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.

Shocking News

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. 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. Does he willingly sacrifice himself for her —or think 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. The have no problem submitting to their husbands. This is 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.

Can’t Demand Submission

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.

God Frees Us

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. Pray her heart will be first submissive 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.


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.

This 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. They share how you can intercede for your wife in areas where she longs for your prayers. Stormie also gives advice, and shares personal stories from well-known Christian men. In addition, there are words from Scripture that will also help you in praying for your wife.

— ALSO —

To learn more on this subject, please read the following article, written by Dr Norm Wright:


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

  1. Please help me! I have been in a long term marriage over 16 years with 2 young children, ages 7 and 9. We met at church in January and got married in July. I was sure we had the same values and now husband is saying I never supported him and I never submitted to him in the marriage. I’m so upset and confused by his definition of submission. He claims if it was something that I wanted to do or was going to do that is not submission it has to be something that he ask me or tells me to do that I don’t want to do.

    Along with this strange definition it has come to light that he has been addicted to internet porn throughout our marriage and over the years his personality has changed towards me. He has become very rude, controlling and short tempered. We are currently separated due to him accepting a job out of state. I refused to follow due to the unhealthy marriage relationship and the girls just starting school. Just weeks before husband accepted the new job he was threatening to divorce me for lack of submission. After being separated for several months he is finally beginning some counseling classes to deal with his power and control issues, however he is waiting to get further feedback about starting any sex addiction counseling at this point.

    I believe that my husband is no doubt a spiritually dirty vessel and his definition of submission has to be incorrect if not polluted? Can someone help me understand what is going on? Have I not been submitting all these years in our marriage when I cooked, cleaned and made loved to him? My heart is breaking…

    1. Hi. You don’t need to second guess yourself. He was so lucky to have you as a wife, and now he is ruining it. He is obviously being attacked by Satan. This is satan’s attempt to destroy your husband’s life. It started with unfaithfulness through the easy porn access, then he has turned around and blamed you for his unhappiness. Who knows what else he has fallen into. His behavior towards you might have sprung from the fact that porn teaches men to devalue women as people. I would not even be surprised if his sinfulness was affecting his professional relationships. Sin has a way of creeping out in various ways.

      Basically, he is redirecting his sinful actions onto you. Adam did the same thing by blaming Eve in the garden after they ate fruit. He needs to accept the consequences for his own sin.

      Even though God can forgive him, there is still so much damage he has already caused. It will take a lot of healing for him to recover. Unfortunately, you will be dragged through it too unless you accept his offer for the divorce (then you still will suffer).

      If I were you, I would be seeking out ways to become healed. He has created a wound in you that will need to be healed by Jesus. Prayer and reading the Bible are your biggest allies. Good friends who demonstrate that they believe you have value are another. God can take this situation of evil and strengthen you through it. He will.

      If I were you, I would not be too quick to let him back into my life (though I would hope for reconciliation). I would gain some self sufficiency, and independence, self-confidence. Start to find some interests and hobbies and new friends. I would not “submit” to him in much at all until he demonstrates a love that can be trusted. In other words, don’t do all his chores for him any more. He should have been doing most of the housework anyway.

  2. Am I to submit to my husband even though he makes decisions that are contrary to my well being and interest? Both my husband and I have strayed from the faith for a number of years while living overseas. I’ve been recently reading a lot on submission and I’m told that if I’m not submissive and don’t do what my husband has decreed, I’ll have to give an account to God for my disobedience on Judgment Day. I’m told that I have to obey my husband whether I like it or not and if I don’t it’s a sin against God. This kind of teaching makes me resent God and I have difficulty even praying to God about my marriage problems.

    I’m the sole wage earner in my marriage and have been for the past 15 years. My husband finds it difficult to find a job. I provide for the mortgage and all the other expenses. This has not been a problem until sometime ago. My husband somehow now feels it’s my duty to keep providing. The other day he told me that there is no retirement age for us we have to continue working because of the commitments. I feel that my husband is trying to control me in very subtle ways.

    Like he doesn’t want me to go visit my mum next month. He would say things like just rest here at home. The flight ticket is expensive. When his sister and 2 nephews got married and he wanted to fly home. I didn’t kick up a fuss and said all of us could attend the wedding. This cost us a lot of money at that time. Last year for an important festival in my culture, my husband again kicked up such a fuss over the flight ticket that I ended up not going. My mum is getting on with age and because I cannot see her on a regular basis, I would like to see her whenever I can I work hard and I hate it that I work for the money but have no freedom to do what I want.

    Another issue with money is that when my dad passed on he left me some money. Not a lot, but some. I was telling my husband the other day that I would like to buy a small property nearer to the city so that when I do get back to my country, I would find it easier to commute to work. He immediately said that was not a good idea and that we should buy a property to rent it out so that we could earn an income. While I see the wisdom in his suggestion, I personally feel that it is my inheritance money and I should be able to do what I want with it. I’m not being unreasonable because my husband and kid can live in the property I have in mind.

    Plus his family also expects me to give my husband a joint share in the house that we already own, although they know that he has not contributed to the house at all. I know that all this is only money and that at the end of the day my treasures are in heaven but I’m not comfortable with the route taken by my husband and his family. They say that they love the Lord but it seems rather greedy to covet other people’s property isn’t it. Also it looks like my husband never really loved me in the first place and that he saw in me an earning capacity when he married me. My health has recently suffered but he has no pity for me.

    My position in financial matters is that it is the women who seek financial security from their husbands and the man usually provides. Even in a divorce the Court will look to see how to protect the wife financially. It cannot be God’s will that I just give up my assets to him, in the name of submission. I strongly feel it is my heritage and God’s blessings to me, which I share with my husband and kid. I want to know your perspective on this. Am I being clingy over my money. I have seen many women give what they have to their husbands and husbands squander it and after that they leave their families and run off with a another woman. These wives have nothing left due to their foolishness and blind trust in their husbands. I don’t want this to happen to me because I don’t have the hindsight to know what my husband is capable of doing in the future.

    1. Don’t listen to people who exalt men. Read the Bible for yourself and you will know the truth. There are many websites that pretend to be holy; they are not. Read God’s word for yourself.

      Wives do not owe their husbands’s families anything except “good morning” and “good evening.” Once you marry, your husband should not put his family of origin ahead of you and the children.

      A woman’s husband’s parents have no rights or say so in your marriage, in your home, and in your finances.

  3. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. However, it’s also a taboo subject in secular America. Both my husband and I hold “old-fashioned” values. With that being said, it takes a very strong woman to submit to anyone, including Jesus Christ. It’s not an answer to a marriage that is “on the rocks”. Submission relies upon trust from both parties.

    Sometimes the husband doesn’t understand the concept of submission. I feel that even the submissive wife can be an example to her husband and family. My husband isn’t the “religious” type. He believes in God, but it stops there. Yet, I have chosen to submit to him because this is something that Jesus has put on my heart. And I believe that as the Lord changes me, so too shall he change my husband. This is a new journey for me. And not one that is going to be easy. Standing up for your faith is never easy.

  4. I have a question. What can a wife do if her husband is not wanting her to live as she wants? She isn’t allow to talk to anyone, and is being forced to work and give her money to her husband. She isn’t allow to call her family; she isn’t allow to live how she wants. (Just wondering) …

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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)