The word submission gives women all across this land heartburn just to hear it – and why? What is it about the idea of submission that makes so many women cringe at the very thought of it? What does the idea of submission even mean in the context of marriage? Why did God give the instruction if it’s such a terrible thing? Why do so many women feel it to be an insult? Is the act of submission a sign of weakness? Let’s talk about it.
I Peter 3:1-7 says, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
Here are 3 things that we can learn from 1 Peter regarding biblical submission:
It shows our FAITH
Submission is not easy, for by nature we are all selfish, independent beings. Who wants to be subject to another person? Not very many, if any. However, because of our profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we find joy in being obedient to His word. In Psalm 119:14 the psalmist exclaims, “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.” That rejoicing is a result of a heart that is fully submitted unto God. In order to submit to a husband, a woman must first find her joy in being submitted unto Christ. #SubmissionHasAMission
It shows our WISDOM
A wife submitted to God, and thereby submitted to her husband understands that in doing so, her demeanor and discernment will turn her husband toward Christ. Sometimes, a wife may have the better idea, and her husband just may decide to move without including her. In this passage, verses 1 and 2 show that sometimes, husbands will not always be obedient, but the woman who knows how to submit will always win his heart back to the Lord. “so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.” It takes great wisdom to know when to push your point, and when to back off. The woman who is submitted to God will not argue out of pride, but will instead allow the Holy Spirit to work in her husband.
It shows our STRENGTH
Verse 4 of I Peter chapter 3 paints a picture that many people – not just women – misunderstand. So many have the idea of a plain-Jane, docile, frumpy, and easily manipulated woman in Peter’s description of what a submitted woman should be. Let’s take the prototype woman in Proverbs 31 as an example. She had a family (vs. 11, 21), she had several useful skills (vs. 14-15;19 to name a few), she was a good cook (vs. 15), she was a business woman (vs 16), she was a local missionary (vs 20), she was well put together & stylish (vs. 22), … and she still was called blessed – by her husband. She earned the praise of her husband and children (vs. 28) because of her strength of character (vs. 29-31). Her husband was a boss (vs. 23), yet he still finds rest in her trustworthiness (vs. 11-12). It’s safe to say, that if she’s considered the prototype of virtue, she was likely also a wife fully submitted to her man… And nothing about her sounds frumpy or docile to me!
Although there is much more to say on the subject than these three points, what we certainly can gather is that when approached with optimism, and implemented well, women are much stronger when they are fully submitted than when they’re fighting it off. Imagine being “subject to your own husband,” exuding great faith in God, virtuous wisdom, and strength of character. I imagine you’ll definitely be more likely to be heard when you and your husband have opposing ideas, because he’ll trust that your goal is to work with him, and not against him. And if he doesn’t handle things correctly, he’ll have to answer to God – not you!
What are your thoughts on the matter? What things can we learn about submission?