Continuing in a look at Ephesians 5:22-24, we need to consider what is meant by "submit".
Such a word and concept is so contrary to our world’s thinking, which is "what have you done for me lately?" I think it was Michael Jackson’s sister, Janet, that sang a song like that. Sadly, that kind of thinking will kill a marriage. It is completely antithetical to God… and Jesus.
Christ’s way is one of service, denial of self for the betterment of another. That’s what Paul is talking about here in Ephesians 5. The word used for submission is hupotasso… "to be in subjection…to put onself under another".. to place your own desires, needs, wants and ways, second… and place someone else’s desires, needs, wants and ways first. This is tough, because it goes against every fibre of our natural man. It is a spiritual battle, and as a result, this means you must fight hard to work at this.
I found it interesting as I studied this word, hupotasso, subjection, that it is a word used to describe Jesus… and it is one of the few words used when God specifically addresses women and wives. Colossians 3:18 echoes Ephesians 5:22. Titus 2:5 tells women to "to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored." 1 Peter 3:1 says, "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives," and 1 Corinthians 14:34 also talks to women about speaking, telling them to "subject themselves, just as the Law also says."
Obviously, this is important to God. Obviously, it is difficult for us to do, since He needs to say this over and over and over in scripture. But if we believe God’s word to be the truth, then we need to seriously work at submitting.
When you go to the heart of how to have an incredible marriage, I think you can boil it down to these 2 things… your walk with God and your submission to your husband. For me, problems generally begin when one of those 2 areas is slipping. If I haven’t spent time in God’s word and in prayer, if I’m being disobedient to God or walking in a sinful habit, this kind of behavior takes its toll on our marriage and I find repenting and turning to God for help is the only way to change things for the better.
In the same way, if I start focusing on me, and my way, and my desire, and me, me, me… again, trouble up ahead. As soon as I take my eyes off me, our marriage has a chance again.
Whether it’s in the bedroom, or in the kitchen, in areas of finance or extended family, parenting, recreation, ministry… all these areas of our lives are opportunities for us, as wives, to submit to our husbands as to the LORD. And in that light, we don’t want to miss those opportunities.
Marriage and submissive wives are God's ideas, and His ways are perfect. We may not always understand them… in fact, we may often wonder at them… but the Bible tells us that God’s wisdom far exceeds man’s wisdom, and so we are fools to disregard what He has told us to do.
P.S. Let us pray for each other as we strive to be obedient in this regard. Like I said, this is a spiritual battle, but it is a campaign that we must mount, and with our Lord's strength through the Holy Spirit, we are promised victory in our marriages.