I feel so very blessed and grateful today, not that I won a jackpot, but being alive is a gift from God that I have done nothing to earn. Being well in my body and soul is not a right, but just underserved grace of God. And that I am not worrying my head out over any sickness in my body or my family is enough for me to show gratitude to the living God. And above all that I have the privilege to call God my Father and have Him call me His child makes me so loved that I can't but feel blessed today and always. No matter what you are going through, as long as you are not in the grave, you are very blessed. So look beyond whatever problem you think you have and look to God who has in Him the power and the ability to surmount your problems and give God a big embrace with your heart of gratitude.
Today we continue in our marriage series and we will be learning about God’s guiding rules for the man and wife in marriage. These rules as given by God are simple and if only we can follow these rules and abide by them, we will be assured of a very successful marriage.
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no-one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
1 Peter 3:1-7
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outwards adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Before I write further, I will crave your indulgence that this will be a lengthy post because we will try to have an in-depth consideration of the rules.
The scriptures above are places in the Bible where I find God dish out His instructions to the husband and wife in marriage. This the Lord did through two different vessels: Paul and Peter, and the instructions are just the same, there was no change despite coming from two different vessels.
One would have thought that since the man is the head of the home he should be the first to be addressed by God it would have been assumed that God’s instruction to the husband should come first. But that seem not be to the case. God issued His instruction first to the wives and I believe this is so for a reason. So it will help us better to understand the role of the wife in marriage if we are to know why God gave His instruction first to the wife who is the suitable helper and not the husband who is the head.
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears her down.
From this scripture we will notice that the duty of building a home belongs to the wife. So to say that the foundation of any home is built by the wife, and if it is the wife that hold the responsibility to build the home we will then appreciate why God needs to address the wife first. The success or failure of any marriage depends on the foundation laid for it by the wife as she carries on the task of building the home.
The first core requirement that a wife needs to build her home successfully is submission. This is a very vital requirement for a successful marriage and I will explain why. In the foundational scripture we looked into at the beginning of this marriage series, we learned that a wife was created by God from the man and for the man to be a suitable helper to him. We will agree that for a wife to effectively be a suitable helper to her husband she needs to be in submission to him. It is impossible to be a helper to a husband that you are not submitted to, and when you are not helping him then you are not adding value to his life and if you are not adding value to his life, then you don’t have any business being his wife.
Since the instruction for rules in marriage was first issued to the wife and that instruction says that wives should submit to their husbands as to the Lord, then the success of any marriage begins with a wife submitting to her husband as unto the Lord. I would like to use the illustration of a man that is given an assignment to do, and has been given a single multipurpose tool with which he will perform the assignment effectively. So for every assignment he has to perform, this one tool is all he needs to succeed, there is none like this tool to this man and none can ever be like this tool to the man.
The message of this illustration comes in two parts, the first lesson I will share when we deal with the instruction to the husband, but the second lesson I will share now. From this illustration, I will liken the wife to that tool that a man needs to be able to make a success of his life. But we will notice that a tool in itself without being held and used by someone is idle and of no use. But she becomes vital to the man who needs her to his assignment when she is used by him. Taking another example, a spanner cannot unscrew a nut without being held by someone, and a man cannot unscrew a nut without a spanner. Such is the relationship between a man and his wife. A wife will only be effective when she is in submission to her husband. She is the spanner without which the nut of his life cannot be unscrewed. She is most effective when she is in the service of her husband through submission.
The fact that God has asked the wife to submit to her husband in everything does not in any way mean that the wife is a slave to her husband. This is not and should not be a master-slave relationship. Rather the wife as the suitable helper and being a part of her husband in another form is placed in the life of her husband to compliment and complete him. Remember, she was formed from the missing rib taken out of the man.
Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from God,” as a wife, you are not just any woman in the life of your husband; you are a container carrying the deposit of favor of your husband. As you submit to him you fulfill your destiny and release the deposit that God placed in you for him.
One interesting fact that I have come to realize is that submission and respect look similar but in truth they are different. You cannot submit to your husband without respecting and honoring him, but you can respect your husband with submitting to him. The instruction of God to the wife is to submit to her husband as to the Lord, and the dictionary defines submit as “to give over or yield to the power of another,” but the definition that I really like defines the word submit as “to yield oneself to the power or authority of another.” Some words that are similar in meaning to submit are: obey, agree, comply.
What God expects of a wife is that she willingly yields to the authority of her husband, she accepts him as her head which he truly is. And the interesting aspect is that because it is God and not the husband who has given the instruction, it is the Lord who will assess your performance in carrying out this instruction.
In today’s world, we have a lot of wives who claim to submit to their husbands but yet are treated very badly. In fact to these ones, preaching submission to them as a will of God is something they do not want to listen to based on their experience. But I want to say at this point that submission in isolation will not solve your problem, it will just make you a punching bag to your husband and you might be an emotional wreck. But submission with prayer is a perfect mix for victory for a godly woman. Submission is the tool of a godly woman in winning her husband to the Lord, so when you want to apply the tool of submission in your marriage, apply it like the godly women do; they apply it in prayers.
A godly woman in not known to fight physical battles but spiritual battles which she fights on her knees in prayer with the right attitude of obedience. You cannot go to God in prayers and expect Him to answer you when you are disobeying His instruction. So plenty prayers without submission in your marriage will not yield for you the desired result, and when you are submitting without being prayerful, you are like one with the right substance yet without power.
To submit is to obey, when God says submit to your husband, He meant that you obey him. Follow his lead as He follows Christ. And this is why you need to pray hard and well before you marry, so that you don’t follow a wrong lead for your life. If you are married to a man who does not know God, it is your prayers and submissive life style that he sees and ministers to his conscience and causes him to be drawn back to the Lord not what you say to him or the fight you engage him in that will bring about the positive change that you desire. You cannot fight God’s battles for him, rather He’ll fight His own battles and fight for you too and obtain victory with no effort.
There are a lot of women who are prayerful and respectful, yet disobedient to their husbands and still things are not the way they should be in their marriage. Submission to your spouse is obedience to him, it is beyond respect, it is following the lead of your husband, obeying his instructions and then praying. What we women often term as submission is just respect. When you feel what your husband has asked you to do is not right, you ignore his lead and do it your own way not necessarily with a fight. When you carry on like this and then pray and things don’t happen the way you have prayed for it to happen, you say God is unfair. But in truth you know that you are far from obeying God’s instruction for you in marriage. God is very fair to all, but He won’t bend His rules to accommodate our disobedience. It has to be God’s way or no way at all; when you believe you are more knowledgeable than God, He leaves you to your knowledge (which in reality is foolishness) and He holds on to His power. When you don’t feel the power of God in your marriage, ask Him to open your eyes to things you are not doing right, make the necessary changes and keep praying. When you obey God and pray, His power will work for you.
Lastly, I want to draw our attention to the warning Peter gave to the men in the scripture above, he said that the men should treat their wives right so that nothing will hinder their prayers. Just like God will not listen to you when you pray and do not submit to your husband. So will He not listen to the prayers of a husband who does not treat His wife right. Do not worry yourself over a husband who is not treating you right, just keep on praying and keep submitting as God has asked you to. When you don’t stop, one of two things are bound to happen: 1) Your husband will change and become a better person who fears the Lord and loves his wife dearly or 2) he will be punished severely by God if he is unrepentant and does not change his ways. But whatever it is you should be rest assured that God will fight for you if you hold on to Him.
There is still so much to learn and I am sure God wants to undo what the enemies has infused into His marriage institution. God’s desire so strongly to correct the misconception in marriage. I expect a lot of questions from women after reading today’s post and I trust God to help answer them if you will drop them as comments on the blog. And in the next post we will be looking at God’s instruction to the men. Please just keep checking in on the blog and share with as many people as you can, be a change vessel in God’s hands.