For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22
No scripture has challenged me more than this one. For years I completely rejected it as an outdated piece of advice that simply does not apply to the modern woman in our enlightened culture. But God has brought me back to this scripture many times as I have prayed for intimacy in my marriage. I want to have God’s best in everything in my life especially my family.
The first thing God pointed out to me is “submit as to the Lord”. Submitting is not to my husband’s ways, but to God. Humans will never be perfect. We are not to submit because we have such Godly husbands, they make great decisions and hear from God better than we do. We are to submit as unto the Lord. This means we are trusting in God to direct our husband’s steps and move on our behalf, because we are honoring him.
It does not make sense that we can get what we want without fighting for our own way. Getting things God’s way is often through giving. Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it (Luke 17:33). Our natural instinct tells we have to fight to get what we want. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts (Is. 55:9).What we want more than anything is a blessed life. God will bless us for trusting him enough to do things his way. He designed marriage. I think he knows best how to have a marriage thrives rather than barely survives.
One of the reasons why I was so offended by this scripture is because of my perception of submission. I view submission as weakness, inability to stand up for myself. I think of it like codependency. God has helped me to see submission does not weakly give in, but it is a quiet confidence that does not have to fight to prove ourselves. It is secure trust that God will work on our behalf because we choose to do things his way. It is the ultimate form of self-control that empowers us not to have to fight on our own behalf.
The most difficult task in all of life is to hold our tongue. We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way (James 3:2). Holding our tongue is the most powerful thing we can do, not the weakest. Weakness screams every rude thought and insult. It stomps its feet until it gets its own way. God wants us to have better than our own way. He wants us to have his way, which leads to abundant life. A two year old can throw a tantrum. It takes a strong Godly woman to exercise self-control and wait patiently for God to move in her situation.
I do not believe this applies in situations where there is emotional or physical abuse.