Home and Family

What Does it Mean to Be a Submissive Wife?

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A submissive wife. Are you kidding me? You want me to be my husband’s slave? You want me to do everything he tells me to do and bow to him? I hear it all the time from women in online groups and forums. Whether it is assumed that the wife is to be a passive participant while her husband bosses her around or that she is to wait on him hand and foot while he does nothing and barks orders at her; it’s a common misconception. Being a submissive wife does NOT mean that you are your husband’s slave.

 

 

 

 

To better understand what it means to be a submissive wife, let’s take a closer look at the definition of the word.

The word submissive is defined as: inclined or ready to submit or to put oneself under authority of another.

 

Let’s take a look at what a submissive wife biblically means.

 

 

Bible.org says The Greek word Paul uses here in relation to submission is a military term meaning to put oneself in rank under another. God has ordained the principle of authority and submission in a number of different spheres: Citizens are to be subject to civil authorities (Rom. 13:1; Titus 3:1); slaves to their masters (Col. 3:22; Titus 2:9); church members to their leaders (1 Cor. 16:16; Titus 2:15; Heb. 13:17); children to their parents (Col. 3:20); and wives to their husbands (Eph. 5:22, 24; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1). Every time the New Testament speaks to the role of wives, the command is the same: “Be subject to your husband.”

 

 

submissive wife meaning

 

Notice that describes submit as to be subject to. It does not say to be a slave to. To be submissive means to put yourself under the authority of your husband. In Ephesians 5:25, husbands are instructed to, “Love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” and in Ephesians 5:22, wife are told to, “Be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord.”

 

When a husband loves his wife as he loves the church and when women focus on their role to love and be subject to their husbands, according to scripture, marriage is loving, kind and harmonious, not abusive or a slave to master relationship.

 

Submission is a voluntary action by the wife. It is a God-driven desire to please your husband and act under his authority just as Christians are to act under the authority of the church.

 

While the husbands are to be the head of the household, the wife is not commanded to keep her mouth shut and never give her opinion on matters. She “speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26) The wife can and should share her thoughts on important family and household topics with her husband but she should do so in a way that is pleasing to God. How? Choose your words carefully. Don’t argue or try to prove your point just to be right.

 

In a biblical marriage, the wife is the helpmeet of her husband. She should support him and give counsel. Ultimately, he is to make decisions based on sound biblical knowledge AND his wife’s wisdom and faithful instruction. The wife is to support her husband and back his decisions even when she doesn’t agree.

 

While the Bible instructs women to confront their husbands regarding their sin:

1 Peter 3:1 NIV

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won overwithout words by the behavior of their wives,

 

It does not say that women should be quiet and use only their actions. The key is HOW women use their words. True submission is demonstrated in both words and actions. Wives are to submit to their husbands as husbands are to submit to God. Submissive wives are not doormats!

 

 

Often, I hear women lamenting that being submissive doesn’t work in today’s world or that the Bible was written thousands of years ago and that those same principles don’t make sense today. I say “nonsense”! While division of labor in the home has changed drastically throughout history and varies from home to home and marriage to marriage, the Bible, and God, are unchanging. Husbands are still to be the authority in the home and act as the spiritual leader.

 

Submissiveness is not timidity, it is not servility, it is not subservience, it is not docility, it is not degrading, it is not a sign of weakness.

Submission is a sign of strength, not of weakness and a greater degree of submission requires a greater degree of strength of personal character.

 

husband and wife drinking coffee

 

Being Obedient To Your Husband Means:

  • Supporting his decisions even when you don’t agree
  • Following his spiritual lead
  • Having a heart toward satisfying your husband

 

 

Being a submissive wife does not mean:

  • Being physically or emotionally abused
  • Being forced to do things that are illegal or immoral just because your husband told you to
  • Going against God’s wishes over that of your husband (For example, if a non-believing husband tells his wife that she cannot attend church)

 

How to be a Submissive Wife to Your Husband:

1. Serve Him First

Whether putting dinner on the table or putting his needs above the others in your family, serving him first, demonstrates to him and your children that your husband is the head of the household. It is showing your husband the respect that he deserves.

2. Make an Effort to Take Care of Yourself, Physically, Spiritually and Emotionally

Hey, I know that life is busy, but I also know that when you are not looking for feeling your best, you can’t give your best to your husband.

Get plenty of rest, spend time in God’s Word and make an effort to look your best. I’m not saying that you need to be in makeup, a dress and heels, everyday. I’m just saying that when you make an effort to look and feel good for your husband, he will notice and that your marriage will reap the rewards. (See this post on Beauty is Fleeting).

What can you do to ensure that you are taking good care of yourself and making an effort for your husband?

3. Make His Home a Haven

When you husband comes home after work, does he come home to you and kids clamoring for his attention? Toys strewn about the living room? Noise and chaos? Or does he come home to a smiling, welcoming family that is relatively neat?

Yes, your day may have been stressful, too, but I promise you that if you make an effort for your husband to come home to a calm home, it will give him time to “decompress” and he will be react accordingly.

Your husband has been pulled in all directions at work, when he comes home, his home should be a place of refuge and refreshment, not more stress.

Studies have shown, too, that a disorganized home can foster stress.

What does your husband come home to?

4. Listen, Pray, THEN Respond Lovingly

Many men find communication to be difficult. When your husband does talk to you (be it about the weather, his favorite sports team or an issue at work), listen to him. Don’t interrupt. Don’t give your advice. Just listen. Then ask God how you should reply.

Just having a sympathetic ear will foster comfort in your husband to communicate more often.
He may want your opinion or he may just want to vent. Allow him to do that, safely. Then lovingly respond.

5. Give Your Opinion, but Accept His Decision

All marriages face decisions from which restaurant to dine at or major decisions like whether or not relocate.

Calmly share your opinion on the matter, including your rationale for it, but ultimately, these decisions are your husband’s responsibility.

Allow him to understand your feelings, but when he makes a decision respect his decision– even if, especially if, you don’t agree.

 

God has given him authority over your home and marriage for a reason. Respect him and respect God.

He may fail, but don’t use the old “I told you so”. Instead, support him and repeat the process (listen, share, pray and accept).

 

6. Let Him Protect You

Men are natural warriors and protectors. Your husband wants to do that for you, too. Are you allowing him to?

God created men to be hunters, providers, generators/producers, fighters/warriors and to achieve, succeed and win.

Are you letting him fight for you? Provide for you? Or are you, like me, a naturally strong woman, and struggle with this?

I’m a get-it-done kinda woman. I see a need, I want to fill it. I see a wrong, I want to right it.

My husband, on the other hand, avoids conflict and is much more laid back than me.

When someone hurts us, I have to pray and ask God to help me let my husband lead and protect us and NOT take action, myself.

How do you do in this area?

 

7. Put Him Above Your Children in the Family Chain of Command (and Importance!)

There is no love like that of a mother for her child. I adore my children as I’m sure you adore yours. That is a beautiful thing. Until that love becomes an idol or displaces the role of a husband to a wife.

I know. I know. This may seem harsh, but bear with me for a moment.

We are going to address two biblical realties here. First, God designed marriage to be a three cord strand, not a four, five or six or more cord strand. In biblical marriage, God comes first then our husbands and ourselves.

While we are to love and care for and nurture our children, we are not to place them before our husbands.
In 1 Peter 3 , we read:

If you are a wife, you must put your husband first.

This means serving your husband his dinner first. It means buying his favorite snacks at the grocery store. It means respecting his needs and his wishes. It means choosing his wants over your children’s wants.

This practice not only pleases God as it is how He designed marriage, but it is modeling a good, God-honoring marriage for your children to see.

When we put our children first, they learn to be self-centered. The learn that, even though the Bible says that the husband should be the wife’s first priority, mom doesn’t put much stock in that.

I encourage you to pray and ask God to shine a light on any area of your marriage and motherhood that is not pleasing to Him. It may be uncomfortable but it is only through discomfort that we can grow and live a life that honors God.

8. Let Him Be Your Champion and Warrior

This is related to allowing him to protect you, but it goes much further. I look to my husband as my warrior, my hero. He comes right after God on my list of priorities.

In movies, the champion is adored. People seek him out for advice, action and protection. I seek my husband out the same way. He is my champion and my best friend.

Is your husband your champion and warrior? Do you put him first? Or is he just another mouth to feed and pile of laundry to wash?

Respect him in his role of champion and warrior. Your marriage will be blessed for it.

 

Apply the Biblical Principles of a Submissive Wife to Your Marriage

  • Review the download “30 Ways to Submit to Your Husband Each Day of Your Marriage” 

 

(Please click the image below for the multi-page download)

30 Way to Submit to Your Husband copy (1)

 

  • Prayerfully answer the following questions and complete the PDF: 10 Ways I Commit to Being a Submissive Wife to my Husband

 

10 Ways I commit to being a submissive wife

 

  • Do you agree or disagree with the above about being a submissive wife? Why or why not?
  • Do you consider yourself a submissive wife?
  • What does being a submissive wife mean to you in the context of biblical instruction?
  • Is there an area of your marriage that you struggle with terms of being a submissive wife?
  • What can you do to change that?
  • What is God telling you about submission?

 

Prayer

Dear Lord, please help me to understand what it means to submit, to You, Lord, and to my husband. The world tells us that submission is a bad thing. In a day where Your ways are not accepted, please help me to remain strong and live as the wife You created me to be. Show me what it means to submit to my husband in marriage.

 

Help me to remain humble and gentle. Please help us to submit our hearts to you, Lord. Thank you for the gift of your grace that lives in me so I can live as You’ve called me to live. Your Word says that I’m to submit to my husband as to You (Ephesians 5:22). I need your help with that, Father.

 

Shield me from others who say that it is weak to submit. Remind me that submission is strength and that I need Your help to live that way. Please give me grace to face adversity and help me to look to You when I am faced with the opinions of others in this matter.

 

Father God, help me to use words that build up and not tear down and to be a positive, godly influence in my husband’s life. Remind me, though, that I am to submit and not battle him. Allow me to see the beauty in submission and following what You say about marriage.

Heavenly Father, help us to keep our eyes fixed on you and to always place You at the center of our marriage.

Amen.

 

Do you agree or disagree with the above about being a submissive wife? Do you consider yourself a submissive wife? What questions do you have about being a submissive wife?

 

In the comments below, share what that means to you in the context of biblical instruction. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

 

Here are my recommendations for books on the subject if you would like to learn more about being a biblically submissive wife:

 

Submission Is Not Silence Paperback by Elisabeth Julin

 

The Submissive Wife: Breaking the Strong Arm of Jezebel Paperback by Tiffany Buckner

 

Or listen to them on Audible Plus with a free trial!

 

In His perfect love and my imperfect love,

 

Sue

 

To read about what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman in today’s world, check out the post HERE

 

Susan is a writer, speaker and the creator of Women of Noble Character ministries. She is passionate about helping Christian women deepen their walk with God through Bible study and creative worship and strengthen their marriages.

She lives in rural North Central Missouri with her handsome and hilarious husband and a myriad of dogs, cats and chickens.

Susan runs on Jesus, coffee and not enough sleep.

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75 Comments

    1. Hi, I support what the Bible says about submission as a wife. When the man is living according to the word of God and leads then submission isn’t difficult. I find that a person that is controlling or abusive will take this scripture out of context. It happened to me.
      However, I do want to learn how to be a Proverbs 31 woman because the next time I marry will definitely be the last time. I intend to trust God with my future spouse and take my time to learn from my past. Thank you for the clarification and I look forward to bible studies on this subject. Thanks

      1. Hi, Vanessa – I completely understand. I was married to an unbeliever, yet I tried to be submissive and live a Proverbs 31 life. I’ve been remarried for a few years now and my husband is God fearing. It has made a huge difference and we enjoy a wonderful marriage. Thank you for stopping by.

        1. No problem. I think this is such an important topic in marriage. Thx for sharing your experience with me. This is so encouraging to know that perhaps I can also find love again after my mistakes at my first marriage.

    2. Hello I’m Melissa I’m glad I found your article I have a lot to learn about submission I have to understand the difference between what happened in my first marriage and what God’s ideas of submission is I’ve been so confused the Bible dose not give examples I was married to a man who was called to be a pastor no one in church really knew that he was hitting me and he raped me he threw me into walls he would tell me to when I tell you to run you better run when I tell you to walk you better walk he would boss me around all day he forced himself on me constantly it took God to get me out the last night I was there he was hitting me and wouldn’t let me leave and his brother joined in I thought I was gonna die I cried out to God and said I think I’m gonna die today God said Melissa look to your right I looked down while being hit and there was a light on the floor next to me he said Melissa watch at this moment I was feeling the blows of his fist and I watched this light start to rise up and it came up and down to the other side off the floor when it touched the floor it disappeared and God said now bush them both I thought no way so I did it and they bother fell back I ran for my life God protected me I’m so glad I found your post it brought some understanding I still don’t quite get submission I need to learn examples how God actually expects submission to be if you have anything that could teach me more on submission it would be appreciated thank you for your post and I have a question dose a Christian man have the right to punish his wife I read a post by a çhristian who is tell men to punish there wives if they aren’t doing what they are supposed to that you take things away if compelling them doesn’t work I don’t understand how a man is supposed to lead his home very confused please help if you can

      1. Hi, Melissa – I’m so sorry that you had to experience that. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I don’t believe that punishment is ever warranted in a marriage, but rather gentle correction done in love. If you have not already sought Christian counseling, I would encourage you to do so. I will be praying for you, sister!

        1. Hi Vanessa,
          Thank you for this beautiful piece and for sharing your experience.
          I too have been confused about the real meaning of a submissive wife.
          This is because my husband always says I’m not submissive, especially when I give my opinion or suggest something which my seem like the logical thing to do but he would say he is the man of the house and so should be the one making decisions. Take for instance in naming our 2 children, he wouldn’t want me to give them the name I have loved so much since I was a teenager. He considers them not traditional (We are Africans). He also was vehemently opposed to baptizing our children, saying he doesn’t believe in it even though we are both Catholics. Then he wouldn’t go to Church anymore…
          Even when it comes to child care, things like how to hold the baby when bathing her, he will always want his decision to be final. Meanwhile, it’s not as if he is a totally faithful husband, as I’ve had to deal with some of his cheating, which can be disappointing.
          My point is, can a wife not contribute her suggestions too and be seen as harmless? Or does submission mean being numb.

          1. That’s difficult. A wife should always be able to share her thoughts and opinions in a loving way but the husband’s choice is biblical – unless he is abusive (verbally or physicallY) or too overbearing. I recommend that you speak with your pastor or a Christian counselor. I’ll be praying for you. Thank you for stopping by!

  1. my husband and I fought recently about him disallowing me to join a company event (Strategic planning) which requires an overnight & out of town. He said he was worried that i may got into accident or any event that will occur during that time & he wasn’t there with me. i gave up my will to join the event in order to give way to his decision. but my company has a policy with regard to non-participation in official activities without justifiable reason. kindly enlighten me. thank you.

    1. I’m sure that is frustrating. Did you share with him that this event was required? Would it have been possible for him to attend with you to allay his fears? I would seek pastoral counseling. Submission is not black and white. I’m sorry that you are experiencing this, but you did handle it well.

  2. Ok im not married , I am only 20 years old , but i feel like everything is so into what should I do how should I behave , what I cant or can say to him . They Still are human ,obviously even if is not inmoral or a crime , not all of his choices are going to be the best because he Still human , so what do I do when I dont agree cause I know is not the best choice for us or for him, Just let him do it because “I have to obey ” I want a husband not a father , and what do you mean “following his spiritual lead ” what if he is not the best christian , should I drown with him, and what about the list of things he should do too , his responsibilities. I know I sound like a feminist which I am really not , im Just tired that everything always falls on the wife should er ; to keep the example of a perfect marriage , oh and having to satisfy him for all the good above us !! It sounds like slavery for me ; I feel like I would never be happy in a relationship where I am supposed to give everything all the time , that sounds exhauSting .

    1. Hi, Victoria – So much to address in one comment, but I’ll try. First and foremost until you marry, you are not biblically instructed to submit. The marriage covenant gives that instruction. Spiritual leadership is him taking the lead on which church you attend, leading in couple’s or family devotions and things like that. As for him not being “the best Christian”, pray for him. Do you two attend church? Submission is not abuse (not even verbal). It is giving your opinion, but ultimately trusting his judgement to make decisions on behalf of your family. We are not to just be ordered around. That is not what the Bible instructs. And we are not break laws, including spiritual ones just because the husband says so. I would recommend that you speak with your pastor for more on this. I will keep you in my prayers.

      1. This is a great example of why pre-marital counseling by a Pastor in a church where both attend is so vitally important. Getting to know each other in a really spiritual and dynamic way will reveal the expression of the true love that lies deep within……….or NOT. While dating is awkward sometimes, a couple must get beyond the physical because the spiritual will be the reality in marriage. My Grandson (age 19) and his fiance dated about 4 years before marriage. They were in agreement to abstain from physical contact until their wedding night. They didn’t hold hands, kiss, etc. They’ve never regretted it! God’s Word is TRUE…..all the time.

        1. Yes! I completely agree that pre-marital counseling is so important. Praise God that your grandson and his fiance had a good role model in you. Thank you for stopping by!

      2. I know this is a late comment, but it’s only suppose yo be a equal situation when your dating when your married it’s all up to him? I mean this in no negative way I’m just genuinely confused

        1. Hi, Emmie – these verses are for submission within marriage. If you feel controlled or uncomfortable in any way, I would talk to him or even seek counseling but the Bible does not tell us we are to be submissive to someone we are not married to. I’ll be praying for you!

  3. Hi Susan! Great topic.

    Victoria- I’d also like to add that if/when you are in a relationship that you feel is leading towards marriage it should never feel like your opinon doesn’t matter or that your just pleasing your significant other. In my own opinion if your potential husband doesn’t want open, honest communication and doesn’t want to work together in your daily life then he isn’t the right persob. You will go through really difficult things where communication, trust, and the decision to love everyday is vital.

    When you find the right person you won’t mind submitting because you know your husband will have a good head on his shoulders and he’ll be talking with you and making decisions that are for the best for yoir family.

    1. Great advice, Carolyn! Submission can’t be fit like a round peg in a small hole. The marriage has to honor God, first. Thank you for stopping by!

      1. Thank you both for your reply’s! that makes so much more sense, thank you for having this space where we can discuss this topics , cause sadly, inside of my church , you cant really talk about all this questions you have, if you are not in the “Age of getting married”, thank you for answering all my random thoughts !!

        And carolyn, i think you are totally right, communication is key , and trust.

        Thank you sweet ladies !

  4. Hello Ladies

    I have recently been married for 4 months and have been a re-born christian for 20 years….Mos of my christian life has been single dedicating my life to the Lord…It has not always been easy but God has always answered most of my prayers…When I met my husband he had not yet committed his life to the Lord and had 2 failed marriages with 4 children. He got saved in June 2016, and we were married last year November.
    It has been a struggle for me as even though we attend the same church and home cell group I feel he does not act like the head of the home especially where praying together and finances are concerned…..He is a good person but we also have many arguments regarding his ex-wife who used to control his life for many years and still thinks she can do it by using their children as bate and he falls for it and agrees with her on most issues.
    What should I do if I give my opinion and he does listen to want to please her for the sake of the children..also if I do not go to church he does not ask why I’m not going, he just stays home with me.
    Thank you
    Candice

    1. Hello, Candice – thank you for sharing. I have three suggestions here – the first is to pray, pray and pray some more. The second is to seek godly counsel. It sounds as though you and your husband could use someone to provide biblical wisdom and direction. Do you have a pastor who you can talk to? Lastly, you may be interested in my mini course on the Proverbs 31 woman. In it, we delve into changing our perspective on our husbands and how that transforms so many marriages. You can find it here: https://womanofnoblecharacter.com/intro-proverbs-31/ Submission can be a challenge – especially when the husband doesn’t know how to lead. He may never have been taught. Talk to him, pray for him, pray with him and pray about your marriage. I will be praying for you!

      1. Hi do you know that prov 31 that this woman was talking to her son what kind of woman to have read it and you will be surpise im not saying that this is not a example for women for todaybut she was talikng to her son.

  5. Hello everyone

    Me and my partner wants to get married but there is one thing that we don’t agree on right now. He is of the trinitarian doctrine and he believes that there are three different gods. I tried to make him understand that even though the bible speak of the father, son and holy ghost the three of them is still one person not three different person. I am of the penecostal doctrine I have no problem with him being a trinitarian only the fact that he thinks that there is three different Gods. This is posing a problem for us because I always try my best to be submissive to him being that we will be getting married soon but whenever he speaks of there being three gods I don’t. Whenever I disagree on this matter he says that I am not submissive and I want to be in control which is not true. He praise me in other areas but when i dont agree here he doesn’t like it. We love each other very much and we certainly will be getting married pretty soon but this is posing a problem whenever it is discussed. Any advice plz.

    1. Thank you for sharing. This is a tough one. I strongly encourage you to seek Christian counseling as it involves deeper matters of faith. You can’t change someone’s belief system unless they are willing to be open to learning the truth. A counselor, that you jointly agree on, may help shed light on this. I will keep you in prayer.

  6. I find the argument about not needing to follow your husband when it’s immoral is a shallow understanding of the real complexity of submission. The hard thing is to be submissive when your husband is passive and unwilling to take a stand. Of course when he won’t follow God’s law, or is indifferent to God’s ways and His Word, as in my case it seems at times. This passivity sinks into every area of life. It is hard to be submissive when there is little to submit to except sinful attitudes. Unless we get beyond trite understanding of these things, we can’t help real women in need. I’ve tried this path for many years, but the problem is my husband is asleep at the wheel. LORD Jesus, wake us up in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

  7. I should add, I was in an argument with my husband last night about disciplining our teenage sons….and it colored my feel of the article. Of course we are called to submission, it is how God ordains our world to run. Men serve and protect, like the police car says, and we strengthen and encourage. It is how we build up God’s Kingdom, and it is how God protects us best. I love submission in marriage. It is tricky though, and not always ways easy when a husband isn’t ordering his life around his role in the hierarchy, and that takes much prayer. COME LORD JESUS, strengthen our husbands in JESUS’ NAME, AMEN.

  8. My husband was brought up soley by the Bible taught by his dad my husband’s mother is a submissive wife she had a brain tumor removed in March her husband doesn’t work before she got sick she worked part time they now are struggling financially he wants her to go back to work she is still struggling with health issues is this Biblical that she goes back to work

    1. It absolutely is. Whether a woman works outside the home or not should be a decision made by both husband and wife. The Bible does not say that women can’t work out of the home. I will be praying for God’s healing as well as wisdom and discernment. Thank you for stopping by.

      1. It is biblical for a sick woman to go back to work while her husband does nothing just because she wants to show she is submissive ?

        1. Tbe Bible also says, Man don’t work man don’t eat. He need to go back and read and study GOD Word.

    2. Hi. Hope. Your husband’s mother has no obligation to submit to things that will damage her health. If it will damage her health to go back to work, she does not have to submit. If anything damages, health, psychological well being, spirituality, she does not have to submit. A husband is to “love his wife as Christ loved the church and GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT. She does have the right to protect her health

  9. I should also add she has cancer in her lungs and stomach and her husband is able to work what is the line of when being a submissive wife becomes abuse my husband says it’s ok she is being submissive but I think it’s abuse

    1. That’s a different story. If she is unable to work, they need to talk it through and find what resources are available to them. Have they spoken with their Pastor?

      1. They don’t have a pastor all biblical teachings have come from her husband they don’t believe in doctors so prayer is her only treatment for the cancer and holistic treatments and refuses her to get a biopsy to show she has cancer on paper to get disability this had put a hard stress on my marriage any advice is appreciated

        1. Hope, that is a tough situation for which I am not qualified to answer. I would highly recommend that all parties speak with a Christian counselor or Pastor. I will continue to pray for all!

  10. Say a child is sick with an illness that requires antibiotics, but the father doesn’t want to get the antibiotics because of a new belief in faith healing. Does child’s mom have to submit, in your opinion

  11. How do you sumbit to a husband that doesn’t contribute to the relationship?
    I know its the right thing to do, and I will do it but i want a happy heart in submitting . I do feel as if im in a all give no get relationship.
    Im always wrong. always saying the wrong thing, apparently i dont submit to my husband because, apparently im not supposed to ask questions .
    I feel so bitter against him, and have no freshly desire to please
    Yet i know that its command of God to submit so I must. Please help me.

    1. Hello, Joy – I’m so sorry to hear of your hurt and bitterness. The best advice I can give would be to pray. Share your heart with God and ask Him to remove the bitterness. Ask Him to heal your marriage. Also, consider talking with a Christian counselor or Pastor – both of you, or just you, if your husband won’t go. God can heal anything – even strained marriages. I’m praying alongside you, sister!

  12. I was saved shortly after being married. My husband was a pagan when we were married. After I was saved. He wanted to divorce because he said he promised himself he would never marry a Christian. I said no to that. And began reading my bible for the first time. I learned about pagans and quickly realised I did not want to be married to a pagan. After weeks of prayer and fasting God told me to tell him to renounce his pagan faith or I would leave. My husband did in fact renounce his pagan faith. Fast forward 8 years. We have done a whole lot of fighting and marriage counseling. It came to my attention in a recent session he has never gotten over renouncing his faith. He has yet to accept the Lord as his savior and he has also been diagnosed with adjustment disorder. I feel I am the head of the household spiritually and in all other aspects of responsibility. I just want to be with someone who I can live my life for Jesus. I feel I am missing out on a whole other life. My husband isnt just a non follower but he despises everything to do with Jesus. I want to be able to openly pray before dinner or read my bible without it being WWIII. I’ve read every scripture there is about marriage. Paul says to stay as u were when u were called. After 8 years I’m just exhausted and I just want to be happy. I have the joy of the spirit but I am not happy. I really dont know what to do. Please help.

    1. Hi, Chelsey – first off, I want you to know that I’m praying for you. I’m not a licensed counselor and don’t feel equipped to give advice in this area except to say to keep praying. I’ve written a post on being unequally yoked which you might find helpful. In addition, I strongly encourage you to meet with a Christian counselor or pastor for guidance. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  13. I have fiancee now in a relationship tending to marriage and I feel she’s not submissive. I am never a bossy type, not authoritative or the likes but her responses doesn’t hold any form of submission to my best of knowledge. This is scary and I don’t know what to do much as I love her and our introduction is next month.

    1. Hi, Onipede. I would strongly suggest that the two of you meet with a pastor for pre-marital counseling. Going into a marriage when each party holds different views on biblical marriage can set you up for a rocky road ahead. I’ll be praying for you and your fiance!

  14. Hello Susan,
    I’ve read all the comments above and notice that a lot of the husband trials are from unequally yolked marriages. If I could take back time I would have done things way different. I would have prayed of course for the right man and make sure he was a christian man a man that truly loved God over me. I would not marry too soon after meeting him and definitely go to premarital counseling. I married very young I was 18 years old pregnant with my first daughter and not a believer at the time. I am still married to my husband by the GRACE OF GOD only! We are now 38 and 39 years old. It was extremely hard specially our younger years but once I accepted the Lord in my heart everything changed. At least my point of view and attitude towards my marriage. I must admit that in the beginning it was hard for me to grasp that if he wasn’t a godly husband how am I suppose to submit. All I can say is that God meets us and if we put Him first and seek Him He will change the way we handle things. We don’t go based on our emotions or on our own opinions but what would God have me to do or how would He want me to handle it. Meeting with a female counselor at church was helpful and joining woman bible studies was a great support. The support from other christian women is crucial! My husband finally became a believer after his best friend was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I told him I didn’t want him to end up the same way by living that worldly lifestyle. I had gotten on my knees the day before his friend told him the bad news. I told the Lord that I just couldn’t anymore that I needed Him to help me because I was at my ends with my husband. Mind you I had been extremely patient for years of clinging to the Lord in the those tough times. When the next day came of when he found out about his friend he said “I’m Done” left everything cold turkey and surrendered to the Lord. It was the combination of his friend dying from cancer and me being at my ends with him. My husband has been cleaned for over 3 years and yes not perfect but what an ANSWERED PRAYER!!GOD IS GOOD! WE NEED TO PUT HIM FIRST! AND EVERYTHING ELSE WILL FALL INTO PLACE! MATTHEW 6:33.

    1. Karina, thank you for sharing! God is so good and can make masterpieces out of messes. Yes, putting Him first in our lives will reap us rewards now and in eternity! God bless you!

  15. So, I know what you are going to say I think but I want to ask anyways, does that mean the wife is inferior? I know it means that the husband should love and keep the wife safe but does it mean a wife cannot be a leader? If both members in marriage are equal why is the man the ¨leader¨ and have ¨authority¨ over the wife? If being submissive means to be respectful and polite why does it not say that men should also be submissive to their wives? I am not being disrespectful, it is a legitimate question. Thank you.

    1. No disrespect taken, at all 🙂 The Bible teaches that we are equal in importance (husbands and wives) but that men are to be the head of household. He is to have authority over his wife as Jesus has authority over the church. Ephesians 5:25: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” and Ephesians 5:25-33: “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, …” God loves us both the same, but we are created uniquely for the glory of His Kingdom.

  16. Submission is submission, doesn’t make u a slave to ur hubby, why does God say wife shd submit, when a man asks his wife to submit he is talking from the contextual side of what God said…why does he say that the man I d head? If u realise ur hubby as d head would u expect that he submits to u in the name of equality??? Come on let’s not twist this. What do u say to a woman that abuses the hubby or talks to the hubby anyhow without regard, equality right???

  17. This article is disturbing to me on so many levels. For twenty years I waited, prayed, hoped, sought counsel from both professionals and my clergy etc. On how to encourage my husband to lead spiritually in our home. As I waited and worked toward this, things went from bad to worse. I was cheated on, lied to constantly, mentally and emotionally abused and so much else. However, I stayed thinking I could pray someone to change. I also stayed because articles like this made me believe that that is what a good Christian does and what god expected of me.
    What happens when the person who is supposed to lead spiritually doesn’t do so? What happens when the more spiritual of the two is the wife? Should the wife in that situationw knowingly submit herself to follow her husband right off a cliff? What if there are children? Does she let him lead them off a cliff as well? What happens when the husband is mentally ill and incapable of making the best decisions for the family? Or far less educated on a particular subject or situation than the wife and therefore less able to make an intelligent informed decision than the wife could? Does she defer in that situation if he refuses to recognize her expertise? What happens when things start out great but then he changes and becomes mentally ill or abusive? Or an addict? Or loses his faith and no longer is capable of leading spiritually?
    I am truly so happy for you if your life’s experience has been so straightforward, clear cut, and simple. My experience has not. It is very difficult for women in these types of marriages to recognize what is submission and what is abuse. Especially when the movement towards abuse happens slowly over a period of a decade or more. This topic is so much more convoluted than this article implies and I hope and pray that any woman reading this does not consign herself to many more years of not being treated as an equal because it’s “God’s will”. God wants so much more for his precious daughters than that.

    1. Hi, Hollie – I’m truly sorry that you went through what you did. You read one general post on submission. I have posts on here where I describe my first marriage to alcoholic, who was a serial cheater and gave my son a black eye. I’ve been through that. I tried to submit – he didn’t go to church and my faith was often an area of contention in our marriage. He ultimately left us for another woman and then drank himself to death while we were separated. Counseling helped me and I encourage you to seek Christian counseling, as well. My intent was not to guilt women into staying in a marriage that is dangerous for herself or her children. In the post, I state that submission is not “being physically or emotionally abused”. I pray that you are in a better place now. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story.

      1. Thank you for clarifying some of that. After years of desperately seeking help not really understanding what the issue was I am healed through the grace of God. I am also recently remarried to a wonderful Christian man who is a fabulous husband and father, and who suffered horrendous abuse in his own first marriage at the hands of his ex-wife. Honestly, I couldn’t begin to imagine my new husband not treating me as an equal in our marriage or wanting my opinion on family matters and how to proceed. I couldn’t imagine him making unilateral decisions. We are equally yoked.

        It sounds like you understand the deep internal struggle and turmoil that a Christian in an unequally yoked (and by the end of it abusive) relationship endures as they try to reconcile deep hurts and scars with their faith in God and marriage covenants they have made. I received terrible advice over the years, including one member of the clergy telling me that he “hoped I respect” my husband at home because he is a “good man”. This was a man who pulled a gun on me twice! Another member of my clergy, when I finally healed and became strong enough to leave told me that I would “never find a greater happiness” than if I “figured out how to make it work” with my ex-husband. My concern is for women in these situations that are desperately seeking answers on what to do and may not recognize the abuse they are enduring as anything more than “submitting”. I did not recognize my situation as abuse, even after having a gun pulled on me twice, because it so slowly built to that but started with minor disrespect, minor lies, minor unilateral decisions, etc. When the heat is slowly turned up, it becomes very difficult to know when to jump out. And I am a highly educated professional who from all outside accounts has their life together and everything figured out. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. I still cannot believe that the kind person I married became what he did in the end.

        I came to understand through my situation that the only help available to me was the help directly from God. He could tell me what to do, because he had a full understanding of the situation whereas well-meaning friends, family, and clergy did not. Professional counseling was helpful, but I had to find the right counselor. The first Christian counselor I sought out told me she thought part of the reason I was so broken emotionally was that “an evil Spirit” was trying to harm me! So here is what I want to say to any woman reading this trying to figure out what she needs to do to “save” her marriage, “fix” her partner, or “fix” herself to make her marriage work: If your marriage is making you sick mentally or emotionally, “saving” it may not be the best goal. If your husband tells you one thing and does another, “saving” the marriage may not be the best goal. The only thing you can trust is actions, not words. Work with a professional counselor, but make sure you find the right one. Do not expect friends, family, or even clergy to have a deep enough understanding of your situation or the training and expertise needed to be able to counsel you. Trust God, pray for answers, get professional help, and be willing to accept that “saving” your marriage is not the only answer! I am so much happier out of the marriage that I spent 15 years trying to save.

    2. I just wanted to add that sometimes it’s next to impossible to submit when you don’t even know what you’re submitting to and the rules or the person keeps changing. In my case my husband complicates situations or muddies the waters just so I will get so confused I will just stay out of the way. He doesn’t want closeness or to consider me because that would, in his mind, be giving up control. A man who has to be in control and have the final say even about things that only concern or will hurt his wife is actually out of control. That’s not being the head or leader as Jesus was the head of the church. “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it” He GAVE himself for it. I see too many men who want the authority over their wives without giving the love and sacrifice that Jesus Christ gave to the church. Jesus was the head, but he sacrificed by example such as humbling himself to wash the feet of his disciples as a servant would. How many women would find peace, joy and safety in submission instead of sadness and heartache if their husbands loved and sacrificed for them as Christ did? How many men would have a wonderful loving relationship with Christ and their wives if they put Christ first by following His example of sacrifice and the commandments of what a godly husband should be? You can not have a godly marriage without all facets in place.

  18. My husband and I were church hopping and was directed to a church by our daughter and her family. As soon as I walked into the church I felt a breath of wind come down across me and a peace fill me like I have never felt before. I felt like I was home. In our previous churches we were always back seat attendees. Never participation in anything. Here I felt free to become an active member and I started to grow. One day about a year and half after we had joined, our church had a guest speaker who was very well know for praying for healing. I went forward for prayer and again felt as though God picked me up in His hands, rocked me and said I have you with a gentle peace moving upon me. I actually went to the floor feeling numb all over but got up with so much love it was amazing. All I could do was to praise God for His touch. After that evening and my daughters family heard what had happened and they expressed that I had sinned in going forward for prayer. I should also tell you that I had been diagnosed with an incurable disease which was severely aggressive and debilitating. About a month after this prayer meeting, I had no pain, or symptoms. I went to one of my many doctors and each stated that they couldn’t understand how this incurable disease had now reversed itself. I explained that God had healed me. Doctor after Doctor with the same response until one finally said there is no other explanation. Even with the evidence my family left the church because I was wrong in their eyes. I should also say that my husband thinks that my daughter is the most theological person he knows and that she is right. So he followed her move yet again. I prayed and prayed and I felt like God had said to me “I brought you on this journey”. So I stayed. I was never asked to leave except by my daughter who to told me to leave. I have grown so much and have such a love for others and helping others that I know God has had His hand on me through this. My questions is am wrong in staying or should I leave to be on the same page as my husband. Also I should say every time she is unhappy at a church he follows her. I feel he hears her voice and not mine.

  19. Great post. Agree with everything. Wives should voice their opinions but should submit to husbands decision. Kids seeing a biblical marriage is huge!

  20. Me and my husband are both young. We have two girls. I didn’t want to get married but I went along with it. At 19. We met when I was 15. We both grew up in unstable homes with terrible examples as parents. He wants me to submit to him in whatever he says. If I say jump you jump if I say stay you stay. For my own safety he claims. Which is fine. I let go of my own freedom and family because when I married him I ” became part of his family” and “pleasing him is what matters now”. As of today I don’t talk to my family. Which I’ve managed to be ok with. But what bothers me is when every now and then he has the nerve to call me a c*** or b**** in front of my girls. Should I leave over something such as this? Or stay in my marriage? Because I KNOW God hates divorce. And you can leave over an affair. God wants husband’s to honor his wife and not be harsh with them. It’s harder to know what to do when you are actually stuck in the situation. I know things could be worse and that’s why I stick through it. Because I don’t want to disappoint God and lose favor….am I wrong? Should I separate(not divorce) and seek counsel or what????

  21. Thank you so much for sharing this post. My husband and I have been married 35 years, neither of us Christians when we married. I surrendered to Christ in 2000 and prayed for 17 years before my husband surrendered. This year seems to be the year that God is really working on me about submitting. No, it’s not easy even as a Christian. But I know if I can’t submit to my husband that I’m with daily, how could I submit to Christ?? For me it is not lowering myself but very empowering. But then it is easier when you have a man who loves you! Love God, love and know His word and apply it! God blesses us when we are obedient to Him.

  22. Susan,
    Quick questions…
    * In #3 you talk about: “giving him time to ‘decompress’ and he will be react accordingly. Your husband has been pulled in all directions at work, when he comes home, his home should be a place of refuge and refreshment, not more stress.”… But, when do WE get to ‘decompress’? Whether we work outside the home or in the home, or both, we are also pulled in all directions and are stressed-out, tired, etc. and need to decompress, refresh and have a refuge. How do we also get those things that we need while still being submissive and loving to our husband?
    * Why is the husband ‘expected’ to have the final say on everything? Marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship. We both have equality on discussions, decisions, and actions — when we married, we became ‘one’ not ‘one-and-a-half’. So we should be working/living in agreement with each other.
    * While I whole-heartedly believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that it and God are both ‘timeless,’ I do not believe that the ‘cultural’ regulations/aspects discussed in the Old Testament are ‘timeless.’ (Am I correct in this?)

    –Thanks so much for your article and your response/help! 🙂

    1. I completely understand and often we don’t get to decompress, but it is all about timing. I never liked to be bombarded when I walked in the door from work. As for having the final say, as head of household, that is his role. We can say our peace, guide and give our opinions but he is to be the authority over his wife – not superior, not better, not more important or smarter, but the authority. God gave him that role. I love the questions and the food for thought. Thank you, sister!

  23. Hello. i am married and we both are born again Christians. i understand and i agree that women should be submissive to their husbands by choice. what i do not agree with ( and i talk about his many times with my husband) is that my husband believes that i should be submissive 100% meaning everything like everything. I really do not believe that God will want us to be brainless like and not be able to think for ourselves. or if my husband tells me drink tea instead of water and i don’t want to drink tea like he tells me to i will be against God’s rules. where we draw this line????? the way i see it you let him be the one who has the last word, the one who decide in the relationship ( like where we move if he want us to move, how and on what we spend money, if they kids are allowed to go somewhere or not etc like bigger decisions) but i also believe that i am my own person and i should be able to make small decisions too for example i can decide for myself when i want to go to bed at night or what time i can have breakfast for myself or if i need one more snack I can have it.
    he believes that God gave him the right to decide EVERYTHING. then what is the purpose for me to have a brain and feelings. if i am tired and we all ate and the kids are clean and in bed i should be able to go to bed if i want to.
    Please tell me what do you believe about this. Where we draw the line if you know what i mean. Thank you!
    Oana.

    1. Hello, Oana – there’s a difference between being submissive and being controlled. It sounds to me (and I only have one small part of your story) that you may be being controlled. I strongly suggest that you seek Christian counseling or visit with your Pastor. I’ll be praying for you, sister.

  24. Thank you so much for this, what an eye opener! I have struggled with submission for years, I thought it meant being his slave and my marriage has been hell. God blessed me with a very good man and he kept up with all my weakness. I have prayed the prayer here above and I know the Lord will help me in my quest to be a submissive wife.
    My biggest problem is that we didn’t get married the proper way. We ha a child, stayed together then some ceremony was performed at his home. We are from different countries and when we met we were not yet born again.
    I always had trouble accepting that we are married because nothing has been done in my home for my people to know and bless our union. My parents love him as their son and he has been a good brother to my siblings too.
    Please help me be a good wife

    1. Hello, Nondumiso – thank you for sharing your heart. Have you considered having a renewal of vows to include your family? I would continue to give it all to God. He hears and He will answer. Keep praying and the more you love God, the easier it will be to love and submit to your husband. Thanks for writing and stopping by. God bless.

      1. Thank you for this insightful message .I HOPE IT has transformed many and it will continue to do the same all over. on the other hand ,kindly share with us the other side of the coin ie ….men loving their wives…..this will help us understand our responsibilities much better. For women,in my opinion this prescription is appropriate…..unfortunately, many of them may not have access to some of these resourceful sites
        glads.

  25. I am trying to be obedient to God and get my life in order. Being a submissive wife is very, very difficult for me. As I continue to word study, I cannot find one positive connotation to submissive/submit. Too often, it is used as a blanket term for hiding abuse and poor behavior. For me, I don’t have any fight left inside. I will just work on the “gentle, quiet spirit” part, and just suck it up and go with it. I’m in a precarious position with no power, and no hope outside of heaven. Maybe as I “grin and bear it” God will either change my heart, or see fit to take me home soon. Death in the literal sense, or death of the self, and any desires outside of those of Christ, seem the only solutions. For either, I pray it comes swiftly. Until then, prayers my silent obedience will appease my husband.

    1. I understand but there’s a big difference between abuse and submitting. Abuse is never ok. Have you spoken to your Pastor or a Christian counselor? I think that would help. I”ll be praying for you. God bless.

  26. I’m what you’d call a non-believer man… yet here I am.
    I will marry my Filipina girlfriend soon if her government opens their frontiers again. She’s a Christian, as almost everybody there.
    As a Western European guy, it took a lot of time to really understand what she meant when she said she’d like “to be dominated. At first, I thought it was something entirely sexual, but now I see it’s much more complex.
    So, I needed to research it, from her religious and cultural perspective. And I must say I’m surprised at finding so many websites, written by women, explaining what all that is about.
    At first, I was pretty much clueless and out of balance. I clearly see these are dangerous waters to navigate if you think your woman is giving you powers to nullify her and use her as a toy and a servant. And I’d bet many men, even those believing in God, must have fallen to the temptation of not returning that submissiveness with kindness and love.
    So, reading this is a good refresher and reality check. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t care a dime about religion, but I’ve always respected people’s beliefs, as long as they don’t interfere with my life and ethical code. And to be honest, I’m pleasantly surprised in seeing my values, when it comes to a relationship, are very close to what you described here. Not only on the receiving end, but also on my wish to respect, love, and provide for my future wife.
    And it’s also nice to see I won’t be a complete freak for being a man taking the decisions at home, in this crazy world with a 70% of divorce rate.
    Thanks!

  27. Enjoyed the article. But don’t agree 100%. Not all your suggests are Biblical, though they are a great starting point to get one thinking about what submission might look like in each individual family. For example, being served a meal first. As my veteran husband says “the General eats last”—- this is something he learned as Marine. I don’t think it is too much to ask for a husband to wait for the baby or toddler to be served first. There are certainly seasons in the family life when the husband cannot be served first at all times. And I’m not just taking about meals.

    1. Hi, Sofia – it’s ok that we disagree. I follow God’s plan for marriage and not man’s plan (ie: military) – I was engaged to a military man, at one point, so I understand what they teach. For example, this verse: Ephesians 5:22-33 ESV 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, … The Bible tells us to submit to our spouses, not our children. And to submit in everything. The churches I have attended concur that this means putting your husband’s needs first (including serving meals). I regularly pray and ask God to clarify verses from His Word and I believe that He has shown me that this is what He wants me to do. Granted, my children are grown, but when they visit, my husband is always served first. God bless you and thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

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