There is no topic more controversial in the scriptures than the topic of biblical submission. The very mention of the word causes hackles to be raised and teeth to be bared. Wives envision themselves in subjection as a slave, to her husband’s every whim. And husbands kind of like the idea of having a slave who has to do anything he orders. But that’s not biblical submission, and it certainly is NOT what the bible calls husbands and wives to. So put those claws back in their sheath, and let’s talk about what the bible really says.
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 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. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Ephesians 5:21-25 KJV
First, let’s remind ourselves that in marriage, God takes two lives and makes them into one: the two shall become one flesh. (Gen 2:24) Since God knows that anything with two heads is a monstrosity, he assigns different roles to the husband and wife.
Secondly, God does not instruct us to force one another into subjection, but to voluntarily submit ourselves to his plan, and to honor Him by taking our place in his plan. There is a huge difference between servitude and servanthood. Servitude is forced upon us and servanthood is a voluntary act of our own will.
God knows that in order to have a satisfying marriage, we need to change from two individuals who live to serve themselves, to a couple who live to serve and satisfy each other.
The apostle Paul implores us to be like our Lord:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Phil 2:5-8
Most of us will never need to take a bullet and die for our spouse. But what a privilege to live to serve them.