Why Should My Wife Obey Me? {Lessons in Biblical Submission}

Let me begin this potentially (potentially?!?!) controversial article by making it abundantly clear that my wife is an absolutely amazing woman. She is smart, sexy, strong, brave, confident, wise, Godly, and apparently (given that her husband is writing an article entitled, “Why Should My Wife Obey me?”), more longsuffering than any canonized saint. I mean, they probably already have a statue built of her in heaven’s town square just for putting up with me!

Don’t get me wrong: she’s not perfect, but neither am I. I have a LONG list of faults, any of which she would be glad to tell you IF she were that kind of wife (fortunately for me, she isn’t). Suffice it to say that I firmly believe she is a better person than I am, and she makes me want to be a better man every day that I am married to her. I owe everything, from my happiness to my children to anything I’ve managed to accomplish in this world, to the remarkable helpmate God gave to stand beside me.

“Beside,” and not “behind,” you ask? After all, I’m writing an article supposedly to make the case that my wife should, horror of all horrors, OBEY me… ME!!! WHO in the name of Barbara Streisand do I think I am? Why, I must think really highly of myself to be deluded with that kind of self-aggrandizing pomposity!

Actually, that’s far from the case. The truth is, I’m no more qualified to head my household than I was to receive salvation from God – which is to say not at all. I’ve done nothing, absolutely nothing, to deserve the headship of my home. In fact, sometimes the thought of being responsible for leading my wife and four children scares me to death! Certainly, any wisdom and strength I have for the task is completely God-given.

So that all begs the question – why on EARTH would I even try to make this case, when virtually the entire population has been programmed to think it tantamount to coming home from work, putting on a ‘wife-beater,’ sitting on the couch in front of the TV and screaming at the ‘old lady’ to bring a light and a cold one, pronto? The laundry can wait, at least until dinner is on the table and the dishes are put away! Sadly, this is probably not far off from the way those of us who believe in Biblical submission are viewed by many.

Why Should My Wife Obey Me? Lessons in Biblical Submission ~ ABiblicalMarriage.com

The answer to the question, of course, despite the politically correct mantra of our age, is Biblical. Here are two Pauline passages Hillary Clinton would love to purge:

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”  Ephesians 5:23

 

“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”  Ephesians 5:33

 

From sitcom and Hollywood portrayals of weak, inept husbands and fathers living in households run by dominant females to actual anti-male public policy, there can be no doubt that traditional, Biblical marriage has been under attack for a long time. In truth, both extremes – the idea of the “Modern Family” and all it stands for with its domineering females who run the home with an iron fist and warped family values on one side, and the “wife-as-doormat” oppressive brand of Christianity that is nothing but abuse, be it verbal or physical – are wrong. The true Biblical stance is the balance between the two extremes that forms happy, fulfilling, and functional families.

So, in defiance of political correctness and in light of Scripture and common sense, here are five reasons why I believe my wife should obey me, despite my MANY faults, foibles, and utter inadequacy for the job.

Five Reasons Why My Wife Should Obey Me

1) I love her

The Bible says we should love Christ BECAUSE Christ first loved us. Paul also compares male headship of the house to Christ being the head of the church. Loving our wives is God’s primary command to us toward them (Ephesians 5:25). If we love our wives as we are called to do, to the point of chivalry, consideration, protection, and self-sacrifice, it’s naturally easy for the wife to submit to her husband. After all, she knows he has her best interest at heart.

2) I consider her my equal

In the eyes of God, there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female (Galatians 3:28). This doesn’t mean there aren’t hierarchies of ‘command’ here on earth, but is a 5-star general any more loved by God than a 4-star general, or even a private (yeah kids, that’s you – better keep practicing those salutes and “yes, sirs” and “ma’ams!” :) )? Of course not! There is nothing ‘demeaning’ to the wife because she is Biblically submissive to her husband.

3) In leadership, two is a crowd

In every successful organization, from churches to businesses to schools to armies to nations, while responsibilities are shared, ultimately the buck stops somewhere, and that somewhere is the person at the top. The truth is, life is full of hierarchies, and they aren’t all bad.

An organization with more than one CEO, like a ship with more than one rudder, ultimately goes nowhere. Imagine if there were two Presidents with equal powers. Although both understand and agree that football is the best sport (duh!), one wants to invade Canada and stop hockey (because we all know hockey really should be stopped!) while the other wants to invade South America to rid the hemisphere of soccer. All are admirable goals, but do we really have the capacity to conduct both operations efficiently? I think not.

While the person in charge should certainly get advice from those he is responsible for, someone has to make the final decision. Common sense says, otherwise, nothing of consequence gets done.

4) I seek her input

A husband would be foolish to never seek the counsel of his wife (OK maybe Job should have left it alone, but that’s a topic for another day!). What kind of leader never asks for the advice of his co-workers? A horribly ineffective one! While the husband should be the head of his home, marriage is ultimately a partnership. Two heads are always better than one. Obtaining my wife’s counsel and seeking her consent, especially on decisions of consequence, is an important part of a thriving relationship. God gave us our wives to be our helpmates, the other halves of our whole. Their unique point of view is meant to balance, and often temper ours.

Ultimately, the principle of ‘headship’ is important. The man, as the ‘head,’ has a duty to listen to all the other parts of the body. He is responsible to his family and finally to God for the decisions he makes. A wise husband will always heavily consider the counsel of his wife. In our marriage, my wife and I will sometimes disagree strongly on something. We’ll hash it out, and usually, eventually, we come to a compromise or even total agreement. Rarely is there ever a fork in the road where I make a decision that she disagrees with, but she respects my position as head of our household to make those decisions when they must be made. For me, that is a heavy responsibility never to be taken lightly. I always ask for her advice, and it is with great prayer and trepidation that I EVER make a decision without the consent of my wife.

5) The Bible says so

 I realize this isn’t going to fly with non-Christians, but to Christians who are reading this – as much as I hate to play this card, I’m gonna… I didn’t write it, God did! In the most fundamental building block of society, the family, God happens to have ordained the man to be the head of the house. In order for the holy state of matrimony to accurately reflect the nature of Christ’s relationship with His church, it has to be this way.

OK, a few caveats

- because, as you could imagine, this is a principle that has been heavily abused in history and even by some Christians today:

1) It is NEVER a man’s responsibility to ‘make’ his wife obey him.

That is always her choice, and ultimately is between her and God. To the man who has an unbelieving or un-submissive spouse, my advice would be to work on the principles and directives given to the husband – namely self-sacrificing love, chivalry, and affection; pray for her, and let God work in her heart. In the end, the only person we can change is ourselves, so (obviously) don’t be a bully!

2) True Biblical submission is always a give and take.

The Bible, while ordaining male headship of the household, also commands both parties to render benevolence to each other (I Corinthians 7:3). And again, it commands the husband to love his wife, to give himself for her as Christ gave Himself for the church.

3) Utilize, don’t suppress, the talents and capacities God has given your wife.

The Proverbs 31 woman considered a field and bought it. Be a good delegator! And just as she should for you, support your wife in her interests and endeavors, especially as she uses her unique talents for the Lord.

So there you have it, the principle of Biblical submission from a traditional Christian male point of view. While I fully understand that this isn’t a popular stand nowadays, I truly hope those of you whose knees are (understandably) jerking back into your chest will prayerfully consider this view in light of Scripture and common sense.

When the wife fulfills her God-given purpose and role in the home, she truly exemplifies the poetic words of Solomon, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31: 11-12

 

Scott and Kim Morefield have been married for over ten years. They live in East Tennessee with their four children (one boy and three girls), ages 8, 6, 4, and 2, all of whom make excellent fodder for their blog at A Morefield Life (connect with them on Facebook), where parenting is just one of the topics covered. They also enjoy writing about marriage, nutrition & recipes, healthy lifestyle, homesteading, and other topics, all from a Christian perspective. Additionally, Scott's articles have appeared on Natural News, WorldNetDaily, The Liberty Crier, Infowars, Wake-up World, The Daily Sheeple, and many other sites.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for writing this! It’s nice to hear it from a husband’s point of view. I’m working at being that Christian, Biblically-submissive wife, and it’s nice to read something from other half :)

  2. I could not agree more! My husband and I are both young, (19 and 21) but we both made the decision to have a Godly marriage. And that means I have to, and want to be submissive to him. The more we focus on God, the happier we are as a couple!

  3. I agree that the Bible is clear that the husband is to lead the family. However, I don’t agree that the Bible directs women to obey their husbands. In my mind, obedience and submission are not the same thing. Children and slaves are directed to obey, but wives are not. Obedience doesn’t involve any thought or choice – you just do what the other person says. All Christians are directed to submit to one another, so I am assuming that Biblical submission doesn’t mean blind obedience. Clearly there is also a specific directive regarding wives submitting to their husbands, but it’s also presented in the whole context of submission to one another. I don’t see many younger men in the church blindly obeying the older men, even though they are to “submit” to them. I think you’re being unnecessarily provacative by using the word “obey,” and are contributing to the prevailing cultural belief that Christians are living in the Dark Ages.

    • Hello G,
      You’re right – the ‘obedience’ referred to here certainly isn’t the same as slaves or children. :) The tone of my article called for the ‘provocative’ title first, then (hopefully) a reasonable, Biblical response to that. Certainly, many Christians of old held the extreme view, and too many Christians today hold to the other extreme. The balance, as stated in the article, is somewhere in the middle. The title is meant to dictate a correct definition, to explain what is meant to those who might misuse that provocative term.

      That said, let’s face it – in any household the rubber really can meet the road at times. We are dealing with two individuals living together who, no matter how much they have in common, will sometimes have differing opinions. On a certain matter of importance they might come to an impasse. In those situations, the final ‘authority,’ or responsibility if you will, should fall to the husband. There the wife would certainly be called to ‘obey.’ Too many marriages are lost because people do not have a proper understanding of Biblical headship. These days the divorce rate among Christians is just as high as among non-Christians. Clearly, we are doing something wrong!

      But no, a husband who treats his wife like a slave isn’t practicing the kind of headship Christ would, now is he? So no, I don’t believe Paul is calling for the wife to wait on a tyrant hand and foot, etc… that would present a whole other set of problems and solutions. Biblical headship isn’t about abuse!

      God bless,
      Scott

      • This is a tad off topic (but you brought it up :) )…there are actually studies that show that the divorce rate for couples of faith is much less than those who aren’t practicing their faith together. I think the descriptor of “Christian” is too generic in our culture these days. Anyone who isn’t Jewish or Muslim etc calls themselves Christian when being surveyed or filling out a form. That being said, deliberate active partnership in spiritual growth – couples who are going to church together, praying together, reading the word together have a significantly lower divorce rate.
        Alecia recently posted…The Truth About AffairsMy Profile

  4. WELL SAID SCOTT AND I AGREE COMPLETELY . I ALSO ASK FOR COUNSEL FROM DIANNA ON DECISIONS THAT WE BOTH HAVE TO LIVE WITH AND ALSO SEEK HER INPUT ON THE LITTLE THINGS .
    I VALUE HER INPUT. SOON TO BE 45 YEARS IN MARRIAGE TO A PERSON I CARE FOR DEEPLY AND RESPECT IS OUR TESTAMENT TO WHAT YOU WROTE .

  5. It’s so nice to see this from a man’s perspective! Women get really defensive when other women write about submission… I should know, I’ve written about submission! You’ve written about this important truth succinctly and honestly. Thank you for being so strong in Scripture and the Gospel. Bottom line, we love–and obey–because Christ first loved us!
    Jaimie recently posted…Trust in God, not in myselfMy Profile

  6. This was well written and you did such a wonderful job of explaining from the hubby’s point of view! I resisted this in my marriage and only through God’s teaching and husband’s love have we grown into a healthy married relationship. It truly makes all the difference in the world. And honestly, God is giving us a very clear command out of His love for us so that our lives would reflect that love. Who are we to question that or conform it to our beliefs? Thanks for this post! :)

  7. Amen and Amen!!! How brave of you to write this!! It is so true. Alot people who oppose this concept are really missing out. Being a submissive wife (and yes, even OBEYING) brings a trust and intimacy to your marriage. It is so honoring to your husband and in return gets the wife a HUGE amount of respect from him. And where there is respect, there is honor, love, committment, compassion, and the list goes on. There are so many rewards to following this Biblical principle. (And in the case of disputes and disagreements, a woman can always use her wisdom and womanly charm to persuade her husband! : ) LOL)

  8. Thank you for sticking your neck out…This is wisdom…and excellent encouragement for husbands that are afraid of taking hold of being the leader in their homes…coupled with wives joyfully submitting to their husbands…it’s the foundation of true selfless love.

  9. Hello! I am only 18 and my husband 19. While we are young, not only in life, but in understanding the Truth of Christ, we work together in order to have a forever-lasting relationship through our Lord. Realistically, however, before the Bible was ever even brought to my attention, I already knew what God wanted of me, especially in reference to marriage. It took me a very long time to figure out that God has been speaking to me for so long, directing my actions, even though I never acknowledged Him. Although we have a lot to learn, we both know the importance of having a head of the household. I’ve always wanted to be a Biblically Submissive wife, and I find pride and happiness in it. Our relationship, though young, is a beautiful thing. We read scripture together, talk about its meaning, ask questions from our Christian family members and friends to reach a deeper understanding together. We understand compromise, and so far, my husband has not needed to make a decision without me. But I very well know one day he will. And when that time comes, I trust in him, as I trust in the Lord, to make the best decision for us. Thank you for this wonderful article. I could never get the words out to explain that being a submissive wife, through the Bible, is not about abuse and commanding your wife to do things that would not make her happy. It’s a wonderful thing and creates happy homes! Thanks again and God Bless!

  10. Samantha Cupp says:

    Pleasantly surprised. Great article and I have to agree with it for the most part. What makes it easier to accept when agreeing that the man is the head?….knowing the woman is the neck :)

    • Felicai says:

      I love the analogy of the woman being the neck of the man. Because it’s so true, the way we act, the way we present stuff to our husbands, the way we whine or praise all turns him in a direction. Women, for better or worse lol, are quite skilled at getting what they want.
      Felicai recently posted…Lordy lordy look who’s turning….?My Profile

  11. Thank you for this post! I know what a difficult job it is for a woman to write about biblical submission -and I am extremely well aware of how much more difficult it is for a man to write about this topic. Thank you for your biblical focus, your humility and for this beautiful masculine point of view on God’s design!

    Love it!
    April recently posted…Joyful Submission and a BoatMy Profile

  12. I really like this article. I agree that with all of your reasons for why a women should defer to her husband. I especially liked the humble way in which he prefaced his points. I would like to see the writer take this and delve deeper spiritually for readers (especially women who may be struggling with this and whom are with husbands who have since become passive) and go in deeper about what his wife’s submission does for him spiritually and how he thinks a wife’s conscious choice to let/encourage her man be in the driver’s seat (no matter the issue) facilitates growth in each of them. For example, I’m learning that the more I consciously submit to my husband during an argument and allow him to make his point (even if I feel disregarded, ignored, or that he is just plain wrong), the more he softens to the spirit of God and begins to respond in a caring way toward my feelings. It doesn’t mean I have to “fake nice”- he’d see through that anyways!- but it does mean I should honor him enough to put my feelings on pause and try to be understanding of his point of view and see what he is expressing from his heart. #i’maworkinprogress

  13. Scott, this is great! I came across your site from Peacefulwife Blog.

    “From sitcom and Hollywood portrayals of weak, inept husbands and fathers living in households run by dominant females to actual anti-male public policy, there can be no doubt that traditional, Biblical marriage has been under attack for a long time.” This resounded with me because those words could have come right out of my mouth. In fact, I have talked about what I call the “dumbing down” of the husband in sitcoms — with my hubby, friends and family. It is so sad, because a true Biblical marriage is a joy to God and to both husband and wife.

    Blessings!
    ~Anna

  14. This is worded beautifully and really exemplifies the ideal situation. The problem I have is getting my husband to embrace that head of household role! He could BE one of those husbands on current TV, always turning things over to me to decide, run with, etc. I’d rather it be him. I’m trying to instill that confidence in him, but it’s hard to do.

    • Jason Balmet says:

      Hi Lisa! Thanks, we’re glad you liked the article!

      You are describing a very common and problematic situation, and yes, it can be VERY hard to deal with that kind of situation. We actually have an article on how wives can encourage their husbands to lead that might be of some help to you: http://abiblicalmarriage.com/when-he-wont-lead/

  15. Thank you for this post. Even after almost 16 years of marriage, I only became a born again Christian in the last few years. We are an unequally yoked couple. But it works if you want it to. My Rooster is a very strong man and was raised in an old tradition. I have been a homemaker/stay at home Mom since my daughter was born in 2004. So we had the basic foundation.

    Thanks again for your input.

    God Bless and have a wonderful day.
    Amy recently posted…Is time alone possible?? LOLMy Profile

  16. Felicai says:

    *claps* Thank you so much for writing this. It’s so wonderful to see the mans perspective on this issue. My husband and I have, for lack of a better word, practiced biblical submission for the last 5 1/2 years of our 6 1/2 year marriage. After nearly divorcing the end of the first year because of the fighting led by both of us trying to lead I realized that I needed to step back and trust in God and in God’s trust that my husband is going to take care of me.

    I hope this helps the non-biblical submission community understand that we wives who obey are husbands are in no way doormats.

    I am sharing this link and the follow up article on my blog this week, because I love them so much.
    Felicai recently posted…Lordy lordy look who’s turning….?My Profile

  17. Not all is written here is true for everybody. I am a seven day adventist and my husband is orthodox. I am with my husband for almost 30 years. In the beginning I let him lead us, but every-time I was disappointed by his choice and by the results. I tried to speak to him and make him see that the end results are not good for our family. When ever I spoke nicely and calm, he never listen to me, he just keep on saying I did not know anything or if I asked him to do something he just ignored me. After a while, I just changed the tactic. First I said it nicely, then I insisted and finely I screamed what I needed. You can not believe but today he is listening to what I want to say and is doing what needs to be done. We both work, I work more than him, we both need to do work at home , we both need to educate our son. In the beginning he use to say that he is the man and I must obey, but now he sees that I am smarter than him( I am a student in biomedical science) and whenever I said that something is not a good route to follow, or a good thing to do, he is listening. I believe that God gave me the brain to think and not go blindly forward just because another person says he is my leader.

  18. I believe some of you are not saying all of what needs to be said.
    We are in the last days and there is a. Lot of sin I and around us. God wants us to be prepared to meet the spiritual warfare that we will meet with. That is why we must also talk to the husbands about their responsibilities. Surely you all cannot expect for the wives to do all the hard work and then praise on these husbands. Do you all really believe that godlikes you all’s methods?

    Also please write the scripture that uses the word obey in reference to wives and husbands.

    I also would like for Kim and Scott to tell me where the article is that ltalks to husbands about their commands from God in reference to a couple’ s marriage. Everything is not about the husband . Please include in your articles the responsibilities of the husband .

    I would also like to see other Readers admit and acknowledge that Godtdlls justo submit to. One another. There are some situations where a husband will not and should not expectthewife. To. Give in go his decisions. We all know those situations. I will elaborate if someone requests.

    In summary, if we are what we say we are, then we will do all that God asks of us. We must be fair and just and do it right. We must not scold and lecture wives unless we scold
    And lecture husbands. The world is sinful not just because of females, but the males mostly. Please be fair. We must talk to the husbands too.

    Stop telling women to respect unless you are going to tell men to love and honor their wives the way God told him to!! After all the husbands are the leaders not the wives and they are servant leaders.

  19. There is only one reason why a woman should obey her husband: that the bible was written in a sexist time. This article is a disgrace, we should accept the skewed point of view of the time, forget that these words were ever uttered and move on in equality and love. Captain of a ship? CEO of a company? There is no way. A family isn’t a job to be controlled, a woman isn’t an object to bend to your will. A loving relationship does not require leaders, just equality, respect and love. I am thankful that my own man would never have the gall to even think of himself as leading me: we have built a strong, real, equal relationship with mutual leading in our lives. The twentyfirst century is here, baby: wake up and smell the feminism.

  20. I really think it comes down to being willing to let your husband take care of you.

  21. Thank you for that link! I pray it helps me guide him in the right direction. :)
    Lisa recently posted…Christmas, New Year and all that jazzMy Profile

Trackbacks

  1. [...] as much say in how it’s spent. This type of attitude can cause serious discord within a marriage. This is not how God intended marriage to be, God’s word lays out direction for the husband’s role in marriage. “For the husband is the [...]

  2. [...] {And before you all start the debate on submission and obedience, get an understanding of what those mean in the heart of a follower of Christ — it’s not about being a doormat. It’s a mutual ideal, not just about a woman catering to the every beck and call of her man. Read these: What  Does It Mean for a Wife to Submit to Her Husband? and Why Should My Wife Obey Me?} [...]

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