“Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.” – Colossians 3:18-19
Submit – to be under the authority of another. This is a military term, used in the biblical description of family. Here, we see wives called to submit to the leadership of their husbands. Now hold on, wives. Stay with me and let’s break down what this looks like according to God’s Word.
First of all, I want to be very clear. The Bible does NOT teach that women are to submit to men. Does it mean men and women are unequal? That men are better? Absolutely not. In Genesis 1, we see that mankind is made in the image of God, male and female. We are all equal before God.
Still, this is not an easy verse. It is radically counter-cultural. And besides, we are all sinners. Meaning, all wives are married to – yep, sinners. So, he will make mistakes. It’s also tough because all wives are sinners, too.
Is there a time when you’re not called to submit to your husband? Yes, there is. If your husband is drunk, on drugs, mentally ill, or just sinful and is urging you to go against God’s Word, then the leadership of the husband has been forfeited. If he is physically abusive to you or your children, then absolutely, there is a need to seek shelter from that relationship.
At the same time, the teaching is very clear that wives are to submit to their husbands’ leading because “it is fitting to the Lord.” It’s not because he is smarter or better. It doesn’t mean we guys are deserving. No guy is. But, it’s because the Christian marriage is to be an example of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the church. The bride, the wife, is called to submit to her husband as the church is called to submit to Jesus (Ephesians 5:22-24).
And think about this: The ultimate act of submission was Christ voluntarily taking on the guilt and sin of mankind and dying on the cross to restore our relationship with God. He did this out of submission to His Father’s will.
The word “submit” is a radically counter-cultural word. Yet, what Jesus did with His Father, husbands are to do with Jesus, and wives are to submit to Christ by submitting to their husbands. Ask God to change your heart towards this word – submit. Start with your relationship with Christ. In what areas are you not submitting to God’s will for your life?