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. (Ephesians 5:22-24 ESV)
Submission is a tricky subject. Not many of us like to talk about it. When we are pressed, few of us are big fans. We don’t like to acquiesce.
However, submission does not mean that we as wives hand over all responsibility, all of our thoughts and all of our insights over to our husbands.
In fact, we can be quite guilty of manipulation if we are not careful in this.
For instance, if a family has a large financial decision to make, both husband and wife can (and probably should) weigh in. Both should be praying, talking it out, and bringing wisdom into the decision.
Sometimes, we as wives don’t want to have to take any responsibility. What if we do give our input and the situation turns out badly? So we can be tempted to sit back and say, “I’ll just let you make that decision, honey,” knowing that means we can kind of put all the blame on him if things go south.
That is manipulation, not submission.
We are called to help our husbands (see Genesis 2), as well as submit to them. That means we must bring all of our experience, knowledge, and insight into family decisions. If we withhold help to keep ourselves safe, we are in the wrong.
This can play out in many areas. House buying, finding a church home, making a major move, husband taking a job, decisions with the children, just to name a few.
Yes, our husband has the final word on these things (if we come to an impasse and we graciously support his decision, that is submission), but he needs our help and prayer and insight as well (that is being a helper suitable).
Husbands are responsible to lead their families. They are accountable to God for their decisions.
But wives are also accountable for how they help their husbands.
So as women, we do not have a lesser role to play.
We must roll up our sleeves, get on our knees, be immersed in the Word, and help our husbands with all our might and with all our hearts. This takes skill, wisdom and strength. The kind of strength described in Proverbs, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”
This is no wishy-washy, “whatever you say, honey,” kind of womanhood. This is gritty. It is hard. But let’s remember Jesus’ promise to His people, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever…” (John 14:26)
Let’s remember we also have a mighty Helper, who asks that we call on Him for help and grace- and also much forgiveness when we find ourselves not helping or manipulating! So let’s ask our husbands how we can help them, and let’s ask our Helper to help us as we help our husbands. (Now that’s a lot of helping going on!)