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Frequent Asked Questions About the Family


  What does it mean for a wife to be submissive to her husband? I tend to be the leader in our family. My husband doesn't lead that well.


    Answer:   The biblical principle God gives is of wives living godly lives and showing respect and following the leadership (submissiveness) of their husbands. God has given both men and women a particular role to live in the family. This is God's plan and will for the husband and wife in a family. Applying God's principles to our lives allows us to accomplish what God intends, because we are following His instruction and roles for our lives.

               Both men and women have a tendency to live outside God's roles for us. Men and women are to submit themselves to each other in respect to God as Ephesians 5:21 says. In doing so men are to love their wives as verse 25 states and women are to be submissive to their husbands according to verse 22-24. The problem is that we all have a carnal or old nature that has a bent to sin. Loving and being submissive does not come automatic, as our old nature leads us to disobey God and in pride be unsubmissive and unloving to others. The carnal nature cannot truly love, because it is selfish and seeks its own.

               However, God says we are to be filled with the Spirit of God. (Ephesians 5:18) That means we are to follow the new nature God gives to believers, which empowers us to live for the Lord. We allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and we apply the principles of God. Again, it is not automatic and that is why the Lord tells us to be "filled with the Spirit." Being filled with the Spirit is an act of obedience unto the Lord He gives us the ability to live godly lives and accomplish His will.

              The principle of a wife being submissive to her husband is mentioned several times in Scripture. (See Eph. 5:22-24, 1 Pet. 3:1, Col. 3:18, Titus 2:5) This means that the husband is to be regarded as the head of the family; and he has responsibility to provide for, protect, and be the spiritual leader of the family. There is often a problem when husbands do not shoulder their biblical role. Often women have to take that role because the man will not. But even then, the wife should seek to respectfully encourage her husband in these areas.

              Often the wife loses respect for her husband because he does not take his God give role. She resents having to take his responsibilities as well as her own. This failure of the husband leads to conflict. But even if she has to take part of his role she should do it respectfully and without belittling him. She should fulfill her role as the husband's "help meet" (Gen. 2:18). The wive's attitude should be to support and help her husband, even when he fails his responsibilities. That is what being submissive is about. It is the action of the wife towards her husband.

              Another situation is when the wife assumes the role of leadership and dominates her husband. In other words, she does not submit to her role as a "help meet" which means she will not allow her husband to lead and be the head of the family. This trait in some women, for various reasons, do not respect men. It may come from pride and their carnal need to dominate their husbands. Some men simply submit to the wife to avoid the conflict that comes when he tries to take the leadership. Other husbands resent a domineering wife and will resist their wife's trying to dominate them. Either case will destroy a true biblical relationship between the couple.

              God instruction for a wife to be submissive to her husband is not a license for men to abuse or degrade a woman. God's instruction to the husband is for him to love his wife, which means to lead, care, protect, provide, and meet her and their family's needs.

               If God's roles for the husband and wife are followed neither is degraded and there is a sound foundation on which to build a loving family. Sadly, even among professing Christians the family is in serious trouble because God's principles are ignored.


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