Why I Choose to be a Submissive Wife

Growing up, Full House was my favourite TV show. Candace Cameron (who played DJ Tanner) is the same age as me, so we kind of grew up together.

She’s become a beautiful, confident woman, happily married for 18 years to the same man, with 3 gorgeous kids – I love her even more now!

So, when newly divorced Em Rusciano wrote a scathing article, asking what happily married Candace could possibly know about being happily married (because she chooses to be a ‘submissive wife), I raced to her defence.

In my younger years, I was a fiercely independent young woman (I actually once slapped a man when he opened a door for me). The first time I heard about the ‘Ephesians 5 Wife,’ it was nearly a deal breaker for my faith… ‘You want me to WHAT now?!!!’ Here it is:

“Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.”
(Ephesians 5: 22-24).

I actually cried. It was too awful to contemplate. It took me a long time to forgive God for sneaking that one into the Bible. But over time, I’ve seen it lived out through happy marriages around me and I totally get it now.

I knew I needed a man to whom it would be a pleasure to submit. That was no small ask.

I often describe marriage as a team sport and that makes my hubby ‘Team Captain.’ It doesn’t mean my role is any less important, or that I’m micro-managed through every tedious decision. It just means that the buck stops with him. He knows it. I know it. And the kids know it.

Talking about this subject in a recent radio interview, a listener gave this fantastic explanation of submission: The Greek word for submission in scripture doesn’t have the same meaning as the English variant ‘submissive.’ In English, submissive means passive. However, in Greek, the word ‘submit’ could be more accurately translated as “devoted, active loyalty”. In our relationship with God this means we look to Him to find the vision for our lives for him to create our life journey, in marriage, it means that the husband’s role is to create the spiritual atmosphere for the household and provide the leadership required for that spiritual atmosphere to be created. The passage isn’t about decision making as we often interpret it, but rather, it’s about the spiritual responsibility to lead a family towards Jesus and to journey that family’s life with Jesus. Day to day decision making is about partnership, not submission.

It takes a lot of faith. But so does anything that’s worth anything.

Do we always get it right? No! But a happy marriage is a continuous work in progress. After all, ‘A house divided cannot stand’ Mark 3:25.

It means a more harmonious home environment, where everyone knows how they fit in.

I know it’s not politically correct but… it works for us!

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