For my 312th act of love, I prayed through the chapter on submission in The Power of a Praying Husband. According to the Scriptures, wives should submit to their husbands (whatever that means). Here’s the passage:
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.
I’m going to be perfectly honest here: I’m uncomfortable with this biblical command. I’m just not sure what to think of it. I’ve read stuff defending the claim that a marriage works best when a husband loves his wife as Christ loved us and a wife submits to her husband. But this command still doesn’t sit well with me. Because of that, I’ve never really talked with you about submission. Perhaps that’s had a negative impact on our marriage. I don’t know.
I’ve given much, much thought to so many of the other claims of Christianity and have come to the conclusion that they’re true. It’s probably time that I put some thought into this claim, especially since it affects something so close to home as our marriage.
At any rate, two initial considerations soften the doctrine for me. One, in the verse preceding the above passage, Paul calls everyone in the Church to submit to everyone else in the Church (what does that look like in practice?). So, in the Church, it’s not just that wives need to submit to their husbands, but that everyone must submit to everyone.
Two, Paul calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Christ came into the world to serve, not to be served, and to give his life as a ransom for many. If I served you and gave myself up for you, would you have much trouble submitting to me? It seems you’d have less trouble than if I were authoritarian. In fact, the situation in which I serve you and you submit to me seems a bit like mutual submission and I’m very comfortable with that. Furthermore, I wanna say that husbands have the tougher calling. We aren’t called to submit to our wives, sure, but we are called to give up our very lives.
At any rate, I’d like to wrestle through this issue more, for the sake of our marriage if anything.
PS: I need to keep in mind that something doesn’t need to sit well with me for it to be true.