Wives, Be in Subjection to Your Own Husbands
God’s plan for the wife in the home is that the wife is to take a subordinate role in leadership issues and/or when decisions need to be made. This is a general principle and each couple needs to find their way in working with the personality and gifts of both husband and wife. This direction from God is often a considerable challenge for the wife.
Women are often quicker in their response than their husbands. Sometimes they think more quickly or just put their thoughts into words more rapidly. It can be their opinion that because they can respond more quickly, then they must be more intelligent than their husbands.
Wives are called to “rule the house.” Since house management is on their minds almost all the time, they will see needs more quickly than their husbands. Since they see the things that need repair and their lives are hindered by their needs, they may feel their husbands lack intellectual capacities because they don’t quickly respond to these needs.
Mothers also have to live with more fears. When they see their offspring engage in activity that appears frightening, they may be afraid the child is in serious danger. When their husbands do not rescue or stop the child, their fears escalate rapidly and they may wonder why their husbands are so slow.
Some women have a good bit more sense when it comes to handling money. Perhaps by nature or training, they have a sense of good business practices. It may be easy for them to “run over” their husband’s judgment.
Children, youth and bystanders are observing how women respect their husbands. Foundations are being laid that future generations will build upon. It is always good to remember that the overall plan of God is more important than one’s immediate pleasure or preference. By faith we will find our way.
Is there a way a woman can “grow” leadership in her husband? Can a woman find wisdom from God on how to help him assume leadership?
The Bible is God’s answer to every situation. This lesson is an effort to help women and their husbands find answers to the questions of leadership.
“... and let the wife fear, that is to reverence and have respect for her husband.” Ephesians 5:33b
Submission and reverence are twin virtues that grace a godly woman.
Every woman wishes to be attractive. But physical favor and beauty are short lived. It is spiritual character that causes a woman to be highly treasured by both her husband and family. These virtues are not native to a woman’s nature. She needs to receive these virtues through self-discipline and a close walk with God.
Submission includes women seeing themselves as being second in command to their husbands.
In a later lesson we will consider that women are to be creative and resourceful in their domain. This must be balanced with the fact that in the home, in social institutions and in the church, God is asking men to lead.
In the workplace, there may be times when a woman, especially one without a husband, has a responsibility given her that is over men. With a spirit of humility she can fulfill her role without being domineering. The home is the place where women can best show their respect for their role, their Creator and their husbands. By being thankful to their husbands for what they are able to provide and then making each resource go as far as possible, godly women grace a home in ways not native to men.
Reverence shows up in attitude, countenance, speech and actions.
A woman who sees herself as being subordinate to her husband because of God’s plan, will reveal this in the thousands of expressions of life. Her respect will especially be shown through the way she looks at him, accepts his decisions and speaks to him.
While each man has a lot of boy left in him, one of the things he is sensitive to is whether he is treated as a little boy. Deep in his heart he craves respect and honor. When his wife reverences him, a deep need is met in his heart to love her in return. A godly man will accept the fact that his wife has a carnal nature and love her even when she does not respect him.
When she chooses respect, it naturally brings out the leader in him. A wise man will seek his wife’s counsel. He will discuss the problem he is facing, the decision he needs to make, and see what her feelings are on the matter. This is especially true when it relates to matters about the house, but also true in matters regarding his work and social world. She is his help meet, a help suitable for him in each issue and problem he is facing.
Submission also carries the responsibility to try to make the husband’s wishes prove successful.
A woman’s intuition and knowledge of her man can often give her a fairly certain prediction about her husband’s venture. She should share her judgment on the matter at hand. But once he has made a decision, there is no virtue in being critical and continuing to oppose her husband. This is the time when she needs to put her shoulder to the wheel and help to push.
A woman can often make or break a project. The husband is already endeavoring to make his decision succeed. If the wife gives her support, it might just be the momentum to help the idea or task go forward. If she opposes it, it will wound her husband deeply and may cause the project to fail. A woman who opposes her husband often just opposes herself.
What then if she tries to help him and it still fails, just as she could have told him? Even then she should stand by her husband. It doesn’t take vision to stand by a man when he is successful. It takes a woman of vision and love to stand by her husband when the world would call him a failure.
The ornament of submission is high on God’s value list, being the only ornament He wants godly women to adorn themselves with.
It is native to a woman’s heart to seek jewels. Some girls from toddler days will notice if mother adorns their hair with barrettes that match their dress or bring out the color of their eyes. Older women still seek rich adornment, hoping it will somehow make them look attractive.
God says it is something else that He sees as ornamentation. He is watching for women who want to adorn themselves with good works and with a submissive attitude.
God’s value system will last for eternity. Godly women will receive their due reward someday. Their crowns will never perish.
A Christian wife should seek to win her unbelieving husband with godly choices and no scolding.
Probably there is no instrument as easy to use and as perverse as the tongue. When a woman has a deep spiritual concern for her husband, the tongue is something she will need to give careful attention to.
According to many translators, what Peter wrote to wives of unbelieving husbands was that they were to win their husbands without a word. Not one word of scolding or of preaching. They are to simply give love and be meek of spirit.
God knows how to reach deep into the heart and life. When a woman of faith chooses to place her confidence in what God says is the right plan, then she becomes a partner with God. God can then activate His Holy Spirit to work in His own powerful way.
It is man’s nature to be sensitive to how his wife views his actions.
No hurt goes as deep in the soul of a man as to be belittled by his wife. If that belittlement is in the presence of others, or if the belittlement was over something the husband felt he should have been praised for, then the wound will be doubly hurtful.
A wise woman will respond to this knowledge with wisdom. She knows not to hurt the man she loves, even if the hurt does not seem to her to be that big of an issue. She also will know to go out of her way to express her appreciation and respect for the areas where she sees him putting his heart into his walk with God. A man naturally wants to grow in the areas where he senses he has his wife’s admiration.
Most women are sensitive to whether or not they are loved. Men are equally sensitive to whether or not they are respected. It does wonders for a marriage when a woman decides to look up to her husband as her lord and protector.
A wife should never obey her husband in doing something that is morally wrong. Rather she should appeal for permission to do right.
The teaching of godly submission is strong. However, we also must take the example or illustrations of Scripture and learn from them. We do not know if the deceit was Ananias’ idea or Sapphira’s. The only thing we know is that Sapphira was under Ananias’ authority, that she had his support and blessing to practice deceit. That blessing did not protect her.
Godly women will want to remember Peter’s word to the Jewish leaders. “We ought to obey God rather than men.” When leaders’ directions do not contradict God’s commands, we submit. When their direction is sin, we will suffer rather than go against God’s directives.
In Christ and in eternity, women are equal with men. Women who have served Christ in humility may well be given honor above men in Christ’s kingdom.
Time will soon come to an end. The structure of society will come to an end with it. Jesus taught us that the first would be last and the last first (Matthew 19:30). We all know that in the ladder of importance, godly womanhood is often relegated to the lowest positions. That’s the position Jesus took too, the lowest levels.
His promise is that those who served in His Name will not lose their reward. We know He will keep His word.
When we find ourselves fitting into the plan our Creator has for us, we will have the greatest fulfillment possible for any created being. May God bless our lady's who willingly take their part in the home and church. Great will be their reward in heaven some day. Also, God bless the wives who keep the vision alive that submitting to an imperfect husband is their pathway to pleasing God and having a happy husband.