Pearls are formed when a piece of sand irritates an oyster. Over time, one layer after another is deposited upon the sand until it is transformed into something precious and beautiful. I just finished a new paper which draws upon many posts from this blog and is a pearl to me.
Are you “subject to your husband in EVERYTHING”?
But I do not SUBMIT to him in EVERYTHING.
Newsflash: You too are “subject to your husband in EVERYTHING”!
Being “subject to” your husband is like being “subject to” gravity. It’s not something you “choose” but a state of being.!!
The word “submit” implies choice/volition on the part of the “submitter”.
“Subject to” better conveys the grammatical nuance of the Greek PASSIVE voice (of the hupotasso verb used in Ephesians 5:24).
“but even as the assembly is subject to Christ,
so also [are] the wives to their own husbands in everything.” Eph 5:24 (YLT)
For over two decades I twisted myself into a pretzel attempting to practice “SUBMIT to him in EVERYTHING”. Once the newlywed shine wore off (by 5 years) I felt progressively more and more disrespected and by the time we were married 22 years, I was completely miserable in the marriage, I felt trapped like a prisoner in a concentration camp.
Once I realized this passage is not teaching a wifely BEHAVIOR, but describing “the state of being a wife”, what its like in a wife’s skin, THEN I was free to move toward making life in my skin more tolerable by standing up for myself and protecting myself and the children.
Here are two pictures to illustrate the difference. Perhaps this will help.
“SUBMIT in everything” looks like this:
This is WORKS. It’s like living on a hamster wheel in a cage, always trying to please him never getting anywhere- trapped, imprisoned. Sometimes he lays the demands on so thick and turns up the speed so fast that you fall down. This is how I knew that the interpretation “wife, submit in EVERYTHING” cannot possibly be what God meant! I attempted it and it is physically impossible and emotionally deadening.
Christian wife, I encourage you to get off that hamster wheel!
Here is what I think God (via Paul) means in Ephesians 5:24 “wives ARE SUBJECT TO their husbands” –>
THIS is “SUBJECT TO”:
Depending upon whether the Flower is nourished and cherished,
it will BLOOM
or it will WILT.
And if I am SUBJECT TO a man who is constantly WILTING me by his behavior and refuses to change his WILTING ways, then in this day and age (unlike the peasants of yesteryear), I have the power to choose not to be SUBJECT TO him anymore.
I am thankful that my husband has chosen to change his WILTING ways. Our marriage continues (since Oct 9, 1982) which means I continue to be “SUBJECT to” him. He has learned to be more sensitive and instead of defending himself and blaming us, he is now open to receiving correction when his harshness has wilted me or one of our Quiver Full (our eight children plus 2 sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law- so far).
If anyone reading this is still on that hamster wheel
striving and straining to “be submissive”, weary and heavy laden,
my heart goes out to you.
I’ve been there.
GOD understands! What you are doing is NOT what He meant!
This blog is a gift to you in hope that reading about the things which God has shown me as I made this journey will give you
a helping hand off the hamster wheel.
This final post is dedicated to my blogging sisters who can be found in the comments here.
To subscribers, visitors, followers, and friends over these past 4 years blogging here,
I love you all and thank you for listening, caring, and sharing. I’m moving to a new chapter in my life and I am ready to put this focus behind me. Some of the writings which were key revelations to me as I wrestled with the topic of “A Wife’s Submission” are collected for reference at titus2keeper.wordpress.com as my rendition of an “online book” and I will continue administrating the relatively quiet blog at godswordtowomen.wordpress.com.
But I’m going to stop blogging here and close discussion of old posts, forget what lies behind, and reach forth to what lies ahead.
God grant me
serenity to accept the things I cannot change
courage to change the things I can
and wisdom to know the difference
Thank you for enCOURAGEing me in this journey!
My situation and understanding has moved from oppression and darkness under the traditions and doctrines of men to freedom in the bright refreshing and wonderful light of the Lord.
I am moving forward to embrace the day.
All the Best,
False teaching: Wives must submit to their husbands.
Murder attempt as a result of this false dogma: I knew a conservative middle-aged lovely couple and was friends with the husband first. Both husband and wife were involved in church leadership and business. Then they housed a traveling US speaker who taught that the wife must totally submit to the husband. This so affected the lovely husband that he became a monster and eventually tried to stab her. She’d moved to her own bedroom, had locks on the door, the kids were begging her to leave, and she eventually did. I was in the UK by this time and knew nothing of this but God gave me the intercessory burden for her. I knew she was in serious danger and prayed and fasted hard! Finally I managed to get through on the phone and found that the night before he’d been trying to batter down her locked door to get at her with a dagger because she wasn’t willing to ‘submit’ to his ‘authority’. He had become fully possessed by this demon of illegal control. The biblical definition of submission is “to willingly come underneath in a safe place” (and it must be mutual). Her husband was hardly safe after succumbing to the dogma of ‘authority over’ his wife. The dogma wrecked the marriage, the kids’ security, the business, and the man himself.
As prophet Jill Austin said, the Jezebel demon that submission devotees love to accuse women of having, always goes for illegal control and is therefore behind the men that promote female and/or laity submission. This case classically proves that Jezebel is at least one of the spirits behind these men.
This is insightful:
Since then, on occasion, I have been accused of bitterness when I wasn’t. I was angry. There’s a difference between anger and bitterness. I made great progress in my own healing and health when I was able to give myself permission to be angry. Unlike bitterness, anger is neutral. Even Jesus was angry. Appropriately handled, anger can be a God given force toward freedom from bondage.
If you will go to these links at BLB: Luke 10:17-20 and Eph 5:24 and scroll down, you will see that the form of hupotasso is exactly the same in Luke 17, 20, and Ephesians 5:24. ὑποτάσσεται=hupotassetai.
If you scroll down further, you will see the parsing of the verb under “Tense” and all three cases are identified as the PASSIVE voice. I also checked the interlinear at: www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Greek_Index.htm
and interlinearbible.org/ephesians/5.htm They all identify these instances of “subjection” as passive voice where the subject receives the action without volition/will on the part of the subject. (Contrast with Romans 13:1,5 “ Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.1 … 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.” – for example- where the hupotasso is middle imperative. “Voluntary self-instigated yielding” would be an appropriate understanding here.)
Though on the surface it’s a shocking parallel, I think the submission of the devils to the apostles actually provides a great deal of insight as to the nature of the submission of wife to husband. Contra many egalitarians who frame the wifely subjection of Eph. 5:24 as “voluntary, self-instigated yielding”, think about this. Do these devils have any will in their submission? Do they choose their submission? Can they decide not to submit? No, they are in subjection without any volition/will on their part. Their subjection is not a “command” that they must “obey”; their subjection their state of being, which they cannot resist even if they wanted to.
Likewise, the submission/subjection of the wife in Ephesians 5 as well as in 1 Peter 3 is stated with verbs using the passive voice. This suggests that a wife’s submission/subjection is descriptive rather than prescriptive. Its not a COMMAND, its her state of being which she cannot resist even if she wanted to.
I suggest that the passive voice of hupotasso is evidence that biblical teaching about wifely subjection is not a command to women. Commands are in the imperative. (eg. verse 25 directed to HUSBANDS is in the imperative love-agapete) . Rather this submission is a state of being and a response. Much like a garden passively receives watering, nourishing, cherishing,. The garden is SUBJECT TO the gardener. If tending, nourishing, cherishing, is neglected, the garden wilts and dies.
I suggest that the statement in Ephesians 5:24 should not make wives sweat at all. Rather, husbands should be sweating. She has no power nor control to resist. When she marries, her husband holds her heart in his hands. Will he be harsh and trample her under his feet? crushing her spirit? or will he be like Christ and minister LIFE?
And a husband has a particular power and influence upon a wife that may not go “vice versa” because she is uniquely “subject to” (being harmed by?) him moreso than he to her. John Gottman observed this in his marriage laboratory (see “Addendum: The Scientific support for “wives are subject“). This view also makes sense of the instruction to wives that they need to PHOBEO their husbands (Eph 5:33).
Ephesians 5:22-33 commands wives to obey their husbands and husbands to love their wives. Conservative Christians may try to explain away the offense of this passage, but there’s no escaping its ugly reality. Ephesians calls wives to submit to their husbands just as children must obey their parents and slaves must obey their masters. See the larger context, Ephesians 5:21-6:9. Greg Carey, Huffington Post
Oh yes, there is!
A wife “is subject” to her husband just like we “are subject” to gravity. Would we say something so ridiculous as “God is calling me to submit to gravity and obey gravity like a slave obeys a master”. NO, we would not! We know that being subject to gravity is not a call to a certain behavior. It is a condition which we deal with as long as we are on this planet. So is a wife’s subjection to her husband.
See Genesis 3:16 and Ephesians 5:24: A Woman’s Desire, A Man’s Rule, and A Wife’s Submission for the biblical case. This is an addendum with the scientific case. An early draft of aforementioned research paper included what the world of psychological research already knows about the differences between man and woman. I took the Gottman references OUT of the paper because my husband thought I should argue exclusively from the Biblical texts and not include any secular evidence supporting my thesis.
Observe the difference in “accepting influence”:
This observation led me to formulate the hypothesis that marriages work to the extent that men accept influence from, share power with women. Next I applied this to a longitudinal study of 130 nonviolent newlywed couples and found that, amazingly, those in which the men who did not accept influence from their wives wound up divorced. The prediction rate was very good, 80% accuracy, and it did not work the other way around: Most wives accepted influence from their husbands, and the acceptance predicted nothing.
(Gottman, John “The Marriage Clinic” page 52 )
Gottman’s research is the centerpiece of a Newsweek report on “The Science of a Good Marriage”:
An unequal balance of power is also deadly to a marriage. Gottman found that a husband who doesn’t share power with his wife has a much higher risk of damaging the relationship. Why are men singled out? Gottman says his data show that most wives, even those in unstable marriages, are likely to accept their husband’s influence. It’s the men who need to shape up, he says. The changes can be simple, like turning off the football game when she needs to talk. Gottman says the gesture proves he values “us” over “me.” (Wingert)
The inclination observed by Gottman of “most wives. . . to accept their husband’s influence” sounds a lot like what Christians would think of as “wifely submission”!
Wives ARE SUBJECT, and have been ever since Genesis 3:16! This is what Paul states in Ephesians 5:24. He is not “calling wives to submit”. He is describing the wifely tendency, the wifely vulnerablity, the wifely habit of having accepting and receiving a husband’s influence, of being deeply impacted by a husband even if she would rather not be. A wife “is subject” to her husband just like we “are subject” to gravity.
May he use his gravitational pull well!
Posted in Ephesians 5 |