In my observations, the bible is taken out of context by some when it comes to women submitting to their husbands and vice versa. A subservient 50’s style housewife is an out-dated picture that doesn’t fit with modern day masses of women holding full time working careers while taking care of their families.
Being submissive to our spouse isn’t a mindless act of subservience but instead it is an informed choice and an act of love and respect. The bible calls for mutual submission of both men and women to each other. When a husband and wife act out of mutual submission, their love grows and flows into all aspects of their life including their intimacy.
Mutual submission and equality when it comes to love & respect in a marriage
From a Christian perspective, while we are to mutually submit to each other, we are also to treat our husbands with the love and respect they deserve. They too are to treat us with the same love and respect.
If I’ve learnt anything is that marriage shouldn’t be a struggle for power, but a union powered by love. Yes, a power union!
What men and women need to keep in mind
A woman’s submission is not a license for a man to overpower a woman or mistreat her in any way. A man’s submission is not a woman’s license to nag or say and do as she pleases.
Marriage is an ongoing commitment to love one another where submission to each other is purposeful in cultivating unity and intimacy in a relationship where couples can show appreciation and share loving affection for one another. The bible says that man and woman become one flesh. This describes what happens spiritually and physically, but also mentally within the relationship and even though we are individuals, we become one.
When submission is not OK.
Husbands and wives aren’t to sin against God. Nor are we to allow our husbands to cause us to sin. This includes sexual sin. We need spiritual boundaries!
“A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.” A quote from the book, ’Boundaries’ by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend have written another excellent book titled, “Boundaries within Marriage”.
What about turning the other cheek?
Turning the other cheek does not mean turning a blind eye! Nor does it mean we should allow a man or a woman to be violent against us, verbally, physically or otherwise. Mental abuse is as damaging as physical abuse. Sin must be confronted.
“I have plans not to harm you, but rather plans for you to prosper”. Jeremiah 29:11
How to confront Sin
In everything we do, even when we are angry we are not to sin. Ephesians 4:26
The bible instructs us to gently and humbly confront one another. Galatians 6: 1-2
What you can do when you are angry to calm yourself down:
- PRAY – Pray for your husband or wife and spend time in prayer seeking the Lord before having this conversation asking for God’s direction and timing.
- REPENT – Search your own heart and repent of sins, now you’ve repented and are forgiven show your husband or wife the same grace.
- RELEASE – Go for a walk to cool down then, determine to leave it in God’s hands once you’ve said your piece and let go of any unrealistic expectations.
- PRAY – Pray for your wife or husband seeking his/her wellbeing.
- FORGIVE – Forgive your wife or husband. When trust is lost it also becomes difficult to regain. Marriage counselling can help couples learn to start over.
- TALK TO A CHURCH ELDER – If he continues to sin then talk to your church elders.
- SEEK COUNSELLING – Talk to a counsellor who is a trained listener.
By Sandra Ciminelli
Search for one near you www.theaca.org.au
Relationships Australia1300 364 277
24-Hour Telephone Counselling
Numbers to call if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide.
Lifeline on 13 11 14
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978