(Part 2)





The Bible has many things to say to women about their marriages. The verse above in Proverbs tells us that a woman can either build her house up or pluck it down. We find all through the scriptures that the Lord says His Words are able to make one wise, therefore we know that a wise woman is one who takes heed to the Word of God and to what it says about her marriage. In the scriptures we can plainly see the things that cause a marriage to be built up. If we compare these things to bricks we get a mental picture of how we can build our houses up, brick by brick.

Brick #1 is a foundational “brick”, that of loving our husbands. We find in Titus, chapter 2, that women are to be “taught” to love their husbands. Therefore we know that this “love” is not what women generally think of when they talk about the love they have for their husbands. A woman is to love her husband with the same kind of love that Christ had, when He loved the church and gave Himself for it.

Brick #2 is extremely important also, if a home is to be built upon the foundation of the scriptures. Brick #2 is “scriptural submission”. The Word of God abounds with scriptures on this subject.

Ephesians 5:22-24, says, “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.” As we, women, can see here in this passage, the Lord does not “mince” words when He gives us this instruction, that of submitting to our own husbands. Women sigh everywhere when they hear this topic discussed or taught. Even women who claim to believe the Bible means what it says will often try to explain away the scriptures when they read or hear this truth. “Surely the Lord doesn’t mean that, exactly!” I have also found that many preachers have a hard time preaching on this topic because it is so frowned upon, especially among women!

I think it would be good for all of us to examine the scriptures and do as the Bereans of Acts 17:ll, where it is said of them, “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily”, to see if something was true. What does the Lord have to say on this subject? Does He mean exactly what Ephesians 5:22-24 seems to say? There is certainly a lot riding on this truth. Many marriages are in trouble today, and yet the women in these marriages have no idea that the very root of their problems quite often stem from not applying this “brick”, or scriptural truth.

Years ago, when I found my marriage crumbling, I had no place to go for help except to the Word of God. My husband and I had come to the point to where we admitted to one another that we no longer loved each other. Because I knew that divorce was not the Lord’s will and therefore not an option, I vowed to the Lord that if He would show me how to make my husband love me again, that I would do whatever His Word says, no matter what it says or what it would take.

When I began to study Ephesians, chapter 5, I was very convicted by the verses quoted above. Had I ever really applied these verses to my marriage? Oh, I assumed I was a good wife, that I was doing the Lord’s will in my marriage relationship, but the verse, “as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing”, was the pivotal verse. Previously, I had submitted to my husband in the things in which I thought he was correct, (what “submission” is that?); that is, in the things I agreed with. The other things, or things I disagreed with, I thought were my duty to show him where he was “wrong”. I, in essence, thought it was my duty to be his “Holy Spirit”.

The conviction began, and I prayed to the Lord, “Surely you don’t mean every little thing!” However, knowing my King James Bible was perfect and therefore the Lord wouldn’t tell me to do something in His Word that He did not want me to do, I began to study the scriptures to see if other scriptures backed this up and if this really was His will.

In the dictionary I found the word “submission”, defined as: “The act of yielding to power or authority; obedient to the will of another; humble.” The word “submit”, defined as, “to surrender; to yield oneself in any way to the power, authority, or control of another.” I began to see that the “submission” I professed to practice in my marriage, previously to this time, was not submission at all. For, there is no submission where there is no yielding of my will to that of my husband. To submit to something I would do anyway, or maybe felt was right to do, was not a yielding of my will! And there is no submission where husband and wife agree to something. Submission involves the laying down of the will of one person for that of another, and the scriptures tell me that I have to be the one! Where there is no yielding of the will there is no submission.

Colossians 3:18 says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” The scriptures don’t say that submission is conditional upon whether the husband deserves it, or makes the right decisions, but wives are told to submit to their husbands because the Lord tells them to do so, and “it is fit in the Lord” to do so. Verse 23 of the same chapter says, “whatsoever ye do , do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”. We should do this heartily, not begrudgingly. We submit to our husbands just as if he were the Lord. Submitting to our husbands IS submitting to the Lord! Boy, that one was and still is tough for me! I found that to know the scriptures is the easy part. To put them into practice is another thing.

Have you noticed that in many weddings today, people are leaving the words, “obey him”, out of the ceremony? Women don’t want to believe this Biblical instruction is meant for them. My daughter was listening to a conversation between two women, where one told the other that the Bible says for women to be in submission to their husbands. The other woman, retorted, “But that was for back then, not for today”! May I ask, “What year or at what time did the Lord say, ‘This is the year that you no longer have to obey your husbands’?” God’s Words were relevant 2000 years ago and are still relevant today, and at no place or time has the Lord changed his instructions on this issue. In fact, this admonition for wives spans all of the dispensations. It began with the sin of Eve as her punishment. Genesis 3:16 says, speaking of her husband, “...and he shall rule over thee.”

I Peter 3:1-5, a passage for a future dispensation, also includes the same admonition. It says, “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.” I believe it is very clear here that the Lord means for a woman to be in submission to an unsaved husband, or even to one who does not obey the Word of God. This truth is not supported in many Christian circles today. But we must ask, “What saith the scriptures?”

I would guess that in Paul’s day, wives wanted to believe that since they were now in the dispensation of “grace” and no longer under the Old Testament law, that they no longer had to submit to their own husbands. (Sounds like a good argument to me! My, how the flesh hates submission!) However, the Lord, through Paul, refutes this idea clearly in the passages quoted above in Ephesians 5 and Col. 3, as well as in Titus 2, where it says, that wives are to be “good, obedient to their own husbands.”

There are other passages that support this as well. I Cor. 11:3 says, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Eph. 5:23 says, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church...” We learn from these passages the proper order of hierarchy that God has ordained for the marriage unit. If God has ordained it so, then any time we try to change the order will cause the marriage to suffer.

If the Lord created the man with the desire and ability to be the head over the woman and the home, then he can only be at his best in this position. God has given him the very need to be in this position. When this need is not met, then the man’s innermost being and self esteem will suffer. The times when I told my husband what to do, the times of nagging or complaining, were little hammers, chipping away at the bricks of my marriage. If those little things were tearing down the “bricks” of our “house”, then what about the big things, the times when I usurped my husband’s authority more strongly? I spent the first few years of my marriage trying to change things about him or challenging his decisions. I now know that these things prevent a man from becoming what God would have him to be. A man needs the self-confidence that comes from knowing he is in control, has authority in his home, and that his wife believes in him, supports him, loves and accepts the real person he is, faults and all. If we fail to give our husbands this kind of support, then they quite likely will have a harder time growing and becoming the man the Lord would have them to be. Any person’s self esteem is fragile, but God created the male to be in a position of authority and he can only “blossom” in this position. What kind of husband do we women really want? Are we preventing the very thing we are trying to bring about? Is our sinful flesh still continually tryng to take control in our homes?

We see then, that we must relinquish our own fleshly desire to be the head in our homes. I believe that as long as we “usurp” (I Tim. 2:12) this authority, we are hindering the Lord’s work. We must “let go and let God do it”. It’s the same old battle of the centuries, the flesh vs. the Spirit. Sarah, in Genesis, tried to bring about the Lord’s promise through fleshly means, that of Ishmael. (Genesis 16) She failed. She only brought more sorrow to herself and to Abraham. We must not try to bring about a “godly” home through our fleshly means. We must trust the Lord, put ourselves and our families into His hands and obey the instructions given to us. We must quit trying to change our husbands. The Lord himself is the only one who can effectually change them.

We, who believe the Bible, also believe that anything the Lord tells us to do in His Word, he will equip us to do. We also know it will be for our benefit and for the benefit of our marriages. The Lord instituted the marriage unit and knows what makes it work best! The God of the Bible wants our marriages to be happy and fulfilling! What then, would be better for us than obeying Him? Wives, accept your husband the way he is; humble yourself and take your place of submission to him. Realize that the Lord meant what He said, when He said to submit to your husband in every thing. If you believe changes need to be made in him and in your marriage, pray God would either change him or change your mind! Let God do the changing! Praise the Lord when your husband tries to take his God-given position as head! Get the order in your home right so that our loving Lord and Savior can go to work on your “house”! I challenge young women everywhere to read and obey God’s Word. See what God can do in your marriage if you do this! I pray you would start today!

Prayerfully submitted by

Mary Atwood
Grace Bible Church
Chattanooga, Tn