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Examples of What a Wife's Biblical Submission Is NOT and what does biblical submission of wife look like in practice

Six Examples of What a Wife’s Biblical Submission Is NOT (Ephesians 5:22-24)

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We must understand what a wife’s biblical submission is NOT, because of the obvious questions: How far does submission extend? Is there anything to which a wife should not submit? Read or listen to this chapter from Your Marriage God’s Way to find out, “What does biblical submission of a wife look like in practice and what does it not involve?”

Your Marriage God's Way: A Biblical Guide to a Christ-Centered Relationship
Your Marriage God's Way Workbook author Scott LaPierre

The text in this post is from Your Marriage God’s Way, and the audio is from the accompanying audiobook. I am praying God uses the book and workbook to strengthen marriages and exalt Christ.

I was invited to be one of the keynote speakers for a marriage conference. During one of the first planning meetings, the various speakers and the conference leaders came together to choose the topics for the messages. Many important topics were suggested, such as husbands loving their wives, intimacy, communication, and conflict resolution. Nobody mentioned submission, so I said I would preach on the subject. Immediately the tone in the room changed. While the other suggestions were met with enthusiastic responses, such as, “Sounds good…I look forward to hearing that message…That will be very beneficial,” mine was met with, “Umm…Uhh…Hmm.” You would’ve thought I had offered to speak on something completely unbiblical rather than the primary command given to wives that is very clearly repeated throughout the New Testament in Ephesians 5:22, 24, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:3-5, and 1 Peter 3:1.

One of the other keynote speakers said, “I try not to use the word submit. I like to say defer, compromise, or consider.” The awkwardness continued when we filmed the promotional spots for the conference. My video probably took more time to be recorded than the rest of the speakers combined because there were repeated objections to me quoting Bible verses commanding wives to submit to their husbands. Interestingly, I did little more than simply recite the verses, letting the Bible speak for itself. I didn’t interpret them or comment on them, which reveals how much discomfort there is simply associated with what God’s Word says about submission.

Submission is difficult to address. Some people cringe at the word. I will be the first to say submission has been misused and abused in relationships, sermons, and counseling sessions. My desire is to approach this sensitive command in both a biblical and delicate manner. Up front, I would like to make two requests:

  1. Please commit to taking the time to consider what Scripture itself says about submission and how it applies to everyday life. Clearly, the fact God made this such a key part of His marriage instructions means it is important.
  2. Please keep in mind that as our Creator and Designer, God knows the ideal for our relationships. Not only does He know what is best for us, He wants what is best for us. For us to reject His design is to settle for less than God’s best, and say we know better than Him.

ANSWERING THOSE NAGGING QUESTIONS

In any discussion of submission, some obvious and legitimate questions arise: How far does submission extend? Is there anything to which a wife should not submit? Are all women required to submit to all men? Does submission mean men can do whatever they want to their wives? What about physical or mental abuse?

As we cover the command for wives to submit to their husbands, I don’t want these questions nagging you. I believe you will be more receptive to what submission involves if you first learn what it does not involve. Let’s answer these nagging questions by considering what a wife’s biblical submission is not!

First, Biblical Submission Does Not Mean That Wives Submit to Other Men

While Scripture is clear that God commands wives to submit to their husbands, each command is equally clear that wives are commanded to submit only to their husbands:

  • Ephesians 5:22—“Wives, submit to your own husbands.”
  • Ephesians 5:24—“Just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
  • Colossians 3:18—“Wives, submit to your own husbands.”
  • Titus 2:3-5—“Older women likewise…admonish the young women to…[be] obedient to their own husbands.”
  • 1 Peter 3:1—”Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands.”

Wives are under their own husbands’ headship, and not under the authority of other men. Even in the church, a wife is under the authority of her husband, and her husband is under the authority of the leadership of the church: “the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man” (1 Corinthians 11:3).

In Genesis 2:18, when God spoke of creating the first woman, He did not say, “I will make men [plural] helpers.” He said: “I will make him [singular] a helpmeet.” When I want help in my life, I look to my wife or to other men God has placed in my life. I do not look to other men’s wives because I know they are not my helper. Scripture clearly limits the boundaries of a husband’s headship and a wife’s submission to the context of a marriage relationship.

Practically, this also addresses the misconception that submission means women can only hold positions—in or out of the church—in which they are subordinate to all male associates. Such an extreme view would suggest that a woman cannot be a nurse because a male orderly might be her subordinate or that a woman could not be a teacher because a male aide or janitor might help her at times. As I mentioned earlier, when I was an elementary school teacher, most of the principals I worked for were women.

Second, Biblical Submission Does Not Mean That Wives Submit to Abuse

What women long for is spiritual and moral leadership from their husbands—not spiritual or moral domination. While this is straightforward, because there is so much confusion about what submission is and isn’t, it is vital for us to be clear on what this means. When we hear the word abuse, typically we think in terms of physical mistreatment. Abuse, however, can be emotional, mental, and even spiritual. There are wives whose husbands never lay a hand on them yet mistreat them so badly they are in just as bad or worse condition than women who are physically abused.

What should a woman in an abusive relationship do? She cannot divorce her husband, but she can separate from him. The apostle Paul writes, “The woman…is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives” (Romans 7:2), and “If [a wife] does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:11; see also verse 39). If the abused woman is part of a church, she should go to the pastors or elders, and they should find a safe place for her (and her children, if necessary). In the meantime, for the husband, discipline is performed, counsel is given, repentance is sought, and the biblical counsel or gospel is given time to work in his heart. An abused wife may also need to seek social or legal services, residency in a battered woman’s shelter, and even help from the police, if the abuse warrants such.

That said, the abuse card can be used carelessly. I have heard women throw out the word simply because a husband didn’t give his wife everything she wanted. When a wife does not get to do all that she wants to do, go all the places she wants to go, buy all the things she wants to buy, or spend all her time the way she wants to spend it, that is not abuse.

I’ve also heard women talk about being abused when they aren’t treated with what they believe to be sufficient adoration. Having a husband who is less than perfect in this area does not constitute abuse. While God does command husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, no husband does this perfectly. As fallen humans, husbands will have times when they sin against their wives, but this does not necessarily mean abuse has occurred. If failing to love one’s wife perfectly constituted abuse, then every wife on earth would be in an abusive relationship.

Third, Biblical Submission Does Not Mean That Wives Submit to Sin

The account in Acts 5:1-11 of Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, is instructive. The background of this story is that early church members were selling their possessions and sharing the proceeds with the apostles and other believers who had needs. Ananias sold a possession, kept part of the money when he brought his offering to the apostles, but acted as though all the proceeds were being given to the church. As the apostle Peter declared, Ananias had every right to keep part of his profits if he wanted. But because Ananias claimed to have turned over all the funds—and thus he lied to the Holy Spirit—he dropped dead on the spot.

The correlation is that Ananias “kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it” (Acts 5:2). When Sapphira showed up, not realizing her husband had died, she had the opportunity to tell the truth. Instead, she reiterated her husband’s lie. This led Peter to say, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out” (verse 9).

God’s judgment on Sapphira for supporting her husband’s sin shows she was as accountable as him. Peter’s response indicates that if she had refused to participate in the deception, her life would have been spared. This is a perfect example of a time when a wife should not have submitted to her husband.

Let me add a caveat that the principle in question applies to being asked to engage in blatant sin. A wife should say no to a husband who demands that she participate in any kind of illegal activity, such as drug dealing, theft, adultery, or even lesser legal offenses, such as cheating on income taxes or lying to an employer. This is quite different from a husband opposing his wife’s involvement in positive spiritual activities. A husband may resist his wife taking time from home and family to join a Bible study fellowship, attend church several times a week, volunteer for a Christian outreach, or participate in a church sports league. In those instances, he is not asking her to commit a sin, but simply to respect his preference. That raises an important question: What is a wife supposed to do when her husband resists her participation in activities that can contribute to her spiritual growth?

A wife can respectfully let her husband know her desire and ask if he would allow this for the benefit of their marriage, children, or family. If he is still resistant, then she should submit and pray. Assuming God wants her or the family involved in the activity, there’s a possibility He will change the husband’s heart. Even if a wife does not like her husband’s decision or request, she should be encouraged that God will reward her submission and—assuming the husband is disobeying God by declining—hold the husband responsible for his poor spiritual leadership.

Fourth, Biblical Submission Does Not Mean That Husbands Do Not Defer to Their Wives

Every healthy, joyful marriage in which a woman feels loved involves a husband who defers to his wife. Godly men are not going to thoughtlessly insist on submission. They will first seek to graciously reach an agreement with their wives. Even when an agreement can’t be reached, they may still choose to defer to their wives. Let me share two examples from my marriage.

Not long ago I decided a great plan would be to surprise the family with one of my favorite foods—popcorn—and a show filled with thrills, tremendous plot lines, and edge-of-your-seat action—Little House on the Prairie. While I was working up an appetite doing cardio, my mom called to say, “Katie invited us to go out for frozen yogurt with all of you. When do you want us to come over?”

Now, I’m sure many husbands can relate to this. You’re excited about how you would like to spend your evening, only to find out that your wife has other plans. My first thought was that Katie and I hadn’t discussed getting frozen yogurt. My second thought was that the frozen yogurt shop didn’t sell popcorn or show Little House on the Prairie.

At that moment I had two choices. I could put my foot down and say, “I’ve already decided we’re going to have popcorn and watch Little House on the Prairie as a family, so that is what we’re going to do.” Or I could say, “You know what? I’m going to sacrifice for my wife. What she is suggesting we do could be a great way to spend the evening. I’ll take the family to a frozen yogurt shop.”

This might seem like a trivial example, but the point I’m trying to make is that even though wives are commanded to submit to their husbands, godly husbands look for ways to bless their wives and families, even when it means a change of plans or decisions. Ephesians 5:28 says husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies, and at the time, my wife wanted frozen yogurt. You can guess where we ended up.

On a more serious note, at the time of this writing, our eight-month-old daughter, Lydia, stopped nursing. She also wouldn’t take a bottle, eat anything, or use a pacifier. While up to this point she had been our easiest baby to care for, she couldn’t be comforted, wouldn’t sleep at night, and cried constantly. She started losing weight, which was even more concerning because she was already small. Katie took her to a medical clinic, but the doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with her. While I was concerned about Lydia, I knew Katie was more distressed than I was. She cried regularly because we couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

A few days later, Katie called me and said, “I looked in Lydia’s mouth and saw something attached to the roof of it.” Upon closer inspection, we could see that it was a dress-up, press-on fingernail that belonged to one of Lydia’s older sisters, Charis. Somehow Lydia had gotten it, and it had become attached to the roof of her mouth. While we were thankful to finally know what was wrong, we couldn’t get it out. I tried to remove it with my finger, but it wouldn’t budge.

I then called someone in our church, who invited us to head over to his house, as he thought he could take it out. But Katie didn’t feel comfortable with that idea. She wanted to take Lydia to the hospital in case there was an infection or the nail got lodged in her throat during the attempt to remove it. I didn’t want to go to the hospital because I thought my friend could take it out. More than likely he could have, and a trip to the hospital (and the accompanying bill) would have been unnecessary. But I could see how upset Katie was and how much she wanted to see a doctor so she would know things were fine. I deferred to Katie and we went to the hospital, which gave her peace of mind as a result of knowing that Lydia was receiving all the care she needed. Deferring to my wife so she felt loved was worth the cost.

Fifth, Biblical Submission Does Not Mean That Husbands Do Not Listen to Their Wives

We have already learned how God created the woman to give man a “helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18). I don’t want to sound simplistic, but in my mind, the three greatest resources God has given a husband on this side of heaven are the Word of God, the Holy Spirit (also called “the Helper”), and his wife.

A husband who does not listen to his wife is forfeiting one of the greatest resources God has given him. In addition, consider how these three resources work together. God can use His Holy Spirit to counsel husbands through their wives. Many times, God has used Katie to warn me, correct me, encourage me, or direct me. There have been times when Katie has shared Scripture with me or given me her thoughts on a passage and she helped me to better understand God’s Word.

Scripture gives a powerful example of how a wife’s wisdom can be instructive for a husband. The context is the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, who was sitting in judgment over the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. During the trial, Pilate’s wife sent him a message: “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him” (Matthew 27:19). Pilate rejected her counsel, and we all know what happened afterward. Could there be a better example in all of history of a time when a husband should have listened to his wife?

One very significant instance in which I believe God used Katie to direct me has to do with a key transition I made as a pastor. At the time, I was an associate pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Lemoore, California. Although that was a wonderful season of life for us, Katie sensed that God had gifted me to shepherd my own church. The senior pastor agreed with Katie’s assessment, so she had confirmation from him as well.

When we found out about a pastorate at Woodland Christian Church in Woodland, Washington State, Katie wanted me to take the position, but I wasn’t so sure because I enjoyed my job at Grace Baptist, I don’t like change, and I didn’t want to say goodbye to so many people I loved. In addition, the job security at the new position didn’t look promising. One of the deacons had the integrity to tell me, “Based on our savings, if the giving remains the same, we will only be able to pay you for eight months.”

I say all this to make it clear how hard it was for me to change jobs. Looking back, Katie’s ongoing encouragement is one of the main reasons I was able to make the move. There is one more detail to the story, but I will save that for later. For now, I simply want to share that God used Katie in that situation to give me the confidence I needed to become a senior pastor and use my spiritual giftedness in a greater variety of ways.

Sixth, Biblical Submission Does Not Mean That Wives Are Inferior

A common criticism of submission sounds something like this: “If wives are supposed to submit to their husbands, then wives are not equal to their husbands. Because God made men and women equal, wives do not have to submit.” Do we apply this thinking to the other kinds of relationships that require submission? Do we say that parents are superior to their children, elders are superior to their congregations, governments are superior to the people they govern, or employers are superior to their employees? Not at all. The same logic dictates that a wife’s submission to her husband does not in any way make her inferior.

Perhaps the best example of this is seen in the relationship between God the Son and God the Father. Consider these verses demonstrating Jesus’s submission:

  • In John 5:30, Jesus stated, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
  • In John 6:38, Jesus said, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
  • In Matthew 26:39, Jesus prayed only a few hours before His crucifixion, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Does Jesus’s submission to the Father indicate that He is inferior? Absolutely not. Jesus made His equality with the Father very evident:

  • In John 10:30, Jesus proclaimed, “I and My Father are one.”
  • In John 17:20- 22, Jesus said, “I [pray]…for those who will believe in Me…that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You…that they may be one just as We are one.”

Those who believe a wife’s submission to her husband makes her inferior must also conclude that the Son’s submission to the Father makes Him inferior. If we acknowledge that the Son is both submissive to the Father and equal with Him, we can also acknowledge that wives are submissive to their husbands while still being equal with them.

The Son’s submissiveness to the Father and the unity, equality, and oneness they share is a beautiful picture of a wife’s submissiveness to her husband and the unity, equality, and oneness they should share. Note the following parallel: Jesus said, “We are one,” and Genesis 2:24 says, “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one.” To make the parallel with marriage even stronger, 1 Corinthians 11:3 states, “The head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” Just as the Son submits to the Father and sees Him as His head, a wife submits to her husband and sees him as her head.

FOLLOWING JESUS’S EXAMPLE OF SUBMISSION

We can all be encouraged in our submission by looking at Jesus’s example. In the middle of Peter’s passage on submission he praised our Savior’s behavior: “To this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). This does not apply only to wives submitting to their husbands but to any relationship involving submission. When children demonstrate submission to parents, congregations demonstrate submission to elders, believers demonstrate submission to government, and employees demonstrate submission to employers, they are demonstrating the heart of Christ. A submissive heart is a heart like Christ’s. To submit is to be like Christ.

Just as Jesus is the premier example of submission, so Satan offers the premier example of rebellion. Scripture provides vivid images of Satan’s original rejection of God as his head, which resulted in his being cast down and out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-20; Ezekiel 28:12-19). Then, in the Garden of Eden, we see him as a serpent stirring up similar rebellion in Eve. Consider the parallels between the words he spoke to himself and the words he spoke to the first woman:

  • “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14).
  • “Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God ” (Genesis 3:5).

Satan is saying here, in essence, “You do not need to submit to God. You can have His position instead.” As difficult as it is to hear this, ultimately, to be rebellious and reject the authority God has placed over us—whether parents, church leadership, government, employers, or husbands as the head of the family— is to follow Satan’s example.

But let’s not conclude with our focus on Satan. Let’s resume “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). When we think of submission, our minds can go to

  • how Jesus was willing to submit—perfectly
  • what He was willing to submit to—the wrath of God that our sins deserve
  • why He was willing to submit—His unimaginable love for us

Nobody has ever had as much to submit to as Jesus did. Nobody has ever submitted to any trial or suffering as well as Jesus did. We should be encouraged by the example Jesus set for us whenever we face a situation that calls for submission. We should think about all Jesus submitted to whenever we feel like we are required to submit too much. We should remember the suffering Jesus submitted to whenever we feel like our submission involves too much suffering. We should especially keep in mind that Jesus submitted “for the joy that was set before Him” so that someday, we can hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21). Jesus’ example should encourage all us—man and woman alike—in our submission.

20 Responses

  1. Thank you for the message! I love God and His word is my authority. I want to follow it despite how I feel about it.

    I am a newly married, born again Christian of 23 years.
    Because my husband and I got born again and grew in different denominations, there are passages in the Bible that we apply and understand differently. It often brings to sort of debating, that I don’t enjoy at all. I prefer to restrain from the debate and suggest to come together around many biblical essential topics we do agree on, like salvation, divinity of Christ, love for God, Christian love, evangelization etc., then to debate about points like binding and loosing, spiritual gifts etc. I explain that my peace with my husband is more important than proving my point.
    My husband gets offended and tells me that I am not a submissive wife, he does not have any authority in his own family if his wife doesn’t trust his knowledge about the Bible. He can call me rebellions and disobedient because I fail to see the word the way he does.
    As for me, I feel like I am being stripped off my relationship with Christ and being told how I should pray and communicate with the One who has saved my life from many dark places. In those moments, I feel like a sort of dictatorship happen. It hurts me deeply, it feels like my personal communication with Christ and prayers are being criticized, questioned and attacked. It becomes a sensitive topic.

    How to sincerely submit to my husband when my heart and my spirit do not agree on those interpretations of the Bible he suggests, and I don’t find enough evidence that what he suggests is the correct way. Should I just submit because the word says so, and change the way I believe the word even if that is not the best interpretation (in my opinion)?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello Christian Wife,
      Nice to hear from you. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      My wife and I go over my sermons together each week and it is obvious that we have some differences as well. I’m pretty sure that is the case with every couple. The issue is how we deal with those differences. Do we listen to each other and are we charitable, or does our flesh flareup and we are proud and contentious?

      I appreciate what you are saying about agreeing on the essentials. You are correct that peace is often more important than the conflict that can arise. First Corinthians 7:15 supports this: “God has called you to peace [in marriage].”

      I haven’t heard your husband’s side, so it is hard to respond, but I would say that if he feels like you are insubmissive or disrespectful when you disagree with him, that is unfortunate. I think wives can disagree and respectful and disrespectful ways, dishonorable and honorable ways. Katie has disagreed with me many times and God has used it to help me learn and grow. Can you ask your husband what causes him to feel like you are in submissive or disrespectful when you disagree? Ask him how you can disagree and share your thoughts without causing him to feel that way.

      Your husband cannot strip you of your relationship with Christ or control how you pray. Even if you and your husband disagree you still have your own relationship with the Lord.

      You are not responsible with fixing your husband. I say this as as an encouragement versus a rebuke. God does not hold you responsible for what your husband believes. I hope that can be freeing for you. If you share your thoughts and he gets upset then remember that you don’t have to convince him. If you disagree and he calls you insubmissive, then stop disagreeing, but understand God will hold your husband responsible for his pride and stubbornness. With that said, no, submission does not mean believing unbiblical teaching. You do not have to submit your husband and believe things that are untrue.

  2. I love the relaxed style of your videos – I think videos may be a really important way of engaging in mission and ministry online – I’ve done a little bit of it, but keep thinking I should try it more. I think the style you use may make it less intimidating. There’s also a good mix of Biblical points and down-to-earth wisdom.

    Advent blessings

    Bosco

    1. Thank you Bosco.

      It’s definitely more my wife’s encouragement that allows these videos to take place. I feel much more comfortable behind the pulpit with my notes in front of me. The “live” aspect of Facebook Live is what makes it a stretch for me :). You could say preaching behind the pulpit is live too, but for some reason it seems different to me.

      Anyway, thanks for your encouragement!

  3. I can relate to the second part of this post about how to disagree with your spouse in front of your children without it being a conflict. My husband and I think it’s important for our children to see this behavior modeled, so they will know how to communicate during disagreements with their future spouses. Also, it’s important to show children they should think for themselves instead of just swallowing what everyone else tells them. Their relationship with God and faith will be stronger for it.

    1. Hi Rachael,
      That’s wonderful that you’re taking into consideration the example you’re setting for your children, not just for their lives now, but for their marriages in the future.

      I think it’s true that daughters look for men who will treat them the way their fathers treated their mothers, and the same for sons with their future wives.

  4. It is so true that conflict doesn’t win people over. I like how Paul would look for common ground with people when presenting Christ. Yes, he was presenting a different point of view, which some violently disagreed with but, he used something they were already familiar with.

  5. This is tough. I couldn’t imagine being married to someone who mocked Christianity. How hard it would be to stay humble and show the grace and love of a god to that person. Major prayer would be needed!

  6. This is sound advice, Scott. I so appreciate that you said to teach understanding on minor issues. It supports your point from your book- “submissive wife” is not synonymous with “doormat!” I love a good theological discussion ??

    1. Beka,
      Thanks for your comment, and you quoted my book. Of course I think that’s great :).

      “Gentle and quiet spirit” versus “gentle and quiet mouth.”

      Yes, we all have differences with our spouses. Just an issue of handling/discussing them peacefully.

  7. This jumped out at me:

    “Our spiritual liberty is not only about freedom but equally about giving up—i.e., submitting—our rights for others. If a brother or sister in Christ would be offended or stumble on account of one of our liberties, we submit to that person by laying down our rights.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen families where the spouses lash out at each other all the time and the kids get the message that married life is full of fighting, etc. I’m constantly trying to make sure to watch not only my words but my attitude when there is a point of disagreement between us.

    1. That’s great, thanks Laura.

      Yes, instead of being convinced of some theological position, when the parents argue about their beliefs the kids simply become convinced that religion is a point of contention.

      Katie and I try to discuss in front of the kids, but argue in private :).

  8. Hi there! I don’t remember how I recently stumbled across your blog, but I’m so glad I did. I’ve been reading many of your posts and watching your videos. The video here is probably the one that resonates the most with a situation I’m currently going through. It is a long story, but I will try to sum things up here so perhaps you can give some advice/counsel. My husband was a pastor up until this last year, when God moved us from the western US to the southeastern part of the country. I actually married him while he was the youth pastor, and together we served at two churches out west. Then, God called us here, where he could teach Bible in a Christian school. We were excited, as my in-laws live close by and we knew the pastor and wife pretty well. So, we were confident in our decision, especially because if you teach at the Christian school, you also have to be members of the church. After a few short weeks of being here, I got involved in one of their ministries (that I have done in the past elsewhere), and it seemed to be a good fit–at first. But then, the Lord began tugging at my heart that didn’t seem right Biblically speaking. So, I prayed about it, talked with my husband, and he suggested I remove myself quietly. It was a hard thing, as it is something I know I can be a great asset in with prior experience and heart, but I thought I would just pray about future things at the church. I have been (or currently am involved with), some teaching/nursery help as much as able, but I’ve also had some physical issues, an ectopic pregnancy that recently led to a tubal surgery (yes, it’s been rough this past year!). However, because this ministry reaches all ages every week, my children have had an option to be a part, if parents want them to. I had been approached about this, but was told I couldn’t help with it (or lead in it), because I didn’t fully support this particular ministry. (this was a few months after I stepped out quietly…and honestly, had never had to deal with this anywhere else). I talked with my husband about it, and because of my personal decision months prior, told me that he didn’t want to be a part of it. For months, he has been telling me that I have been rebellious, not following him (submitting) or the church—all because I stepped out quietly for something I believe the Bible doesn’t want me to “go with the flow” about. I have led in this area for years, have felt confident and at peace of where I stand, but now…things are different at this church. My husband has never belittled me for where I stand on this issue, and there have been things he thinks strongly about that I have respected him on as well. After the processing with this, I have hardly mentioned this at all to him, nor do I judge others who are a part or even talk about it with other congregants. But, now with our kids being asked to join, and my husband saying for me to deal with it, I have…but recently exploded at me when he got upset over something else. This is when it becomes a contentious thing in our relationship. We will talk about other things, and perhaps a disagreement gets heated, and then I’m reminded that I’m not following him again in this particular situation. For the past few years, I have noticed that he will use the “submission” thing against me with some of these “non-essentials”…almost as if God can only speak through him for me. My opinions seem devalued many times and it has been discouraged. I have been teaching my kids things, but never have I said that they shouldn’t listen to Daddy’s point of view. In fact, some of these things, he has been very quiet on, until–he gets frustrated/upset about something and then he throws it in my face, as if it is wrong to apply Biblical principles, or have a different view than himself or others at church. In this case, he was initially worried that he would lose his job. I agree that we as parents need to be careful that our kids don’t see these arguments, but sadly, ours have so many times (even if the talks are loud and then it wakes them up…sad). I have suggested counseling, to no avail. I have sought counsel from our pastor with how he handles conflict, but I didn’t share this particular situation because he and I don’t agree on why I stepped down “if God led us here.” If you could help me, I would appreciate it. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells all the time, even though I don’t bring up the situation. With God closing this particular door at the church, He has reminded me that my primary ministry is the home, so He’s been working through me through all of this. If you could give some guidance, I would appreciate it…and if you need more info as to the particular thing I believe in, I wouldn’t mind sharing more details. I desire to do the right thing and be at peace with my husband. But at the same time, don’t have the “fit” that I have had before at other churches this because this area permeates a lot of what the church does, and the philosophy there, as well. Thanks so much!

    1. Hello Theo-Ann,
      I thought it best to copy your comment down and respond below certain parts.

      Hi there! I don’t remember how I recently stumbled across your blog, but I’m so glad I did. I’ve been reading many of your posts and watching your videos. The video here is probably the one that resonates the most with a situation I’m currently going through. It is a long story, but I will try to sum things up here so perhaps you can give some advice/counsel. My husband was a pastor up until this last year, when God moved us from the western US to the southeastern part of the country. I actually married him while he was the youth pastor, and together we served at two churches out west. Then, God called us here, where he could teach Bible in a Christian school. We were excited, as my in-laws live close by and we knew the pastor and wife pretty well. So, we were confident in our decision, especially because if you teach at the Christian school, you also have to be members of the church. After a few short weeks of being here, I got involved in one of their ministries (that I have done in the past elsewhere), and it seemed to be a good fit–at first. But then, the Lord began tugging at my heart that didn’t seem right Biblically speaking.

      Do you mind sharing what exactly it was that didn’t seem right? I hate to pry, but I’m not sure I can respond well without knowing.

      So, I prayed about it, talked with my husband, and he suggested I remove myself quietly. It was a hard thing, as it is something I know I can be a great asset in with prior experience and heart, but I thought I would just pray about future things at the church. I have been (or currently am involved with), some teaching/nursery help as much as able, but I’ve also had some physical issues, an ectopic pregnancy that recently led to a tubal surgery (yes, it’s been rough this past year!). However, because this ministry reaches all ages every week, my children have had an option to be a part, if parents want them to. I had been approached about this, but was told I couldn’t help with it (or lead in it), because I didn’t fully support this particular ministry. (this was a few months after I stepped out quietly…and honestly, had never had to deal with this anywhere else). I talked with my husband about it, and because of my personal decision months prior, told me that he didn’t want to be a part of it. For months, he has been telling me that I have been rebellious, not following him (submitting) or the church—all because I stepped out quietly for something I believe the Bible doesn’t want me to “go with the flow” about.

      I’m sorry, but I’m a little confused. Earlier it sounds like you said you spoke with your husband and he suggested you remove yourself quietly, which you did. It sounds like you did submit to him?

      I have led in this area for years, have felt confident and at peace of where I stand, but now…things are different at this church. My husband has never belittled me for where I stand on this issue, and there have been things he thinks strongly about that I have respected him on as well.

      Can you tell me what “issue” you’re referring to? Without knowing, I’m not sure how to provide counsel.

      After the processing with this, I have hardly mentioned this at all to him, nor do I judge others who are a part or even talk about it with other congregants. But, now with our kids being asked to join, and my husband saying for me to deal with it, I have…but recently exploded at me when he got upset over something else. This is when it becomes a contentious thing in our relationship. We will talk about other things, and perhaps a disagreement gets heated, and then I’m reminded that I’m not following him again in this particular situation. For the past few years, I have noticed that he will use the “submission” thing against me with some of these “non-essentials”…almost as if God can only speak through him for me.

      Interestingly, nonessentials should be the area where wives have the easiest time submitting to their husbands. It’s when husbands ask their wives to submit in areas that could be considered essentials, or very clear in Scripture.

      One other difficulty in responding to your post (aside from not knowing the actual issue at hand), is I haven’t been able to hear your husband’s side. Scripture says both sides should be heard before coming to a conclusion, and most times it’s not that either person is being dishonest. It’s simply an issue of them seeing things differently. I’d be glad to know your husband’s side, at least the best you can present it.

      My opinions seem devalued many times and it has been discouraged. I have been teaching my kids things, but never have I said that they shouldn’t listen to Daddy’s point of view. In fact, some of these things, he has been very quiet on, until–he gets frustrated/upset about something and then he throws it in my face, as if it is wrong to apply Biblical principles, or have a different view than himself or others at church. In this case, he was initially worried that he would lose his job.

      Do you mean his job in ministry? I would say if he’s in ministry at the church he needs to work for unity with the elders. If he’s so at odds with the theology of the church he can work for change, but if he’s considered divisive then the issues are large enough he should move on. It sounds like perhaps your husband feels like you’re differences are putting him or you or your family at odds with the leadership?

      I agree that we as parents need to be careful that our kids don’t see these arguments, but sadly, ours have so many times (even if the talks are loud and then it wakes them up…sad). I have suggested counseling, to no avail.

      If your husband is in ministry and you two are having these types of problems, you should definitely get counsel. If you don’t, more than likely it will simply erupt at some point, people will be shocked, and it will be much worse than if it had been handled earlier.

      I have sought counsel from our pastor with how he handles conflict, but I didn’t share this particular situation because he and I don’t agree on why I stepped down “if God led us here.” If you could help me, I would appreciate it. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells all the time, even though I don’t bring up the situation. With God closing this particular door at the church, He has reminded me that my primary ministry is the home, so He’s been working through me through all of this.

      Yes, that’s a very good view. I hope you can be encouraged that this is on your husband’s shoulders, and you’re largely responsible with supporting him, versus making the decisions yourself.

      If you could give some guidance, I would appreciate it…and if you need more info as to the particular thing I believe in, I wouldn’t mind sharing more details.
      Yes, that seems to be very important to know ?. In fact, I feel like there’s little I can say without that info.
      I desire to do the right thing and be at peace with my husband. But at the same time, don’t have the “fit” that I have had before at other churches this because this area permeates a lot of what the church does, and the philosophy there, as well. Thanks so much!

      Thanks for reading, commenting, and asking. I will try to respond more thoroughly when I have more information.

      In Christ,
      Scott

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