Submission to husbands in todays’ world- is it outdated?

Ahh submission to husbands. That topic that’s controversial in the secular world, and even a hot button conversation at times amongst christians. If not controversial, it’s in the very least confusing to many.  There are probably thousands upon thousands of articles on submission to husbands, so I’m probably not going to share anything brand new here. But what I do have is my own learning experience to draw from, and my hope is that I can reach those who can relate and encourage a new way of thinking about this. So here goes my trial at exploring this further too: Submission to Husbands in Todays’ World, is it outdated?

I was not a submissive wife for the first few years of my marriage.  As a woman of today, I consider myself intelligent and educated.  I’ve plenty of good ideas, opinions and insights.  My thoughts were always that we should discuss important things (and not so important things) and when a decision needed to be made, may the most reasonable or sensible choice be chosen.  If I believed my opinion was more reasonable, or more wise, I would put up a stink until my husband saw the error of his thinking and came to his senses.

Fast forward a few years, and the divide between us was growing. There was usually a tension present whenever we needed to discuss issues like money, kids, where we’d spend the holidays etcetera. In my mind he was just not being open to my ideas, and in his mind, I was the closed-minded one. It was a losing situation. And we both lost.

We separated the summer of 2014. Our growing divide came to a head and our marriage was in true critical condition.  He wanted out, and in my attempts to fix it I continued to try to convince him of how much more he was “wrong” about everything.

So. Not. Helpful.

Fortunately, I was extremely blessed with Godly Christian women in my life who helped me to see where I needed to focus biblically if I was going to expect God to restore this mess we were in.

There were two key areas they kept pointing me towards and that was Respect and Biblical Submission. Trust me when I tell you at this point I did not want to respect him and I especially did not want to be submissive at a time when I was hurting and angry. My Godly girlfriends did ALOT of explaining to me and guiding me through this time, sometimes even holding my hand word for word as I tried out this new way of responding to him.

Over time, I did get the hang of it and all though I’m not perfect at it by any means, I’ve come a long way. And what I now know from my experience with biblical submission is that it’s nothing like the notions I had in my mind before about it. It has actually helped improve our marriage significantly and our bond.

You see God knew what he was doing when he created us, and when he laid out the framework for a Godly marriage.  He made us, he knows exactly what makes us tick and work well.  He knows that women want to feel loved, and men want to feel respected.  And, he also knew that inevitably as two sinners live a lifetime together there is going to be disagreement. So he gave us roles to help navigate the decisions and choices we face together. He assigned the husband as the head of the household (Ephesians 5:23) and the wife as the helpmate (Genesis 2:18).

Are you still with me? So this is the part many wives get turned off by. They think, “He can’t be the boss all the time, I have plenty of important and intelligent things to say.” And I would say to you, that’s probably really true about you! And if you share those things with him he should be valuing you as helpmate and giving serious consideration to them, if not choosing in agreement with you. However, should he not, God can use this to grow either you, or to grow him.



If your husband chooses to take a different route with a decision than you and it doesn’t work out, God can use it to speak to him and grow him as a Godly husband, and also to value you more as helpmate.

Or, if your husband chooses to take a different path on a decision than you would have chosen, and it does work out well, then it can be used too by God to grow you as you learn to trust in your husbands’ wisdom also.

It is more important to trust Gods’ design in this, for he has a plan with each scenario presented, than to be “right” every time.

And that brings me to my next point, this whole submission to husbands thing is really about trusting in Gods’ design with it rather than specific trust in your husband. Even the most Godly husbands will inevitably make choices that don’t work out, because we all fall short of perfection. However, we can have faith that God will use our husbands’ mistakes for good things in our marriages as we trust his ultimate design and plan. (Romans 8:28)

For those reading this thinking, “Well that sounds all kinds of wonderful but my husband isn’t a Godly husband, or, he’s not even a believer”. That’s ok! 1 Peter 3: 1-2 speaks to this too! Here’s the verse: “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 over without words by the behavior of their wives when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”

Gods’ design for marriage isn’t just for believers, it’s for all.  He uses the way in which he designed it to draw husbands and wives closer to him and to each other.

Since those first days of trying out submission, one thing that I didn’t expect to happen that has been pretty great is the amount of relief I have placing things in Gods’ hands.  I don’t have to worry anymore if we’re making the right decisions because I’m already making the right decision in following Gods’ design.  I trust that whatever choice is made God is going to use it however he sees best through my husband.  Even if my husband chooses different than I would have.  It doesn’t mean I just go with saying, “Whatever you want hubby”.  I still share my thoughts and opinions, but I do ultimately yield to his choice (and attempt my best ability to do so respectfully).  Over time he has also increasingly demonstrated a higher value on my opinions and thoughts as well.  Many times he will now come to me right away for my thoughts on something.  We now both feel much more loved, and respected.

For the times I struggle with it, I will pray, “Lord I’ve presented my thoughts, and he seems to be choosing opposite. I’m trusting in your design of submission that through it you will use it for the best possible outcome in your will.”  And you know what? He does. (Proverbs 3:5)

So to answer the question is submission to husbands outdated in todays’ world? I will say secularly speaking yes. But for believers and followers of Christ, it’s never outdated to follow Gods’ infinitely wise design. To follow the blueprints of the one who actually created marriage is the best plan.  For believers, what other way is there? The only other ways presented in our world were created by other people, other sinners in the world who all fall short of perfection.

What biblical submission to husbands is not:

*Biblical Submission to husbands is not turning a blind eye to sin and setting no boundaries against it. (Ultimately we submit to the Lord first, and God does not ask us to submit to sin)(James 4:7.)

*Biblical Submission to husbands is not accepting abuse (emotional or physical).

Unfortunately there are husbands who are abusive and will use biblical submission telling their wives they are to submit (or else).  God never designed marriage this way. He designed it as a beautiful leader and helpmate dance, not a lordship over a wife in an abusive way. If you are concerned that your husband may be using it in an abusive way, I highly encourage you to seek professional support and help.  And truly, sometimes laying a firm boundary against sin is the most loving thing a wife can do for her husband and her marriage.

For more resources:

Respecting Your Husband

Is setting boundaries in marriage biblical?

Marriage Resources

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