.

Sometimes it hurts.

But it’s good. Jesus showed the way. I think I’m on the right track.

Pocket Disciple
Pocket Disciple by Erik Fish is simple and effective for multiplying discipling relationships



  1. Bob Fish

    Good article. Loving and serving and lifting must be fully integrated into Christ’s body of order. In fact order cannot exist without them. And they can’t exist without order. Jesus’ desire is that they be fully integrated into the lives of His disciples, so that thereby they can be fully integrated into His body. It may seem paradoxical by some, but what you say is absolutely true, “The one who has the most authority must be the one who submits the most.” Marriage/family and the Church – many parallels.

  2. Esther

    Very Interesting article. Two more thoughts:
    First: Paul tells the women: obey the husband (my German bible says “respect”, by the way) and the man thinks: Hey, I’m the boss! No, you guys. It’s not directed to you! Where Paul tells the men: love your wive, that doesn’t mean for the woman to say “Hey, I’m the princess!”
    Second: What Paul says here is: give, what the other one needs. There is a saying in Germany: For a man it is OK, if the colleagues say about him: „He’s such a jerk, but he really knows his stuff – you got to respect him.“ For a woman it is OK if the colleagues say „She’s a bit of a dummy, but such a heart – you just have to love her.“ Of course, People are different, but very often women crave to be loved and men crave to be respected. So give to the other one, what he/she needs most. This is what the verse says to me.

    • LeTesha

      Love how you put it.

    • Shawn

      This interpretation is flawed. The claim that scripture should be kept in context is correct, but the author if this article has done the very thing he claims was done. If we look at the entire context we will see clearly that Paul was giving instructions to the church. Verse 21 should not be tied to the command of the wives and husband’s. It was concluding the previous statements, and then in verse 22 he began to talk about the husband and wives. So the submission to one another was in reference to the saints in general. A husband and a wife submitting to one another does not agree with the command Paul gave concerning the woman not usurping authority over the man. God said the man was to rule over the woman, and her desire should be unto her husband. To rule over does not suggest equal authority. This teaching is flawed. According to your interpretation. If we line up the foreshadowing. It would imply that God or Christ is subject to man’s authority. We know that is not the case. Remember Sarai called Abram Lord. The Husband and wife analogy is all through the bible, and the husband is always relative to God, and the wife is relative to the congregation. In your understanding the reflections in the scriptures are off. The patterns do not line up. Therefore, your teaching is flawed. A man is not to subject himself to a woman. That is the mistake Adam made. He became subject to the sin of his wife, and the curse was the result. Man’s duty to his wife is to give himself for her, to love her. The woman’s duty to her husband is to obey him. Her love is made evident through her obedience. Man’s love is made evident by laying down his life for her. Keeping her covered.
      The sign of God’s judgement is when you see a woman usurping authority over a man. Look at all the women pastor’s we see today. That is a sign of God’s judgement upon the church. We must repent, and do the first works or The Most High will remove our candlestick.if it has not been removed already.

      • Erik Fish

        Shawn, we differ on our views of what constitutes a “flawed” interpretation of this passage of scripture, accounting for the context. I believe you’ve pointed out a key distinction in terms and definitions when you say, “A man is not to subject himself to a woman.” I would agree with you, but in my view, Paul is not speaking about “subjection” at all, as if a marriage could be defined by “who is in charge”, but rather what a mutually submissive posture of heart looks like in a healthy, maturing relationship where Christ is Lord. A desire to lift one another up in a relationship does not need to reference authority or hierarchy. A submissive posture of heart does not necessitate “subjection.” I believe we would agree with each other that “subjection” of either a man or a woman is not the goal of an ideal marriage.

        • Romans120

          Sorry Erik, but I will say what the other forgot. This is blasphemy and must be called out. No one is yo add or remove from the book, which, has clearly happened here.

      • Graeme Offer

        Amen!!! The article is flawed in many places!!!

  3. greg stigter


    Also, Paul was writing in Greek but he was thinking (and was always thinking) in Hebrew. The whole flavour of the passage is Hebrew. The word he would have used for submit if he was writing in Hebrew is ‘nasa’ – which means ‘lift up’. The difficulty with the Greek word it can have connotations of putting down rather than lifting and depends on the context. ‘nasa’ – ‘lift up’ is the same root as in Jehovah Nissi – the Lord is my banner which he lifts up over us for our protection. ‘Nasa’ carries the idea of the armour bearer.

    So, be each other’s armour bearers. For wives, this looks like… For husbands, this looks like…



    • Erik Fish

      Very insightful, Greg. Right on!

  4. Ashley

    When I look in Strongs it says submit is hypotasso 5293 which does mean to put in subjection; obey; subject to; obedience. Please explain that to me because I really like this article but in my own research I found different meaning. Was that a book or article where Sandra Clements said that because I would also like to read that text. I’m not familiar with her, respectively. Thanks!

      • William

        You didn’t deal with several passages that saynwives obey (at least according to Strong)

        • Erik Fish

          William, as far as I know, there are zero passages in the New Testament that instruct wives to obey their husbands. Which passages are you referring to?

          • Kahuna Tuna

            Coming in 3 years late but Titus2, 1Tim2, 1Peter 3 especially, Colossians 3 all make it pretty clear wife submits to husband. Additionally word for submit is same word used to describe Christ submitting to God the father (rather than “lifting up” or “being armor bearer”)

          • Erik Fish

            Hakuna Tuna,
            Yes, the admonition for wives to live in a submissive attitude toward their husbands is clearly biblical. I would argue there is a biblical admonition for husbands to live in a preferential way for their wives as well, though the expression of that posture of heart, thought, and action would manifest differently in each couple. No serious scholar would argue that Paul’s and Peter’s writings don’t clearly use the word translated as “submit”, but that’s really not the point of this article at all. How would you contrast the meaning of the word “submit” with other uses of the word translated as “obey”? (Colossians 3:20 spoken to children; Colossians 3:22 spoken to slaves who were following Christ (and two different Greek words are used here, though both translated as “obey”)). The conflation of “submit” and “obey” is the point of the article.

  5. Isabelle

    More and more emasculation from false teachings of the end of time .
    It is crystal clear that the devil is after male authority like maybe never before .
    Scary .

    • Erik Fish

      Or perhaps the devil is after keeping us locked in a false view of God’s design for marriage relationships and our responsibility to disciple all nations. Time for men to rise up and love their wives like Christ loved the church. It takes a strong man to do so, not an emasculated one.

      • Joshua

        One thing you said was husbands must submit to their wives? It says husbands love your wives.. this is heresy! The Bible specifically tells us women are the weaker vessel therefore why would the husband not have authority over the wife? And at the same time Paul says the husband owns the wife’s body and the wife owns the husbands. Paul’s intention was for the husband to have authority over the wife as Christ was in authority over the church not Mary Christ. Was not Eve the one who fell into deception? Adam followed because he loved his wife. Therefore making women in authority a stumbling block to man who clearly has been appointed to lead. Also if we look at this verse from ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:23‬ ‭It says
        “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 it is permitted for women to be in submission to the husband as long as the husband is in submission first to Christ who will lead and instruct his wife in righteousness but when the husband is not in Christ or is not being the head the wife must take over as head but this is the only exception for the wife having authority over her husband not having to submit to her husband.

        • Erik Fish

          Joshua, I’m not sure you processed my reasoning in this article or my examination of Ephesians 5! Paul is telling his readers (in my interpretation) “Submit to one another!” Are husbands included in this instruction, or was he only speaking to the women readers? If he was implying that only women should be the ones to submit, it’s 100% absent from the text of the letter.

          Heresy is a pretty strong accusation!

          If “submit” means “obey”, then we could agree that Paul’s letter does not instruct husbands to obey their wives. But it doesn’t say, “obey.” It says, “submit.” Submit has a different meaning (see the article). When we switch the meaning of “submit” the essence and true meaning of what Paul was communicating is lost.

          God bless you!

          • Tom

            Erik, you can do all the reinterpretation you want of original Greek words, but you aren’t proving your point. You’re only arguing over the nuances of a specific word in attempting to demonstrate how it can be used outside the context that has been excepted for hundreds of years amongst Christians all over the world. Even if you use the definition in scripture to mean lift up or obey get under or lift up, it’s still impossible for a wife to get under or lift up her husband if she isn’t in direct submission to his leader ship. So either way you try to interpret this your argument still fails. A wife must obey if she is to lift up or positional get under her husband. Scripture is very clear on this teaching all over the place. And I’ve noticed you have chosen to skip very clear verses that speak on me and being the leader just as Christ is the leader of the church this is taught in both the old and New Testament. You cannot have 2 L practically within a household anyway. There must always be one leader and the other must submit underneath that leader and scripture has made it very clear that that is the role of her husband. What you are teaching is heresy it is a modern-day interpretation of a very clear scriptural teaching found within the old and New Testament.

          • Erik Fish

            Tom, Like anyone, I’ve had plenty of problems and perplexities in marriage. I’m on a life-long Journey with Jesus. Even the Apostle Paul called marriage a “Great Mystery!”

            Are you married? I’d love your advice for how your marriage works and to hear how your wife experiences freedom, love, and joy given your view that Scripture teaches she must obey you.

        • Theresa Jones

          Women are physically weaker. I’ve actually seen women do things men would tuck their tails between their legs and run!! There are definitely physical things that men do that women cannot do. So we obviously need each other and we need to support one another!! God did give men the spiritual authority to be the head of the household. I’ve got to admit I’ve seen a few abuse this responsibility. God would not approve of that. It’s the spirit not the letter of the law!

  6. Dean

    THANKYOU ! As a confident and strong man married to a confident and excellent leader, I am thankful to read a correct interpretation of what Paul meant. Mutual submission has been key to us becoming one, and not two strong individuals! I appreciate and love her Christian leadership!

  7. Samantha Womack

    I am struggling with this passage in the Bible. The idea that people interpret these passages makes me not want to get married. Why get married and build a home and family with someone who sees me as lesser? Why do this when I have less say in the hard work I helped in? Why am I so much lesser than a man? And so many say that’s not what’s happening- well isn’t it? Isn’t that what you do when you submit to God? You don’t question God or debate with God.
    I’m close to just giving up on ever wanting children and never getting married because I don’t want to be dehumanized.

    • Erik Fish

      Samantha, God’s plan for marriage is never for anyone to be dehumanized. Quite the opposite. Your description of some people’s view of a woman being of lesser value than a man is abhorrent and has no place in any reasonable interpretation of Biblical passages or what God says in regard to His design for marriage. I think you might enjoy this transcript of a message given by Tim Keller, “The First Wedding Day.” God bless, Erik

      • Samantha Womack

        Thank you for sharing this link and for writing this article. It really helps.

    • Joshua

      Hello! You see as long as the husband is in submission first to Christ the wive must submit to him because God appointed woman as the mans helper. Therefore she must submit as long as he is in Christ but if he is not in Christ not seeking the Lord not in prayer not taking care of his first ministry his family the wive does not have to submit to him but rather take over as head until the man gets it together
      Man misinterpret these verses to please themselves sadly but this is the correct interpretation.

    • Tom

      That’s a terrible attitude to have. I would recommend that you get into a Bible study with a group of women to discuss this particular issue. A good husband will equally love his wife back so the relationship is symbiotic which is the way God made it from the beginning. Yes women are to submit and obey their husbands and husbands are to take care of and live their wives. What you are going through is a natural response to the order of the fall and sin. God cursed women starting with Eve saying that they would have paying through childbearing but also always strive and seek power against men. We’ve seen this throughout history where women have always wanted to be in charge and control marriages, leader ship roles over men and various capacities and now worse were seeing it within the churches. Your attitude should be that you seek a godly man that resembles the qualities of Jesus Christ and therefore you can’t wait to obey and follow his lead. If you aren’t finding any men out there with those qualities then maybe you were looking in the wrong place or perhaps you have an attitude problem that you need fixed through discipleship with Jesus.

  8. Samantha Womack

    The last article you sent me really helped, so I was wondering if you could help send me more in order to fight the constant feeling I have that, as a woman, my only purpose is to be for men. I often do not feel as though I have the right to be my own person because I am a woman and because of the way people interpret the Bible.

    • Erik Fish

      Samantha, my heart aches to hear about your struggles. You were certainly created by God with dignity, purpose, and identity that God alone defines, no other person. Here are a few resources you might find beneficial in your journey of healing. I recommend you check out Kris Vallotton’s book, “Fashioned To Reign” as well as Felicity Dale’s book “The Black Swan Effect.” You also might find some beneficial articles at: God bless you, Erik

      • Samantha Womack

        Thank you so much! God bless you and your family!

    • Joshua

      The husband must be in submission to Christ he must be loving you and your family before he can claim that you must submit to him he must be righteous in all ways in order for you to have to submit to him if u read Ephesians 5:23 carefully it explains to us that if the husband must be like Christ was the head of the church did Christ not care about the church or did he take care of the church and love the church in order that we come in submission?

  9. Samantha Womack

    Hello! Sorry to bother you again, but I was wondering what your response is to those who argue that women are to serve their husbands like Paul says in 1 Peter 3:1-7?

    • Erik Fish

      Samantha, I’ll refer you to others who are much more knowledgable than me on this topic. Again, The Junia Project has many excellent articles on this topic and well-thought-out research into controversial scriptures about gender roles, hierarchy, and marriage.

      I’ll leave you with a few general thoughts, though, about interpreting scripture I’ve found helpful, which are pretty standard practice among most Biblical scholars: 1) Specific scriptures should be interpreted in light of the whole revelation of Scripture (in other words, don’t pick a couple verses out of context to prove a point and say, “The Bible says…”. All sorts of weird ideas and teachings can come from this poor Biblical interpretation practice) 2) A core Christian belief is that the Scriptures (The Bible) are inspired and authoritative for all matters of faith and practice, as written in the original languages and manuscripts. While I trust the validity of modern translations of the Scriptures, often an original meaning is blurred (or sometimes very poorly obscured) as a result of poor translations. I think regarding the issue of suppression of women and hierarchy in marriage, at times, certain verses have been translated poorly to back up a previously held belief. So, a bit of research into the original Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic of the scriptures often sheds new light on controversial passages 3) Read specific verses in light of the whole context of that particular letter or book. In reference to the scriptures above, What is the main point of Peter’s letter? Who was he writing to? What particular challenges were they facing that he is addressing? How do the verses before and after shed contextual light on those specific scriptures? What do we apply insights from this letter to our situation now? God bless you, Erik

      • Samantha Womack

        Thank you so much!
        I been dealing with a lot of stress with these questions and it’s amazing to see new arguments that make sense with the overall teachings of Jesus.

  10. Desperate Soul

    I’m a 28 year old female and going through a difficult time. Tears were running down my cheeks earlier as I searched Christian blogs to help my situation from Bible.

    My husband earns well and always buys anything he wants easily. He also buys me somethings. He is good person because there are husbands who never buy anything for their wife. But, my husband never discusses anything with me. He does whatever he pleases. That is sad and disappointing. After marriage, my life crumpled and I lost all faith in God and became a backslidden Christian that went into sin. By God’s glorious grace, God has restored me again and again. Now especially after going home to my parents for Christmas and New Year, there is a visible change in me. Today also, the Holy Spirit of God helped me and comforted me many times. God enabled me to pray in faith using Bible verses to defeat the devil’s negative worrying and depressing thoughts. But alas ! Here the devil threw another big rock at me. Even now as I write this, I believe that God is able to change situations. Jeremiah 32: 27 “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

    My husband is a fallen Christian. He is addicted to porn, smoking and sometimes drinking. He always threatens me saying, ‘Wives submit to your husband’. He is very rough in sex even though I cry. He wants to me wear see through dresses like prostitutes and wants me to be naked also. [I’m from a very conservative place where most people don’t even wear skirts or sleeveless]. He wants me to use sex toy. He even bought me on his own will. He also has something like that. I’ve been living in depression all my married life (2 yrs 9 mos). He always threatens me saying, ‘He’ll go to prostitutes if I don’t do whatever he says’. He says he’ll be able to love me only if I submit to him and when he feels satisfied. Even his family supports him fully. After many problems, and me not having any desire in having sex with him (because of no love or care from him), I still wanted to start a family no matter what. I even told my husband that after the Christmas holidays to be spent at our native, I wanted to get a job to take care of expenses and start a family life. Even if he doesn’t be with me, i can take care of my baby with a job to provide for us. He also accepted to help me look for jobs.

    On Christmas (25 Dec, 2018), my husband came to our native and I went with him to church for the second time to accompany him. It was all going well. But suddenly, without a warning, like a big bomb, my husband came to my parents house with his mother, the day after Christmas (26th Dec, 2018) and shouted at me and my parents that I’m not cooperating for family life and my mother in law threatened to send a divorce notice in a week. By God’s grace, it hasn’t happened yet.

    On top of it all, my husband wants to live with his parents in our hometown. They declared it in front of their relatives without even asking me. Now, my husband uses the Bible verse saying, ‘A husband is saved through his wife’s acts.’ When I ask him to come to church, he says, ‘You go. I won’t. I’m not interested.’ and repeats the same verse again.

    I’m also confused by Bible, what does it mean by ‘submission’ and that ‘our bodies do not belong to us’. Therefore, I’m afraid to approach church lest they tell I’m wrong and I should obey whatever my husband says. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to his threats anymore. But I even prayed today that if God tells me to do whatever my husband says even if its disgusting and uncomfortable, then I will get His strength and obey. If that pleases God, then i’ll do it too. But honestly, if its not for God, I’d rather die than to do those disgusting things (like using sex toys and same behaviour like prostitutes on those videos). With tears running down my cheeks, I told my husband,’I can live like a wife but how can you expect me to live like a prostitute?’ He said, ‘What they show in the videos is real. That’s what happens in every life. That’s what that Pastor whom we met for counselling told us. Go and ask him. He said, ‘His wife always complies (but its mutual desire)’. If I asked you to please many men, that means I’m treating you like a prostitute. But if you won’t do whatever I say and submit yourself in whatever I want, if you don’t please me and if i’m not satisfied, then I’m going to go to prostitutes.’

    I’m all alone in my house. I need a job also to take care of myself and my parents also in their old age. Also, my in laws have told my husband to sell everything in my house before coming to stay with them in our native. They told this without even consulting me or my parents who have bought many things as dowry. Please help me with God’s words on this. Even after all this, I really want to forgive my husband and start a family with him but he has become more worse than before. Even after what he did at our parents house and hurt my parents with harsh and ungodly words, I still talk with him everyday over phone and tell him everything that happened that day. I’m able to forgive and maintain peace with my husband only with the help of the Holy Spirit. I’m praying to God and believe that God will change my situation.

    But I really want to know – What does God say? What does His word say? I’m desperate !

    • Erik Fish

      Desperate Soul, first, I’m so sorry for the pain you’re going through. God does care and you have reasons to be hopeful. It’s so painful and harmful to a marriage relationship if one person demands pleasure at the cost of pain, humiliation, or violating the will of the other. This is never how God teaches us to relate to each other. Relationships built on control/domination are not God’s design for marriage, but marriage built on love and a commitment of both husband and wife to follow the Lord and treat one another with respect. There is HOPE if someone finds themself in a tough situation to create a new kind of relationship over time, but both people must be willing to learn and to change. It’s work, but it’s worth it as you experience growth together. Love is always something that can only be freely given, never demanded. A thriving marriage partnership only works in the long run when BOTH husband and wife are committed to show willing, sacrificial love toward one another. In short, if love and serving each other is not the motivation of both, it makes a mutually-submissive marriage relationship impossible. That doesn’t give you an immediate answer to your situation, I know, but I hope it gives you some sense of hope that 1) You’re not crazy 2) God’s design for marriage is that both spouses experience love, trust, and support from each other. No marriage is perfect, but hopefully both of you can experience some practical ways to work on your marriage together – because God loves you both. I’ve seen many marriages experience breakthrough when it appeared hopeless. I’d encourage to continue to seek safe, wise people for you to talk to about your situation who aren’t connected to your immediate families. There are tons of great resources available online if you do a quick google search for “online christian marriage resources” Praying for breakthrough…

  11. Go Ear

    Good article. Loving and serving and lifting must be fully integrated into Christ’s body of order. In fact order cannot exist without them. And they can’t exist without order. Jesus’ desire is that they be fully integrated into the lives of His disciples, so that thereby they can be fully integrated into His body. It may seem paradoxical by some, but what you say is absolutely true, “The one who has the most authority must be the one who submits the most.” Marriage/family and the Church – many parallels.

  12. sonny

    I agree with parts and either disagree or misunderstand other parts of your article. I appreciate you writing this as I am looking for different opinions on this matter to actually check mine. I just want the truth, and I don’t mind being corrected (I’m wrong way more than I want to admit). Here’s my “two cents” accumulated from Biblical counselors, sermons, Scripture, and as much as I hate to admit it… “Hollywood” affects my opinions too.

    Women and men are equal in the sight of God and will not be married in Heaven, so the “equality” will be more clear when our “roles” are done away with.

    Mutual submission in some things is good. Obviously we should not submit to sinful requests of our spouse.

    Jesus submitted to the authority of God the Father and did His Will (commands, desires, etc…) which is evidence of hierarchy. From your article… Jesus “served the disciples” is more accurate than “submitted to the disciples”. The disciples didn’t ask Jesus to die for them or to wash their feet or heal their sick countrymen so “submission” may not be the best choice of words. Jesus did not submit to many requests and whims of the disciples (The disciple wanted to build temples at the transfiguration; the disciples wanted to keep little children away from Jesus; Peter didn’t want Jesus to go to Jerusalem and die; “let me go and bury my father”… “let the dead bury the dead”, etc…) Jesus was Lord over the disciples but instructed them in their relations to one another, and perhaps these examples and others were sinful desires of the disciples, but I’m trying to point out that Jesus submitted to God’s hierarchical authority even though Jesus was equal with God which means God has the final decision and authority in practically everything and likewise the Husband has the final decision in directing the family in practically everything not sinful. In loving his wife as Christ loved the Church, the husband should defer to his wife and try to please her whenever he can as long as it does not create danger, harm, foolish behavior, poor stewardship, etc… A husband has to use wisdom and discernment in leading the family. Everyone can’t be “chief”. Someone has to have the final decision. Family is not majority rule or democracy. Abraham told his family they were moving without knowing where they were going, and his family submitted and obeyed and they moved …. not having a clue where they were going. That’s leadership by Abraham and submission by his wife and family. Abigail did not submit to her foolish husband Nabal (who was sinning) and saved her family from being slaughtered by David. David had been protecting Nabal’s herds (wealth) and deserved some compensation. David had never asked for compensation until he really needed it. When Nabal rudely refused to give aid to David after benefitting so much from David’s protection, Abigail wisely gave David aid as David and his men were en route to kill every man in the household…. saving her family. What Nabal did was worthy of God striking him dead, so sometimes we have to read between the lines to figure out what’s really happening.

    Church elders are not to “lord it over” the congregation but serve them and lead by example and persuasion (Heb 13: 7, 17 the Greek means “be persuaded by” not obey). This passage in Luke 22 and Matt 25??? is not specifically a “marriage” passage. The disciples were looking for a “ruler” in the Church government structure. Everything about “Church” government does not correlate to the family government or the “civil government” even though God instituted all three.

    In Galatians 2 we see an example of the “weaker brother” Peter who was not allowed to have his desire which was to observe the old rules and not eat with Gentiles. Paul confronted him and corrected him. Jesus corrects and holds his Church accountable in love. Justice is a function of love. Husbands sometimes need to correct their wives. Also women are not permitted to teach men in the Church because Eve was deceived. Adam was not deceived … he sinned and he knew it. There’s a reason why women are advised not to negotiate contracts alone … because they are easily taken advantage of. Men and women are physically and emotionally different and God gives each different roles in the family and Church while remaining equal in the sight of God. Hierarchy is simply different levels of authority or stewardship. God owns everything and gives stewardship to the husband and stewardship to the wife. The wife is commanded to respect and the husband is commanded to love. The Church is commanded to submit to one another as well but everyone can’t have it their way. A final decision must be attained in civil, church, and family government.

    In the family, the husband has the final decision, but he should listen to and consider the opinion and suggestions of his wife. Also, I believe the husband should try to persuade his wife as much as possible so they are “in agreement” but sometimes the husband has to make decisions that the wife disagrees with and the wife has to submit to his decision unless he is asking her to sin. If the Church thwarts the will of God, it’s always sin. The husband’s will is obviously not perfect and should be questioned and analyzed … maybe even like the Bereans checked the teachings of the Apostles to make sure it was correct.

  13. Eric Breaux

    This isn’t about the reason for the article, but about that translation of Ephesians 5:32. At the beginning God said for us to be fruitful, multiply, renew earth and subdue it with no indication it was to ever stop. Being alone was the one thing God said during the original creation that is not good, made Eve to complete humanity with both genders and said that is the reason a person will leave their parents and be united with a spouse to become one flesh. Jesus repeats this reason in Matthew 19:5. Marriage was needed to eliminate loneliness, not friendship. Reproduction and representing Gods ideal relationship with people are never stated to be reasons for marriage. Adam and Eve were married while also having the relationship with God that will be restored after the final resurrection. There is no need for a representation of something if people already have what it’s a representation of. They are different types of relationships that fulfill different desires.
    Albert Barnes has written about the text, “This, it seems to me, is an explicit disclaimer of any intention to be understood as affirming that the marriage contract was designed to be a “type” of the union of the Redeemer and his people. The apostle says expressly, that his remarks do not refer to “marriage at all” when he speaks of the mystery. They refer “solely” to the union of the Redeemer and his people. How strange and unwarranted, therefore, are all the comments of expositors on this passage designed to explain marriage as “a mysterious type” of the union of Christ and the church! If people would allow the apostle to speak for himself, and not force on him sentiments which he expressly disclaims, the world would be saved from such insipid allegories as Macknight and others have derived from this passage. The Bible is a book of sense; and the time will come, it is hoped, when, freed from all such allegorizing expositions, it will commend itself to the good sense of mankind. Marriage is an important, a holy, a noble, a pure institution, altogether worthy of God; but it does not thence follow that marriage was designed to be a type of the union between Christ and the church, and it is certain that the apostle Paul meant; to teach no such thing.”

    • Anna

      Eric Breaux,

      I fully believe that Ephesians 5 is a patron-client relationship as was the status quo for Greco-Roman marriages.

      A patron-client relationship is where a person without social and economic status is joined to a person with higher legal and economic standing.

      In return for sharing in the social status of the patron and receiving provisions for the daily needs of the body, the weaker person was to give submission and public honor to the patron. This is actually stated in their contracts between husband and wife.

      That is why Eph 5:23 qualifies head as “He savior of the body” and why everything stated to husbands is about loving his wife by caring for her as he would his own body. The type of love a husband is to give his wife is defined as care of her body on par with himself.

      This had to be spelled out to husbands because while their marriage contracts were patron-client contracts, wives were given the bare minimum of survival while husbands kept the best food and quality of clothing for themselves while still expecting wifely submission and honor in return.

      Their marriage contracts actually say that all a husband legally owes his wife is oil, grain, and wool for her to make her own clothing. A real scam considering all the services a wife provided in return.

      So Eph uses the fact that the wife is one flesh with her husband through their sexual union as justification for why the care and nourishment of the wife should be elevated to the same quality the husband gives himself.

      If we break down this Eph 5 metaphor, the husband is the head part and the wife is depicted as the body part and together it forms one person, one unit. But why the distinction in body parts between the two?

      The head represented the pree-eminent part of their one flesh unit and the body represents the dependent part of their unit. This is significant for their culture.

      The same imagery of a body is used in 1 Clement where the head represents social status and wealth and the rest of the body represents the weak and poor members. Clement said that all Christians should submit to each other on a matter of principle but that the weak and poor owe more submission to the powerful and wealthy for supply them.

      The man was pree-eminent legally, socially, and economically and the wife was dependent in all three of those areas. Since head had status associated with it, its one reason why I believe the husband is called head of the wife and the wife depicted as the body of the man.

      The imagery used of Christ earlier in Col and Eph depicts Christ as three things when head is used.

      1. In Col 1:17-18 the metaphor head is used to describe Christ as two things. Existing before the body in time. And 2. Being the origin of the body’s life. Both those things were also true of the first man Adam in relation to his wife.

      Due to those two things, at the end of Col 1:18, it says that Christ currently holds the pree-eminent status in all things on account of it.

      I often wonder if Eph 5:23 entended to also extend this pree-eminent status of Christ to the husband in the marital union? Adam being formed first is one of the justifications 1 Timothy 2:13 gives for subjecting women to men.

      2. In Col 2:18 and Eph 4:15-16, head is used as a methaphore for a supplier of nourishment and growth to its body. In Col 2:18 the church is specifically told to hold fast to its head in order to receive its nourishment for growth instead of going astry after other modes in an attempt to gain their salvation.

      Could it be possible that just like Col 2:18 tells the church to hold fast to the head, in otherwords come under the identity of Christ instead of another, wives are also being told to subject themselves only to their own husbands instead of their fathers or brothers since the husband is their supplyer of nourishment?

      Since marriage without hand was the most common practice in the Empire I think this might be the case.

      3. In Col 2:10 and Eph 1:22-23 the head is used as a symbol of geographical status. Christ is the head, the highest geographical top in the heavens, thus making Him superior in status to all other ranking governments.

      And the kicker is that because of its unity to the head, the body is now also elevated in status together with Christ.

      That is exactly what a patron had to offer a client, affinity with his social status and the societal privlages that came with that status. Clients depended on the patron’s status for survival and protection. And in return, clients yielded to their patron’s leadership as a show of respect.

  14. Carol Lee

    It appears that the author of this writing has missed Genesis 3:16. And there is no taking it out of context, God flat out tells you that your husband is your “Boss.” Which means doing as he says. “… Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” The Bible also says in numerous places that the husband is the head of the wife. And you can construe that anyway that “makes you feel comfortable” but it still comes out to meaning the husband is the one to make the final decisions. There cannot be two heads of a house, you would have arguing and problems. This is the reason that every woman should be careful to choose a husband that is kind and good to her and will respect her, take her feelings into consideration, and do what is best for her rather than put himself first. She is choosing her future boss.

    • Erik Fish

      Carol Lee, the context of Genesis 3:16 regards the effects of sin and the curse. This is not a prescriptive from God of his instructions for marriage relationships. If you take the same logic you used for deducing, “your husband is your ‘Boss,'”, you must apply it to the previous line and conclude that “Wives should desire to control their husbands.” Both of these aspects of the curse — A desire for control and a desire to be someone’s boss in a marriage — is a terrible foundation for a healthy marriage relationship – and one that should be abhorrent to any one who professes to follow Christ. As a Christ follower and looking at the entirety of scripture, the finished work of Jesus on the cross to break the curse of sin is our example – not the very curse of sin he broke that is described in Genesis 3.

      • Laura Yoerger

        Amen, Eric! She would also need to admit that any woman who allows the doctors to ease her pain in childbirth are in sin because said her pain in childbirth would be increased.

        Thank-you for standing up for Truth and for taking the time out of your busy life to patiently answer and help everyone who came to you here!!

  15. Joe

    Is anyone familiar with Genesis 3:16? “To the woman he said,

    “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
    Your desire shall be contrary to[f] your husband,
    but he shall rule over you.” I mean, did God change his mind in the New Testament?

    • Erik Fish

      Joe – the curse of Genesis 3 is describing the consequences of sin, not a divine command. No where is Adam commanded to “rule over Eve”. If we take the curses of the Old Testament and realize clear New Testament teaching on Christ is that He accomplished a final and complete breaking of the curse of sin with his death and resurrection, it allows us to remain consistent in seeing God’s character seamless between OT and NT. It also challenges us to seek, as Jesus referenced, “In the beginning it was not so” when correcting current teaching of the time and about marriage relationships. Jesus appealed to God’s original design for marital relationships, prior to the curse – the curse should NEVER be our standard for determining what a healthy marriage relationship should look like. That’s a very low bar, and certainly Jesus sets a much higher one.

  16. Simion

    Why, in Genesis 3:16 does it say that “he will rule over you” is this just a poor translation or am I giving it an unintended meaning?

    • Erik Fish

      Great question. I’m not an expert on ancient Hebrew and any nuances in this text, but I interpret the phrase, “He will rule over you” as a depiction of the effects/curse of the fall of Adam and Eve and it’s resulting effects on husband-wife relationships. This prediction spoken by God has certainly played itself out as true over the millennia. As followers of Jesus, we don’t look to the curse of The Fall as our standard or a “proper way a marriage should function.” Instead we focus on the effects of the death and resurrection of Jesus in breaking every curse and seek what Jesus spoke of when he said, “In the beginning, it was not so… a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.” Rulership of the husband over the wife was never God’s plan from the beginning.

  17. Marc J

    Someone once asked the question, “who is the boss in your family?” Answer was that our marriage is a 50/50 proposition. Then the statement was made, I know who is the boss in your family.
    The authority should be as in any office. The President of a company has his responsibilities and a lesser office, the Vice President, has his responsibilities. In the keeping of their individual responsibilities, they are submission to one another.
    Problem in this 21 century is that many people come out of generational sin as defined by God, Exodus 20:5. In Christ, we will get it right.

    • Erik Fish

      I agree: “In Christ, we will get it right.”
      A hierarchical view of husband-wife relationships will screw us every time.

  18. Marc J

    Genesis 2:20 says that God will make a help meet for Adam. What is the purpose of this help meet but to help Adam to do his job better and to help him be successful. Consider Christ and the church. We should all want Christ to be successful, Not something we would gain for ourselves.

    • Erik Fish

      Look up the Hebrew word used here in Genesis 2 as “Help meet.” It’s the same word God uses to describe Himself in His relationship to His covenant people. What if husbands viewed their relationship to their wives the way God viewed His relationship to His covenant people?

      Not doormats, but as strong men who love and serve their wives, even as we pursue our sense of purpose and desire for success in our careers – not controlled by our wives, but loving them regardless of what they’re feeling and how they respond.

      My marriage has been far from perfect. But this is something I am pursuing.

  19. Stan Skaggs

    Your idea of men and women as equals in life “lifting up” each other is a nice thought, but it does go against the ideals of a Christian marriage. For any organization such as a nuclear family, there most definitely needs to be a “leader” making decisions for the family unit. This is exactly what the Bible tells us in terms of what the sexes actually do in the family. The man is the leader as laid out by Christ and God’s word, and the woman is to submit to her husband by following his leadership as Christ has clearly laid out for us to follow. The teachings of Paul are telling us to not go to extremes though, as the woman is a part of the man in their union. In the times before and even during Paul’s era, we see how women as mere objects and posessions to be treated as such by their husbands; much like slavery actually. Paul saw this as well as we can see in the old testament related to the treatment of women as lesser persons.
    Paul was telling men to look at their women, not as slaves or subjegates, but as partners or an actual part of themselves… not as equals though as the man is the head of the household without question. Man is to love his wife to the point of laying down his life for her (something unheard of in the times of old). Man is to care for and even listen to the advice of the woman in making his decisions concerning the family welfare. This is why Paul then tells the woman to “push up and support her husband” not as an equal, but as a member of his family, and trusted consult.
    I believe your point is being taken wrongly in the discussion, because you seem to be equating women to men in their roles in the family… and this is wrong. Women are not beneath men, but both play a role in the family structure. These roles are laid out in the Bible as well.
    A real man will not subjegate his wife as a slave, but will make his rules thinking of her benefit from love and compassion. This is why the wife then supports her husband as her leader and “hero” if you will. It’s all God’s plan to drive both into each other and eliminate conflict.
    In these comments I see others making statements of demands for women to bow down to their men, and men to command and dominate their women.. This is wrong too.. but I see your point as equally flawed in that you are pulling both men and women out of the roles God has set them into by emasculating women and feminizing men.. When this happens, conflict will happen as both will strive to direct the family’s trajectory in life. This is against God’s plan by confusing the roles of men and women.

    In summary, Paul’s point is basically for men that “even though they are the leader of their family, must use their seat of power for their wives in order for them to hold the support of their wife. Women are to follow and respect the decisions of the husband letting him know that she ‘has his back'”. The head of the house is not a dictatorial position because of the points Paul so eloquently lays out. Christ makes decisions on the Church in this manner to do what is best for us all.. whether we like it or not, its where he leads us; not as a dictator but rather a loving leader.

    Some confusion comes when we try to move the genders into the wrong roles laid out. An example is like in Galations 3:28 where the bible tells us that we are not male or female in God’s eyes: This is related to being a Christian though and not the points of being in a family relationship. We are defined in roles of husband and wife and are responsible to fulfill our obligations of our role to and for our spouse.

    Hope that helps..


  20. Carl

    Hi Erik,

    I’m afraid your reinterpretation of Ephesians 5 is incorrect and misleading. I see that you try to make a distinction between “to obey” and “to submit”, but this distinction makes no sense because the very idea of obedience is embedded in submission. You can’t submit to someone else if you don’t obey him. The Greek word translated “submit” in Ephesians 5 is “hupotassó” which is a military term that literally means to “place or rank under” in the sense of placing someone under another person’s authority. In other words, it simply means ‘to subordinate or to put in subjection’ to another person’s control. This is how all the Greek-English Lexicons define the word “hupotassó” and implies obedience because there is no way you can be subordinate to another person without obeying that person. So, I really don’t get the point of your argument and I find it unnecessarily misleading.

    I think Denny Burk’s article “Does Ephesians 5 Teach Mutual Submission?” does justice to this topic.

    Traditionally, Ephesians 5:21-22 has been understood to teach that a husband should be the leader of his family and that a wife should follow the leadership of her husband and obey him.

    But a newer interpretation — which you espouse in your article above — says that the command in verse 21 shows the older view to be wrong-headed. For in verse 21, Paul says, “submit to one another in the fear of Christ.” According to this view, the “one another” clearly makes submission a mutual obligation for husbands and wives. In other words, Paul is calling for mutual submission. Husbands must submit to their wives, and wives must submit to their husbands in the sense that they serve one another and put one another’s needs before the other. It’s mutual submission because the service they render to one another is completely reciprocal. This view of mutual submission means that a husband is not in fact called to be the leader of his family nor is a wife called to follow her husband’s leadership.

    So, which interpretation is right? How is the word of God teaching us to order our families? Is the husband supposed to be the leader, or does the Bible designate no leader? I think a closer look shows that the mutual submission interpretation has misunderstood what Paul means by “submit to one another.”

    As already explained, the Greek word translated as “submit” is “hupotasso”. It is a word that denotes ordered relationships, especially where one party submits to another. Nowhere in the New Testament does this word ever get softened to mean serving someone else or putting their needs first. While those are good things, that simply is not what the word means. In the New Testament, the word always indicates authority and submission (cf. Titus 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:18). And of course, that meaning is confirmed in Ephesians 5:21 by the immediate context which clarifies, “As the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Eph. 5:24).

    The word translated “one another” is the Greek term allelois, and its use in the New Testament often has nothing to do with individual, reciprocal action. Here are some examples:

    . . . Matthew 24:10, “And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up ONE ANOTHER and hate ONE ANOTHER .” . . .

    – Revelation 6:4 “Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill EACH OTHER. To him was given a large sword.” . . .

    In each one of these texts, the term “one another” is used, and it is clear that reciprocal action is not in view. One party is performing some action and another party is receiving the action. Take for example the phrase “kill each other” in Revelation 6:4. Clearly, this text is not teaching that two or more individuals kill each other at the same time. No, the killing involved one party taking action against another. The context makes that clear.

    Just as the “one anothers” in the texts above would make no sense at all as reciprocal actions, so it is also in Ephesians 5:21. The context makes it clear that Paul uses “one another” in the non-reciprocal sense, for the very next verse specifies who is to submit to whom, “wives to your own husbands as to the Lord” (v. 22).

    The command to submit is not directed to the husbands. In the Greek text, the verb for submit appears in verse 21 but not in verse 22. Verse 22 specifies what this submission is supposed to look like: “Wives to your own husbands.” When Paul begins instructing the husbands in verse 25, he moves to a totally different verb – love. There is no specific command to the husbands to submit. Only the wives receive such instruction.

    So what is the text teaching? It teaches that husbands are to love their wives self-sacrificially and that wives are to follow the leadership of their husbands. Paul says this relationship is patterned after Christ’s relationship to His church.

    Ephesians 5:23-25 say: “The husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, . . . as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

    The pattern for a husband’s headship is Christ’s headship over his bride, the church. There is no reciprocal submission between Christ and his bride; neither is there to be such between husbands and their wives. Are there mutual obligations for husbands and wives? Yes. Is there mutual submission in the reciprocal sense? No. On the contrary, Paul calls on wives to affirm and support the headship of their husbands, and he calls on husbands to love their wives self-sacrificially.

    This understanding of the passage is confirmed by other Bible passages. One way to study and understand scriptures is to find other scripture passages that address the same subject. Why? Because scriptures explain scriptures. When we look at other Bible passages that address this subject, we find confirmation that God has instructed wives to obey their husbands and to submit to their husband’s authority in the home. Here are some examples:

    Colossians 3:18-19: ” Wives, SUBMIT to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.”

    Titus 2:3-5: “. . .the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, OBEDIENT to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” (NKJV).

    1 Peter 3:1-6: “Wives, likewise, be SUBMISSIVE to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the [a]incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” (NKJV).

    So, the conclusion is inescapable: God’s instruction is that wives submit to and obey their husbands. A godly wife would gladly submit to and obey her husband as unto the Lord, not grudgingly or reluctantly. This is the wife’s special qualification. If she has all beauty and education but no respect for her husband, she is not a good wife. Creation suggests it. She was made after the man (1 Tim. 2:13), from the man (1 Cor. 11:8), and for the man (1 Cor. 11:9). This order was not by man’s doing, but God’s. Even after the fall the divine order stands: “He shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16). The New Testament confirms all this (Col. 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:1-6, Titus 2:3-5, Ephesians 5:21-22). Even if she is the sweetest thing and her husband the meanest, she still has a duty to respect and obey him. First, she must fix in her heart that her position is ‘inferior’ to his (in the sense that he is the head of the home), and then she will be able to fulfill all that submission and respect imply with ease and delight. It is not fitting to set the rib above, or even on the same level with, the head. She is NOT inferior in personhood, worth, or value. The fact that God has placed the man as the head does NOT mean the woman is inferior in personhood or worth to the man. Far from it!

    A wife must obey her husband in everything. In things great and small, agreeable and disagreeable to her. Only when he requires what God forbids or forbids what God requires is she to refuse submission. She may reason with him in things inconvenient to her, but if he will not be persuaded, and there is no sin in the case, she must submit to him.
    Sarah’s reverence for her husband was sincere, as she called her husband “lord” (Gen. 18:12), and this is an example for Christian wives (1 Pet. 3:6). Therefore a grudging obedience is unacceptable, and usually springs from a wife’s unmortified pride and self-conceit. Even if her husband is severe, it is better for the women to do her duty, and leave his judgment to God.

    A godly man would not abuse his God-given authority by oppressing his wife or making unreasonable demands on her. A godly man will love, respect, and honor his wife, and make sacrifices for her. If he misuses his authority and treats his wife unfairly, God will judge him.

    May the Lord help us to live lives that will glorify God in our homes and marriages.

    • Laura

      Hi so I like everything you said and believe it is true. However in regards to it I wasn’t to ask how I would apply to my situation without losing myself.
      My husband can be pretty severe in the ways he calls me to submit to him. In silly things but like it can be controlling.
      Like one time he threw a ball and told me to go get it. I didn’t want to but did it anyways. He yelled for me to run but I didn’t want to I kept walking. So he got very angry with me because I didn’t listen to him.
      Or like I’m not allowed to sing sometimes because he things it’s stupid so I’m only allowed to hum. Or even opinions that I have that are different from his I’m not allowed to have.

      So how would submission look like I’m this context without becoming like a shell of who I was before marriage.

      I love my husband and he is wonderful in many ways but often times I believe uses these scriptures to abuse his authority and control me. Not leading me in what is good and right but ordering and commanding me in all things according to his will.

      But I want to honor God in my side but I get so frustrated for how he used the scripture and I know God didn’t intend it so but I have a hard time laying down when he commands me in regards to small things where I am just different from him and he doesn’t like it and wants me to do things more like he would.

      Thank you!

      • Erik Fish

        Laura, I would strongly encourage you to speak with a certified therapist/counselor about things like this to give you some healthy perspective about scenarios like you described.

  21. Amy

    Thank you for this article. You are absolutely correct and I see your heart of devotion to Christ in your writing. My husband and I have had this discussion several times in our 27 years of marriage. A marriage that has been quite easy because we have mutual respect, love, and devotion to each other. And that is what your article is saying – married couples should have mutual love, respect, and devotion to each other. They should support one another as each partner strives to please the Lord. There is no heresy here. The “wives obey husbands” old way of teaching is a “cow” that God wants knocked down.

  22. Taylor

    You are adapting the word of God to tailor it to your own heretical needs. God demands women to obey men, for wives to submit to their husbands. The world is built and maintained by men, if women are disrespectful and disobedient to the very men that give them all the safety, security, convenience and comfort that makes their lives so easy and pleasant, it is sinful to be so inconsiderate and disrespectful to those men that have given you everything. Eve was emotional, reckless and foolish and allowed her childish nature to bring down the outstanding greatness that was man which was represented in Adam, the first man. Men must temper women, women are childish, foolish, emotional and reckless, only through a man’s guidance and leadership can she become more than she is, this is precisely why God commands women to obey men. We are the dominant sex, burdened with leadership, Providence and responsibility, you WILL submit to us or you WILL burn in hell as ordained by God for this great sin of disrespect. We lead you for your own benefit, men and women are not the same with the same capabilities, women need our leadership as they are smaller, weaker, slower, less logical, less intelligent, more emotional, more unstable, more erratic and more prone to making poor decisions. Men lead women to protect them.

    • Erik Fish

      Your comment makes me wonder if this is a Chat GPT response to the question, “Write me a misogynistic article describing how men are superior to women from a misguided religious perspective.” If this article helps one woman who is in a relationship with someone who views gender and relationships the way you seem to, it will be worth it. You have a very misguided understanding both of Scripture and of male and female who were both created in God’s image.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This