Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Submissive Wife

Today my Facebook exploded with THIS story. In short Gabrielle Reece, volleyball star, announced that becoming a submissive wife saved her marriage. What came after was an onslaught of controversy. Of course.

My comment on Facebook was this:
Beautiful! People who think it is controversial for a wife to be submissive to her husband
A: does not understand the biblical principle of marriage,
B: is not going to do well in marriage,
C: needs to think and do research before arguing this with me and
D: (a repeat because it is just so very true for men and women both) they ARE NOT GOING TO DO WELL IN MARRIAGE!

 I thought that was pretty clear, but apparently not.

I want to stress that a submissive wife is not a door mat. God has given us well defined roles as men and women. I am not saying that we can't "evolve" to some degree, I do not believe we have to stay barefoot and pregnant (to use a term I hate).

You see, it isn't just a submissive wife... husband and wife are supposed to submit to EACH OTHER. The husband is supposed to be the leader, but any good leader knows how to take suggestions from others. The husband is supposed to love his wife like Christ loved the church (people). Christ DIED for the church. That is a pretty big responsibility.

Being a submissive wife does not mean the husband is the BOSS. He MUST treat her "far more precious then treasure". He must respect her, cherish her, revere her. She is the mother of his children, the heart of the family, his help mate. Those things he must do, even when she is being crabby and cranky, and looking a wreck after a long night with a sick child.  

I try to be a submissive wife...
I fail...
a lot.

But, when my husband and I are following God's commands on how we should behave, that is when our marriage is at it's best. Really though it has nothing to do with faith, or religion, or submissive vs. not... It has to do with how a husband and wife SHOULD be with each other, to support each other, to use our roles to make our life together work even through the stress. And when we are at odds with those "natural" roles, then we are at odds with each other and with our children. God has given us a blueprint to follow, and my husband and I believe that with everything we are, but I have seen people with no faith have very good marriages. Because they follow those natural laws in a marriage. Not because husband is boss and wife is a wimp (or doormat) ... but because they sacrifice for one another, the love unconditionally and they commit FULLY to one another and to their marriage.

I want my children to look at the marriage of their parents and know that we loved each other, AND that we loved them enough to fight to live our lives as God wants us to. And I want them to know that when things were not so good, it was because we went against Gods plans.

Ephesians Chapter 5
5 Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. 6
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her
to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
"For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I know this is an issue that some young women struggle with, and I am so thankful that you shared what it is and isn't. :) I know I struggled with it before I truly understood it. I have realized during the past couple years that it is what God called me to do.

  2. I have been married nearly 25 years. We both are quite happy. I have never once been submissive. We resolve disagreements through communication and compromise.

    1. Congratulations on your 25 years! That seems to be quite an accomplishment these days, so I'm told. I do think however that you've missed my point. The key is to first understand that to be a submissive wife does not mean to be a door mat. It means that you respect your husbands point of view and follow his lead. As you have stated that you communicate and compromise to resolve disagreements tells me that you do indeed respect his point of view and at times follow his lead. You'll notice that I did not ever suggest that being a submissive wife means you just coward to his every whim and I further stated that only a man that values his wife is deserving of a submissive wife. It sounds like your husband is a lucky guy and you a lucky lady to have found that in each other. Have a fantastic day.

  3. Thanks for your response.

    I do not consider my husband the leader of our home (nor does he). I don't follow his lead. If we have a disagreement about, say, which car to buy, the person who cares the most about the subject will get to decide.

    There are a few subjects, frankly, in which I don't respect his opinion because he has poor judgment. And the same is true for him.

    However, we are very happy and our marriage has never suffered from any problems. We resolve our few disagreements quite well--as equal partners!

    I just wanted to let you know that a nonsubmissive wife can have a very happy marriage. However, I'm sure a submissive wife can have a happy marriage, too.

  4. I've been married for close to 15 years and while I respect my husband and he respects me, neither of us automatically look to the other for leadership. We also happen to be doing very well in our marriage :), so your points b. and d. are not correct. One does not need submission to have a happy marriage.

    If one of us knows more about a subject, the other follows that person's lead. So sometimes I'm a leader and sometimes he is. For example I do the yard work so I lead in picking out a new weed eater. I got one he wouldn't have chosen, but since I will be using it and know more about them, he followed my lead. While on the other hand he does the cleaning so when we needed a new vacuum, he got to choose that. Even though he got one that I thought was way too expensive and clunky, he is the expert so I followed his lead.

    When neither of us are experts we talk it out and come to a decision that we are both happy with. There is no leader in this house, we work together. So while you looking to your husband as a leader and submitting to him might make your marriage happy, it doesn't work that way for all marriages.

    1. Very good that you are doing well in your marriage. Again you missed my point which makes point c very valid.

      There is a misunderstanding as to what a submissive wife is. Clearly you still misunderstand. Hence the reason I put the post to begin with and NOW the reason I realize that it will not do any good because those who believe a submissive wife is a doormat rather than most precious person she is intended to be, they will never understand.

      Again, I am very glad you have a marriage that works for you. I will always congratulate those who can keep it together in this day and age. It isn't easy regardless of how you do it.

  5. So are you saying my husband is submissive to me since I make final decisions for the family just as much as he does? So I have a submissive husband? I really don't get what you are trying to say about submission.

    In your opinion, is it a submissive wife if the husband is not considered the leader of the home? That is what is going on in my household. I do not consider that submissive since I'm not submitting to him, I'm viewing him as an equal. And he isn't viewing himself as a leader of the family with me being in submission to him. I am his equal, not a person he needs to lead. My husband is not the leader of my house and if he tried to make a decision that I firmly didn't agree with, I wouldn't follow him because he is not my leader and I don't need to submit to him. He doesn't actually expect me to go along with decisions he makes unless I want to.

  6. Maxine,

    No one has said they think submission means the wife is a doormat. No one has said anything about being a doormat at all!

    Amanda (and I) described marriages involving no submission, where the wives and husbands operated an egalitarian relationship, with both parties leading at different times, and the wives making the final decisions in many disputes.

    I see that a woman can be submissive without being a "doormat." Do you see that a woman can be an equal partner in her marraige, yet still have that marriage be successful?

  7. Why not. I want to point out that I never really said that you can't have a successful marriage if a wife is not submissive, my biggest issue with all of this was with people who believe it's "controversial" to believe in the biblical principals a submissive wife, and that those who do - simply do not understand it.

    I have also went out of my way to congratulate both of you on having a successful marriage. Why exactly are you still thinking you need to defend yourself?

  8. I'm not really defending my marriage, I just don't understand your definition of submission.
    But it is good to know that you don't think that wifely submission is necessary for a happy, healthy marriage. That you don't judge marriages where the wife doesn't submit as being wrong. The tone of your entire post made me think that you felt that wifely submission was "natural" for women and without it marriages would not be as successful, but I'm glad I read that wrong. I've very glad you have a happy marriage too.

  9. Sorry. When you said that people who thought submission was "controversial" were "not going to do well in marriage", I thought you meant they couldn't have successful marriages. I have a very successfull marriage,and I wanted to show you it was possible.

    Sounds like we misunderstood each other. We agree both kinds of marriage can be successful. That's great.

  10. Hi,

    I thought I'd share my learning to be submissive with you.