How A Husband Should Handle His Wife’s Submission

Submit is a verb. Submitting is a voluntary action. That means it is something we ourselves do. It’s not something we make someone else do. Just as we can’t force another person to love us, we can’t force someone to submit to us either. Of course we can make that person do what we want. But then that’s not true submission.

Submission is a choice we make. It’s something each one of us must decide to do. And this decision happens first in the heart. If we don’t decide in our hearts that we are going to willingly submit to whomever it is we need to be submitted to, then we are not truly submitting.

This may be shocking news to you, but an overwhelming majority of wives in my survey said they want to submit to their husbands. They want their husbands to be the head of the home, and they have no desire to usurp that God-given position of leadership. They know what the Bible says on the subject, and discerning wives want to do what God wants because they understand that God’s ways work best.

However, problems often arise in this area because a wife is afraid to submit to her husband for two reasons:

Reason #1: Her husband thinks submission is only a noun, and he uses it as a weapon.
Reason #2:
Her husband has himself not made the choice in his heart to be fully submitted to God.

Okay, okay! I know that God did not say a wife needs to submit to her husband only if he proves to be worthy. Submission is a matter of trusting in God more than trusting in man. But a wife will more easily make the choice to submit to her husband if she knows that he has made the choice to submit to the Lord. It will be a sign to her that it is safe to submit to him. And the goal here is to help her, not force her, into proper alignment.

Many a wife has a hard time trusting that her husband is hearing from God if he doesn’t appear to be submitted to God in the way he treats her. Wives know that after the verse “Wives, submit to your own husbands” (Ephesians 5:22), the Bible says “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (verse 25). Christ doesn’t neglect, ignore, demean or abuse the church. He doesn’t treat her rudely or disrespectfully. He never acts arrogantly or insensitively toward her. Nor does He criticize her and make her feel she is not valuable. Rather He loves her, protects her, provides for her, and cares for her. So while God gives the husband a position of leadership in relationship to his wife, He also requires the price of self-sacrifice from him.

When Wives Hold Back
The big question in many women’s minds is, “If I submit myself to my husband, will I become a doormat for him to walk on?” The answer to that question depends entirely upon whether her husband believes he should love his wife like Christ loves the church and willingly sacrifices himself for her —or thinks that submission is a noun and that it is something owed him. In other words, does he only consider his desires and opinions, to the exclusion of hers?

A wife has a hard time giving her husband the reins to her life if she doesn’t believe she can trust him to have her best interests at heart as he steers the course of their lives together. She has trouble going along with his decisions when he refuses to consider her thoughts, feelings, and insights on the subject. And if she has submitted to a male in the past and her trust was violated in some way, it is even more difficult for her to trust now.

On the other hand, a woman will do anything for a man who loves her like Christ loves the church. Submission is easy under these conditions. I know a number of women who are married to unbelieving husbands and who have no problem submitting to their husbands, because in each case the husband loves his wife like Christ loves the church, even though he doesn’t know Christ.

Too often people confuse “submit” with “obey.” But they are not the same thing. The Bible gives commands about obeying other people only in regard to children and slaves, and in the context of the local church. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh” (Ephesians 6:5). “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account” (Hebrews 13:17). Since a wife is neither her husband’s child nor his servant, and the local church isn’t part of a marriage, the word “obey” has no application to the relationship between a husband and a wife.

Submission means “to submit yourself.” In light of that, when a husband demands submission from his wife, it is no longer true submission. And his demands can become intimidating and oppressive, which breeds resentment. When a husband is more interested in his wife’s submission to him than he is in his own submission to God, then submission becomes a tool to hurt and destroy.

I have seen too many marriages between strong Christian people —high-profile Christian leaders, in fact —end in divorce because the husband demanded submission and resorted to verbal or physical abuse in order to get it. My husband has even counseled men like that, men who refused to hear that losing their family was a horrible price to pay for being “right.” How much better it would have been for the husband to submit himself to God’s hand and then pray for his wife to be able to come into proper order. This kind of situation occurs far too often.

When we submit to God, He doesn’t suppress who we are. He frees us to become who we’re made to be, within the boundaries of His protection. When a wife submits to her husband, she comes under his covering and protection, and this frees her to become all God created her to be. Trust me, you want that for your wife. Her greatest gifts will prove to be your greatest blessing.

If you feel that your wife is not submissive, pray for her to have a submissive heart, first toward God and then toward you. Then ask God to help you love her the way He does. I guarantee that you will see her submission level rise in direct proportion to the unselfish love you exhibit for her. And let her see that you are seeking God for guidance. If she knows that you are asking God to show you the way, she will follow you anywhere.

Please pray for your wife that:

  1. She will understand what submission really is.
  2. She will be able to submit in the way God wants her to.
  3. You will be completely submitted to God.
  4. She will trust God as He works in you.
  5. You will take your position as spiritual leader.
  6. She will trust you to be the head of the family.
  7. Submission will not be a point of contention in your marriage.

PRAYER POWER: Lord, I submit myself to You this day. Lead me as I lead my family. Help me to make all decisions based on Your revelation and guidance. As I submit my leadership to You, enable (wife’s name) to fully trust that You are leading me. Help her to understand the kind of submission You want from her. Help me to understand the kind of submission You want from me. Enable me to be the leader You want me to be.

Where there are issues over which we disagree, help us to settle them in proper order. I pray that I will allow You, Lord, to be so in control of my life that my wife will be able to freely trust Your Holy Spirit working in me. Help me to love her the way You love me, so that I will gain her complete respect and love. Give her a submissive heart and the faith she needs to trust me to be the spiritual leader in our home. At the same time, help us to submit “to one another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21). I know that only You, Lord, can make that perfect balance happen in our lives.

The above article comes from the book, The Power of a Praying® Husband, written by Stormie Omartian, published by Harvest House. This book has 20 short, easy-to-read chapters which share how you can intercede for your wife in areas where she longs for your prayers. There is also advice, personal stories from well-known Christian men, and words from Scripture that will also help you in praying for your wife.

— ALSO —

To learn more on this subject, please click onto the web site link below to read a related article written by Dr Norm Wright:



Filed under: For Married Men

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127 responses to “How A Husband Should Handle His Wife’s Submission

  1. My husband will randomly make comments like, “Get out of MY house.” Or sometimes I’ll seclude myself in a room to fold clothes/clean so I won’t disturb him and he’ll randomly walk in and want that room to himself and will tell me, “turn that off… This is MY HOUSE and I can do WHAT I want WHEN I want!” Basically he makes me feel as though we aren’t even married and I don’t even live there. I mean, even if the house is in his name …he should still make me feel as though it’s our home, right, because we’re married? I clean “his” house everyday, help with finances (he does work full time while I am part time though… But I take care of my 5 yr old too, bring her to and from school and activities etc).

    I do love my husband… he doesn’t make those comments every single day or anything… But often enough. I have submitted and let him be the head of the household… And he is submitted to the Lord …But I just want advice on how to handle this issue because he shouldn’t make hurtful comments like that. He breaks my heart every time he makes comments like that …makes me feel like nothing and that being married doesn’t matter. But maybe I’m wrong to feel that way?

    1. Angela, It’s difficult to say this, but he is not “submitted to the Lord” if he could do these things to you. That is taking advantage of being a “leader” in any way. He is acting clueless as to the covenant partnership he entered into when he married you. Cleaving together as the Bible says does not give a spouse the right to say “get out of MY house” –it is both of yours. You both work together in different ways to make it your home… or at least both of you should see it that way. To be as unloving as to say and do the things you relate to us shows he is not living with you, his wife, in an “understanding way” as he is told to do in the Bible. If he were to read Ephesians 5 & 1 Peter 3 — concentrating on his role as a husband, he would see this.

      You ask if you are “wrong” to have the feelings of a broken heart and spirit. My answer is no. You are not wrong at all. He is not acting in a loving, partnering way. That would hurt any wife, to be treated that way. But then you have to ask yourself, “what can I do about this?” Honestly, I’m not sure. But I know that God can show you, as you look to Him and learn of Him and His ways, to work through these types of situations. Your husband needs prayer and he needs a wake-up call that this is not the way to treat his wife. You need wisdom as to what you can do so you are not treated as a door mat. Please talk to the Lord (continually)… know that your “cause” of working on these types of relationship issues are important and yet delicate. I pray the Lord gives you insight and wisdom, a backbone, yet gives you a spirit of not allowing pride and a victim mentality to overtake your thoughts and actions. Be wise. Seek wisdom, and then do what the Lord shows you. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    2. He is abusing you and taking advantage of you. You might do well to leave and be somewhere you can say it’s OURS.

    3. You do not deserve hurtful remarks at any time. Something is going on within him and his heart that needs healing. Whether he is a believer or non-believer he should know and may not have been taught how to treat someone that you love. How did his father figure treat his mom? There could be so many reasons why he is this way. I would pray without ceasing that God’s will be done and anoint your home and his belongings with blessed oil. Either God will restore him or remove him. But for you, stay humbled and loving as God has gifted you.

    4. Hello. First off, how about you tell your actions or words in these situation because I have learned from dealing with my wife it’s always two sides of the fence.

  2. I’m just trying to get an answer, my question is: If my husband asks me not to go to Church, should I not go? Or should I obey him and stay home?

    1. Darlene, This sure is a tough question. I guess this is probably something you’ll want to ask a pastor –maybe not your pastor, because he may be a bit partial one way or another, I’m not sure. But it’s good to get good, godly counsel on something as important as this. I’m not a counselor, nor a theologian but I can tell you prayerfully that as I read your question, I was reminded me of the situation with Rahab the prostitute hiding the men of God (as told in Joshua chapters 2-6). She went against the law, and yet God’s will prevailed. Also, Abigail in 1 Samuel 25 had a husband who went against God’s ways of doing things and God worked through her, even though she approached matters differently than her husband wanted. Queen Esther was another example of those who went a contrary way and yet God worked through them.

      Also, I’m reminded of the midwives that didn’t kill the Israelites babies (in Moses’ time), as they were told to do and then Jochebed, the mother of Moses went against the law and hid Moses, putting him in a reed basket to try to save him. We all know how God eventually used that to help his people. And then I’m reminded of Jesus healing on the Sabbath and King David feeding his men on the Sabbath –how God used those situations to do what HE wanted, rather than man’s. But it sure doesn’t make sense to us as human beings. We would write the Bible differently if we were going by the letter of the law.

      I’m writing all of this to tell you that this is a matter of prayer –something you need to talk to God about and decide what wisdom He is giving you in particular, as it pertains to your husband telling you to do something you aren’t sure you should. I’ve known of some wives who don’t go because of the request of their husbands. Sometimes they can do okay with this and others don’t… they find themselves having a tougher time spiritually. I guess that would be a big issue… could you do okay if you didn’t go to church?

      I’ve known of some wives that secretly go to church, and don’t tell their husbands and God seems to close their husband’s eyes to this. I’ve known of others who instead go to other types of spiritual gatherings… sometimes even watching it on TV or listening on radio, and/or meeting with a few spiritual friends to grow that way. But what it all comes down to is, just like in the examples in the Bible, God can lead differently sometimes. You have to know how God is leading YOU in this type of situation. Jesus told the pharisees who were telling Him that He was breaking the law by doing some things on the Sabbath that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” You have to know what GOD is telling you to do here.

      In the matter of submitting to your husband, you have to consider whether Jesus would see it as more important to follow your unbelieving husband on this particular issue, or not. Does God have a bigger plan for you if you stayed home or if you went, or went quietly another way? Ask God, which would YOU have me do? I can’t answer this for you. But if your not going to church in any way, shape, or form would cause you to drift from God… I’m thinking He wouldn’t have you stay away completely. I recommend you read through the “Spiritual Matters” topic on this web site because we have quite a few articles that address the “unbelieving spouse” issue that you may find helpful. I pray wisdom for you and strength to do what God directs you to do.

    2. Hi, you are asked to submit only to matters that are Godly. First you must submit to God as is required of all humans, then your husband. Asking you to stop going to church is not of God so you should obey God first in these matters. Hebrews 10:25 “You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming”.

    3. We are suppose to follow God’s laws not compromise them. You should ask him how he feels. You shouldn’t but over all accept his desicion then pray on it. God said “submit” then submit it’s nothing wrong with following. The world may tell it you are weak but almost all the ones calling you weak don’t have a successful marriage!!!!! Let no one put assunder what God has put together and be specific when praying!!! We can exchange posts here if you have questions. I’m married and going through the same thing with my wife now.

  3. Hi! I’ve just had an argument with my husband. He always says that I am not submitting to him. This is just an example, but we have arguments like this all the time. This time we got into an argument about Santa Claus, I said that it was lying; he says that you can’t lie to a kid. He wants me to agree with him, but I can’t! I told him when the kids come I would respect him but I really don’t agree with him, because for me it’s lying. And he told me to pray about all the traumas I’ve been carrying from my childhood, and to start being humble :( I can’t stop crying and I don’t know if I just have to keep my mouth shut when I have a different opinion or what should I do? My husband is very loving and if he is wrong I would want us to work it out. Please help, this is destroying me! And sorry, english is not my language.

    1. I know that the Bible tells us to not do what we believe to be wrong. And I know the Bible tells us to not lie. I would suggest to read the verse in the Bible about not lying. Does it specifically say not to lie to certain people OR does it say not to lie at all? I would say it is saying not to lie at all. I think we are to obey God first and then submit to husbands. This would be your choice to make.

      But if I was in your situation, I would tell my husband how important it was for me not to lie to my children. I would tell him how much I respect and love him (only if it is true), but say that God has told us not to lie, and I cannot do that to my children. You need to gently tell him that you can’t be apart of this lying, and that while you cannot control his actions, you will not be lying to your children.

      The meaning of submission is not just obey. It’s a voluntary attitude of giving in, co-operating, and carrying a burden. So I would say that you should try and find a middle ground that allows you not lie, but allows your husband to have Christmas the way he wants it? I’m not exactly sure how this could work out, but you could tell him that you want to tell the kids that it is pretend. Or you could tell him that if the children ask you any questions relating to Santa Clause, you’ll tell them the truth. I hope this helps. Just remember, with everything, we are ALL to obey God first :) Submission to one another comes after we obey God :)

      1. Hi Vania, Sommer, Actually we had the exact same issue with our children when they were young. I am American, my wife is Dutch. We are both believers… Our way out was to tell them the true story of the history of Santa Claus (Bishop of Myra in Turkey in 289 AD… very interesting…who helped pay the bride price to a family whose daughters wanted to marry…) -and then we would have them put their shoes by the door (Dutch version of stockings by the fireplace). They knew we were the origin of the presents… which was OK… and we wanted them to connect with the story. Of course we wanted the main emphasis to be on the birth of Jesus, and the basic Gospel message.

        It worked pretty well actually. But in this excercise we were really submitting to each other- which I believe the Bible also teaches among believers in general.

        I like your words about submission (third paragraph)… Very well put Sommer! You do not have to be a doormat to submit! The last 3 words in that verse in Eph 5 about submission are, “As unto the Lord” Big difference!

        Vania… you seem to be handling a difficult situation very well! We husbands are to very carefully consider what our wives say… (did not God say, “It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a heloer suitable for him”?

        But then a decision has to be made. The responsibility for that decision remains with the man… The prayers of a wife and mother are very powerful… also to get their husbands to see God’s true perspective on a matter. Re. your childhood traumas… I would think he would want to be of far more help and support to you than simply telling you to pray and start being humble. Husbands are told to “love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her…” Anyway… I hope this helps…. Here below an internet site about Santa Claus>

        You both take care….. WP (Work in Progress)

      2. Very true Sommer… Well said! As a husband married for 36 years… I think men should listen very carefully to their wives… after all, God did say, “It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him.” Good thing He did!!

        Re. Santa Claus, we had the same issue with our children when they were very young. We told them the history of the story, and then went ahead with presents -the children knew the presents were from us, and they saw the story of Santa Claus Illustrated -it goes like this:

        One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man’s daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver. Worked well… Take care, WP (Work in Progress)

    2. Well said Vania! I am an English teacher… and married 36 years. I would say your English is quite good!! WP (Work in Progress)

    3. This is the order of Submission. God first. Husband Second. If the request of your husband contradicts God’s word, submit to God. God said “do not lie” so lovingly tell your husband that’s he’s asking you to disobey God.

      1. Well said Mimi! The tricky part is putting this into practice in real everyday life! Our approach with telling the real story to the children, and letting them know that we were the source of presents got us around the lie, and gave the children all the fun of SC… and illustrated the story as well. We have to be creative as well as consistent. Cheers, WP (Work in Progress)

  4. Well written! I’ve tried to express this to my husband but never had the right words. Thank you so much and I look forward to sharing this with him.

  5. Despite my wife and I both being Christian, there used to be much conflict in our marriage. At my suggestion, we went to counseling, or rather, we went to the first session and after that she did not bother going back. After a few sessions, the counselor, a woman, then suggested I was being abused emotionally. Her idea was very much like those on this board: pray and accept that you can’t make a wife submit.

    I’m a man. I’m not geared to viewing myself as a victim, nor towards accepting a broken situation. I’m built with an urge to fix things, and when nothing else works, to read the manual. All the counseling books, both Christian and none, stress the importance of communication. That didn’t work. So I went to the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, and THE book in it that was devoted solely to marriage: the Canticle (Song of Solomon).

    There I found an opposite answer to all the counseling I had read elsewhere, and one extremely well suited to my masculine psyche: Song of Solomon chapter 5. Here we have a wife who does not give her husband what he is owed, what he needs, what is rightfully his. What does he do? Communicate with her? Pray, hope or go to counseling? NO. HE LEAVES.

    So I told my wife that until she learned to be submissive, to follow where I was reasonably, lovingly and within the correct boundaries of God leading that I was no longer going to be her husband.

    1- I cut my work hours drastically back until we were near financial ruin: that stopped the overspending.
    2- I stopped communicating with her whenever she became verbally abusive and simply left: that got me respect.
    3- When gathered with her friends, with my children there, and the husbands were dutifully LYING about how much they loved their wives and were so happy to be married I said, very calmly, that I regretted ever marrying her because of her overspending, lack of respect and disobedience.

    Oh, I caught flak from everybody and their mother. Funny enough, 20 years later, we’re happily married while one other couple is divorced and the third lives in a miserable state.

    I’m now 35 years married. I’m glad that when things got bad I listened to the Bible and not counselors. I acted as a MAN, and not the emasculated therapy-based caricature that is promoted by feminazis both in and out of Christian circles. No, I never hit my wife, nor did it involve screaming, belittling or humiliation. It simply involved my willingness to live on a metaphorical roof, away from her, until she learned to appreciate my love for her. Yes, it does mean that when she behaves respectfully, I treat her like a queen, work my 10 hour days, and thank her profoundly with all the romance I can muster. It means that I try to be the kind of husband she does not want to lose; and the kind of husband she will temporarily lose if she does not respect me.

    God does NOT love unconditionally. If He did, there would be no Hell. Unconditional Love is not only a myth, it is profoundly anti-Biblical. Christ Loves me forever, no matter what I do, but because He will not ALLOW me to step too far out of line. It is called discipline, it is called True Love, it is Christ being “husbanding” me as a shepherd husbands the sheep. Look up THAT meaning of husbanding, understand that a husband is to be as Christ is to us, and tell me Christ is the doormat so much of modern Christianity counsels men to be.

    A husband CAN make his wife submit, and for her own good he OUGHT make her submit: but he must be willing to risk losing her altogether. There is Hell for those who will not obey Christ. Hell is separation from God. Better separation than a disrespectful marriage. Without respect, there will be lawlessness; and where there is lawlessness, love will grow cold. Choose hot or cold, but choose decisively. Or, in other words, be a MAN.

    1. Wow JR. What an inspirational post. As a husband who has known 99% of all Christian counseling wasn’t biblical, it’s really uplifting to see I’m not alone. There are numerous examples of Jesus serving, but never submitting to his followers. Yet I’ve been told numerous times that Eph 5:21 means it’s mutual submission and that I should submit to her (this is a wrong interpretation of the verse). I’ve looked at every passage about leadership and submission. Not just in the marriage, but in the chain of command. I’ve looked at how Jesus submitted to the Father.

      I’ve looked at how Jesus led the church. Yes, loving and sacrificial. But also firm and decisive. He rebuked them (especially Peter) for when they would question him or make excuses not to do what he said. Yet, I’m told that would be unloving to do to my wife. Told that submission doesn’t mean obedience, yet the word submit literally means “to put yourself under the authority of another”. Authority literally means “the power to make decisions and give commands”. Put those together and it absolutely means to obey. Heck, traditional wedding vows from the bride even state “I will love, honor, and obey”. Yet, modern Christian counseling says for a husband to expect obedience from his wife is to be a dictator. Is Jesus a dictator for expecting us to obey him? Certainly not.

      Personally, I blame the feminist movement. Sure, men were abusing their authority before that. Not allowing women to vote and treating them like possession or slaves. Wanting to be served by them instead of serving them as Christ served the church. Yet, when the women had enough, instead of correcting the mistake of abused authority and educating the men that they are to treat the women as being equal in value, they just decided to remove themselves from his authority. Instead of rebuking him and having him use his authority correctly, they removed the authority altogether. Classic example of “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

      Thanks again for the encouragement. I’ll have to dig into SoS chapter 5 tonight to see this method for myself. It goes against all counseling I’ve received (never let the wife think she can lose you because security is important to her), but if it’s biblical, then it’s what I may have to do.

    2. MAKE her submit??? Not a chance. Don’t even try. Sorry, but as a husband married 36 years… that will not work. WP

      1. A husband has to show love to his imperfect wife and same her to him. Exodus 21 if a wife wasnt given marital rights she was free to leave.

    3. Wow! Great points JR. It’s funny all the women bashing you.
      Women, believe it or not there are nice, non-abusive men who provide for their wives but for whatever reason (maybe they were raised my a single mom and never saw the proper behavior modeled) they think they can dominate and control their husbands.
      I’m not even asking my wife to submit. How about not treating me like a child and questioning and criticizing the majority of my actions? How about accepting my decisions about my shoes and not controlling me?
      Partners should accept and support each other. I’m sick of these articles that blame Christian men and say it’s our fault. “Any wife would submit if there husband loved them like Christ”, that is a LIE. Even the logic is flawed and unbiblical. Christ laid his life down for us sinners and yet many of us choose to reject Him, women have this same choice in rejecting their husbands and roles and wives.
      I’ve been there and done that, helped with the house work and was the sole provider who fully supported my family. Read the word and prayed, played and lead worship, fasted. Guess what? She didn’t change and still hasn’t. This has caused me to get angry at God because I’m damned every way. We had split up for a short time and when we did her whole attitude towards me changed for the positive. I guess we didn’t split long enough because 5 years later it’s worse than ever. JR, you brought more sense than these fake articles written by emasculated men.

  6. Thank God for the kind and inspirational words and prayers. I would like to ask God in Jesus name to let my wife trust God with all her heart to lead her day by day.

  7. I have a question. What do you do when you’re the husband, and you try to love your wife like Christ loves the church, and she CLAIMS she wants to submit, but no matter what you do, she uses your shortcomings as an excuse to continue in her contentiousness? I only bring up the issue of leadership/submission when pointing out that she’s actually trying to lead. She denies it, but her actions and words are clearly attempts to lead. It’s not that I don’t lead and she feels the need to step up (it’s actually her living out the curse on her heart from Gen 3 ), it’s just that she won’t always agree with my leadership.

    I do try to talk to her and get her insight before making decisions, but she responds as if it’s her responsibility to make the decision. Then she shuts out any input from me and proceeds to tell me how it should go. Basically doing to me the very thing we’re told the husbands aren’t supposed to do to the wife. It’s role reversal, but to the extreme. Not only is she trying to lead, but leading with an iron fist. Some of the classes we have attended all say that a man can make it easy or hard for his wife to submit. My observation though is that he can’t make her willing. If she’s dead set against it, no amount of loving will change her heart.

    My every flaw (no matter how small) is used as an excuse not to follow. I feel as though I’d have to be the perfect man before she’d be willing to let me lead. I don’t know what to do. I love as best I can, but she pretty much says she only feels loved if I let her lead. If I let her make all the decisions and just do whatever she says. How do I balance loving my wife without giving up the marital authority that was given to me by God? How does a man lead a wife who doesn’t seem to want to be led?

  8. 1 Peter 3:1-6 “Obey even if he is an unbeliever so that you may win him over with your chaste behavior without a word.” Hmmm sounds like wives need to obey to me. What do you think? Harsh? Must be that pesky, mean guy who wrote the book.

      1. The word that is used for submission in the Bible is the Greek word hupotasso. Hupotasso actually does mean to obey, or to be subject to. It however does not give a man the right to treat his wife a lowly servant or slave. The Bible calls men to love their wives as Christ loved the church. He washed the feet of his disciples (John 13), which is a form of servanthood.

        The problem is that we always want to look at the sins of our spouse. A man may shout that his wife must submit to him. God says that men should not be harsh with their wives (Colossians 3:19). A woman may say that her husband does not deserve her obedience, but it is truly God, not the husband who you are being disobedient to. In the end we must each examine if it’s worth committing our souls to eternal condemnation just so that we can force our spouse’s hand in how we think they should be treating us.

  9. When it comes to submitting I rock back and fort with it. Seems like I only submit because I am at home taking care of the kids and he works. At times he will joke or mention how he pays the bills or our joint account is monitored. I never asked to stay home or stop working once I got pregnant with our third son. I don’t feel comfortable asking for money either.

  10. I’ve been married for 5yrs now, I met my husband in the church and we dated for 3mths and married 12/11/2010. My husband is from a different state and he moved to the state that I live in around 9yrs ago so he has no family here in the state we live in. Our marriage started off rocky because his ex-wife & daughter which is not my husband’s wasn’t ready to accept me. So when my husband would travel home I had to stay back at home until I started telling my husband that no one should come before me. So as time went on my husband would call me names and then say he was mad and didn’t mean it. All my husband wants is for me to work, pay bills and give sex to him. My husband loves to say I need to pay bills this way but he is not good at paying bills. My husband is so jealous of me and my only daughter relationship he says that I can open up to her but I cannot to him.

    I used to pray for my marriage but my husband has hurt me so much to where I don’t have any fight in me to save my marriage. I finally got the courage to leave in august of 2015 hoping things would change with my husband. I went back to my husband the first week of November and things where the same. I get off at 9 pm and at 9:05 my husband would be calling my cell phone asking had I made it to the car and I need to get home and once I make it home he starts in on me nagging about everything. It’s sad that I hated going home because I hate to hear his mouth. So at the beginning of Feb 2016 we had a snow storm so my husband decided to leave at 2am that Friday morning to go to his home state for a funeral and I was left here at home, which was my payday that Friday and I had to give my husband $86 for the power bill because he paid it for me the prior week and I just had to pay him back but he left early that Friday morning and said he would get the money when he returned. Well that Saturday morning my husband was calling me at 8 in the morning and I was sleep but when I got up and saw the missed calls I called him and asked what was his problem.

    Of course we got into it and my husband sent me a text saying to keep my $86.00 that he would pay his own bills and that I need to do something by the time he returns, so I took from that text message he was telling me to get out which I did and have not been back. I’m tired of being treated less than by my husband and I have no desire to go back to him but of course he is texting me like crazy saying one min come home then the next min he’s saying we need to get a divorce and then texting and calling me names. What should I do? My mind says go back because you are 43yrs old and this will be your second divorce but my heart says yes you love your husband but now you got a peace of mind, that when you get off from work you don’t have someone nagging you about everything.

    1. Hi Deborah, I read your text several times through to try and understand exactly where you are… Your husband has an ex-wife who also has a daughter (not his). You also have a daughter… also by a previous marriage? So your husband is jealous because you can open up to your own daughter, but not to him? Your husband also wants to go to his home state to see his ex-wife and daughter (not his daughter, but hers only?).

      I am an American, married for 36 years to my Dutch wife. We live in the Netherlands now. I, like you, have no family here apart from our 2 grown children and their families. Our marriage has not always been easy, due to different backgrounds and also languages. I have though, learned a few things during all this time.

      Allow me to say that I do feel for you- with a husband who seems to be thinking of himself more than of you. I can understand where you would feel less than #1 in his life if he is travelling often to his home state to see his ex-wife and her daughter. However, it seems that when you left in August of 2015, that that must have caused him much hurt as well. Did he see that coming? Did you describe your feelings to him? Have you told him why you cannot open up to him? Have you tryed to open up before, only to be nagged or criticized, and therefore you find it more difficult to open up now?

      You say you met each other in church. Are you both believing Christians? Can you pray together? Or are you the only one who prays? You ask “What should I do?” You are 43 and do not want a second divorce, but would love to come home without being nagged… My only answer at this point, not knowing very much about you is the following:
      – His main complaint is that you do not open up to him but only to your daughter.
      – Your main complaint is that he nags a lot, and he is visiting his ex-wife often.

      Your situation is certainly not easy… and I do hope the very best for you. My suggestion below is not meant as a “quick – fix” because there is no such thing, but only as a beginning.

      You could write him a letter saying you are sorry for your part in the rocky state of your relationship, (describe your part) and that you have never wanted to cause hurt. You can write to him and ask him, “What can I be doing to make you feel better about our marriage?” You can tell him the reasons why you wanted to marry him in the first place. You can tell him you feel hurt when he nags, and calls you names. etc. etc. I know, as a man, if I received a letter like this from my wife, that it would really make me sit up and pay attention!! You have nothing to lose, and much to gain. Clearly what you are doing now is not working. It is time to try a different approach entirely. Your marriage is worth it! The interenet sites I have provided below are not a hint that you are doing everything wrong, but rather a collection of very good insights into how men “tick.” After 36 years, I’m convinced that men will never completely understand how women’s minds work. Nor will the women really be able to appreciate the men’s side of things. Perhaps this is the way God made us, so that we would have to be in constant dialogue with our spouses to get closer to this ideal. See what you think!! :))

      I hope to hear from you Deborah… Sincerely, WP (Work in Progress)

  11. I would like to share something vital here in the area of “submitting to one another in love.” That is, to understand submission, one has to grow in wisdom.

    I have a loving Christian husband and I consider myself to be a submissive wife. However, in as much as we wanted to do our part for each other, there was a period in our lives where no matter how much effort I put into trying to submit to him, I was already feeling emotionally strangled in the process. For him I was still insubordinate (it was so frustrating, I would think, what else can I do??). And no matter, how much he says he loves me, I still experienced so much thoughtlessness and lack of concern that I continued to hurt. This was difficult for us because we believed we loved each other, and were completely faithful, and yet we couldn’t understand why we just couldn’t please the other.

    Thank God for His wisdom because He found a way for us to finally connect. We discovered that we each have our unique design in the form of the 4 temperaments; and when we recognized this, we understood each other so much better. It turned out that my husband and I are at opposite ends of the personality types, so that in the most tense of situations, that’s when we unfortunately misunderstand each other’s cues. For instance, when in my heart & soul I have committed to submit, I put on a look of determinedness and resolution (I didn’t even realize I was doing that), while it turned out that the very same expression is interpreted by my husband as insubordination! That’s just one of many examples. It turned out that, in many cases, we were not against each other at all in principle, however, our differing manner of speech and behavior due to our temperamental differences is causing us to misread each other and be hurt in the process.

    In case you’re not familiar with the temperaments, there are 4: the Choleric (Achievement people – “Let’s get things done!”), the Sanguine (Fun people – “Let’s make it appealing!”), the Phlegmatic (Peace people – “Let’s stay calm.”), and the Melancholic (Perfectionist people – “Let’s do it right.”) Each type has it’s great strength and terrible weaknesses. All these types are necessary in this world, God designed it that way. However, being the limited people we are, we don’t automatically learn how to work with each other’s strengths, nor are we able to manage our weaknesses. Instead we clash, especially between opposing temperaments: Choleric vs Phlegmatic and Sanguine vs. Melancholic. And true to form I am Choleric and my husband is Phlegmatic.

    From then on, I have learned to not only want to submit (I always wanted to submit anyway) but to do so in a way that my Phlegmatic husband would understand – managing my tone of voice, choice of words, facial expression and overall body language. And my husband realized it’s not really my intention to contend with him, I just had a need to get things done and we agreed on how we were going to put that to good use to support the family. I tell you, we’re more in love now than we have ever been. And on top of that, we became better at dealing with other people too!

    (On a side note, from what I’ve seen and read, most abuse cases happen when one is Choleric (either man or woman) and he or she completely dominates the other, who is usually either Phlegmatic or Melancholic who suffers from low self-esteem. Let me emphasize that that is NOT submission. There’s usually a sinful bondage in that kind of set-up, where they both need Christ’s deliverance.)

    God truly provides wisdom to those who ask. I suggest for those who are struggling, take the 4 temperament or DISC test. There’s plenty online. You’ll see your strengths (yay!) and you’ll also see what you’re doing that drives your spouse crazy (you’ll have moments of, ‘oh that’s why.’) And then talk about how you can better address each other’s needs. I hope this helps, brothers and sisters.

    1. Thanks for sharing. You’re right that learning the 4 temperaments is a direction changer for a married couple. We learned about it years ago and it changed our marriage in many positive ways. We learned about that, and a few other important “keys” that really helped us in more ways than I can say. God is so good to have led us to them. I talk about them in an article we have posted on our web site at: I hope people will read it and take advantage of the resources that are pointed out.

      Also, for more detail on the 4 basic temperaments, one of the books mentioned in the article I mentioned goes into detail. In addition, here’s another book that goes into even more detail: Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself. I highly recommend everyone read it. It WILL bring insight into why a person will do this or that, which is clarifying and very, very helpful. Thanks again NinaTe for sharing what you learned :)

  12. A call to the body of Christ: This may come as a shock to most readers here, but the passages you quote to support hierarchical headship/submission, husband as the spiritual leader, etc mean exactly the opposite of what you think. In these passages, Paul is actually tearing down the very hierarchical thinking that many of you are advocating.

    Paul was a meticulous thinker. He was very careful with the words he used in his writings, including in these passages. He had to be. False teachings were threatening the church from every direction (Greek philosophy, Roman culture, Gnosticism, etc). Had Paul wanted to convey obedience and male authority, he would have used the Greek words with those meanings, He very deliberately did not. Instead, he used words that meant align with, respect, and love.

    As a result, his teachings literally “flattened” first century relationships. He didn’t just elevate the standing of woman, he did away with the measuring rod altogether: “there is neither male nor female,” “we are all one in Christ Jesus.” Lest you think this is just my opinion, here is a quote from Tertullian (c. 155 – c. 240 AD), a respected early Christian apologist and a polemicist against heresy, that reveals the great change Paul’s teachings had in the first centuries after the birth of the church:

    “[The men and women of the church] perform their fasts, mutually teaching, mutually exhorting, mutually sustaining. Equally are they both found in the church of God; equally in straits, in persecutions, in refreshments. Neither hides from the other; neither shuns the other; neither is troublesome to the other.”

    The early church was truly living the oneness, unity, and mutual servanthood that Christ had made possible; the oneness, unity, and mutual servanthood that Christ Himself had called His followers to. Yet, here we are almost two thousand years later with less oneness, less unity, and less freedom than the early church!

    So what happened? Why did the church move away from this beautiful, powerful, freeing, Christ-sanctioned mutual servanthood that was a transforming model to every culture around it? In two words: Greek philosophy. By the 4th century A.D., Greek philosophy – and it’s awful, unbiblical view of woman – crept into the church (c.f. Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, etc), with devastating effects. Women were once again subordinated, men were encouraged to “lead” (i.e. insist on their own way), and HALF of the body of Christ was sidelined.

    Who did/does this benefit? Satan. We have a world that’s falling apart, billions of people who need to hear the gospel, and we’re sidelining half of the body of Christ. This has to stop. Too much is at stake.

    If you’re interested in knowing what these passages really say, I encourage you to read the book, “What Paul Really Said About Women” by John Temple Bristow. He does an excellent job of explaining the Greek texts of these passages, and the influence of Greek philosophy on the 4th century church.

    As someone who translates Koine Greek, I can tell you that you don’t need to know Greek to know that the hierarchical headship/submission model is unbiblical. All you have to do is measure it against Jesus’ actions, commands, and teachings to know that it is wrong. Jesus repeatedly pointed His disciples to servanthood. He never once pointed them to putting themselves above someone else. Anytime they tried to make it about that, He corrected them.

    Case in point: “And He sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” Matthew 9:35

    As I mentioned below, if a person’s interpretation of any passage encourages him to nurture and justify sinful human desires (exalting oneself over others, demanding one’s own way, etc), his interpretation is unbiblical.

    I encourage everyone reading this to start lifting those around them up – male and female, encouraging them to follow CHRIST, to fulfill the calling God has given them, and to use their God-given gifts to the fullest in the service of the gospel and to the glory of God.

    There are literally billions of people who need the gospel and to be discipled. We need the entire body of Christ on the battlefield. It’s time to jettison everything that holds us back – including false teachings – and start doing what Christ called us to do: Be a light to the nations.

    1. Hi Not My Own Anymore. VERY interesting!! I cannot write any more right now, but thank you for this text! I would like to read the book you recommend, “What Paul Really Said About Women” by John Temple Bristow. Can you forward the name of the publisher? I would like to order it locally, I may need that information. I hope to hear from you!! WP (Work in Progress)

      1. Hi, Not My Own Anymore, I read your text again (I am a husband married 36 years, with 2 adult children) and I continue to find your position intriguing. I am happy your wrote this text, it’s good!!
        You say, ” Women were once again subordinated, men were encouraged to “lead” (i.e. insist on their own way).” I will agree that men have attempted to subordinate women (bad idea) but I do not equate “leading” with “insisting on your own way.” It IS true that decisions need to be made in any household. SOMEONE has to take a stand at some point in time. This is true in many settings, on a ship, in a business, in a household and family unit. I believe Paul taught that God places the man in that position. NOT because men are “better”, no, but rather because for some reason, God wants it that way. (Don’t ask me why:) (If men were “better” then God would not have written in Genesis 2.18, “It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make him a helper suitable for him.”)
        This does not mean that “the leader gets his way.” Rather, the leader’s job is to ascertain, with the help of his wife, and considering his wife’s needs and wants, the best course of action to take. I believe this is a good summary of Paul’s writing in Eph 5:21, “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. And Eph 5:22, Wives be subject to your husbands as unto the Lord. Eph.5:25, that the man should love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. (Christ did NOT get His own way here). These words seem pretty clear to me.
        When I read Proverbs 31, I read about very a competent women who knows how to engage in business, who knows how to manage, who is honest, etc. Deborah was a very competent leader (Judges 4)
        My wife tells me that I am the leader of our home. Sometimes, to be honest, I do not like being in that position. It carries immense responsibility. But that IS my position, like it or not. I find often that I do NOT get my own way, because my wife’s ideas are often better than mine. But that’s OK for me. I do find that when I listen carefully to what she has to say, and consider her viewpoint, that either she has the better option, or a combination that turns out to work very well. Sometimes, but not that often, is my standpoint the best option.
        Would you agree with the above?
        I would be interesting in hearing from you. Take care. WP (Work in Progress)

        1. Matthew 9.35 is not far removed from Ephesians 5.25. Good point of yours. Not My Own Anymore, a few additional comments. Your text: “As I mentioned below, if a person’s interpretation of any passage encourages him to nurture and justify sinful human desires (exalting oneself over others, demanding one’s own way, etc), his interpretation is unbiblical.” is also very true. I cannot disagree with this at all.
          Your last two paragraphs, Again, very true. Good that you took the time to put this together. Thank you..!:))
          WP (Work in Progress)

        2. Your comment was a very well articulated one. It warmed my heart. Tell your wife that I am glad that she has such a rare jewel. Not many husbands are humble, loving, and wise.

          Spread that to other men please.

  13. The reason why we have these issues in the church is because of that thing called self. Most who claim to be followers of Christ arent trully born again. The Bible speaks of those that have a form, but no power. In other words, there’s no Holy Spirit and Paul says that without Him, you’re not of Jesus. Anyone can be religious and claim to have Jesus, but the Bible says that it’s only those that are born again that are truly saved. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things have passed away, all things have become new.

    If you don’t love your husband or wife, how can you love Jesus whom you’ve never seen. Self is our worst enemy. That flesh must be crucified. We spend someone time trying to emprove self, when God commanded us to crucify it. As long as self is alive, we can never obey God. The church doesn’t pray anymore and that has caused the church to be weak. Prayer and fasting are the ultimate weapons in this spiritual warfare. Satan uses people, that’s why Paul says that our war isn’t against flesh and blood, but against the power of darkness.

    Pray and if the situation gets worse, pray more until you have the victory. Things might get worst before they get better, satan isn’t going to give up without a fight. The bible says to submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. We must not lean on our own understanding. Today the church has used human psychology to deal with things that should be dead. Die to everything that isn’t Christlike. The Bible tells us what the deeds of the flesh are and it also tells us how to deal with that flesh. The Bible says to crucify it. That’s the only answer.

    1. Your comment was a very well articulated one. It warmed my heart. Tell your wife that I’m glad that she has such a rare jewel. Not many husbands are humble, loving, and wise. Spread that to other men, please.

  14. What can a wife do to help her husband not hold back from her in regards to intimacy? He’s great in so many other areas but other than a kiss good night, he avoids physical intimacy. Won’t even go there verbally.

    1. We have many articles posted throughout this web site that may help you. Please go through the Topics provided –going into the ones that may help and read what you have posted. Prayerfully read what God leads you to read, glean and see if you can find a way back to having a more intimate marriage. I hope so, and pray for you that it will be so.

  15. I am not really sure where to start, but I feel I am certainly in desperate need of God-centered advice. My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years and I can honestly say that neither of us had a clue of what marriage entailed. We were both what I would call lukewarm believers in the beginning and we never really discussed what marriage looked like for us, let alone the outline God has provided through his word. We have had many obstacles in our marriage, including him hating my family and friends, dishonesty regarding money, selfishness, and what I think any person would consider verbal and emotional abuse.

    For years, I was so disconnected from God and my family that all I really had was him and his family. In the past year or so, I have really reconciled with my family and reconnected with my relationship with Christ. I have started attending church with my family and have really tried to deepen my understanding of what God desires for marriage. In this, I have started to see things clearly for probably the first time in my married life and have started to try to work these issues out with my husband.

    I love him very much and he has many wonderful attributes, I also believe that he is a believer of Christ – just lost a bit at the moment. Anyway, I have started to communicate my needs with my husband and reading this article was like reading words I have spoken to him verbatim. He demands submission, yet I have no idea how I haven’t submitted to him. He makes all of the decisions for our lives, often times without any input from me. He is dishonest with me often, especially in the way of finances or anything that could bring conflict, often lying by omission. I do anything and everything he asks of me, I always back off when he says he has made the final decision – even if it is to our detriment. This is especially true with finances. He is very bad with money and often spends everything we make.

    We both work full time and earn a very good living, but we are strapped with unbelievable student loan and credit card debt. I work diligently on budgets and provide them to him, he agrees to look them over and never does. We even went through the Dave Ramsey program and nothing ever changed. And often times, the money he is spending is on unnecessary items that are used by him alone like music gear, tools/items needed for his hobbies, and clothes. I’m really concerned about our financial future, especially since I am the only one in the marriage that is saving even a small amount of money for our retirement. Aside from that, our other big issue is that he has a bad temper and often says hurtful things in anger. He calls me some very disrespectful names that I couldn’t even post here during arguments. In the past, these names and hurtful statements would usually get me to retreat and breakdown because it would be so upsetting. But in recent months, I have begun to see my value through God and they no longer have the effect they used to on me, much to husbands dismay.

    I have tried everything I know to get to a place where we can connect and glorify God with our marriage, but he says that he will never show me the love I desire until I submit to him. I feel that I have done this in every way and tonight when I asked, “what does submission look like to you” – we had a huge fight that resulted in more name calling and terrible things being said to me. And what’s worse, I still don’t know how I’ve been unsubmissive. What can I do to mend this marriage with my husband and identify what it is that I’m failing to do in the way of submission? I’m at a loss and despite continual prayer, I feel things are only getting worse.

    1. Hi BNW,
      Very difficult ….. I am shaking my head as I re-read your account. (I am a husband married 36 years with 2 adult children)

      Right now, all I can say is…. perhaps you need to “pin him down” and ask him in detail what he really means with “submission.” I know you have done this, but perhaps you need to stand up for yourself a little more. Your words are just right, “What it is that I’m failing to do in the way of submission?” Perhaps he needs to be confronted? He needs to see that you are willing…but obviously have missed the mark in his eyes SOMEWHERE. “You demand submission, yet I have no idea how I haven’t submitted to you! Tell me!!”

      You want to mend this marriage, but it seems that he is just getting away with whatever he wants to do. It is VERY good that you are seeing your value in God’s eyes, and that his hurtful names and accusations are having less effect on you.

      Your words, “much to my husband’s dismay.” are key here. This tells me that he is used to running over you with no resistance from you. You ARE valuable in God’s eyes, and you do NOT have to put up with this.

      Of course continued prayer and your Godly behavior are essential. Surrounding yourself with friends who will support you and help you is also essential.

      I know this is is far from a complete answer….but your account really struck a chord with me. I hope to hear from you again….
      WP (Work in Progress)

      1. Another thought, “Husband, what are you going to do about our financial situation? You are the leader of our home. I submit the budgets to you… are these OK? Do they need to be changed? What do you want me to do? I am leaving this issue in your hands.”

        Leaving the thing completely with your husband will have to wake him up to the fact that he nees to take charge in a responsible. way Perhaps step out of the scene entirely and let God deal with him.

        I recall a similar situation where the wife did just that. Her husband did not want to work, and she was shouldering the entire financial responsibility. Finally she gave up and said to him “I am exhausted! I cannot keep my job for the both of us! I’m tired!” She cut back her hours, even though she was not making enough. He was forced to find a job and their situation finally stabilized. Her comment later, ” I was holding up the financial ship, and in so doing, I was sinking my marriage.”

        I am really thinking about your situation…Just some more ideas for you. I really hope to see some imporovement with you! Take care, WP

        1. Sorry- I posted to the other comment before seeing you wrote this one as well. I actually have given our finances completely over to him. I actually did this several years ago after an argument where he said that he could manage the money better. That is also where more money troubles began.

          Previously, neither one of us had any credit cards as I paid them all off and closed them. Since he took over the money, we both have gotten multiple credit cards when we have had to have things done in an emergency because we had no savings (car breaking down, animal getting sick, water leak in the basement, etc). We probably have about 15k in credit card debt since he began doing the finances- and still no savings. I know it’s just money, and I’m very far from being materialistic. But I think that’s why I have such an issue with it. He generally buys very expensive stuff for himself and for hobbies that he is interested in. I can’t remember a week that he hasn’t received at least one package in the mail from things that he he bought.

          It’s not the money that upsets me- I think it’s the selfishness and immaturity. That, and this is the area that he often lies by omission, thinking that it’s not being dishonest to spend almost everything we make without first consulting with me. If I bring it up, I’m told I’m not the man, he is.

      2. Thanks for the reply. I can’t say that things have gotten any better, or any worse for that matter. I’ve tried on more occasions than I can count to ask how I’m failing to be submissive in his eyes, but he can never answer my question. The last time I mentioned it, he pulled out his cell phone to google submission and I stopped him, saying “I want to know what submission looks like to you, not the definition” which only resulted in more of an argument.

        If I’m being honest, I think his biggest issue is my getting closer with my family. He has made several comments that since I’ve gotten closer to them, I’m becoming a feminist and not being a humble, meek wife. I think I mentioned in my initial posting that my relationship with God has grown closer at the same time as my reconciliation with my family. I think he believes I’m pulling away because if my relationship with my family, despite it actually being from seeing that God didn’t intend for marriage to be this way and realizing that I’m valuable and worthy.

        I am beginning to believe that my marriage isn’t a partnership, but more a relationship based on how well I meet his needs. For the entirety of our marriage I’ve worked outside the home full time and have been the only one to do anything within the home (I mean everything- laundry, dishes, animals, cleaning, cooking, lawn care- everything). I’m starting to think that our relationship is based on how well I meet his needs, rather than anything else. As I said before, I really just want a marriage that glorifies God and I’m not sure how to bridge the gap between the two of us right now.

        I try to talk to him, but he often gets defensive and angry. I know that I’m not a perfect spouse and that there is plenty that I could work on too, I just don’t know how to help him see that I’m for our marriage and just want us to both experience the joy and love God intended us to. I also don’t know how to make him understand that some of his actions (name calling and verbal abuse) is unacceptable. Maybe that will come later, but every time it happens, I trust him a little less. I feel like it just adds another brick to the wall between us.

        I would love if you could pray for us and that God will work within us and within our marriage.

        1. Hi BNW, Sorry for this very late reply…yes, I will pray. I am confident that other readers here will do the same. Perhaps with the improved relation to your family, he feels by default that you are pulling away? How are things now? Where is your husband in his faith now? WP (Work in Progress)

  16. This is teaching that “only if you can see a man submitting to God then it is safe to submit” (It will be a sign to her that it is safe to submit to him). The problem is we are choosing when to listen to God and when we should not submit. The Bible says in Ephesians 5:22-24, “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 savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

    1. Hi James, Good point. However, I can imagine that this is a very difficult charge for women who do not feel safe submitting when the husband is clearly being irresponsible. Please see my text above, (April 23, 2016 at 11:25 pm), which was written before your reply above. Thanks, WP

  17. When my wife does not submit to the word of God and I’m a leader, as the Bible says – if you can not control your house do not preach; what can you do?

  18. I am in totally concur to this article…demanding one to be submissive can cause resentment. Submission is a voluntary act and it works on both sides of the coin, which is a sacrifice on both parts.

  19. Recently me and my wife always argue. I feel she is not submissive because whatever I say she will not listen and we both always think we are right.

    Example 1:
    We just had a baby and we are working. I always told her that she must pick up my call or reply ASAP whenever I call or text her. Because my mother-in-law is taking care of our baby, if something happens, when she calls my wife, she able to settle it. Because my office is far from my house, approximate 1 hours driving distance and hers is around 15 minutes driving distance. But when I text her or call her, she will reply or call me back after few hours. I always need to remind her, if something really happens to our boy which is urgent, I need to take 1 hour to go back from my office.
    p/s: she is a sales person.

    Example 2:
    She has a car and wanted to get a new car, but I’m planning to get a house.I told her to save the money and plan for our house but she says she is confident she’ll earn more, therefore she wants to buy a new car and a house – she will get more income to get a house. To me, I agree that and also believed that our income will get higher and better. But I also believed that saving money for urgency is a must. In case of an economic crisis, we can sustain for 1-2 years with the emergency fund. But she is more into why need to cut down the expenses since we can earn more in future?
    And she says since she is not using my money to pay for car payment therefore I don’t have the right to control over this.

    This makes me feel that she is not prioritizing our family at all. She’s always gives me the blank promise and did not take care of her own finances. She is in her 40s yet not even have 15,000 saving in the bank.

    Is it really my problem of being over controlling? Or does she really need to be submissive? I told her I don’t have the feeling to go back home if she is still not submissive but she seems to not care at all. Please advise.

    1. Hi KT, Tara’s point is very well taken, demanding submission doesn’t work… working as a team is far more effective. It sounds like you are two islands living in the same house. Nowhere in your text do I perceive a real “we.” “She has a car, I’m planning to get a house.” “My money, her money.” “Her finances,” etc.

      I am a husband married 36 years with two adult children. I was the main breadwinner, while my wife worked part time and looked after the children. We have 3 accounts: hers, mine, and ours. All the big things, like cars and houses come out of “ours.” Personal stuff comes out of “hers” and “mine.” My wife also gets an additional amount from me for food. We each contribute to “ours” and we don’t worry about the proportions. I never see “hers” and I don’t know what she does with it. If she needs more, there’s a good reason and we work it out together. This arrangement has worked well over the years. Sometimes when I am feeling cramped, I ask my wife for a little help, and she extends it…

      As soon as you two become more and more a “we,” many of these discussions just do not take place.

      I do see your point about saving for the future, I am certainly in your camp in that respect. You need to prioritize your family together. You need to find a way to pool your finances together. You sink or swim together. (This is true anyway, but working as a team is far more efficient and frankly, much more fun!)

      It seems that you are not so much over controlling as you are sensing a problem down the road, but finding it difficult to row your boat in a sychronized fashion. I would have the same in your place I think. If you can talk with your wife about a whole different approach as I have tried to describe, perhaps you will prgress better? Clearly repeated arguments along the lines you are describing is not working… I hope this helps… Take care KT. WP (Work in Progress)

  20. Excellent, interpretation, you spoke everything that I have been facing and it is exactly the case. It’s as though you were reading my mind.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth. You are in a simlar situation? Oh, I hope this helps for you… WP (Work in Progress)

  21. My daughter’s husband is from a Muslim background. He is now a committed Christian but still acts in their marriage as before. He tells her what she can and cannot do, who she can be friends with, what he wears etc. He says she must submit to him because it says so in the Bible. What should she do? She still loves him and wants the marriage to work. They have been to a counsellor but he thinks it’s all her fault.

    1. Hi Joan, From what you are saying, it seems that more of the “fault” lies with the husband. If he is a committed Christian, then he needs to see and ponder the Scriptures which speak to this subject. He needs to understand that his way of approaching their marriage is very unbiblical. I would like to make the following suggestions- Genesis 2, Proverbs 31, Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 7, and 1 Corinthians 13. Perhaps you can best go through these passages with your daughter only, and then let her absorb them, and then let her prayerfully handle the talks wth her husband on her own.

      You write, “He says she must submit to him because it says so in the Bible.” Yes… that is found in Ephesians 5. v23 and 24. The same Bible tells husbands in the following verse to “love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” This is even repeated in verse 28. Paul does not repeat the position of the wife, whereas he does repeat the position of the husband. This in itself is significant, don’t you think? If your daughter’s husband is really open to what the Schipture says and means, then he needs of course to consider his own side just as carefully as he is claiming his wife’s submission. True submission can never be demanded, it can only be earned, I think.

      I’m sure you know the last thing you want is an argument over Bible doctrine, but rather a coming together of your daughter and her husband. Perhaps a good approach would be to find a Christan man to whom your daughter’s husband will listen, and whom he respects… and have him talk with your daughter’s husband. In the meantime, your daughter’s continued walking in prayerful obedience to Christ, with the support of Christian friends and family, can only benefit as well.

      I hope these ideas help… btw… I am a husband married for 36 years- my wife and I are both Christians… just for your reference… Let us know here what happens? Thank you in advance!! WP (Work in Progess)