Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit to your husbands as 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.
Ephesians 5:21-24

I’d say this passage ranks up there as one of the most misunderstood and abused passages in the entire New Testament, if not the whole Bible. It’s been used far too often as a license for abuse and misogyny and all because submission is so misunderstood.

Submission doesn’t mean unquestioning obedience, it is a recognition of leadership and an acknowledgement of authority. However, that authority comes with a heavy price. If you continue on in the passage, it reads “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” In exchange for the wife’s submission to the husband, he is expected to be willing, just as Christ was for the church, to surrender his life for hers.

Submission in the Bible is a two way street, we submit to God, trusting Him to care for us. It doesn’t mean we never question Him, of course we will! Half the Psalms are questioning God. It just means that in the end we accept His decision, whatever it may be. We acknowledge His authority over us and trust in His intentions toward us. He makes the decision, but He gives us a part in formulating that decision.

Similarly, in a marriage, there has to be one partner that has the final say, as there will always be some decision that the partners can’t agree on. Biblically, this final say goes to the husband. While that may not be politically correct, that is what the Scriptures say. However, it is not meant to be a license for the husband to run roughshod over the wife. A marriage is a partnership and a good husband will always strive to lift up his wife and to acknowledge her ideas and opinions. He won’t make critical decisions involving the family without her input and prayerful consideration. Christ doesn’t rule over the church by force, He rules by love, the same should be true in our marriages. Godly submission is voluntary, never forced.

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