Does God Really Expect Me to Submit in My Marriage?

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Just mention the idea that we should submit in marriage and you will prompt strong emotional responses. But maybe there's a reason God wants it for us. #Marriage #Submission #LoveandRespect #Blessings

I’ve learned there’s a word that is a notorious lightning rod known for inflaming emotions and prompting strong verbal reactions.

What’s the word?


I once brought it up with a group of individuals who were half my age and I thought their heads were going to explode.

Many think it’s an archaic idea that should never be applied to our current modern society.

So, what do you think . . . should we just ignore Paul’s words:

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.

Ephsians 5:22 (NIV)

No, we shouldn’t. But we also shouldn’t take those words out of context. You see, Paul began this section with the following:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)

And he followed his words to wives with this statement to husbands.

 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Ephesians 5:25 (NIV)

The problem is that the whole concept of submission goes wrong when husbands or wives use selected words from these verses as a weapon against the other.

God didn’t inspire the words to wives for husbands or the words to husbands for wives . . . each person is to focus on the words that apply to them not the ones intended for the other. Submission is not a club to be wielded but an offering of love to be given.

Because we love and respect Jesus we are called to yield ourselves to each other – wives to husbands and husbands to wives.

Husbands are to be all in with loving their wives “as Christ loved the church.”

And wives are to be all in with loving their husbands “as to the Lord.”

Both are equally high callings with extraordinary standards.

And Rev and I have learned that when both husband and wife try to “outdo” the other by putting them first . . . great things happen.

Love grows deeper and marriages grow stronger.

Just mention the idea that we should submit in marriage and you will prompt strong emotional responses. But maybe there's a reason God wants it for us. #Marriage #Submission #LoveandRespect #Blessings

A Prayer to Submit in My Marriage Out of Love

Father, first and foremost, I want to submit to You. I want to live completely surrendered to Your love. I want to fully trust and obey Your will because I am surrounded by Your love.

Your Word tells us to submit to each other in marriage. It tells us to humbly put each other first. I’ll admit, that’s hard Lord. It’s especially hard when it is not mutual. Please forgive our selfishness. You love sacrificially and You ask us to do the same.

I am so very thankful that you don’t ask me to do it on my own. You give me Your Spirit to remind me of Your Words (John 14:26) and You promise that when I am weak You give me strength (2 Corinthians 12:10). You promise to give me everything I need to trust and obey You (2 Peter 1:3)

Lord, please give us everything we need to submit in our marriage. Help us love and respect each other. Deepen our love that we might each try to outdo one another. Fill us with love and respect for You and for each other. I give myself to You, in love, Lord. Please help us humbly gives ourselves in submission out of love. I ask this all in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Just mention the idea that we should submit in marriage and you will prompt strong emotional responses. But maybe there's a reason God wants it for us. #Marriage #Submission #LoveandRespect #Blessings

A number of years ago, I led several sessions at a Women’s Retreat on this subject, and much to my surprise . . . the ladies asked me to teach a Bible Study so their husbands could be part of the discussion.

I will never forget the main point that changed our thinking and turned submission from a dirty word into a blessing.

♥ If husbands loved their wives sacrificially the way Christ Jesus loved the church, wives would find it much easier to submit. And if wives showed their husbands love and respect, husbands would find it easier to love sacrificially.

Both of those things come through humble love, intentional communication, and lots of prayer.

I believe that’s why Paul knew we needed to start by:

Always [giving] thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:20 (ERV)

Because it is only when we are truly humble and willing to:

Honor Christ and put others first.

Ephesians 5:21(CEV)

That we can respect, love, and submit in marriage.

On today’s note write:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

May God bless you today as you choose to love humbly, listen intentionally, and pray without ceasing.

Click here to read the rest of Ephesians 5.

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  1. This is beautiful, Deb, and oh, so true! Submission to and loving our spouse over ourselves, when done mutually, always results in a strong and healthy marriage.

    1. Thanks, Martha! When God gives us this gift it is truly beautiful! Have a wonderful day!

  2. Melanie Winter says:

    Thank you for this beautiful explanation of this important piece of scripture.I am praying that my daughter will read it when I forward it to her.We have had many discussions on this topic!

    1. I’m so glad it blessed and encouraged you, Melanie! I pray it blesses your daughter as well. Thanks for blessing me with kindness. God be with you!

  3. Deb, I totally agree with you! However, I have a huge problem! I have been married to Ray for over 56 years. I now have bone cancer which there is no cure for. Five years ago, Ray started spending time on his computer & started following the teachings of a false cult. He then joined them & got baptized all over again because they said only that religion teaches truth so his baptism in the Baptist church was based on lies. They do not teach anything about the New Covenant or Grace. I absolutely refuse to accept anything about that cult. Ray says I am sinning because I refuse to obey him by not believing their teachings & because I am sinning is why I have cancer. I never in my life thought my later years in life would be so harsh. The two of us spend many years together serving God. They claim no one who does not follow their teachings will be in Heaven.

    1. Oh, Frances, I am so very sorry. There really are no words. It is why I believe that submission is intended for both husband and wife before the Lord. I am praying for you, Sweet Sister. Asking God to heal your body and fill your spirit with His love and assurance and help you stand strong on the truth of His Word. Lean into Jesus. He is with you and we are praying for you!

    2. Praying for you Francis, praying that Jesus will give you peace, praying also that your husband will be released from this bondage and come back to God. X

  4. Angela Cahill says:

    Thank you Deb for explaining the word “submission” as explained by Paul but very relevant for today. I’ve been trying for years to live as Jesus wants me to within my marriage but my husband does not believe and is cold. He does not understand this way of living and does what suits himself. It is difficult to bear but I will remain steadfast in the Lord. Life would be so much sweeter if everyone could see marriage from this perspective. God bless you Deb.

    Angela – Ireland

    1. I’m sorry, Angela. It is harder when both husband and wife are not submitting to the Lord first and foremost. Blessings to you for standing strong and honoring the Lord. Paul also wrote to the people in Corinth that are married to unbelievers, “realize that your husbands might be saved because of you.” 2 Corinthians 7:16 Blessings, my friend.

  5. Angela Cahill says:

    Deb your reply has helped me, so thank you. St Paul’s words to the Corinthians has shown me that my husband might be saved because of my belief in the Lord. I will pray for that and hopefully God will open his heart to hear HIS word through my example. I will need every grace. God bless you always.