Col. 3:18. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”
This verse sets some women aflame with indignation. It isn’t politically correct. In the beginning of the women’s lib movement back in the 60s and 70s, it was Gloria Steinem who sarcastically stated that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. (She’s married now, by the way, unless there has been a divorce I haven’t heard about.)
It isn’t surprising that people who do not know Jesus Christ would rebel against the mere idea that a woman should be under her husband’s authority. I want you to consider, though, just a few thoughts today.
A marriage is an organization of two people. Any organization needs some kind of order. Someone has to be ultimately responsible for all the important decisions that a couple makes. An organization, even one of only two people, needs a head. One head. Two heads never works very well.
God says that wives are to submit (arrange oneself under someone else’s leadership) to our own husbands. I don’t have to submit to YOUR husband 🙂
Notice that the verse says submit yourselves. It does NOT say that men are to force their wives into submission. It says that the wife is to voluntarily accept her position under her husband’s leadership.
As it is fitting unto the Lord: This means to be appropriate, convenient, and honoring to God.
God’s plan was for order. He gave the man the responsibility of leading the home. He gave the woman the place of support, help, assistance, cooperation, and respect for her husband’s leadership.
Now, let me make this very personal. I often joke that I was born on the one day of the year that best describes my character–Independence Day, July 4 🙂 I was supposed to come on the 20th of June, but my Mom always told me that even before I made my arrival, I was showing my independence. It is part of who I am to be self-sufficient. I want to do it myself. I want to figure it out myself. I have trouble asking for help. I don’t want anyone to take something from me and say, “Here, I’ll do it for you!” Those are fighting words! I couldn’t wait to leave home and go to college. It wasn’t because I was unhappy at home, far from it. It was because I was eager to get to the next thing. I needed to work to pay my way through school. I was on my own at age 18, and happy to be so. It never occurred to me to go to my parents with any problem I may have been having. It wasn’t that I decided not to. It just never crossed my mind.
So. How has all that worked out for me in my marriage? Oh, there have been days, believe me, when I resented having to set that independence aside and accept Terry’s leadership. It was a choice I made the day we said, “I do.” It’s been 52 years now, and we’re still in love, doing just fine. Have I always, every single time, sweetly submitted to Terry’s leadership? Don’t be silly. Of course not. It’s been a process, and what I have learned is that submitting to his leadership is a place of privilege, not punishment. I am privileged and protected, just as God planned it to be, by a man who has never been afraid to accept his responsibilities.
We haven’t aways agreed. Terry has always listened to my opinions and shown me respect for my thinking, my ideas, my needs. I can think of two times when he decided against my advice, and once the decision was made, I chose to accept it and make it work. I could have been resentful, and made his life miserable. What we fail to realize is that when we do that, our own lives are also miserable. Nobody wins.
More on this topic tomorrow, when we look at the next verse: Husbands, love your wives.