Married women are taught to honor their husbands; to respect them. Married women are told to submit to the husband because he is the recognized head of the family. Christian women struggle to honor God’s Word when it comes to submission. It is easier to submit to the boss on the job because everyone adheres to specific guidelines.
The church in its attempt to combat feminism set out to define a woman’s role in the marriage. Husbands were leaders and women were helpmates. A ‘helpmate’ was presented as someone who was equal in responsibility but separate in authority. The man who was the true leader of the home therefore had the final say (real authority). Various leaders presented to his or her followers: husbands who were always right and suggested that even if he was wrong the wife should acquiesce trusting the Lord to speak to him. The Virtuous Woman as presented in Proverbs 31 is often cited by both male and female church leaders as the model woman. The result: men who misuse women and women who do not fulfill their purpose.
The first point I made is that the church was fighting feminism. I say that because there seems to have been a push to remind women (to tell women) that God wants them to be caregivers; even women who worked outside of the home were reminded how important caring for the home was. Whereas; a man, the husband, was told how important it was for him to take the leadership role in the home; even when the wife was more knowledgeable in areas such as finance. It was the man’s decision to “allow” his wife to do certain things like pay the bills; authority; even if both earned money; responsibility. It was the husbands’ job to maintain order in the home and the wife followed his lead. This is contrary to the feminist movement which demands true equality among the sexes with no clear divisions.
I believe in God’s divine order: Jesus first, the husband, the wife and then the children. Jesus is the head of every Christian home. A woman should submit to a husband who treats her as God intended.
A husband should be faithful and be affectionate towards his wife. How can a woman submit to an unfaithful man?
1 Corinthians 7:2-3
2But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.
Husbands are, according to the Word, told to love their wives and not to be mean. Why should a woman submit to a man that yells at her? Hits her? Ignores her? Does not respect her opinion? Why should a woman endure a marriage in which the husband does not hug her or compliment her (assuming he has the physical ability to do so)?
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
It is easy for a woman to submit to a man who is considerate; a man who does not throw his dirty clothes anywhere, who does not permit his friends to come over anytime, a man who will watch the children so she has time for herself, etc. It is easy for a woman to submit to a man who does not mind washing the dishes. It is easy for a woman to submit to a man who puts his wife first.
1 Peter 3:7
7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
It is important for a man to understand that God gave him a wife and she is a blessing. How a man treats his blessing is important to God.
22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.
If you read Proverbs 31 you will discover that these are words King Lemuel’s mother spoke to him. And what she says is: don’t waste your time chasing women; if you want to move up in life pay attention to what you do; don’t get drunk, help people who need help, be fare. And she goes on to say: “Who can find a virtuous wife?” In other words: If you want a submitted wife you have to be a submitted husband.
If a man does not understand or accept his responsibility in the relationship he is in essence misusing his wife. When the church tells a wife she needs to submit to her husband and does not instruct a man of his responsibilities this church is neglecting its responsibilities. If the church would put less emphasis on wives submitting and more on people submitting to the Lord marriages as God intended would be prevalent.
A man who does not know how to treat a woman will take advantage of his submissive wife and will not necessarily be faithful or dependable and may be abusive. There are so many women who are not reaching their full potential because they are imprisoned by false doctrine.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself
Notice the Virtuous Woman was married to a Virtuous man she was able to be a phenomenal woman. There is nothing wrong with being a stay at home mother or your husband’s helper as long as a woman understands just as you are there for him he is here for you.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.