“Wives, be in subjection to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”
It is really important who we marry. We must choose a partner prayerfully and with great wisdom. It is a one time choice and should reflect the love relationship between Christ and His church. Our behaviour in marriage should be fitting in the Lord and reflect the love relationship between the persons of the godhead and the love of Christ for His redeemed people.
Wives are to be in subjection, that means they are affected by their husbands and will live closely with them for the rest of their lives. Women especially must be careful who they marry, since many interpret this word as women being underlings and must do what the husband says. There are still too many who treats their wives as chattels and as housekeepers giving special privileges to them, and not as people with dignity and purpose and a personal life with God. It should be a loving relationship with both parties willing to acquiesce to each other for we are yet sinful people and not infallible.
The Bible teaches mutual submission and the living and constant respect for each other as people and as individual people at that. The wife is not the same as the husband and decisions should be made together and with mutual consent. Where there is no consent it is oppression and abuse and worse.
“Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.”
We are to practice submission as is fitting in the Lord, not a craven fear of one party or the other, or of one lording it over the other. Marriage is not a chopping block or a pity party for the man to be bolstered up in his psyche and ego and given Carte Blanche to dictate the terms of every discussion or decision. There must be sharing. Without sharing there is no caring and the oppressed party will eventually give way in disappointment and will give up on the “relationship” which can turn out to be no relationship at all.
Marriage is very difficult and should not be entered into lightly. Both parties should be sure that God is directing them and decisions should be made prayerfully and with due regard for each other in each other’s life.
Women should be thoughtful about whether marriage is for them at all, since many are very able and have their own life ideas and desires. It is very difficult to give this all up to be a pick-up person for a man, who requires a stultifying submission and complete acquiescence. It should not be like this but it often is, or works out that way in practice.
This will not work for many women and many spend life under achieving and miserable about their state. The man ends up abusing the wife and putting down her wishes and desires and so how can a marriage be happy and fruitful? This will affect the children and cause a lot of difficulties and develop bad thinking and feelings. We must consider the long term view of marriage and not the short term gain of having a companion.
Marriage means giving all and we become a part of each other. Women have to decide if they want that kind of authority over their lives, or whether they would be better off alone. There are many ways to have family and friends and marriage is only one state of being.
There are plenty of examples where subjection is not fitting in the Lord, and we should consider this in all our doing and being. Putting people down and ruling over free people with impunity is not godly and blaming others for what goes wrong and not examining ourselves, is a skills we all need to learn. Marriage is a learning experience and we need to be sure we choose someone who will learn with us and be prepared to change and grow. The way I personally have observed marriages in churches is not heart warming and I see a lot of rejection and neglect against women. This is not pleasing to the Lord, and the dirth of responsibility for the elements in the marriage is woeful. Something must be done, for women are suffering and are staying out of church because of toxic relationships.
We must learn mutual submission or all is lost and the beautiful picture of marriage on the Scripture will be lost for future generations and we are left with a cultural equivalent that damages women and also men in the long term.