I recently had a new bride ask my this heartfelt and transparent question and I wanted to share my answer here because I KNOW she is not the only wife who feels this way!
Jolene, I, like many other women, stumbled upon your pin on Pinterest. As a young wife (25) and newlywed (7 months!), this blog has just made me so very happy and comforted!
Before I got married, it was absolutely my dream to find my (Godly) knight in shining armor, marry him, and spend the rest of my life HAPPILY submitting to my husband, raising his children and keeping our home. So when my husband and I got married in June of last year, I was thrilled to start this journey!
What I WASN’T prepared for, however, is how hard it is to actually put that in practice! Don’t get me wrong, my heart is so filled with love for my God- fearing, amazing husband that it’s overflowing, but sometimes submitting like I should is just beyond my realm of comprehension! Here’s the easiest way I can put it….80% of the time, I have a flat out BAD ATTITUDE:-( I tend to be an argumentative person, strong willed and stubborn.
I KNOW that is not at all how God commands me to act, but I guess my question is:
HOW do I submit to my husband (who would never make a decision without discussing it with me or make a decision to harm me), when I flat out just . Don’t . WANT TO!!!?? Even when I know I’m commanded to?
~A newly-wedded wife
Dear newly-wedded wife,
I think what you’re experiencing is normal so don’t feel so discouraged! And every wife, on some level, will tend to be argumentative towards her husband because that is part of our sin-nature. Some wives are more direct about it and others are a little more passive in their approach. Some have grown in their understanding of what true Biblical submission looks like and the benefits of it in their marriage and others are still learning. But irregardless of one’s personality and the depths of their spiritual understanding, wives will always struggle with Biblical submission because it’s in our nature to want to control our husbands.
And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you. Genesis 3:16 (NLT)
But first, I want to point out something. The world has perverted the idea of Biblical submission. They think it means we can’t speak for ourselves and we’re slaves to our husbands. Which by the way, is absurd! For a deeper look into this important topic, I’ve created a short guide that I know will truly help you out. Also, I’ve created a video to help better explain the whole process; the purpose of it, the benefits of it and the reasons why a wife is commanded by God to submit to her husband.
Here’s the bottom line to this touchy topic:
Submitting to your husband just means you’re following his lead.
It means you’re believing in him and supporting him in his endeavors and efforts. This is what every husband needs from his wife!
When a wife follows her man’s lead, he then feels respected by her. And when a husband feels respected by his wife, he’ll generally pour out his love for her. (Some husbands won’t do this and I’ll be addressing this problem soon!)
As you continue to grow in the Lord and in your role as a wife, biblically submitting to your husband will get easier.
I think part of the problem for most brides when they enter into marriage is they are often disillusioned. Here’s what I mean by that.
When dating your man, he probably swept you off your feet. Hung on your every word. Bought you dinner. Held your hand. Was attentive towards you. He wooed you and pursued you. And then you got to plan your fairy tale wedding.
But then the marriage began… and after a while the newness of the relationship wore off. And everyday life isn’t nearly as romantic as your dating life or the time you were planning your dream wedding. During those two periods of your life, for the most part, the woman is the center of attention. The dating and engagement stages of a young woman’s life is an exhilarating time! And most of it is focused around her and her desires.
I know when my man and I were dating, he pursued me. He asked me what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, etc. When the engagement period rolled around, I was the main planner of the wedding. During those two time periods I was pretty much calling all of the shots, so to speak, in our relationship. Now that didn’t mean I wasn’t following his lead, it just meant that everything was being either referred to me or I was directing it. However, I knew once I married, things would shift just a bit. That’s not to say that my husband makes decisions without me because that’s definitely not the case. Nor does it mean I’m not bringing up things we should do as a couple or family.
During the dating/engagement period, the man is pursuing you. When you’re married, he’s leading you. That’s the shift.
You’re experiencing the shift in your relationship and perhaps it’s hard for you to adjust? Maybe that’s why you’re struggling with actually submitting to your man??
Now it’s much easier to submit to your man during the early and romantic stages of the relationship, but that’s not the reality of married life.
This is why God’s Word tells wives to submit to their husbands. He knew the newness of our relationship would wear off and submitting to our man would not come easy for us. And the flip side to this is the husband being commanded to love his wife like Christ loved the Church, which is not natural for men.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. Ephesians 5:25
Now let’s go back to the Biblical foundation; the Truth and the authority in which we base our lives on.
Who told you to submit to your husband? Well, of course we know the answer is God.
So when it’s hard for me to submit to my husband, I remind myself that I am ultimately submitting to God.
Early on in my marriage of course I wrestled with this and I did so for three reasons:
- I was young in my faith and understanding of the Word of God.
- I didn’t fully comprehend the concept of Biblical submission, as well as the benefits of it to my marriage.
- I didn’t know what Biblical submission looked like. I had no one in my life emulating this for me. (My mom wore the pants in our home and in my prior life before I got saved not only did I wear the pants in my relationships, but I wore the belt, the shoes, the socks, the shirt, etc!) So needless to say, I had a lot to learn!
So ask yourself these questions to help you in your marriage:
Are you willing to submit to God?
Are you willing to learn and grow towards godliness?
Can you humble yourself?
By following your husband’s lead, you are laying a strong foundation for your future. When the babies come, financial pressures ensue, in-laws/outlaws meddle, tough decisions need to be made, illnesses come, etc. all enter into your marriage, you’ll have built a strong marital relationship; one that has been built on the Word of God.
Generally when a wife thinks about submitting to her husband, she feels like she’s losing the battle, or giving up herself, becoming less of a person, etc. That’s so contrary to what actually takes place in your marital relationship.
When you choose to believe in your husband, support him in his endeavors, and follow his leading, you are helping him to be a better man. Now I don’t know about you, but I want my man to be a better husband today than what he was yesterday! And I, as his wife, have the privilege to help him grow into his full potential because I have influence over him. Or I could take the path to tear him down and let him know that I don’t support him, don’t believe in him, and think he is worthless. That’s just not a wise path to take, my friend! The choosing of that path will quickly lead to a miserable and loveless marriage. Now, I don’t think you want that, do you?
So to prevent from having a rocky or loveless marriage, this is why you would want to submit to your husband.
I can’t tell you exactly how to submit to your man because that’s a heart issue.
You have to figure out if you’re wrestling with God over this command. (Many wives do because they only view Biblical submission as being a curse, and while it is part of our curse, our God also used it as part of His redemptive plan for a Godly marriage. I didn’t have that depth of spiritual understanding when I started my journey as a wife, but over time, and a willingness to surrender my life to the Lord, I can see and experience the fruit that Biblical submission has brought to my marriage.)
Or maybe you’re not fully trusting in God’s plan for your marriage?
Or you’re not trusting in your man’s leadership?
Or you just don’t want to die to self?
These are ALL common feelings for a wife to experience, so know that you are not alone!
But I will leave you to ponder this:
The closest way I can tell you how to submit to your man is…
You need to surrender your will to God.
Do you believe His Word? Remember, God doesn’t force you to do anything. He is a gentleman. He’s given you free will. You can choose to obey Him or not. It’s your choice.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6
And just remember that your husband needs this from you, just like you need to be loved by him. I’m sure it would break your heart if he told you he couldn’t and didn’t want to love you, right? That dying to self thing is sooo hard to do!
Live a poured out life for Christ,
Need some encouragement and guidance in your marriage? Grab my latest book, Wives of the Bible: 25 Easy Lessons You Can Learn from these Imperfect Women that Will Radically Transform Your Marriage.