«Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord» (Ephesians 5:22).
IN AUDIENCES made up of husbands and wives, I have observed with curiosity and amazement a smile of approval on the men and a somewhat hardened look on the women when I read what the Bible text declares to be the wife’s duties in relation to her husband: «Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord» (Ephesians 5:22). Most likely, this reaction reflects a prejudiced definition of the «submission» that God requires of wives in His Word.
If you decide that submission puts the wife in a situation of subjugation and inferiority, where her will is subject to the will of the husband and she has no freedom of decision, your discomfort with such a concept is going to be unavoidable. It’s at this point that we should ask ourselves: Should the Christian wife be subjected to her husband? Does this mandate remain in place for today’s wives? And what does it mean to be subjected to a man?
Let us remember that the Word of God is eternal, unchangeable in spite of the passing of time. Biblical submission puts wives in a position of privilege; it places them under the protection and care of a man who respects and loves them in prosperity and adversity. The woman subjected to her husband does not become his property, does not remain without will or capacity to make decisions of her own.
Subjection isn’t subservience; it recognizes the role the husband fulfills in the home. God isn’t honored when wives usurp their husband’s leadership, nullifying his personality and belittling what he does for her and the family. I have seen women—myself included—overwhelmed and exhausted in their attempts to exert full and absolute control of the family, including the husband. The naturally strong masculine nature, determined and objective, is necessary to discipline and educate children, to support the family, and to protect the wife.
Under the leadership of a husband who is subject to God, wives are safe and protected, and in a position to serve the family with joy and gratitude. Perhaps today is a day for you to look at your husband with admiration for what he does for the family and to show your gratefulness with a few words of appreciation and praise.