Saturday, April 3, 2010

Should wife always submit to her husband?

Submission to husband is a crucial issue that needs to be clarified. Should the wife submit to her husband in everything as the Bible says? What if the husband is unreasonable? What if he abuses her? Beats her? Doesn't provide for her or for the family  even if he's very able nor does he share the responsibilities? With women's lib and feminism advancing women's rights and causes, many  Christian wives (and husbands) are still confused of how Ephesians 5:21-33 and other related passages should be interpreted.

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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glee said...

yes, there has to be balance.

philly5113 said...

I think if the scripture is taken in context as opposed to isolating a verse we would accept that it is for both parties to be responsible, respectful and caring. So submission is not a dirty word but a way of being to godly state. The wife should submit to a husband who is christ like, the head of the church, and if that is the case there is no concern or hesitation about submission. If we all do what is good and just and kind as christ is then the concern is mute.If there is abuse, disrespect and scorn then christ does not live there the husband is not the head of the church, the home, the family. Submission therefore is from fear, and fear is not of God.

Anonymous said...

I've always believed in serving my husband and give deference to his decisions just because he's the Head of our family. I'm lucky that he always consults/asks before deciding. If only he'd make me a housewife so I won't be too tired sometimes :)

I have an award for you :) Hope you like it. Happy Easter!

nice A said...

@philly, you seldom leave a comment (usually to critical issues) but I really, really appreciate your arguments a lot. That's very well said. It's true. How can you submit to a husband not worth submitting to? The scripture should be taken in context, not isolated.
Thank you very much for being my guest in this crucial post.

nice A said...

@judy, I think most spouses, whether husband or wife, would love their spouse being involved in the decision making esp if it's a major decision that needs to be discussed first by both parties. I learned my lesson a lot early on in our marriage...hehehe! It was when I was still in my adjustment period from being so independent-minded when I was still single. Things, lifestyle, etc., have to change in marriage if we want it to work.
Thanks for the award, dear sis.

Verna Luga said...

Hi Nice, thanks for the drop... o that took me quite some minutes to read.... lakihan mu kaya yung letra... hehehehe!

so.... I majored gendered studies in my masters and I regreted, sort of, that I have known all the issues, the politics, the good and not so good things about this phenomenon in our society ... naks !....

In this case, religion in one factor that purports this kind of set-up in our social system .... geeeh! ang haba kung sulatin ko dito ....

Sali kaya ako sa sunod ... heheheh!

nice A said...

@Vernz, in that case, you're really a master in this issue. Yes, religion is one factor so the church then has the responsibility to clarify this issue. C'mon, let's do our share in shedding the light to those who have misinterpreted it, usually those who take the scripture by isolating the verse, not by context.
Why don't you join us this time? It's not yet too late. In fact, Mr. Linky isn't on yet. This meme is really interesting especially next month's topic.

nuts said...

interesting! is this new meme? i'll check the host website..

Denise said...

Awesome post.

nice A said...

@nuts, no, it's not new. It's me who's new to it. I missed joining last month. Sure, check out the host's website. She has interesting posts in store for you. Thanks for the visit:)

@denise, thanks.

Constance said...

The thought that immediately came to my mind was
"God loves a cheerful giver". So many times we think of this only in the test of money. What about our time and talents? Are we begrudging when we give those? RESPECT in marriage is one of the solid foundations, without it the structure is unstable and volitile. I heard a message once for husbands, outlining how they are to love their wives the way Christ loved the church. If every husband heard this and acted on it, I bet the divorce rate would plummet. What wife wouldn't want to lovingly submit if she knew how cherished she were?

have a blessed week!

nice A said...

@Constance, what you thought is what love really means. But submission out of fear doesn't manifest love, respect does. If we love the person, we give him due respect.
Thanks for your nice thoughts.

Verna Luga said...

Nice ... heheheh I made it .... read mu yung entry ko ... hehehehe...


April Feagley said...

At our Wednesday night Bible study, our pastor related something he said to a young couple he is counseling prior to their marriage next month. He told the young lady that her fiance would be responsible for being the spiritual head of the household and that the Bible tells us that women should submit to their husbands. I loved the fact, though, that he followed this up with an admonition to the young man that only a fool ignores his wife's counsel and judgment.

Loved it!

nice A said...

@Vernz, thanks for joining. I'll go check out your first Marriage Monday Post right away.

@April, that's a great counseling by your pastor at a wedding. Thanks for sharing it, sis:)

Anonymous said...

Hi there sis! Welcome :) I hope you like the award :)

I guess, we're both lucky we have spouses who give us the proper credit and importance. It was a lesson learned the hard way but alls well that ends well.

Thank you for inviting me to this meme. I'll try to see if I can post one before the link closes. Its an interesting theme because most posts are do are about Aori and us.

Anonymous said...

A very thoughtful post, Nice A!

As you mentioned, it's so important for wives to accurately understand the biblical concept of submission.

I would also add that it's also important for women to truly grasp how differently God created the male and female brains. We are designed to complement one another perfectly!

A wife must be especially careful to communicate respect to her husband when she also works outside the home. Many men feel threatened or diminished when they are not the sole breadwinner. As you've said, caring for the domestic duties is one way wives can communicate that they appreciate their husband's hard work to earn a living, even if she also brings home a paycheck.

If there is physical abuse in her marriage, a wife (and children) should flee to a safe place where she can then seek professional help.

I've written on submission quite a lot at Chrysalis. Your readers might be interested in reading my related article, "Motivating Passive Men: How to Correct Gender Role Reversal."

Thanks for joining us for Marriage Monday today!

Blessings, e-Mom :~D

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder to understand and apply the BIBLICAL meaning of submission.

Dhemz said...

very interesting post you have here and women should be equal....I completely agree on your last paragraph....very well said...thanks for sharing! musta po pala kau?

Mac an Rothaich said...

Love your post. I see you have had an honest look at this. In the circles I grew up in the woman was to endure and always obey no matter how she was treated. It didn't take me long to see the verse for the man was being greatly ignored. I know God created me to and so I had to battle with what I was taught because it went against a fundamental truth that Christ loves me too and wouldn't treat me the way so many men treated their husbands in the culture I grew up in.

RoseBelle said...

A marriage is a commitment between the man and woman that they will share their lives together. It will require both to make it work. A wife should not be just a property to the husband and submits herself in an unloved and abusive relationship. There should be mutual respect.

Julie Arduini said...

Thanks for tackling an area of marriage that has been long misunderstood!

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