“God wants me to do what?”
This is such a hard verse to comprehend to new Christians and even some “old” Christians as well. It’s a passage that I have heard twisted and maligned to show that God believes that women are subservient to men, that women were property, or slaves, and that is all wrong. That’s what happens when you take one part of a verse without researching, exploring and reading the entire passage. If you don’t know Jesus and his relationship with the church, then a lot of this message looses its power. If you don’t read on through Ephesians 5 you miss out on God’s instructions to men as to how they should treat their wives.
For a long time I only took the first part of this verse to heart, that I should submit to my husband. I never did that and the argument above was mine for a long time, with all three of my husbands. Yep, all three. I’ll let you think about that for a minute. 1st husband, divorced, 2nd husband, divorced, 3rd husband, holding on tight.
My marriage today to WH (wonderful husband) is my third marriage. Statistically, according to the world, this marriage won’t make it either. That’s a scary thought. But WH and I aren’t living the world’s way anymore, we are learning and striving to live God’s way but I had to make a change. I had to learn to submit. Submission was not something the world wanted me to do in my marriage. I have a very strong personality, which is the polite way of saying that I am bossy, (ask my brother). I have no problem delegating things and I have very strong opinions about things (hardheaded). With husband #1 and #2 I took the lead. I wasn’t going to fetch and tote, I wasn’t going to allow them to walk all over me and I wasn’t going to be their maid or servant. Submit, not me.
Have you ever plowed a field with two oxen? Nope, me either, but I did some research, and I also read “Little House on the Prairie” as a kid. Laura talks about Pa having to train the oxen to plow. He would do that by allowing one ox lead over the other, because if they were tied equally they wouldn’t move, both would be trying to lead. Huge paraphrase there with my apologies to Mrs. Wilder.
But that is a perfect picture of both of my earlier marriages, we didn’t have God as the center of our marriage and I wasn’t willing to allow my husband(s) to lead, and they didn’t understand what leading was. Instead of being able to fall under their authority, I just took one rein and they had the other (sometimes) and instead of our marriage moving forward, it didn’t go at all. There were other reasons those marriages did not make it, but I think a lot came down to I wasn’t willing to submit to my husband, and he didn’t know how to treat me as Christ treated the church.
Are you taking the reins? Who is leading your marriage? Do you know how to submit to your husband? The way we learn to do this is to look at the rest of the passage, we must submit to our husbands in everything as the church submitted to Christ. The church submits to Christ’s authority over it, to His leadership and His direction because the church knows and recognizes that no one loves it more then Jesus. He is the bridegroom. We need to follow our husband’s leadership, need to accept and respect his protection and guidance, and trust that he will do what is best for his wife and family.
But that’s hard!!!!!!!! Yes, it is. This passage is hard because:
1. Perhaps your spouse isn’t a believer; you still give him respect and submit, as long as his leading does not lead you to sin and you pray for him. Your husband will be impacted by your willingness to allow him to lead, do not judge, do not nag, do not be critical of your husband, but speak with respect and love, as you would speak to Jesus if he were standing in front of you. Give your husband that honor and allow the love of God to live through you.
2. Perhaps your spouse doesn’t know how to lead. I remember thinking, “If I don’t lead this family we will never go anywhere.” The world has taken away so many of the wonderful characteristics that belong to men and women have felt compelled to take them up. Like the little girl wearing her daddy’s boots, it’s cute for a while but if she’s not careful she will fall and get hurt. Take the boots off ladies and give them back to your husband. I think our shoes are prettier anyway. Talk with your husband about this passage and get his feedback. Ask God to guide the two of you, as you, the bride, learn to submit, and he learns to lead. Stay out of his boots!
Submit is not a six letter cuss word. It can be a balm to a struggling marriage, the first stitch in sewing a marriage torn apart back together. Giving your husband both the reins enables him to lead. Listening to him and following his guidance in all things, to and don’t foget to give him his boots back.
This builds our marriage Gods way, not the world’s way, and that is a connection unlike anything I can describe when a man and woman are living their lives God’s way, NOT the worlds way. You get to move forward as one instead of standing still and you get some great shoes!