By Steve McIlwain
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Aawww yea, the best passage in the Bible for husbands … well, other than Song of Solomon 4:5. If there’s any doubt who’s in charge, this passage spells it out pretty clearly. It’s the Biblical Sharp Shooter/Figure 4/Boston Crab/Camel Clutch/Crossface Chicken Wing all rolled into one: the ultimate submission hold to end any marital discussion. Three crystal clear sentences supporting the husband’s authority VS. one pertaining to the husband’s treatment of his wife: that’s 3-1, we have a winner.
You see, it’s the husbands who are the decision makers. Man was put in charge of the Garden of Eden. Woman was created from man. Men are the innate leaders. Sure it’s a little Biblical Times-ish for our current society, but this passage is clear, men are in charge. Hopefully we aren’t too dictatorial about it, but if we have to be, this passage says “go for it.”
And there you have it. Whenever you need a tie-breaker in your marriage, flip to Ephesians 5:22-25. When a decision needs to be made, turn to the husband. When you’re butting heads and need a resolution, it’s the husbands call. Wives, no matter how much you want to resist, you must submit … don’t be mad at me, it’s Biblical.
I like to call upon this insightful passage of Scripture with my wife during times such as these:
It’s right there in the Bible, clear as day. In these types of situations the wife is called to submit.
Although, I will say, verse 25 is a little fishy. Verses 22-24 are great: “Wives, submit to your husbands”, “the husband is the head of the wife”, “so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything”. Good, good, good. But verse 25, hmmmmmm: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Wait a second here.
I mean, the way Christ loved the church doesn’t exactly line-up with the domineering, decision-making husband thing. Sure Jesus flipped a bunch of tables over that one time, but other than that His behavior was more along the lines of a submissive wife. He washed His disciple’s feet, created the golden rule, and coined the phrase “turn the other cheek.” He espoused the virtues of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. He preached, “Blessed are the meek,” and ultimately sacrificed His life for the church … like, literally sacrificed His life.
Jesus’ final commandment of His life on earth was “love one another as I have loved you.” The power and beauty of His ministry is that He led by serving. So, if husbands are called to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church,” then men are actually called to … (gulp) submit!!!
So this passage doesn’t mean, “husbands: make all the calls; wives: submit to every decision.” Rather, the husband must lead through consistently submitting to the wife’s (and family’s) needs. That’s real leadership. That’s true authority. Give yourself up for her: be the one to apologize first, make thoughtful decisions with her best interests in mind, and rise above current frustrations to do the right thing. It’s a difficult task, (to say the least) but that’s what we men are called to do with the authority we’ve been given: serve and love.
This passage in Ephesians 5 is still one of my favorites. While it doesn’t give me full jurisdiction to do as I please (sounds way cooler than it actually is), its impact is far greater than always getting my own way. It creates a model for both spouses to love each other submissively and selflessly. It’s a win-win submission hold that benefits both spouses. In the end it’s actually better than at first glance, way better. And hey, men, we’ll always have SoS 4:5.