How Much Should a Wife Submit?

This is an anonymous posting from a trusted Missionary Pastor that I know.  He teaches the Bible to many, and often has occasion to teach on marriage from a Biblical perspective.  I will share these with you for your edification and growth.


QUESTION:  In light of these verses (see below) is the submission of husbands and wives supposed to be  50 – 50, or 60 for wives and 40 for husbands, OR some other combination such as 90 – 10 with wives submitting 90% of the time or should wives submit 100% and husbands not at all?

From Ephesians:

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the
husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the
church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church
submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their
husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and
gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having
cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he
might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or
wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own
bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated
his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the
church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 "Therefore a man
shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the
two shall become one flesh." 32 This mystery is profound, and I am
saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each
one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she
respects her husband.

It seems clear from 1 Cor. 7 vs. 2 - 4 That in some areas of marriage there is complete equality between husband and wife!  

"2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife
and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife
her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the
wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does.
Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but
the wife does."

1 Cor also says,
"11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not
independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from
man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God."


Again, let's ask the question, “Who submits most in the marriage relationship?"
In Ephesians 5:22 – 24 it seems very clear that Paul is stating that the wife here is a picture of the Church and the husband a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is no argument that the Church should submit to the Lord Jesus in every respect, but so far as I am aware, no local Church has done this completely, and therefore the universal Church has not done so either.  This is not to excuse wives from submitting to their husbands, but to point out that since we are all still sinners, we will fail at times.

On the other hand, as the husband represents the Lord Jesus in the marriage relationship, I think that it is important to look at His life and see how submissive He was/is.

The Lord Jesus came to earth for the express purpose of dying for sinners.  All who believe in Him become part of the Church.  How did the Lord submit?

1.    He always did the will of God.

2.    He gave Himself 100% for the Church.

3.    He took all of the punishment we, the Church, deserved and forgave us for all we have failed in before and after we believe in Him.

4.    He has chosen to not remember our sins.

5.    He submitted to taking our sin, shame, and reproach and demanded nothing more than that we accept His gift of eternal life. 

6.    He forgave Peter's denial, Paul's persecution, Thomas's doubting, and all our failures.

Now, I ask again, in the marriage relationship, who should submit more - the husband or the wife? 

Do I, as a husband, forgive as God has forgiven me in Christ?  (Col 3:12-13) (Eph. 4:32)

In Matthew 18:21-22 the Lord instructed Peter to forgive.  There is no thought that the offender must apologize or grovel in any way.  The duty to forgive is on the person who is offended. 

As a husband, I must strive to be like the Lord Jesus and love my wife as He loved the Church, and I must be willing to forgive all and to give myself 100% even if my wife fails in her duties.  If I can show my wife love as Christ loved the Church, she is much more likely to respond the way God wishes her to.

References Below:
 Ps. 81 Especially vs. 10 – 13
Romans 8:5 - 8
Romans 10:3
Galatians 5:1
Ephesians 21  17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand
what the will of the Lord is….21 submitting to one another out of
reverence for Christ.


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