Ephesians 5:22 says: Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.(23) For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the assembly,being himself the savior of the body.(24) But as the assembly is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything. This text is quoted (isolatedly) by men who feel that they have all the rights to do whatever they want over their wife. Worse, this is misinterpreted by women who allow their abusive husband to do violent things over them.
Submission in Greek is hupotasso which refers to respect and explicitly mentioned in verse 33: Nevertheless each of you must also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
It's very interesting to note that for parents-children relationship, the Apostle Paul said to children in Ephesians 6:1, "Children obey (Greek hupouko) your parents in the Lord for this is right".
Apostle Paul wrote the same passages but he put the husband-wife relationship in the same position to pay mutual respect for each other, not necessarily obeying each other as the children to their parents. Probably, it's because they are considered both mature unlike the child who is still young to think well so he is still under the authority of the parents. Verse 33 also commands the husband to love his wife as he loves himself. So how can an unloving and abusive husband love his own wife and expect to be loved in return?
"...For the husband is the head of the wife...(Verse 33)" If we look back at the context when this passage was written, it's the husband who had to provide for the family, thus he was considered the head. Women before just had to stay at home and be like a servant to her husband - cook for him, serve him like her master. But in our societies nowadays where women earn equally or more than the men, this has changed. So what about if the husband even if very able doesn't earn anything and the woman provides for him and the family? What role should he perform? Or what if they are both working and both are very tired to do household chores? Does the husband still expect to be served like a master in the old days? I'm very thankful that hubby doesn't expect me to serve him all the time except if I'm not busy as we're both working but, of course, even if I'm tired sometimes, I'm happy to serve him out of love and respect especially with my wifely duties. I'm also past the time (early on in our marriage) when I had to decide things on my own without consulting him, which used to be a source of conflict between us.
I know of many women who apply this Biblical passage non-contextually and complain that they get burnt out with such kind of relationship. Communication is important here to resolve the issue. A mistake will remain unchanged if we keep tolerating it. In the same manner a problem will remain as it is if we don't do anything to solve it.
In any relationship to succeed and be happy, there should always be a balance in everything. Both husband and wife should do their best to respect each other, love each other, understand each other and help each other in every way. If only one party does so, it can hardly be called a relationship. Again, if we use Jesus's example, he is loving, caring, gentle and hardworking so both spouses should emulate him and submission or respect will just easily follow.
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