Part 2–Submit? You Must Be Kidding!
Submission cannot be obtained by force. It must be given freely. A person who tries to force his or her spouse to submit may succeed in getting that person to obey, but that type of compliance is servitude, not biblical submission. One would expect to see that in a master-slave relationship, not in a godly marriage.
Admittedly, however, submitting to your spouse willingly can be very difficult, even when he or she is right! As far back as the Garden of Eden, Eve issued her Declaration of Independence. Not honoring Adam’s authority as the head of the family, she took matters into her hands. Negotiating with the devil on her own, she made a monumental mistake that plunged the family into a life-time of trouble. This scenario would likely have been avoided had she respected the divine order and consulted her husband before talking to Satan. Instead, by usurping his authority, she severely weakened him in his role of protector and made the entire family vulnerable to the enemy.
Many couples could avoid the major conflicts and problems they are experiencing in marriage if they would accept the wisdom of God’s divine order and apply it in the manner prescribed. But many doubt. And even among those who believe, many apply the principles incorrectly.
Husbands often try to force their wives into submission. Wives, on the other hand, insist they will not submit appropriately to the headship of their husbands until they have demonstrated they are willing to love them like Christ loved the church. The result is often World War III!
While what we do is important, how we do so is equally important. Medicine intended to heal can kill, if taken wrongly. God’s prescription for healthy marriages can destroy an otherwise good relationship, if misapplied. In telling husbands and wives what to do, God also provided guidelines concerning how to do so.
And here is how.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23, 24 NKJV)
Husbands should exercise their headship and wives their submission “as unto the Lord.” This means their desire should be to please Him, and not themselves. Then the way they respond to each other will be an expression of their worship and their gratitude for His love for them. And when the motive is to honor Christ, the husband will exercise his headship in a manner that makes his wife secure and she will submit in a way that meets his need to feel strong and significant.
Everybody gets blessed and everybody’s needs are met when we do things God’s way! God is so wise. God is so good.