Friday, September 23, 2011

Week 8: Wives: Submit to Your Husbands

Scripture to reflect upon for Relationship Revival: Ephesians 5:22, 25
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Don’t shoot the messenger. These are God’s Words, not mine. Let’s keep that in mind today.

A lot of women have problems with this scripture, and on the other hand a lot of men love it. That’s because they are hopelessly reading it wrong.

Let me share a story with you about how this works…

It’s no secret that I’ve been married before. Three times to be exact, and if you’ve been following along with me these last few months, you also know that those failed marriages were my own fault by marrying the wrong people through my absolute lack of self-esteem.

My second marriage in particular was such a huge mistake. Bigger than the first or the third, because I was saved and living for God and knew it was wrong. (Find out JUST how wrong it was:

Although it may have appeared we were “equally yoked,” my second husband William carried with him an ugly and aggressive spirit of religion that bogged us down, ripped us apart, and eventually divided us permanently. It also had a devastating effect on our church (read the other blog to find out how).

My first son, Josh, was thirteen when William and I got married. Josh was such a great kid, but my ex-husband wanted to control his every move, as well as mine. He tried to put ridiculous rules on us that truly made us feel like prisoners in our own home. William threw scriptures at us left and right, scolding us profusely on anything we did that he didn’t care for, which usually was just about everything we did or didn’t do.

William’s 13 year old step-sister stayed with us one night, and her and Josh ended up kissing. The rage that ensued from William the next morning over the incident was unbearable, and I ended up saying the typical: “He’s not your son, so let me deal with him the way I think is right.” Not very submissive, was I? And that’s exactly what he told me: “You are my wife, and God’s Word says you are to submit to me, not the other way around!”

Let me tell you where this whole thing went wrong. He forgot to love me the way Christ loves the church. And let’s also not forget that verse 21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This means husbands, too, need to submit to their wives. Don’t lose me yet. I can explain…

Let’s go back to the beginning with Abraham and Sarah. Sarah demanded that he “get rid of that slave woman and her son” (Genesis 21:10) even though it was his son, too. Abraham was apprehensive about her request but God told him, “Listen to whatever Sarah tells you” (vv. 12). If you’ve read my series on Eve, you know the high regard that God has for women; it’s man who lowered her to the ground, which is why Paul told husbands to “love” their wives as Christ loves the church. Wow…

William did not love me that way. Every act, every outburst, every word, every thought was based out of control, not love. Christ does not want to control us. Whenever God told his people to obey his commands, the first thing He told them was to…“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” In a recent discussion about how we are the bride of Christ, this statement was said over and over and over again from God. To love Him. Why did He always need to remind them to love Him right before He commanded them to obey Him? Because when we love someone, we want to please them and obey them. Love has to come first before we can even begin to think about obeying.

So when William would insist I “obey” him because he was the husband and I was just the wife, I had major issues with this, considering he showed no love at all. Everything he did around the house, he did grudgingly, even simply taking out the trash. He would give me the silence treatment for days on end. Whenever I would try to discuss how someone had hurt or upset me, he always took their side and scolded me with scriptures. He was one person at home: mean, cruel, demanding, unaffectionate, verbally abusive, strict and overbearing; and an entirely different person at church: sweet, gentle, thoughtful, affectionate, humble, and a dutiful husband. To say that every Sunday I was incredibly sickened, is an understatement. This type of emotional beating did not command respect from me on any level, it only made me resist his “biblical teachings.”  

See, wives (and husbands), we are not to submit to a husband who isn’t willing to submit to Christ. If your husband is abusive, you don’t need to submit to that no matter what ANYONE tells you! When your husband loves you the way Christ loves the church—a.k.a. you!—there will be mutual respect and submission. Let’s dig deeper.

If the man is the “head” of the house, that means he has to be in complete alignment with God and His Word in order to deserve a wife who will then submit to him. Because if the man is submitting to God, then he will be a Godly husband who will take care of and support his wife, honor her, treat her as God would treat her with love and kindness. He should be knowledgeable of the Word to help raise a Godly family. He should know right from wrong, and yes, if your wife is wrong, by all means, you have a right to let her know…in a loving manner, not through control, anger and scorn. Once the wife sees how Godly and wise her husband is, she will be eager and willing to submit to him, because he, too, has submitted to her through respect and love.

ACTION PLAN: Men, I’m calling on you first, because without you this scripture cannot be upheld properly. I don’t think I need to elaborate on what God requires of you as a husband. I think the bible makes it perfectly clear. You are to love your wife. If you need help with this, consider Christ’s love for you! Consider how he laid down his life for you so you would have life to the fullest, so you could know joy, peace and happiness. Consider how He is your Defender before God. Any wrong you did, he will plead your case. A husband will be her: lover, friend, protector, defender, companion and provider.

Women, when your husband is scripturally right, submit! When you are equally yoked, submitting is not a problem, because let’s not forget that we do it out of reverence for Christ.

Ladies, you are not called to “wear the pants” of the family. And, yes, this goes against what the world is trying to project. Instead, we are called by God to be: mothers, encouragers, comforters, and friends; but don’t forget we were also created to be a helpmate to our husband.

GO FURTHER: Consider what being a helpmate means in your relationship. Talk with one another about particular issues you have a hard time submitting to with your partner and why. Find your answer to the issue(s) in the bible, and discover what God says about it. From there, one of you will need to submit based on God’s Word.

Ask God to show you how to love one another properly. Go to God together and seek His wisdom for your marriage. Both of you need to first humbly submit to God in order to then submit to one another.

Men, if you want to carry the role as “head of the house,” then you also need to carry all the responsibilities that entails. So be prepared to make those kinds of adjustments. Discuss with your wife what that means, what actions steps you will take to make it happen, what her role should be, and finally, how it will affect your family for the better.

FACT: Marriage is a reciprocal relationship, not a one-way street.

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