wives submit to your husbands

Wives Submit to Your Husbands as is Fitting in the Lord

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Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18 commands, “Wives submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord,” and Wives are commanded to submit to their husbands: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord,” and 1 Peter 3:1 commands, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.” “Submission” is frowned on in the world’s eyes, but it’s a clear command to wives in Scripture. What does it look (and not look) like for wives to submit to their husbands as the church does to Christ? Also, how can husbands make it easier to submit to them?

Message Lessons for Wives Submit to Your Husbands

  • Lesson 1: Submission is __________________ (Ephesians 5:23; 1 Corinthians 11:3).
  • Lesson 2: Submission is not:
    • (Part I) Done ______________ and __________________.
    • (Part II) A matter of ______________________ (John 6:38; Matthew 26:39).
  • Lesson 3: Submission means:
    • (Part I) Husbands still ____________ to their __________ (Genesis 2:18).
    • (Part II) A wife puts her husband in a ________________ to ________.
    • (Part III) A wife ________________ her husband even though she disagrees with him.
    • (Part IV) A wife ____________ ______ (1 Peter 3:5–6).
    • (Part V) A wife keeps her strength __________ ______________.
  • Lesson 4: (Part I) Husbands ____________ __________ when they’re wrong (Part II) and wives shouldn’t say, “__ ________ ______ ____!”

Discussion Questions for Wives Submit to Your Husbands

  • Husband asks wife:
    • How do I make it hard for you to submit to me?
    • How do I make it easier for you to submit to me?
    • Do you feel like I listen to your thoughts when it comes to making decisions?
    • Do you feel like I admit when I’m wrong, or do I make excuses and shift blame?
  • Wife asks husband:
    • Do you feel like I submit “kicking and screaming”?
    • Do you feel like I put you in a position to lead?
    • Do you feel like I take control of situations or decisions that should be left to you?
    • Do you feel like I say, “I told you so!”?
Your Marriage God's Way: A Biblical Guide to a Christ-Centered Relationship
Your Marriage God's Way Workbook author Scott LaPierre

The content in this post is found in Your Marriage God’s Way and the accompanying workbook.

Message Notes for Wives Submit to Your Husbands

I’d like to begin by inviting you to think about the structure of teams, businesses, schools – or really – any organization.

There are individuals in leadership:

  • In businesses there are CEOs.
  • In sports there are coaches.
  • In organizations there are presidents.
  • In schools there are principals.

But you never see:

  • Two head coaches.
  • Two presidents.
  • Two principals.
  • Two head pilots
  • Two head surgeons

Instead we always see:

  • A head coach and an assistant coach.
  • A president and a vice-president.
  • A pilot and a co-pilot.
  • A principal and an assistant principal.

And this brings us to our first lesson…

Lesson 1: Submission is necessary

Even though everyone recognizes the need for submission and authority in the other areas of life that I mentioned, some people struggle to recognize the need for submission and headship in the marriage relationship.

But Scripture is clear that there’s submission and authority in marriage too:

  • Ephesians 5:23 The husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:3 The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

While we’re going to be talking about a wife’s submission to her husband, it’s worth noticing that w/ the exception of God the Father, nobody is w/o a head:

  • Women have men as their head.
  • Men have Christ as our head.
  • And Christ has God the Father as His head.

Before we go any further in this discussion of submission I’d like to make a brief point…

We know Christianity is criticized for commanding wives to submit to their husbands, but it’s important to keep in mind nothing has ever done more for the treatment of woman than Christianity. In some parts of the world – think of the Middle East – women are treated as little more than objects – and it’s only when the Gospel is introduced that women are elevated to a level of treatment they wouldn’t otherwise know. It’s the Gospel that takes abusive, cruel men and brings them to repentance regarding their behavior and causes them to honor women and give them the honor they should receive.

With an understanding of the need for submission, let’s briefly discuss what submission should and shouldn’t look like. And this brings us to Lesson 2…

Lesson 2: Submission is not (Part I) done kicking and screaming

The reason I worded the lesson this way is when we submit, whether it’s:

  • Congregations to elders
  • Employees to employers
  • Children to parents
  • Christians to one another
  • Or Wives to husbands…

If we’re kicking and screaming while we submit…that’s not really submission. That’s rebellion.

The way we submit is as important as submitting itself.

We think of submission as an action, and it does manifest itself outwardly through our actions and behavior. But it’s really an inward issue; an attitude of the heart.

When I taught elementary school I told my students that if they obeyed me, but did it w/ an attitude they’d be in as much trouble as if they didn’t obey me at all. For example:

  • If I asked a student to stop tipping in her chair and she stopped tipping but rolled her eyes…
  • Or if I asked a student to take out his book and he took it out, but slammed it on his desk…

They’d be in as much trouble as if they disobeyed me.

When I was in the military there was a lesson one of our commanders taught us that I’ll never forget…

He said, “What do you do w/ every order you’re given.” None of us answered correctly. We said things like:

  • “Make sure you know exactly what you’re being ordered to do.”
  • “Learn from the order.”
  • “Carry out the order as quickly as possible.”

But he said we need to take every order and make it our own.

What he meant was when we’re asked to do something – or when we’re submitting to someone – we should do our best to act like it’s what we want to do.

One other reason I like this memory from the military, is the Greek word for submit is actually a military term. It means, “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader.’”

Can you imagine:

  • In the military if a soldier was asked to do something, and he moaned and groaned, rolled his eyes, complained and argued w/ his commander?
  • In the workplace if an employer asked his employee to do something and he complained?
  • At home if you ask your children to do something and they argue w/ you?

We recognize that it’s frowned upon to respond that way, and we should equally recognize that it’s spiritually frowned upon when wives “submit” but do so kicking and screaming.

The next thing to understand about submission…

Lesson 2: Submission is not (Part II) a matter of superiority

There can be a tendency to think if wives are supposed to submit to their husbands, that means husbands are superior to wives. When people want to criticize submission you’ll almost always hear something like:

  • God made husbands and wives equal; therefore, wives don’t have to submit to their husbands.
  • Wives don’t have to submit to their husbands, b/c that would mean wives are inferior.

At best there’s an inconsistency w/ this sort of thinking, and at worst there’s hypocrisy, b/c the same people who believe this argument accept submission in other areas of life and they don’t think it makes people inferior.

For example:

  • When we submit to government…
  • When employees submit to their employers…
  • When students submit to their teachers…
  • When children submit to their parents…

Do we think that means:

  • A government is superior to its people?
  • Employers are superior to their employees?
  • Teachers are superior to their students?
  • Or parents are superior to their children?

No, we don’t think that, and this is one reason we shouldn’t wives are inferior to their husbands when they submit to them.

If you’re a Christian there’s an even bigger reason you can recognize submission is not an issue of inferiority…

If I said, “Who is the most submissive Person (capital P) who has ever walked the earth?”

Nobody has ever been more submissive than Jesus:

  1. John 6:38 I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
  2. Listen to this verse to hear the most beautiful instance of submission in all history: Matthew 26:39 [Jesus] went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.That is submission:
    1. It’s not my will. It’s your will.
    1. I will make your will my own!

To be consistent, if people object to wives submitting to their husbands on the basis of it making women inferior, then they also have to also acknowledge that God the Son was far inferior to God the Father.

The truth is that there are few things in this life that are more Christ-like than submission, whether it’s…

  • Congregations to elders
  • Employees to employers
  • Children to parents
  • Christians to one another
  • Or Wives to husbands…

A submissive heart is a heart like Christ’s. To submit is to be like Christ.

If you want to talk about the opposite of submission the devil comes to mind:

  • He wouldn’t submit to God.
  • He wasn’t content w/ his position.
  • He wanted the headship or authority God the Father had.

I’d say it like this…

  • If Jesus is the perfect picture of submission to authority, Satan is the perfect picture of insubmissiveness and rebellion.
  • To be submissive is to be like Christ. To be insubmissive is to be like Satan.

One of the clearest verses about submission is found in 1 Peter 3:1. Please turn there…

1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, WITHOUT A WORD, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 

Even though 1 Peter 3:1 says wives win over their husbands without a word, I want to be clear about what this doesn’t mean, and this brings us to Lesson 3…

Lesson 3: Submission means (Part I) husbands still listen to their wives

In our first message we talked about wives being their husband’s helper, and how one of the most obvious ways wives do this is by sharing their thoughts, counsel, and advice w/ their husband.

In my mind, the three greatest resources God has given husbands on this side of heaven are:

  1. The Word of God
  2. The Holy Spirit, who interestingly is also called our Helper.
  3. And our wives. The husband who doesn’t listen to his wife is silencing one of the greatest resources God has given him in his life.

God can use His Holy Spirit to speak to husbands through their wives. There have been times when I thought God was revealing His will through Katie. It could be times when He was:

  • Warning me
    • Correcting me
    • Encouraging me
    • Directing me
    • Or giving me counsel

My prayer throughout this past week was that God would direct me to those areas of my marriage sermons that He knows you should hear. Katie was also looking at a lot of my notes, telling me parts that she thought should be removed, and I believe Katie was a vessel God wanted to work through to help me know what to teach you.

So the point is, submission definitely does NOT mean husbands don’t listen to their wives.

Let’s continue discussing what submission means…

Lesson 3: Submission means (Part II) a wife puts her husband in a position to lead

Most people who have heard me preach know that wrestling is my favorite sport, and I like to say that it’s God’s favorite sport too. He wrestled with Jacob (Genesis 32:24-26). He expects us to “wrestle against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). He wrestles with sinners’ hearts.

Most wrestlers will tell you basketball is wrestling’s biggest opponent because the two seasons take place at the same time. One thing basketball has going for it is the movie Hoosiers. Even as a wrestling fan I must admit that it’s a great movie.

Gene Hackman plays Normal Dale, the new head coach. Nobody knows him, and he’s disliked because he does things differently than the previous coach. Dennis Hopper plays Shooter Flatch, who knows much about basketball, but everyone’s written him off because he’s also the town drunk. Coach Dale upsets people even more when he decides to make Shooter the assistant coach. When Shooter shows up to the first game, he’s clean-cut, sober, and wearing a nice suit, but he looks terrified.

Coach Dale wants to give Shooter a chance to prove to the townspeople—and more importantly to himself—that he is valuable, has potential, and can coach. The problem is there’s one thing standing between Shooter and that opportunity, and that’s Coach Dale. A basketball team—like any business, organization, or marriage—can only have one person leading.

With one of the most important games on the line, Coach Dale intentionally gets himself kicked out of the game. As he’s about to leave the gymnasium, he walks over to Shooter, hands him the playbook, and says, “It’s up to you now.” The camera zooms in on Shooter’s face revealing his fear. The team is looking to him to lead them during this crucial moment, but they understandably doubt his ability. Some of the players put their heads down and look at the floor. Shooter didn’t want to be in this position and have to coach the team, but Coach Dale removed himself from being in charge and Shooter had no choice but to lead. He pulled himself together and came up with the game-winning play.

Why am I mentioning this? Wives must imitate Coach Dale and remove themselves from leading to put their husbands in a position where they must lead. Some husbands don’t lead, because their wife is already doing so.

If I can be honest w/ the ladies here, some men don’t lead b/c their wives don’t let them:

  • You want him to lead, but you also want to keep your hands on the steering wheel.
  • You want to sit behind him in the saddle, but you want to keep your hands on the reigns.

Or you say you want him to lead, but what you really mean is…

  • You want him to lead the way you would lead.
  • You want him to do what you want.

Sometimes you even have wives trying to control their husbands…while complaining their husbands won’t lead. Some of these women…

  • Make all the decisions…
  • Control situations…
  • Dominate their husbands…

Then turn around and say, “I have to do everything. I’m so tired of not being able to count on my husband to do anything.”

So when your husband starts to lead let me tell you what NOT to do:

  • Don’t complain about the decisions he makes.
  • Don’t get upset when he doesn’t do things the way you would do them.
  • And most importantly, resist the temptation to take over.

There are some husbands who don’t feel the weight of leadership on their shoulders b/c their wives don’t let that weight rest on their husbands’ shoulders. Some wives are too busy trying to lift the weight off their husbands’ shoulders and put it on their shoulders.

Ladies, if you want your husband to lead,

  • Put that weight of responsibility on his shoulders.
  • Put yourself behind him and make him feel like he has to lead b/c you won’t.

If you do this, it will increase the likelihood that he will:

  • Cast vision for your family.
  • Pray
  • Read the Word
  • Seek God.
  • Take his relationship w/ the Lord more seriously

But if he thinks it doesn’t really matter what he does anyway because…

  • You’re not really going to support him…
  • Or you’re going to fight the decisions he makes…

Then don’t be surprised if he doesn’t take his role seriously.

One reason some husbands don’t lead is they don’t want to try to compete w/ their wives:

  • It’s not worth the conflict and energy for them.
  • There are some men who don’t even think of leading, b/c they know the battle it will be w/ their wives.

I’ve heard women say, “I have to do it, b/c if I don’t do it it won’t get done.”

I have a few responses to this…

First, how do you KNOW it won’t get done? Maybe if your husband knew you wouldn’t do it, he’d do it.

  • Maybe your husband is so used to you taking matters into your own hands that he doesn’t even bother.
  • Maybe if he realized you would do it he would step up!
  • At some point your husband will figure out, “Wow, she’s really not going to take over; she really expects me to lead. I better get my act together!”

Second – and here’s the honest truth – maybe some things won’t get done…

I’m not going to lie and tell you that if you let your husband lead, everything is going to work out perfectly. The truth is:

  • It probably will be messy…
  • Some things probably won’t get done…
  • But regardless of how your husband leads and regardless of whether the job gets done:
    • It’s still his job…
    • It’s still his God-given role…
    • The responsibility is still on his shoulders.

God has not called wives to lead when their husbands don’t.

Helen Andelin said, “Let [your husband] have full reign and do not stand back with anxiety wondering if things will turn out all right. If he makes mistakes, gets into difficulty, let him suffer the consequences. It is the only way he will LEARN TO LEAD.”

I think we all recognize that in any area of life if people are given real leadership or authority, there has to be potential to fail. It’s the only way we learn!

And it’s the same in marriage!

So here’s my encouragement ladies…

Put your husband in the driver’s seat. Make him lead.

And even if he’s all over the road at first, remind yourself:

  • The driver’s seat is not mine.
  • It belongs to my husband.
  • I will let him drive.

Now picture this situation…

A wife hands her husband the keys. She says, “I want you to drive.” She races to the other side of the car to get in the passenger seat to make sure he doesn’t take it. She wants it to be as clear as possible that he’s leading.

So he starts driving, but then she says:

  • Turn here.
  • Are you gonna get over?
  • Aren’t you going too fast?
  • Aren’t you going too slow?
  • Why do you always choose this lane?
  • Aren’t you gonna stop?
  • Haven’t you been stopped long enough?
  • And the classic one, “Looks like we’re getting pretty low on gas.”

She keeps giving him orders. It’s more like a driver’s ed class. He’ll never learn to lead this way.

Now after listening to something like this, here’s one of the main arguments I’ve heard from women about submission…

  • I wouldn’t want to grab the wheel if I liked where my husband was going!
  • I wouldn’t try to take over if I agreed w/ him!

Essentially these wives are saying, “I would submit to my husband if I agreed w/ him.”

And this brings us to the next part of Lesson 3…

Lesson 3: Submission means (Part III) a wife supports her husband even though she disagrees with him

When a wife says, “I would submit to my husband if I agreed w/ him,” what she really means is, “I would submit to my husband if I didn’t have to submit.”

Can we see the problem w/ this logic?

Submission is in place for when you DON’T agree w/ your husband. If you agreed w/ your husband, you wouldn’t need to submit to him.

Picture this…

Earlier I said husbands should listen to their wives. So let’s say a husband and wife have discussed things together, presented their ideas, tried to come to an agreement…but they can’t.

At this point, what do they do? How do they decide?

  • Do they flip a coin?
  • Do they do paper-rock-scissors?

God has decided for the marriage and family to move forward, the husband will make the decision.

And at this point, the wife needs to keep something in mind that’s really important…

She will only be held responsible w/ whether she supported her husband. Her responsibility ends at submitting, not at making sure the right decision is made.

A good way for wives to think about submission is that it’s not supporting the idea. If you supported the idea you wouldn’t have to submit!

Instead, submission is supporting the man behind the idea. Submission is saying, “I love my husband. I respect him. I want to support him. So even though I disagree, I am going to go along w/ his decision.”

And there’s one other reason wives submit to their husbands…and it actually has nothing to do w/ the wife’s relationship to her husband. It has to do w/ her relationship w/ the Lord.

And this brings us to the next part of Lesson 3…

Lesson 3: Submission means (Part IV) a wife trusts God

I’ve heard women say – and the truth is – I completely understand them feeling this way:

  • I have trouble submitting to my husband, b/c I don’t trust him.
  • It would be easier for me to submit to my husband if I could trust him more.
  • I do trust God…I just don’t trust my husband.

But according to God’s Word, a wife’s submission isn’t about her trusting her husband. It’s about her trusting God.

Look at 1 Peter 3:5

1 Peter 3:5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women WHO TRUSTED IN GOD ALSO ADORNED THEMSELVES, BEING SUBMISSIVE TO THEIR OWN HUSBANDS, 

Why were these holy women submissive to their husbands?

  • Because they trusted their husbands?
  • Because their husbands were perfect?

No, b/c they trusted God.

A wife’s submission doesn’t have so much to do w/ whether she trusts her husband, it has to do w/ whether she trusts God:

  • A woman’s submission is a reflection of her trust in God.
  • A woman’s trust in God combats the fear – or terror – she might feel submitting to her husband.

And here’s the question: why is it that when wives submit to their husbands they’re trusting God?

  • Because He’s the one who commands wives to submit.
  • When wives submit they’re showing they trust what God says.

Briefly look at 1 Peter 3:6

1 Peter 3:6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

Sarah is brought forth from the OT and set down as the example for women in the NT.

And I know what you’re saying ladies. You’re saying…

  • Oh yeah, I’d have no trouble submitting to my husband if he was Abraham.
  • I’d have no problem w/ submission if I was married to the father of faith.

Being married to Abraham was TERRIBLY difficult:

  • How many places did they live? How many times did they move?
  • How many times did he say, “I’m afraid. Say you’re my sister so I don’t get killed.”

More than likely Sarah is set down as an example for wives, b/c of how scary and difficult it was for her to submit to Abraham.

But Sarah combatted that fear by trusting God.

Also, notice the words not afraid with any terror.

Now in my mind:

  • Terror is what you feel when you’re on a plane that’s about to crash.
  • Terror is what you feel when the doctor says you have cancer.
  • Terror is what you feel when you get a call that one of your children has been in an accident.

And apparently terror is also what wives feel when they have to submit to their husbands!

I hope these words might be an encouragement to the wives, b/c this reveals God knows how you feel! God knows that when you’re called to submit to your husband it can be a terrifying experience!

  • What happens if my husband makes the wrong decision?
  • What happens if he ruins our family?
  • What happens if we’re not able to eat?
  • What happens if we’re not supposed to does this…or move here…or go to this church…or buy this?

God knows you feel this way, and He still calls you to submit to your husband…b/c you trust the Lord who gave you that command!

And since submission involves overcoming fear, this teaches us something else about submission…

Lesson 3: Submission means (Part V) a wife keeps her strength under control

Since submitting is such a terrifying thing, what does this tell us about women who submit? It says they’re brave. It says they have a lot of courage:

  • There are plenty of women who are too afraid to submit.
  • There are plenty of women who don’t have the trust in God to submit.
  • There are plenty of women who don’t have the strength to submit.

So please understand this ladies:

  • When you submit to your husbands, it’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.
  • It’s not a sign of faithlessness, it’s a sign of faithFULLness.
  • Submission is not for weak, wimpy, doormats.
  • Submission is for strong, godly, faith-filled women.

I want to briefly share a personal story w/ you that I hope helps illustrate what we’re discussing…

The summer after my 8th grade year I flew to upstate New York to work on my uncle’s dairy farm. It’s when I realized I never wanted to work on a dairy farm. No offense to any dairy farmers.

Being 13 years old and not having any friends there I had to find things to entertain myself. One of the many activities I engaged in was…messing w/ the bull that was chained up at the end of the barn. He just stood there all day staring straight ahead, so like any mature, 13 year old would do, I would harass him, try to get him to move, things like that.

One time when I guess the bull wasn’t enjoying playing w/ me as much as I was enjoying playing w/ him, he brought his head up behind me and threw me into the air. I remember being airborne then crashing on the ground. I looked like I got thrown off a bull in a rodeo.

One of the guys who worked on the farm saw it happen. He yelled at me, told me to stay away from the bull, and told me how lucky I was I hadn’t gotten myself killed.

Now here’s the whole reason I’m telling you this…

He said, “Do you see that little chain around his neck? That’s all that’s holding him. He could break that chain any second.”

Basically my cousin told me that bull wasn’t held there for any other reason than it allowed itself to be under the control of that chain.

At that moment I thought two things:

  1. First, I thought, “Why don’t they put a bigger chain around his neck?”
  2. Second, I thought, “That bull has a lot of strength, but it’s allowing its strength to be subdued by that little chain.”

I’d like to encourage you to think of submission this way: it’s strength – or power – that’s restrained and under control.

Submission is a choice. It’s deliberate and willful. If it’s forced it’s not submission.

Now understandably there’s one question I hear often from women when it comes to submission…

“What if my husband makes the wrong decision?”

The truth is it’s not really a question of IF…it’s a question of, WHEN…

So let’s talk about this inevitable reality…

Lesson 4: (Part I) husbands should admit when they’re wrong…

Picture this situation…

A husband and wife are driving:

  • The wife says, “You’re supposed to turn here.”
  • The husband says, “No, it’s not this turn, it’s the next one.”

The wife is a godly submissive woman, so she doesn’t argue w/ her husband or nag him.

But then it turns out she was right and he was wrong!

Let me tell you what the husband shouldn’t do and then I’ll tell you what the husband should do…

  • He shouldn’t make a bunch of excuses…
  • He shouldn’t explain how the last time they drove this way he didn’t turn there, and he was remembering that time, so that’s why he didn’t think he was supposed to turn there this time.
  • He shouldn’t say he would’ve known to turn there if the kids hadn’t been making so much noise in the backseat distracting him…and maybe if his wife had kept them quiet this wouldn’t have happened.

Here’s what a godly man would do:

  • He should admit he made the wrong decision.
  • If he wants to be his wife’s hero, he could say, “You were right and I was wrong.”
  • If he was not listening to his wife b/c he was being prideful or stubborn, he could also say, “I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me. I should’ve listened to you.”

When a husband admits he made a mistake it does a few things:

  • First, it blesses his wife. Can I get an, “Amen!” ladies?
  • Second, it encourages his wife to submit to him in the future.
  • Third, it sets a good example.

Husbands, let me share something important w/ you and let me say it very clearly…

We don’t just lead by making decisions for our families…

  • We lead by the example we set.
  • We lead by being humble.
  • We lead by being like Christ.

Last message we talked about husbands getting the wives they prepare for themselves and….

If husbands are going to:

  • Make excuses…
  • Justify themselves…
  • Blame their wives or children…

They’re going to have wives – and children – that follow their example and:

  • Make excuses…
  • Justify themselves…
  • And blame others.

But if husbands will be:

  • Humble…
  • Accept responsibility for their decisions…
  • Admit when they’re wrong…
  • And – maybe most importantly – ask for forgiveness when they should…

They’re going to have wives and children that:

  • Accept responsibility for their actions…
  • Admit when they’re wrong…
  • And – maybe most importantly – ask for forgiveness too

Now let me provide a little balance…

If a husband deliberately doesn’t listen to his wife b/c he’s being stubborn and then it turns out he made the wrong decision, he shouldn’t just admit he was wrong, he should ask for forgiveness too.

But if a husband…

  • Considers his wife’s thoughts…
  • Is prayerful…
  • And makes the decision he believes is best for his family…

Even if it turns out to be the wrong decision:

  • Did he really do something wrong?
  • Does he really need to feel like he did something terrible?

So here’s the balance: while husbands should acknowledge their wrong decisions, if they did what they thought was best, they really shouldn’t be made to feel like they sinned.

Now let me address the wives…

Something that makes this whole situation more interesting – or difficult – depending how you look at it – is a wife submitted to her husband b/c she didn’t agree w/ him. So if he’s wrong, it’s going to be really obvious that she was right!

And this brings us to the next part of Lesson 4…

Lesson 4: (Part I) Husbands should admit when they’re wrong (Part II) and wives shouldn’t say, “I told you so.”

Let me just say…

Whether you’re a wife, husband, child, parent, employee, whatever, there are no circumstances under which it’s ever appropriate to say, “I told you so.”

Those four words are always fleshly, prideful, and obnoxious.

If you ever think of saying, “I told you so” make sure you also tell yourself, “I’m about to give in to my flesh and act very prideful and immature.” So don’t be an, “’I told you so’ Person.” Nobody likes, “’I told you so’ People.”

When a husband has the humility to say, “I made the wrong decision” a godly wife should say:

  • That was very humble.
  • Thank you for saying that.
  • We all make mistakes.
  • You did what you thought was best.

The truth is if you want to be a godly wife, when your husband makes the wrong decision, he’ll already be feeling bad enough and what he really needs is your encouragement and grace.

And I know what some of you ladies are saying at this point…

What if my husband does NOT have the humility to say he was wrong? What if he’s going to be prideful and stubborn?

Guess what? You still shouldn’t say:

  • I told you so.
  • I was right.
  • You were wrong.
  • You should’ve listened to me.

Instead, pray for your husband to be convicted and for God to give him the humility he needs to admit when he’s wrong.

Let me share a situation from our marriage that I’ll never forget that illustrates this lesson…

Back in 2005 I was an elementary school teacher and I wanted to take better care of my family financially. I learned about a teaching position on the local naval base. The district paid more b/c they received federal funding, and they would pay me for my time in the military, so it gave me a pretty substantial raise.

I remember driving to the interview, trying to hold loosely the potential of getting the job even though I was excited about it. I prayed God would let me get the job if it was His will, and I prayed I wouldn’t get it if it wasn’t His will. At the interview they offered me the job, which I took to be confirmation, so I excitedly accepted the position.

Then something happened: the 2007 recession hit, districts cut new teachers, and since I was new to the district and didn’t have tenure, even though I’d been teaching eight years, I lost my job.

There were no districts in the area that would hire me b/c I had worked in the two local districts…and there were no districts out of the area that would hire me, b/c nobody was hiring!

So I had to go home and tell my pregnant wife that I lost my job – and our wonderful medical insurance – and that I didn’t think I could get another teaching job in the area.

As you can imagine I was really wondering why God let me get the job in the first place only to lose it so quickly. And at this very low point when I felt like I let my family down, here’s what Katie COULD HAVE said…

“You know I still love you, BUT you had a good, safe, tenured teaching position. Why didn’t you stick w/ that? You supposedly prayed about this? Next time you better pray harder. You’re supposed to be the spiritual leader of our family, and you pray about a situation and the answer to your prayer is UNEMPLOYMENT? What are we going to do now?”

Instead, I’ll never forget what Katie said. She said, “I am so excited to see what God is going to do!” She was a constant encouragement and support to me. It was a huge blessing to have her support me and not make me feel worse.

To make a long story short, that’s when the church we were attending hired me full-time.

So there are a couple things about that situation I really appreciated in my wife:

  1. First, I’ll just never forget how Katie supported me during that difficult season, and really that’s what I needed more than anything else.
  2. Second, I’ll always appreciate how she never made me feel worse about my decision.

So let me conclude w/ this:

  • Gentlemen when we’re wrong – not if we’re wrong, but when we’re wrong – let’s be humble and admit it.
  • Wives, when your husband makes a mistake, don’t say, “I told you so.” And don’t make him feel worse. Encourage him.

Let’s pray!

2 Responses

  1. I just finished watching the full series on YouTube and I’m struggling to find hope. I’ve become the nagging quarrelsome wife but I havent always been this way and the past 18 months I’ve really been working on it. My husband is a very worldly man who is overtaken by pride. He doesnt apologize, and in fact blames me for choices he makes even when I submit to his way…. he completely denies it was his idea. He also does none of the things to show me love. He doesnt value me and shows me little consideration or respect, and doesnt support me with regards to the kids (or anything else). He despises me for not working outside of the house and does not want to be the provider, in any shape or form. Heck, I dont even think hes attracted to me, and it’s not because I’m not an attractive woman. Theres no intimacy and any touch I get is for his pleasure. I’m not allowed to give any input without him accusing me of nagging or trying to control him. Ive joked in the past that I should just know my place and learn my opinions and thoughts are meaningless and burdensome. Probably not the best joke, but it’s my reality.

    He believes that Jesus died for our sins and uses that as approval to do whatever he wants. He actually caught the Q&A on the last video and interpreted your comment on hair & skirt length as you saying that we are to conform to the worldly culture. He believes the bible is a flawed book written by man and is not relevant to todays world.

    We’ve been married for 15 years (together for 18) and I see where I could have responded better at times but I dont know how to joyfully submit when he leads our family away from God. The best I’m able to do is suffer in silence and cry myself to sleep every night. I pray often for God to soften his heart or make him divorce me (since the believer is supposed to stay). I’ve left a few times but ultimately cannot give up on Gods ability to repair our marriage. Things never change though and the more I submit and bite my tongue, the more embolden he becomes with worldly ways and the more depressed I become. Most days, I wish God would just call me home. This longsuffering has become more than I can bear.

    How can I joyfully submit when my soul is not at peace with his leadership? How can I be joyful at all when this is my lot in life? I’m not looking for perfection, I’m a very forgiving woman. But how do I forgive and trust when his pride and ego wont even allow him to acknowledge hes hurting me, apologize, and ask for forgiveness?

    1. Leah,
      I sure appreciate your humility. Some women don’t recognize when they are nagging and quarrelsome. You also humbly acknowledged times you could have responded better over the years with him. I know this would be very difficult to do, but you should go to him and ask for his forgiveness for these things you’ve done wrong. This doesn’t mean that your husband hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s not approving or legitimizing his faults and failures. Instead, it’s doing two things. First, it’s taking ownership of your failures in the relationship. Nobody’s perfect so every spouse has faults we can own. Second, you’ll be allowing your husband to see Christ through you. If everything you’re saying is true it sounds like he’s not a Christian. What he needs more than anything is to be born again. First Peter 3:1-2 says, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” When your husband sees this humility and Christlikeness, these verses in Peter say this is what can win him to salvation.

      When you married him you entered a covenant with him, but even more importantly, with God himself. You committed to stay with your husband until death do you part, through good and bad. Sounds like there’s been a lot of bad, and I’m sorry to say this, but that is what you signed up for on your wedding day. A young mother in our church has been struggling with cancer. This is the terrible trial she must endure. Perhaps the terrible trial you must endure is remaining married to a difficult husband. Sometimes a woman can bring more glory to God in a painful, difficult marriage than in a wonderful, godly one.

      One important thing I would encourage you to keep in mind is that you’re not submitting to your husband. You’re submitting to Christ. You submit to your husband because you want to submit to Christ. You respect your husband because you want to obey Christ. It must be hard to see your husband do sinful things and show a disregard for Christ, you can still continue to honor Christ and serve him.

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