THE BEAUTY OF HEADSHIP AND SUBMISSION IN MARRIAGE

Written by: Jason Jamison
Written on: October 17, 2012
Written for the A Girl Like Me blog.

 

I don’t blog.  I mean as of last night I don’t think I actually knew what it meant to blog.  When I was asked to write this blog I started to get flashbacks of when I was asked to write a 25 page paper in college and so that is what I started to do.  I got this wierd feeling in my stomach and started to sweat.  You see I was a Bible major in college.  Everything we discussed was supported by Scripture and then backed by what seems like 40 sources.  So 2 weeks ago I started in on this blog and I had references and sources and scripture and it was going to be massive.  I showed what I had to my wife last night and she said, “Just seems a little heady” (2003 college slang for overly intellectual).  After being slightly offended and annoyed I understood her point.  This is a blog – it’s supposed to be informative but more personal and less collegiate.  So this is my best attempt “to blog.”

Now that you now know that I am slightly crazy and sort of old fashion let’s jump in to this topic of submission.  I guess there has been a lot of questions about this topic from you ladies and so I will do my best to try and cover this massive topic in a few words.  There are many areas in which submission is discussed in the Bible but I believe the area that needs to be covered in this case is submission in marriage.  I want to be careful here because I know that I am sure I have already offended someone by just mentioning the idea that submission exists in marriage.  And I also want to be clear that where there is submission there is also headship.

I would like to propose to you that marriage is intended to be a reflection of Christ’s relationship with the church.  Paul actually talks about this in Ephesians.  He tells us that the mystery of marriage is this union of two into one and how this refers to Christ and the church. So I guess the first point I want to make is that just as Christ is head of the church so also is the husband head of the wife. (Ephesians 5:22)  This is not a bad thing.  I know that there are several cases in which people have screwed up these roles and I argue that is a result of sin.  There are husbands who instead of leading with love and humility lead as if they were dictators and are way too harsh.  Or there are husbands that do not lead and are lazy and indifferent.  Then there are wives that instead of being intelligent and willing in their submissiveness turn to manipulation or just plain disobedience.  I believe that these distortions are an effect of sin and are often used to taint our view of submissiveness.

You know it’s interesting to me that we pull this one verse out of Ephesians and get really upset about it with out looking at the whole chapter.  When I read through this chapter I came to realize that Paul is really describing a life that is being controlled and lead by the Holy Spirit.  I mean of course he is right?  How difficult would it be to a loving, humble husband and an intelligent, willing, submissive wife without the help of the Spirit.  Ever since the fall we battle against our sinful desires.  Even in Genesis God says to Eve, “And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 NLT

So what does this look like?  I mean does this mean that a wife is to just be void of any opinion or say in descisions?  And what about a wife that is married to an unbeliever?  All great questions.  Thanks for asking.  Being submissive does not mean that you lay down your God given intellect and abilities.  I think there are a lot of great things that have surfaced in women rights.  Women are fully capable of rational thought, decision making, and leadership.  In fact, in a lot of ways women are equal to men.  But I believe that within the boundaries of marriage there are definite God given roles that exist and the wife is to submit to the authority of her husband.  So say there is a large decision that is being made.  The wife is trying to be submissive but she can tell that her husband is about to make a bad call. Trust me – this happens a lot!  What then?  It’s interesting that the Bible says that the husband is to be like Christ.  It does not say that he is Christ.  There is fundamental difference between the two.  You see Christ is perfect and your husband is not.  Can I get an AMEN!  What this means is that there must be a way to approach your husband and raise concern about something you see that he may not.  And this is often very necessary.  I believe that as a submissive wife there should be a sense of respect, love and affirmation in that conversation.  A husband wants to be recognized for their leadership.  For example, what if the conversation started with something like this: ”Honey, I really appreciate all the effort and thought you have put into this, and I love that you are taking initiative to lead our family.  I think that there may be some things that we have overlooked and before we move forward I would love to discuss this further with you.  I mean I love the 25′ snowman just as much as you, but I think we might be able to use that money wiser somewhere else.”  Haha – I mean who doesn’t love a 25′ snowman?  Obviously a ridiculous subject matter but do you see my point?  The wife was loving and affirming.  She clearly shared her concern but also showed that she supported her husbands leadership while still being submissive.

So what about an unbelieving husband?  Check these verses out:

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3 NASB

Let me start by saying that I do not find it a good idea to marry an unbeliever. Why? Well in 2 Corinthians it tells us that we should not be unevenly yoked.  What is a yoke you say?  Well a yoke is a piece of equipment they used to use to tie two working animals together.  Maybe it is two oxen that are plowing a field.  If they are uneven in strength then the plow may pull in one direction more than another.  You might have a round field instead of a square one.  So we are being warned to not tie ourselves together with someone who is an unbeliever.  The scripture continues by asking what fellowship does light have with darkness.  There are so many differences between the way a believer and a non believer live that it will only make things confused, messy, and difficult.  So my plea to you would be to try and tie yourself to somebody with the same belief in God that you hold.  Now I understand that there are cases when believers and unbelievers are married.  This can happen for many reasons.  One example would be that both the husband and wife were unbelievers when they married and later in life the wife came to know Jesus as her Savior. So now what?

I believe that even if a wife has an unbelieving husband that she is still called to submit to him.  Yup I said it.  As said in 1 Peter there are ways that a wife can act towards her husband that may lead him to repentance.  Which hopefully is the ultimate goal.  But let me say this, I also believe if that husband is leading her into sin that she must not follow.  The reason I say that is because God is the ultimate authority.  There are commands that have been placed by God that we should always try to obey.  Wives must recognize that yes their husband is an authority, but that God is the ultimate authority.  If the two conflict God’s authority must always prevail.  So when I think about how God calls wives to submit to her husband I can’t help but think about how important it is for the husbands to have Godly character.  So ladies when you are looking at a man and wondering if he could be “the one” ask yourself if he is living a life led by the spirit.  Would you trust him with directing you and your family through tough decisions?

Hope this helps.  I tried not to be too “heady” or boring.  I really do believe that true and pure headship and submission is beautiful.  I take it as a great privilege and responsibility to reflect Christ in our marriages and I hope that when people look upon my marriage they see Christ.