Tag Archives: Biblical Marriage

Are Wives Still Supposed to Submit?

11 Nov

Excuse me while I mount my soapbox.

I went out with my girlfriends recently and my engaged friend (yeeaaaahhhh!!—more about that later) was discussing moving to a new city and a new church after she marries.  Her church-leader fiancé asked her if she was sure that she would be able to make the adjustment to the new, and very different, church.  What would happen, he wondered, if in three years she decided that she wasn’t comfortable at this new church and that she wanted to change churches?

One of my girlfriends responded that, in the event that she wasn’t happy, her husband would have to take her wishes into consideration and, with prayer, they would have to find a new church together.  He could be a church leader anywhere after all.  My response was that, happy or not, ultimately she would just have to stick it out with him at that church if that is where he believes God wants them to be.  The wife is called to follow her husband after all.  I did not agree with my girlfriend’s assessment and she did not agree with mine.  My friend’s comment about a husband yielding to his wife’s complaints, is not a point of view that is limited to her. 

It is common for women to want to marry and be assured that if they become unhappy their husbands will change–their minds, their ways, or their plans–and do what the woman wants so that she is not made unhappy. And so the marriage relationship has been converted in our minds from one of authority and submission, to one of egalitarian consent.  There is no more demarcation of man and wife; instead we are partners or we are mates.  But there is no egalitarian model of the Christian family.  There is a hierarchy—God, man, wife–no matter what our culture may tell us to the contrary.

If a husband does not take full authority, but instead allows himself to be swayed or manipulated by his wife’s logic and/or emotions, not only is he responsible before God for his own abdication of his role as leader, but he might also be responsible for his wife’s failure to develop into the kind of wife that God expects her to be.  Namely, a wife who does not look to her husband to make perfect decisions at all times, but a wife who trusts God that, regardless of what decisions her husband makes, God will work things out for their family.  Likewise, if a wife does not yield to her husband’s leadership, not only is she responsible before God for her own rebellion against authority, but she might also be responsible for her husband’s failure to develop into the kind of husband that God expects him to be.  Namely, the kind of husband who does not look to make perfect decisions at all time, but who leads his family by example, in seeking God and in trusting God, so that regardless of the course the he takes, the family can rest assured that God will work things out.

Maybe the privilege of the wife is simply to prevail in prayer.  These days it is regarded as a lowly calling, compared to having final authority or signing the checks, but I ask you, is it?

Does prayer work?  Is God interested and concerned with the direction that the family is heading?  Is God able to change the heart of a husband (or wife)?  Does God want wives (in particular, I might ask) to know of His faithfulness, provision, protection, and providence?  Will not God cause all things to work together for good in each of our lives?  Is not God sovereign? Is not God worthy of praise with thanksgiving, whatever He allows to occur in our lives?

Yes, a husband should be considerate of and kind to his wife; he should talk with her, seek her opinions, and value her input, both the intellectual and the intuitive.  But he must then decide what’s best and do it.  Now because the Holy Spirit leads the husband as well as the wife, typically the husband will be led the same way that the wife is led.  Or a husband will graciously allow a wife her preference.  He will.  Most of the time.

But there will come times when a husband and wife are not led in the same direction, and the husband will not or cannot accommodate the wife’s preference.  In which case, the wife’s posture cannot be, “But I want what I want because I know that I’m right.”  It has to be, “I’m leaving this in Your hands, Lord. Let Your will be done.” 

No, this is not easy.  But He who called her to be a wife is faithful, and He will help her to do it.


What Do the Experts Know?

25 Aug

GirlsGuideWhat do the experts know?  Evidently a lot.

Reading Boundless’  mini-book, A Girl’s Guide to Marrying Well, blessed me so immensely that I think I need a series of posts to recount my reactions.