“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Ephesians 5:22-24
It has been my experience that most women do not like this scripture. I believe this is because they don’t have a right understanding of what it really means. Many women interpret it to mean that they are supposed to cower down, become a doormat, not be allowed to have an opinion, and let their husbands lord over them. (After all, it says, “the husband is the head of the wife.” This makes them angry with God, not understanding why he would command such a thing. It causes them to have a horribly distorted view of who God really is, and who he created them to be. Since they believe these said lies, they believe that God views them as “less than”, not valuable, and unworthy. Throw in 1 Peter 3:7 (“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”) This causes double trouble because most women (who are already angry with God) only see “the weaker vessel” part of this verse. Again, an unclear understanding of God’s word.
The Greek word meaning “submit” in these passages is ‘hupotasso’ which means “to arrange oneself or place oneself under something or someone. It has strong connotations of a willing placement under authority. It literally means to “come under the covering and protection of.”
For the most part, when women begin to consider this, their anger toward God dissipates. Most want to feel that their husband will cover and protect them. Once they understand what the Lord really means they are more apt to willingly place themselves under that covering. Now, again in 1 Peter 3:7 when the scripture refers to the woman being the “weaker” vessel. We must understand that this text was written in Greek, not English, and the meaning of some words are much different. In this passage of scripture, the Greek word for “weaker” is “pio adýnamos.” It means “liable to break or give way under pressure; easily damaged.” Not as in “not strong enough,” but rather as in, “not strong enough.” (Yes, I know I repeated myself.) 🙂
Let me share an example. Imagine two plates on a table. One plate, (the husband) is made out of wood. You pick up the wooden plate to put it away in the cupboard. You aren’t particularly careful with the plate, after all it is made of wood. It can withstand your treatment of it. You set it down, not so carefully, and return to the table for the second plate.
You pick up the second plate, (the wife). This plate is made of fine china. You pick it up carefully, making sure you have a good grip so as not to drop it, and you place it in the cupboard, very carefully. To be rough in your placement of it might mean a chip, a crack, or an all out break, none of which you want. So you treat your china very carefully because it is so delicate.
Are you getting the picture?
Proverbs 18:19 says,“A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
Counselors will tell you that generally speaking, when a man’s feelings get hurt, they tend to “bounce back” much quicker than a woman. They may need to retreat to their man cave awhile, but they will usually sort it out in a short time. When a woman’s feelings get hurt, she carries it inside her, like shrapnel in her soul, and it takes her much longer to heal.
“Male and female created he them; and blessed them.” (Genesis 5:2a) The fact is, males and females are not the same, God created us different from one another. He created men to willingly place themselves under the authority, covering and protection of Christ, and women to willingly place themselves under the authority, covering and protection of their own husbands.
I’d like to insert a little “disclaimer” here: Please take note that Ephesians 5 instructs both husband and wife to submit. The wife to her husband and the husband to Christ. If the husband is not submitted to Christ, (or perhaps even walking with Him at all), this places the wife is in a difficult situation. She may find herself having to seek Christ, not only for herself, but for her husband as well. She should keep herself under her husbands covering IF he is in fact covering and protecting her. I do not believe God requires a woman to stay in an abusive situation where she, or her children, may be in danger.
Our God is a God of balance and harmony. When we willingly walk in the role and calling that He has designed for us, we find that we, ourselves, are balanced and harmonious.