“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” – Ephesians 5: 22-24
I want you to understand a few things about this teaching. First of all, it doesn’t mean that the husband deserves for his wife to submit to his leadership. I do not deserve it. No husband deserves it. Secondly, it doesn’t mean that the husband is better than the wife. It doesn’t mean that at all! As a matter of fact if you recall, Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” We are equal before God. In Galatians 3:28, God’s Word says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are equal in Christ.
It’s important to note that the Bible does not teach for women to submit to men. That’s not in the Bible. This passage is telling the wife to submit to her husband, but it doesn’t teach for women to submit to men as a general rule. As a matter of fact, because we are all as Christians called to submit to earthly authorities, if you’re a man and your boss at work is a female, you’re called to submit to her authority at work. If you’re a man and you appear before a female judge in court, she is representing government authority, you’re called to submit to that female judge. There is nothing in Scripture that teaches that women are to submit to men in general.
But for some reason, in Christian marriage, God calls on the wife to submit to her husband. Now, I don’t know why God has chosen for the man to be the leader in Christian marriage, but I do know this. God has a symbol that He wants Christian marriage to share with the world. And that is that Christ the bridegroom is the head of the church and the bride of Christ, the church, is called to submit to His leadership. God has decided on these differing roles of a husband and wife to symbolize Christ’s relationship with His church. Does that mean that a woman is to be a doormat and let her husband dominate or abuse her? Absolutely not! It just means that God, in His sovereign wisdom, created these two equal, but separate roles in a Christian marriage.
Tomorrow, we will see how the husband leads is key to the wife being loved vs. taken advantage of.