Wives are to honor and respect and follow their husband’s lead, not to tell their husband how he ought to be a better husband… when each person gets their part right, regardless of how their spouse is treating them, there is hope for real change in their marriage.
While pop culture and feminists rage against the biblical concept of submission, God designed marriages to work with specific roles in mind. The optimal way for marriages to thrive is by applying submission and love the way God intended. Living this out will have a profound impact on your marriage.
Here are three benefits of practicing biblical submission:
1. You Model Christ’s Love for the Church
This one is not surprising, because God told us it would happen in Ephesians 5:22-33:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 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.
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
When wives respect their husbands and husbands love their wives, we show the world how greatly Christ loves us. Submission is not oppression, but an expression of love to God and our spouse. When our homes follow God’s pattern for family life, we demonstrate God’s love to all around us. It is an amazing way to share the Gospel every day.
2. There is No Fighting for First Place
Some marriages endure the weight of constant competition. Every decision brings with it an opportunity for an “I’m right” or an “I told you so” showdown in these relationships. When your entire relationship is a fight for supremacy, there is little room for compassion evidenced by our country’s divorce rates of forty to fifty percent.
When a couple understands the biblical roles of a husband and wife they can rest in the hierarchy God has established in the home. When a wife submits to her husband, she can rest in God’s plan for her family instead of trying to control every scenario. This does not mean a wife should neglect her role as the manager of the home, but that her managerial role is done under the headship of her husband, rather than in opposition to him. When husbands and wives strive to build each other up, the competition is alleviated and energy can be spent strengthening the marriage rather than tearing it down.
3. Children Learn Respect
Kids take note when wives choose to respect their husbands and husbands choose to sacrificially love their wives. When I was in elementary school there was a drastic shift in my home. Although my dad knew Christ as his Savior, he was lacking a clear understanding of his role as the head of our family. After attending a conference that presented the biblical responsibilities of a husband, he was challenged to live up to this calling. My dad accepted this challenge and came home ready to make changes. My mother could have stymied my dad’s revolution. Like Kirk’s sister, Candace Cameron Bure, my mom is “not a passive person,” but she was willing to take on a different role in obedience to God. My mom got out of the way to let my dad lead. She willingly rearranged her life under the leadership of my dad; my sister and I had a front-row seat for the transformation. The example our mother set of biblical submission gave it only a positive connotation in our home and my sister and I were eager to submit ourselves to the men we married. Our dad’s love for our mom inspired us to pursue men who would love us like Christ loves the church. Their examples impacted our entire family.
No matter what the world thinks about submission, God says it works. These godly lifestyles of love and respect have the power to reflect the gospel. They help us to rest in our roles in the family and leave a legacy for our children. Some day, Kirk Cameron and his wife will stand before God and give an account for their lives, just like you and I. Following God in obedience to our callings as husbands or wives will give us a firm standing on that day.