Submission in marriage can be a confusing and controversial topic in our postmodern worldview. Often we think of submission as a struggle of dominance, of the weaker party submitting to the will of the stronger party. Unfortunately this has been abused over the years to the point that it has become a hot-button topic for many people, particularly for women. However, this idea of submission is not biblical and we want to present a healthier, biblical notion of submission in marriage.
As our working definition of submission is: to present for the approval, consideration or decision of another or others; consideration of each other. Let’s also break down submission into two levels: Practically and Spiritually.
Practical Submission involves the day to day running of the household. Here is where a couple needs to submit to one another and decide who does what. Practically speaking this can be divided based on each others strengths. Who is better at what? Remember, marriage makes you a team and in order for a team to exceed you need to know and play to each other’s strengths. So, you submit ideas, child discipline, chores, finances etc to each other for each other’s approval. Find out each other’s strengths and encourage each other in those strengths, while being considerate of each other.
Spiritually, submission involves the man setting the Spiritual climate of the house. For example, in our family, Terry ensures that our family knows that on Sunday mornings our family will be attending and serving at church. On Friday nights, the kids know they are going to be at youth program. When the church has big events, as a family we know we will be involved and serving at those events. Terry has made it his responsibility to set the spiritual atmosphere of the home by establishing a Christ centred family culture. As the man, this is essential. If you don’t set the culture and environment of your home, there are many other worldly influences that will.
In all things remember that Christ is our example. He submitted his life to the Father and is the head of the church. If the husband is following Christ and his individual life is in submission to Christ then following him and submitting to his leadership is safe and comfortable. Likewise, if the wife is following Christ and her life is submitted to him then submitting to her is safe and comfortable.
Marriage is God’s idea. If we follow Christ’s example of submission and consider each other in our submission then we are on the right path to a healthy and Godly marriage.