So I began posting last week the importance of we as wives submitting to our husbands. It is always interesting to see the responses to that topic. Typically is not a pretty discussion because most women want to argue their way out of having to submit to anything. However, the Bible is very clear as to our responsibility in regards to being wives but doesn't stop there. It addresses the responsibilities of our husbands as well.
So let's take a look at what Ephesians says about the role of our husbands.
Husbands go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives.
Ephesians 5:22-28, The Message
God has a perfect plan for marriage. His perfect design presents to the world a beautiful picture of Christ’s love and sets the ultimate example for us to follow. When lived out according to His design, it works. However we as humans can really screw things up. Marriages constantly fail but it is not because God's design doesn't work but instead because we choose to follow our own path which typically leads to destruction.
So to begin let's take a look at biblical headship according to God's truth. First and foremost I want to say that in my understanding of scripture these things do not work for those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Biblical submission and headship work and are lived out because of the work the Holy Spirit does within us.
We will start with a quick recap from Ephesians where wives are first instructed to submit to our husbands. Ladies when we hear the word submission we sometimes hear weak and powerless. Submission does not mean our husbands are to be the dictators of our home. That word does not mean that he is to impose his will upon our lives. Instead it means trusting our husbands to lead our homes as they walk in step with God’s will for their lives and family. Submission is an attitude of being responsive, receptive and agreeable toward our husbands which demonstrates what is fitting and appropriate in God’s created order for us as wives. (Colossians 3:18) It is not always easy because we may not always agree with their choices but it relieves the burden in our lives to provide and protect allowing us to care for our families. As we grant our husbands room to lead, it allows their faith in Christ to grow.
What does it mean for our husbands to lead? Scripture says that our husbands are to love us as Christ loves His church (Ephesians 5:25). Let’s start there. What does the love of Christ look like to us? Jesus was a servant. He was full of grace and mercy. He put the needs of others before Himself. He was a living sacrifice. He gave up His own life for ours. The love of Jesus is a selfless love. It is unconditional and full of sacrifice. Jesus came to this world to serve, not to be served. (Luke 22:26)
Headship is not a husband’s right to command and control his wife but instead it is a responsibility to love his wife like Christ. It is about being willing to lay down one’s life for the good of others. Headship is not given to enlarge a man’s ego but instead build up his family. It becomes his responsibility to sacrificially love his wife. It is like the verse says, “a love marked by giving not getting.”
So the next question becomes what does this look like when your spouse is an unbeliever or does not have a solid walk with Christ? This can get tricky but it is important to know that first and foremost, we wives are to submit to Christ. We ultimately allow the Holy Spirit to lead and we submit to His righteous ways. We as wives are not called to submit to sin, abuse or mistreatment of any kind. We have been given a brain to discern truth and the strength to stand for what we know to be right. Ladies, God did not create us to be our husband’s doormat and so if you find yourself in a situation where abuse or mistreatment of any kind is taking place, that is not God’s plan and should be addressed so that proper counsel can be attained for the family. Again, it is not in God’s plan for any man to abuse his wife or his children and a wife should not submit to this kind of behavior.
With that said, biblical headship is a beautiful reflection of Christ and His love for His bride, the church. When lived out in our homes, the selflessness, sacrifice and servanthood of our husband’s love for us becomes a true picture of Christ’s love.