Should Wives Submit to their Husbands?

A young couple leans against each other smiling. They are happy with their decision to start black relationship counseling in Atlanta, GA with Faith and Family Empowerment.

I was listening to a broadcast where a man was in a church talking about one of the challenges of society was that women were not submitting to their husbands in the home. This person even interpreted the scriptural passage in Ephesians to men that women should not work outside of the home. They should take care of the responsibilities in the home like cooking, cleaning, etc. and that men should be the ones out working and in charge of the money.

First, I disagree with this philosophy for several reasons. One, in the times that the Biblical text was written, women were viewed as property, not as human beings with full rights. Thus, women were not allowed access to education. They were relegated to second-class citizens. Their husbands were even chosen by their fathers in arranged marriages and they had no voice in the matter.

Second, that is not the environment we are in today in our country. Women own businesses, have PhDs, are judges, and have all sorts of accomplishments. Thus, women have the opportunities that they did not have in biblical times. Women can make their own decisions about marriage, occupation, style of living and so forth.

Third, we often have the idea of submission as one person ruling or domineering over another. In a good relationship, submission is about caring for the needs and the personhood of the other. In the passage cited in Ephesians 5, verse 21 talks about mutual submission. In other words, both husbands and wives are caring for the personhood and needs of the other spouse.

Imagine if we had marriages where both parties respected the other as human beings and exhibited loving and caring actions toward each other. Instead of trying to rule over one another, we exhibit love and service toward each other. In a mutually submissive home spouses talk about who might be best for the roles and duties of marriage regardless of what society might say. That means if the husband is a neater person, maybe he washes the clothes and cleans the house. If the wife has greater job opportunities with a larger income, maybe she brings home the money. The point is that mutual caring, listening, respect, and love for your spouse leads to better decisions and a better marriage. Lets take off the royal hats, learn to love one another, work together, and enjoy better relationships.


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