Submission? Pshaw!


Did you know there is a whole Bible study based on “wives, submit to your husbands”?

Although I live in the middle, I often find myself being harder on the right than on the left. I think that is because I live on the right side of the middle, and thus I consider conservatives to be my own people. And this view of marriage, based on I Peter, drives me nuts. First of all, it completely ignores the parallel Scripture in Ephesians 5:21-33: “Be subordinate to one another.”

This is one of those passages where I recognize a fellow writer who has gotten way off track of what he set out to communicate, and a) having no computer handy to save him from having to write the entire letter over again, and b) recognizing that there is merit in the tangent, he says, “But anyway, what I’m really talking about is Christ and the Church.” (Inspired doesn’t mean impervious to tangents!)

Of course, we have to look at this passage in terms of husbands and wives as well. But that doesn’t mean Paul is telling women to grovel under the shoe of your all-knowing husband.

First of all, let’s talk about this word submit. We interpret submit to mean we have lost all control over our own destiny. But when Jesus submitted himself to the will of the Father, it didn’t mean he was all hunky-dory about going to the Cross. He was scared. So scared that he wept blood. He begged God to spare him. But he prayed that his will would be in harmony with his Father’s. A union of wills—that is true submission.

Besides, how can you ignore the rest of the passage? Look at what the husband is called to do: love your wives, the way Christ loved the church. In other words, lay down your life. (Remember the five characteristics of love?) Anyone who loves his wife the way he loves his own body is not going to be inflexible lawgiver. He is going to submit to his wife, as she submits to him. When husband and wife disagree, and they seek to find common ground by understanding where the other is coming from—that is submission. When husband and wife move toward each other and come to common view of a subject—that is submission.

I hope you’ll forgive the excess of italics in this post. I’m late in the day and writing fast, and besides…this really drives me NUTS!!!!

5 thoughts on “Submission? Pshaw!

  1. One priest once told our parish that submission was made of two roots–sub, meaning under and missio, meaning mission. A wife should be under the same mission as her husband. Also, as you said, scripture also says that a husband is to love a wife like his own body. What do you do when your body says “I’m hungry” or “I’m tired” or “I’m cold”? For most of the the answers are eat, sleep and cover up–we are submissive to our bodies–except when our bodies are telling us that they need that 5,000 calorie supreme gloopy sundae.

  2. Prior to marriage, I did not like that passage… but once married it never bothered me again. my dh loves me and cares for me. I can’t even think of a time I had to ‘submit’ to him in the 21st century view of the word – unless you count going out for Chinese last night when I wanted Mexican

  3. “When husband and wife disagree, and they seek to find common ground by understanding where the other is coming from—that is submission.”
    GREAT! Imagine this attitude in all conflicts…

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