A few years ago, my husband and I were out to dinner with a couple we had recently met.

They were a lovely couple on the outside – they had it all together. Or so it seemed.

After about ten minutes, I noticed the wife made several passive-aggressive jabs at her husband. She knocked him down more than she built him up and with each cutting comment, I watched his shoulders fall lower and lower.

After dinner, Jason and I were saddened yet I was also incredibly humbled. I had once been that wife and can easily slip into those same old habits if I don’t keep myself in alignment with God.

Sisters, submission has been made into a very dirty word and not only in the secular world – within the Christian world as well.

Yet the truth is . . . Very few truly understand what submission in marriage actually is.

When done correctly, marital submission is one the of most beautiful waltzes you will ever dance.

But notice how I said “when done correctly?” The “when done correctly” part is the hard part, eh?

I will not stand before you today and profess that I have it all figured out. Neither will I tell you my marriage is perfect because while we have God at the heart of our relationship, sometimes we lose sight and find ourselves in a valley.

Marital submission does not mean a husband rules over his wife through intimidation. Nor does it mean she won’t ever have a voice to freely express her opinions and ideas. Lastly, submission doesn’t mean wives are expected to be a “doormat.”

If marriage is meant to be a model of Christ and the church, then our husbands take-on the role of Jesus and we take-on the role of the church.

Though there is some controversy regarding a newer translation called “The Voice,” I like to use it as a reference to the NIV and NLT versions I read. Here’s what it has to say about Ephesians 5:21-28:

And the Spirit makes it possible to submit humbly to one another out of respect for the Anointed. 22 Wives, it should be no different with your husbands. Submit to them as you do to the Lord, 23 for God has given husbands a sacred duty to lead as the Anointed leads the church and serves as the head. (The church is His body; He is her Savior.) 24 So wives should submit to their husbands, respectfully, in all things, just as the church yields to the Anointed One.

25-26 Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love the Anointed One has for His bride, the church. We know He gave Himself up completely to make her His own, washing her clean of all her impurity with water and the powerful presence of His word. 27 He has given Himself so that He can present the church as His radiant bride, unstained, unwrinkled, and unblemished—completely free from all impurity—holy and innocent before Him. 28 So husbands should care for their wives as if their lives depended on it, the same way they care for their own bodies. As you love her, you ultimately are loving part of yourself (remember, you are one flesh).

Husbands and wives are meant to submit to each another.

Husbands have been given the sacred duty to lead like Jesus leads the church and wives have been given the role of functioning like the body (the church). This means our husbands are to love us with a crazy-type of love and are to care for us as if their lives depended on it.

But here’s the challenge: the roles sometimes get switched and we don’t align with what God intended for us in marriage. And I don’t know about you but anytime I’ve ever strayed from what God desires, the outcome is disastrous.

On page 18 of The God Empowered Wife: How Strong Women Can Help Their Husbands Become Godly Leaders author Karen Haught says, “Godly submission isn’t weak and pandering; it’s strong and confident. It doesn’t disarm a woman’s power and self-determination; it redirects them towards God’s purposes.”

Chapter One explains why we even need a husband for so many believe we just don’t. I love how she traced the role changes through history (chapter two) and her own humble testimony in Chapter Three is powerful.

As for the couple I told you about earlier? They’re now divorced. The state of our hearts is critical to the success of our marriages, sisters.

(I offer more thoughts on this whole submission thing in this post.)

We will discuss Chapters Four through Seven next Monday and don’t forget about our live Facebook chat on Thursday evening at 9 p.m. EST (click here if you would like to join us – it’s not too late)!

In the meantime, please take a moment to respond to any of the following questions in the comment section . . .

 1. How do you describe a “perfect” marriage? How do you think your husband would describe a “perfect” marriage? (Ask him and compare your answers if you feel led!) How would God describe a “perfect” marriage?

2. What false beliefs have you held about mutual submission in marriage?

3. How do you want your husband to describe you?

4. What is something that “stuck” with you from the Introduction and/or Chapters One, Two and Three?