Please help me to understand submissiveness. (My last word on this issue, I promise.)

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Scarlett O., Oct 5, 2006.

  1. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    I have been a BB member for 4 years. We have talked about women.....alot. We have talked about submissive wives....alot.

    I still haven't gotten a clear understanding of what the people here think it means on a daily basis for women, except for Gina, and she is the only one whose position is crystal clear to me.

    Please don't explain about how the wife represents the church and the husband represents Christ. I understand that and have no problems with that.

    I asked my pastor for help on this once and he said, "What does it mean that a wife has to submit? It means she has to SUBMIT!!" and then he laughed and gave me the brush-off. He didn't mean to be rude, but he was. I don't hold that cocky attitude against him. Perhaps I caught him at a bad time.

    I just want a concrete and clear answer from someone on this board who has participated in these discussions over the years. What does it mean for a wife to live in total submission to her husband?

    Does the way that Christian families live today accurately portray wifely submission?

    Does wifely submission mean any or all of the following or more?
    • She dresses how her husband tells her to.
    • She needs his permission to work outside the home.
    • She puts the meals on the table when he says to.
    • She obeys him even when he is wrong.
    • She bears the children and raises them, (i.e. bathing, playing, schooling, advising....) herself.
    I see many very happy christian couples, (well, mostly happy) where the husband loves his wife and she loves him, but I could NEVER live like they do.

    I see many very fine and good men, whom I like, but who seem to believe that all they have to do is "love" their wife. They don't have to help her do anything except to put the paycheck on the table and spank the children, but as long as they "love" her, they are fulfilling their biblical duties. And they are obviously happy. You know, "I love you dearly, sweetheart, but I'm not changing that diaper."

    And I see many very fine and good women who seem to believe that they must do everything that is household related, child related, bookkeepping related, holiday related, and family/in-law related, and as long as they are being the chief-cook-and-bottle-washer, nanny, provide sex when asked for it, and ask "permission" about things when they are unclear on the "rules" that they are being biblically submissive wives. They work themselves literally to the ground and have no outside interests, but they, oddly enough, seem to be quite happy.

    These are good men and women who love each other.

    This is how my friends live. This is how my colleagues live. Maybe I'm just the freak, but I could never, never live like that.

    Does being a submissive wife mean that he "overrides" you, can dictate to you, and that you must do whatever he says, without argument? Is this what God means?

    Does being a loving husband mean that you show verbal affection and marital fidelity, but nothing else.

    I'm not going to talk about this anymore on the BB because all I seem to do is "stir the pot". I tried once to talk about what a husband should be doing, from a biblical perspective, but all I did was to aggrevate.

    But would someone just tell me....what does being a submissive wife mean?

    That was my last word on the topic.....you have my solemn promise.
     
    #1 Scarlett O., Oct 5, 2006
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2006
  2. donnA

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    Sounds more like a dictator then a loving christian man.
     
  3. dan e.

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    It is difficult to not talk about how the wife represents the church, and the man represents Christ...because that is what marriage is, a picture of salvation. The wife represents the church and the husband represents Christ. Ephesians describes it beautifully. However, many of the foolish interpretations describe a dictatorship. It doesn't mean that the wife has the chores, cleaning, cooking, etc. and the husband has nothing to do at the home except sit and eat. Think of it practically:

    If the wife represents the church and is to submit as the church submits to Christ. How does the church submit to Christ? Is Jesus the dictator of Christianity? Of course not, rather the church looks to Jesus for guidance and example into truth and how we live. What decisions are best for my life? Obviously, this is an analogy that Paul is giving. This does not mean the husband contains absolute truth and cannot be wrong and must be obeyed. Rather it puts huge responsibility on a Godly husband, because in the analogy he represents Christ as head of the family! He is to love the wife as Christ loves the church. Now ask this question: How does Christ show love for the church? He does so sacrificially and unconditionally. The husband is responsible to provide, not that it is wrong for a wife to work, but it is the husband's duty and responsibility.Jesus watches over his sheep as a Shepherd. Practically speaking, if someone breaks into your home...I believe it is the duty of the husband to be the one to stand and defend his bride. The husband must seek God's will and lead his family spiritually, not by barking orders, but by loving sacrifically and unconditionally and seeking out for the spiritual and physical well-being of his wife. Because she is his bride, he loves her the way Jesus loves us.

    That's my take...sorry I gave you the analogy you didn't want to hear again, but it's hard not to use it because that is what the Bible gives.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    If I may deviate and go back to Genesis where we have God giving "dominion" over the animals. Instantly we think this means God gave us "control" over the animals. In fact, it means "responsibility" for the animals.

    It is similar with "submission". This does not give us dominance "over" our wives, but, I suggest, "responsibility". We do not capture their minds and personalities, we develop them so that she is always in the best light. There is nothing to do with the chores of each. A plain dictionary definition includes the character of the person including humility. In return she will return this respect to him, and together they will be the ideal picture of our Lord Jesus,,,the ideal example of the church and the Lord, the bride and the Lord.

    I should hope my wife would never surrender what God made her to be; a loving, responsive help-mate in all that life offers.

    When I train my dogs to behave as I wish, I do not take away their innate character, but teach them to "submit" which works to their benefit in life. This is not to compare women to dogs; God forbid, but there is a small truth in that submission...I can only wish the very best for my wife beside me......as the old saying goes, God took a rib from Adam to create Eve...a rib, mind you......an integral part of the bone structure that protects the heart from injury. I am her protector for a lifetime.

    That is my take on submission. Yes, I still open doors for women, move chairs in sitting (and not away from them).

    Cheers, and God bless the women,

    Jim
     
  5. dan e.

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    I was thinking about my response, and maybe I was not practical enough as far as wives are concerned. I was sitting here thinking of how I submit to Christ, and how that works out, and what that means. Further, how does a wife submitting to her husband reflect that. It does, I think, mean that the wife trusts many decisions to her husband. It means that the husband should lead and guide the family, on spiritual matters, family decisions, financial decisions, etc. It is hard to think of examples without slipping into a bossy dictator, but think of how Jesus was with people. How much He cared for and loved them. He did ask for His followers to trust and obey Him. So, I think that the wife is to "trust" her husband similarly the way Christ's followers trusted Him. Maybe it'll even take a great leap of faith for a woman to trust her man :laugh: Again, it doesn't mean the kind of faith we have towards Christ...but it is reflective, it's an analogy. Here's another practical example: When decisions come up about spending, or deciding on where to attend church. A wife ought to be able to trust her husband to do what is best for them. Women may be thinking, "that is totally not right for a husband to make financial decisions!" I think they may think like that because they've experienced a lot of foolish men who aren't very wise or Christ-like towards their wives. Think about it...if you had a man who you knew loved you like Jesus love His church, and would only make selfless and the best decisions for the family, would you not trust him? I recently moved from Lousville and my wife and I attended a church that was different for us. I fealt like God was leading me to teach there because they had offered a Sunday school class to me, and they lacked leaders to teach. We were there for a short while, knowing we would be moving. But while we were there, I discussed with my wife my desire and motives for wanting to join that church. I think that if we had been single, my wife would never have chosen that church to attend. On other circumstances my wife would not have wanted to go there. But she trusted me, we sucked up cultural and traditional differences and served because they were fellow believers who need more Sunday school teachers. She trusted me with my decision. No drama. No ordering around. Prayerful consideration on my part, and my wife trusted me. I hope these examples are helping you see that there are men who believe what the Bible says about it, but doesn't believe it means a husband is a dictator.
     
  6. Not_hard_to_find

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    My opinion on your bullet points:

    She dresses as she and her husband agree is appropriate for their beliefs and lifestyle.

    She and her husband discuss and determine whether or not it is in the best interest (not monetary nor material) for their children or family for her to work outside of the home.

    The family meals are scheduled for the entire family, to help provide routine stability and a time/place to share family information.

    Correcting a husband's error should be no different than approaching an errant fellow Christian and pointing out God's truth. Or was there another type of "wrong" you had in mind?

    No mother should raise her children without their father. The two cleave as one and they raise their children together.

    Whether you start with Eph 5:22 or Col 3:18, the verses continue beyond admonishing the wives to submit. There are specific instructions for the husbands, too. Unless the husband commits to submitting to Christ, he cannot understand what is expected when a wife is to submit. Too often that husband becomes a dictator instead of a joint heir.

    After forty-five years of marriage, I can speak to the experience of a family living in submission to God's will, of a wife at times staying home to care for three small children (oh, missing adult conversation!) and experiencing a wonderfully intriguing career. Of a husband commited to providing for his family with love and thoughtfulness, most usually certain his wife understands his decisions and including her input when they are reached.

    But the responsibility is his to love his wife as himself. To see she is fulfilled and that she grows in Christian love and strength. To know that without his wife, he is incomplete, just as she would be.

    Does that help you? And, please don't give up that "last word" until you find the answer that God intends you have.
     
  7. Servent

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    Submissiveness

    In our house it means that I have the finial decision on important matters, we talk about eveything, but right or wrong the choice is mine and I am responsible for that decision.
     
  8. reformedbeliever

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    I love my wife in such a way that she loves me the same... unconditionally. I try to meet her needs in such a way that she has absolutely no problem meeting my needs. Submission is something that two people do. The husband submits to the wife and the wife submits to the husband. In any institution there has to be order. The man is the head of the family not as a dictator, but just as to not have disorder. The Bible is clear that there has to be an order for the family to perform efficiently, just as there is a military order or chain of command. With the family, it should be done in such love that husband and wife are committed to *outdoing* each other in trying to please and build each other up. With our fallen nature, we will always fail to be perfect. Husband and wife should recognize such and work together to smooth out the bumps along the way. There...... I've fixed the problem of every marriage. Now no more divorces huh?:tongue3:
     
  9. Dianna

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    Ok, my case is probably a little differnt than most on this list as my husband is not a Christian...but I have always belived (even before I was a Christian) that there is a certian order to a household. I have what many call old fashioned ideas..and boy does it make some people mad, like my sister.

    Am I submissive to my husband? Yes. Does that mean I have no say and he is a dictator? No.

    For me, it means I go to him if a big decision needs to be made, if I need advice, I go to him before I go to friends, I value what he has to say and what he has to say. If I really wanted to do something, and he thought it would be best I didn't, I wouldn't...I can't really think of an example right now.

    Yes I do feel as his wife that it is my job to take care of him, his home, even if it isn't always convient. Yes I wait on him hand and foot...why? Because I am his wife, and I love it. Take care of him, does make me truly happy.

    I would never go against anything he said, well unless he told me to stop reading my bible, praying, and was against me going to church...then we would have issues...but he encourages it, because he sees how happy it makes me, and he too wants my happiness.

    I don't think men are better than women...but I do think men and women have their places..and I do belive a woman's place, is to be submissive to her husband, not trying to do what ever she thinks is right, not trying to have a career that is going to leave her husband and kids(if there are any) home to fend for themselves.

    That probably didn't answer your question...sorry about that lol

    Dianna
     
  10. mcdirector

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    this is pretty much what it's meant for us too. We are in most ways partners. We rarely disagree, but when we do not see eye-to-eye on a decision, it's Ron's to make and I accept it. I don't ever remember him telling me to do or not to do anything. I have followed him all over the south for jobs without question. :tongue3:

    It seems to me that all this is pretty easy when you both have the same priorities and goals and desires.
     
  11. PastorSBC1303

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    I personally think Servent and Bitsy have got it nailed pretty well.
     
  12. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I see two questions here and I think a careful examination of the passage reveals a fairly simple answer:

    1. How are husbands to love their wives? How did Christ love the Church? Was it only through verbal affection and marital fidelity? Or was there more to it?

    2. How is a wife to submit to her husband? How does the Church submit to the Lord?

    The obvious answer to me from a Biblical perspective is that wives are to submit to their husbands in the same manner that the Church submits to the Lord, and husbands are to love their wives in the same manner that Christ Loved the Church.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  13. blackbird

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    Exactly what I've been saying all along in my posts. Anything less than total submission is total rebellion. Anything less than unconditional love is total rebellion and must be repented of. Its a command from the Lord Jesus---I know it sounds weird----but His commands are not grievious!!! Nor will any of His commands cause a burden to slip up on you!!!

    Bro. David
     
  14. Scarlett O.

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    Thank you everyone for taking the time to respond.

    I can only surmise that my question wasn't very clear. It's alright. Let's move on.
     
  15. TaterTot

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    Scarlett, what you described in the OP is not how I think most Christian couples are. I couldnt live that way. I dress how I want to dress. I wear my hair how I choose to wear it. But I know couples that do that differently. One man I know weighs his wife every Sunday, and SHE DOESNT COMPLAIN!! I dont get that. They have 9 kinds, trying for 10. She never tells him no.

    I think if God gave you a man who loved you deeply and cherished you for who God created you to be, you would joyfully "submit" and follow his leadership, all the while maintain an equal status.
     
  16. Pipedude

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    To respond to Scarlett's question "What does it mean on a daily basis?", I think it is evident that it means different things to different couples. She has seen some couples and is convinced that she could never live like that. She may be right. And God may not want her to live like those women. (On the other hand, he may; I'm not being dogmatic here.)

    As head of the house, I've probably "pulled rank" fewer than three times in thirty years. The rest of the time, we've decided together--and the responsibility for the results fell to me.

    My wife said once "I'll bet you wish I waited on you hand and foot like _____ does her husband" and I answered "Well, everybody wishes he had a servant, but I wouldn't want it if that wasn't what you wanted to do. Nothing would make me happy if it made you unhappy."

    Couples have to evolve their own patterns of interaction. However it shakes out, the wife should be able to honestly say "I submit myself to my husband as unto the Lord, for he is my head even as Christ is the head of the church." It's a tall order. I'm glad I'm male.

    (And lest I irritate some female reader, let me quickly add that, if I were God, I would not have written that in my Bible. :saint: )
     
  17. El_Guero

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    Scarlett

    I really do not think anyone can answer your question to your satisfaction . . .

    How can I as a single pastor tell a married man how to treat his wife?

    Only by Scripture . . . so if you don't want that answer . . . there is not much that I can say.

    Submissive definitely does not mean stubborn, beligerent, unkind, disrespectful, unloving, rude, argumentative. And there are probably a hundred words besides those.

    But submissive . . . in my mind is kinda like riding a horse. You had better let the horse have its lead most of the time, and only control it when you need to. If you do otherwise, you will wear yourself out and the horse will not be submissive for very long. A woman is usually very strong willed. She just does not need to fight the will of her husband all of the time, and the husband should not 'need' to control her all of the time.
     
  18. Karen

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    Truly stated. And also as others have pointed out, there are infinite differences in how couples live out the practicalities.
    I have been married almost thirty years. My husband and I have the same values. I am hard-pressed to think of any major decision that we didn't agree on.
    Sometimes when you see a wife who doesn't have time for her own interests, it is just the stage of life. I have more time than I used to have when my kids were very young. My husband works very long, hard hours. I don't expect him to do a lot at home. On the other hand, he is fine with me hiring jobs done so I don't have to do everything either.

    If a husband feels like he has to make all sorts of decisions, SOMETIMES he might do well to slow down a little bit. Not all decisions are as monumental as they initially seem, and often it doesn't hurt to wait and pray till the couple is more in agreement.

    If my husband were a different sort and ordered me to do something wrong, I don't think it would be my duty to obey. That rationale didn't work for Sapphira.
     
  19. Gold Dragon

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    Some may consider this to be humility and not submission, but I would say that even though Christ was the head of the church, that he still submitted to washing feet of his disciples by putting them in a place of authority. That may throw off our entire system of what headship and submission means, but Christ has a way of doing that, doesn't he? ;)

     
  20. ccrobinson

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    I trust that my wife has convictions about what she wears and that she will never wear anything that advertises something that isn't for sale. When it came to put the children in school and we wanted to enroll them in our Christian school, all I had to do was show her that we couldn't afford it unless she worked. The decision was an easy one.

    If I ever demanded that supper be on the table at a certain time, she would point me to the kitchen and invite me to make it myself if that's what I wanted. :smilewinkgrin:

    My wife does not obey even if I'm wrong. Finally, the work of raising the children is not hers alone, but shared equally. They're my children too and I don't want her to raise the children all by herself. I can tell you with absolute certainty that this puts me in the minority among men at my church.



    I don't understand how men who do behave like this and never do dishes, take out the garbage, change the diapers, wash clothes, care for the children, etc. think they are loving their wives.



    I think being a loving husband requires more than this. Ultimately, it comes down to my belief that my wife has a brain and treating her like she's the intelligent woman that she is. If you want to know what that treatment gets me, then you should have been at our church last night and seen my wife light up when she saw me walk in the door. :thumbsup: :love2:
     

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