Tag Archives: Wife’s Submission

Wise or Foolish Wives?

As Christian wives, we will be making decisions each day that affect our relationships with our husbands. Here is an example of the simple interactions that occur and often cause us the most difficulty. Susie (not her real name), a wife and mother, writes:

What should we as wives expect in the way of being a part of decisions made in the home? I wholeheartedly agree that our husbands have the final say in all matters, and they have the right to consult us or not. My question is mainly: is it unbiblical to request that my husband come to me before he announces to the whole family a decision he has made? This is not necessarily so I have the opportunity to change his mind but because he will often make changes to plans or make decisions, and I feel like an outsider. I don’t have a chance to work through any feelings or problems I see with a problem before he has already told the kids and me. It feels insulting to me that he would tell them and me at the same time.

Recently my husband made an abrupt change of plans. The children were disappointed, and I was too. I reacted improperly, and the whole night was miserable. My contention was that if he had made me a part of the change from the start, I could have gotten over my problems and been on his side much easier. Seeing their disappointment coupled with my own and the fact that he didn’t bring me in on it was totally overwhelming.

The next day we had another major situation that he wanted to take care of in a certain way. He brought me in private and told me what he wanted to do “so I wouldn’t have a fit in front of the kids.” I had something different in mind, and we were able to discuss it. He gave in to me because he saw my point. I don’t expect him to give in to me every time nor do I think it is feasible to do this every time. But this is the way I would prefer things to work. Is this biblical or not?

I think for Christian women, what Susie described here is a very real situation that many, if not most of us, have faced. It presents us a great opportunity to delve into the husband-and-wife issues at hand here. These are not the extremes of abuse but rather the kinds of everyday happenings that occur in Christian marriages. As wives, we must biblically decide how we will respond. I write this Mom’s Corner because the area of submission is still a regular battle for me with my flesh. Right now I need the reminders I will write in this article. I think I make two steps forward only to soon find myself at least one step back again.

First, let’s look at Susie’s situation where her husband sprang a disagreeable change of direction on the children and her without discussing it with her beforehand. Certainly, the key to a loving, growing husband-and-wife relationship is communication. Generally, decisions will be discussed by a husband and wife and agreed upon. However, it certainly isn’t beyond reason to expect times to arise where prior discussion hasn’t happened. It may be that the time for talking wasn’t available. It could be that the husband doesn’t think the situation is major enough to warrant taking communication time. He may feel sure his wife will be in sync with him, so he doesn’t see the need for prior discussion. But if she is unhappily surprised, then what?

This becomes our opportunity to test our hearts. It is easy to submit when we agree. It is hardly submission at all, is it? The crisis comes when we disagree. What kind of response do we want from our children if they don’t care for what we have asked them to do? Of course we prefer a happy smile and cheerful compliance. We have the chance to model this for our children in these everyday situations with our husbands.

I am ashamed to say that my displeasure, which is evident to both my husband and my children, is seldom, if ever, necessary. It generally rises from my personal biases. We aren’t talking sin issues here, but rather preferences. My reactions show my pride, not my meek and quiet spirit. They are a reflection of my continued selfishness and need to control to get my own way.

In Susie’s story, she tells us of her reaction to her husband’s decision: I reacted improperly, and the whole night was miserable. As I read her story, though, rather than repenting of her unsubmissive attitude, I see Susie wanting to blame her husband for her sin—trying to make it his fault rather than hers. I struggle with this so much. In my pride, I don’t want to be wrong and, worse yet, to be at fault. I want to find a way to pin my failure on something Steve didn’t do right. Then I don’t feel so bad or view my wrong reaction as sin. I have an excuse for it.

I would encourage us to accept our responsibility for our failures and not put the blame elsewhere. It is nothing more than my pride that won’t let me simply say, “My reaction was wrong. Will you please forgive me?” I want God’s grace in my life to help me be a wife that honors, respects, and submits to her husband. What does God say about pride? “. . . God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6). I want and need God’s grace. This verse tells me that His grace is given to me through my humility—saying I was wrong and asking for forgiveness—and that He resists me when I am proud—making excuses for my sin or blaming it on someone else.

We want our husbands to be strong, godly leaders. However, we often encourage the exact opposite tendency by our own words, attitudes, and actions. Consider the second situation Susie describes. Her husband does what she asks him to do by sharing his plans with her privately before he tells the children. Rather than using this information to help her have a positive attitude in front of the children, she expresses her disagreement with his direction. Wow, could I relate to that scenario. My own words don’t match my actions. Instead of putting up a fight, Susie’s husband goes with what she wants. I wouldn’t be surprised if he felt he was in a situation where no matter what he did, he couldn’t please his wife. Steve has told me that when we were in the midst of a similar situation. We wives seem to struggle so much with letting go and truly letting our husbands lead.

Scripture seems to be full of admonition and warnings of what happens to us, who are wives, and those around us if we choose this path of controlling:

“A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing” (Proverbs 9:13).

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands” (Proverbs 14:1).

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house” (Proverbs 21:9). (Proverbs 25:24 says almost the same thing.)

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman” (Proverbs 21:19).

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike” (Proverbs 27:15).

Then we have these verses, which give a wife a picture of an obedient walk with Jesus Christ:

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:22-24).

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18).

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:4-5).

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives” (1 Peter 3:1).

We have a choice set before us each day. We can be wise women who build our houses, or we can be foolish ones who pluck them down. I pray that we will consider well how we can build our houses to bring joy and peace to those who live there. Who do we want to please? Jesus Christ? Our husbands? Ourselves? It is our decision. May we be women who take joy in obedience to Jesus Christ through submission to our husbands.

A Wifely Victory

Recently I had a wonderful victory in the area of reverencing my husband. I am sure you will laugh at it because it seems such a small thing. To me it was monumental even though I have been growing greatly in reverencing and submitting to my husband, particularly through the last five years.

My parents were coming over with my ninety-one-year-old grandmother. They were treating our family to ordered-in pizza. We had set a time for them to come and for the pizza to arrive. So, exactly what was my victory in the midst of this small celebration? It was pretty simple. I didn’t remind Steve to call early for the pizza to arrive at the designated time! Doesn’t that sound silly? Why would this be a victory for me? It is because I think Steve won’t remember such things unless I remind him.

This victory did not come without a battle. I thought about reminding him. I even considered how I might do this without it seeming like I was. As it neared time for our guests to arrive, I so wanted to ask him if he had ordered the pizza. When this thought popped up into my mind, I had to take it to the Lord. 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” I prayed that the Lord would help me hold my tongue and that reverencing Steve would be more important than having the pizza arrive on time.

I realized that even if Steve did forget to order the pizza, the worst that would happen is he would realize this when my folks arrived, order it, and we would wait a while for dinner. Guess what? He didn’t forget! Not only did he not forget, I didn’t have to remind him!

Do you realize what small victories like this do for my future in reverencing my husband? Each one grows my faith in my Lord and my husband. Next time I will not have such a battle with my thoughts over whether to remind or not. It will be easier to rest, having the meek and quiet spirit I so desire (1 Peter 3:4)!

What if Steve had forgotten to order the pizza? I would still have had the peace in my heart that reverencing my husband was more important than when the food arrived. What a petty issue to be concerned about–timing of food delivery! In this particular case, it would have been just fine for the pizza to be late. My parents, due to a small emergency before they left home, were not able to arrive at the agreed-upon time. It could have been the Lord’s plan not to have the timing for the pizza arrival be our timing.

I wonder if you have begun thinking about the reverencing of your husband. Ephesians 5:33 ends with, “and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” I have always thought of reverencing as respecting. However, no matter how I turned the definition of reverencing around, it came back to me as a much deeper relationship than just respect. Respect takes us a long way, but where do we go with reverencing?

I have become aware, through the Holy Spirit’s promptings in my life, of ways I don’t reverence or even respect my husband. Much of it comes from me wanting to control and conform Steve to what I think he should be. This would not be overt to an outside observer. Nor do I feel like I purpose to do this; it just seems to be ingrained in my nature! It is so important that I see and evaluate these controlling behaviors realistically. I am talking about things like this: reminding so that he doesn’t forget something important, having a better idea when he brings up a suggestion, giving him “direction” for what he should or should not do or say, always asking where he is going and what he is doing, requesting the details of his phone conversations. I can put on a sweet voice and a smile thinking that will make my controlling ways acceptable. The truth is it doesn’t. Part of reverencing Steve is being under his authority without trying to manipulate him to my wishes.

Please understand this doesn’t mean I never do any of these things. They just aren’t the overriding characteristics of our relationship. As Steve and I have discussed these issues, he has decided that he would like me to ask if he wants reminders about certain areas that need addressing. We freely discuss, as husband and wife, what is going on in our lives. This gives the proper platform for me to give “wifely” input. How much better in our private discussion of a problem concerning the children to offer a suggestion than to raise my eyebrows at him in front of the children or speak a critical word to him! Usually Steve tells me where he is going, what he is doing, and shares details of phone conversations I would be interested in. So what does it matter if, on occasion, he doesn’t do this? Do I need to jump on it and ask him? Can I rest in the Lord knowing that if I need to know the Lord will prompt Steve to tell me?

To be honest with you, this is a struggle for me. I don’t want to have to watch my words or tone of voice with my husband. I don’t care for needing to wait on him to ask for my opinion or counsel on a subject. I want to know all about his phone conversation with a mutual friend. These limitations frustrate me.

1 Peter 3:4 says in relation to wives, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” I am learning that the Lord is more concerned about the meek and quiet spirit He desires of me than that everything is the way I want it. When I consider it, do I truly want to be a controlling, nagging, “always have a better idea” wife?

The Lord has been giving me another thought in this area. How can I possibly know that what I believe is right in a given situation is actually the way to go? After all, Scripture does say, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). I am convinced that Christ, as the head of the church, is always right! While my husband is a fallible, sinful human, this word picture in Ephesians puts him in the same position in relation to me as that of Christ and the church. It is something for me to seriously consider when everything within me wants to have a situation go “my way”! Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Perhaps God has a purpose for the times Steve fails that is greater than if he did exactly what I thought he should!

I see that a part of reverencing my husband is truly trusting in his decisions, not only when they match my own. Choosing to do this puts him in a position of being responsible to the Lord, not to me. Obviously, there will be times of failure on my husband’s part. For some husbands it may be a whole lifetime of failure. Will I compound this by my own discontent, nagging, and controlling? Will I choose to reverence my husband, trusting and obeying my Lord’s command?

What about you? I expect there are areas in your relationship with your husband where you can begin to pray about and learn to let go of controlling. Will you be more concerned with following the Lord, in obedience to His Word to you as a wife, than you are about having things go the way you think they should? May the Lord encourage our hearts as we seek Him in our quest to be the wives He has called us to be.

A Wife’s Submission

As I have shared with you in other Mom’s Corners, the Lord has been working in my life in relation to my husband’s leadership in our home. I have a real-life example of this to share with you.

Recently, my husband announced that he wanted to make some changes in our evening schedule. This would involve all of the children joining the little boys and him for their evening time in the Word. Wouldn’t you think that would delight a mother whose greatest desire is to have godly children? Delight was not my first reaction! Not at all! I immediately thought of many reasons why Steve’s plan would not work; my face told what was going on inside. When Steve questioned me, I began telling him my excuses. Before I had the last one out of my mouth, each of the older children had joined my rebellion with their own reasons.

The Lord convicted me of my lack of submission and wrong attitudes. Still, my heart was not following what I knew was right. I was selfishly hanging on to fears of what a change might mean for me. I asked Steve’s forgiveness for my not having a positive response to his plan and for sharing my negative reactions. I still had a “thought” battle to wage to bring my heart to follow what I knew God wanted from me. I desired to not just grit my teeth and plaster a smile on my face. I needed to be truly willing to be a helpmeet to my husband.

Daily the Lord is giving me opportunities to be tested, tried, and refined in this area of submission. I have been trying an experiment in faith. When I want to remind Steve of something, I write it down in a prayer journal and pray about it. God can work in Steve’s heart to deal with an issue when the time is right rather than me bringing it up. To be honest, even in this experiment I fail regularly. The other day I went to bed praying about, and determined not to bring up, my desire to have the Christmas decorations taken down. The very next morning, though, I mentioned it. Steve’s response was, “Would you believe just this morning as I was praying I was thinking about that?” I saw God working but was robbed of joy. I had gone ahead and brought it up rather than waiting on the Lord.

When I think of submission to my husband, one of the things the Lord continues to show me is that I have to let my husband be the leader. I am quick to question, remind, suggest, offer opinions, and give input. As I have evaluated this behavior of mine, I have come to see that it is trying to control my husband. If I can set my pride aside long enough, I can even objectively view it as treating him like a child rather than my mature husband. If you were to ask me if I were a submissive wife through these married years, I would have said determinedly, “Yes!” However, I was living “the letter of the law” of submission. The “spirit of the law” of submission would be willingly following, without always having a better way, another idea, or a reminder.

The end of the story on evening Bible time with the little boys is that God gave me great joy. I began to lay down, before Jesus, the sacrifices that I felt might be involved for the older ones and me. I asked God to help me to creatively figure out where to fit in the things I had been doing during that time. I asked Him to give me a heart to happily support my husband–to be a helpmeet rather than a hindrance. He has! Now I get Jesse and Mary ready for bed a little bit earlier, read to Anna before teeth brushing, and brush Sarah’s hair during the Bible time with Daddy. That time has become something I look forward to; it brings us all together for the most important focus we could have as a family before going to bed. Daddy is teaching us that we are men and women of God. Daddy is interested in our spiritual growth!

May we encourage one another to be wives and mothers with meek and quiet spirits, in whom our husbands can fully trust.

A Controlling Wife

The other night Steve gave Joseph, 6, and John, 4, a discipline that I didn’t want them to have. In addition, the little boys were missing playtime with Dad because they were refusing to comply with their discipline. I asked Steve to let them finish their discipline later. Steve felt strongly that Joseph and John should understand there were consequences for what they had done and the discipline shouldn’t be postponed. I commenced to help the boys, but this only made me unhappier with my husband. Steve could read my attitude even though I had not said anything. When he asked me what was wrong, I told him! Can you guess what the outcome was? Steve said he felt he could not please me since there are discipline issues that I want him to deal with, but when he does, I am not satisfied. He ended up unhappy with me, and I with him.

Later, as I reflected back in prayer over the situation, I was again made aware of how much I try to control what goes on in our home. Although my desire is to be a submissive wife, I am quick to jump into these situations and express myself vocally or by my attitudes and emotions. Wouldn’t it have been better if I had been supportive of my husband’s leadership in our home? How often I undermine him!

I see this area of supporting my husband as an opportunity to build my faith in God. Surely, God is big enough that He can influence Steve in his actions and decisions. Can I trust Him? Will I give way to fear, as 1 Peter 3:6 warns wives against, stepping in to try to take control? It is presumptive on my part to imagine that my way is God’s way and my husband’s is not.

1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” I have found that the more I have this meek and quiet spirit, the more peace I have in my heart. I am quick to explain something, justify a child’s action, or say what I think in a matter. If I will sit quietly and let my husband be in charge, I have chosen the path of submission rather than control.

The pride in my heart makes it difficult to go to Steve and ask his forgiveness when I fail in being submissive. It is much easier for me to justify myself than to admit being wrong. God’s way is to break down my pride and build humility in my life. This is accomplished by my failures if I deal with them properly.

Steve is gracious and encouraging to me as God works in my life. It has taken more than twenty years of being married for me to begin to understand this vital truth in God’s Word about a wife’s meek and quiet spirit. I am just starting to see why He says it is precious in His sight. May we all walk in God’s truth in our relationships with our husbands.