Summary: Part two - wife’s role.
My Roles vs. Your Roles
Last week I dealt with the attitude men have towards the roles they play in their marriage. The take home point was that based on Scripture men are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. In that message I also shared with you the story about how Christ washed His disciples’ feet and how that was considered at that time, the lowest form of servanthood – the least of all tasks. Christ did that to demonstrate how we should be humble in our service to one another, including to our spouse. This morning I will complete this message by reviewing what the Scriptures say about the wives’ role in the marriage, taking a look from a different point of view.
Women Biblical Responsibility
Ephesians 5:21-22 “And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, be subject to your own husband, as to the Lord.” (NAS)
Ephesians 5:21-22 “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One. Wives be subject, be submissive and adapt yourselves, to your own husbands as a service to the Lord.” (Amp)
This verse of Scripture is one that most men know and understand even if they do not know any other Scripture in the Bible. They know intuitively and from being taught that their wives are supposed to “submit” to them because they are the man and the head of the house. Some even believe that the Scriptures command the wife to obey her husband. Sorry guys, as an FYI, even though it is stated in some marriage ceremonies, the word “obey” does not appear any where in the Scriptures pertaining to a wife’s responsibility to her husband. Although that would be a wonderful thing sometimes, our wives are not commanded to “obey” us. We are called to obey Christ.
The verse in Ephesians is not referring to the wife obeying her husband and submission in this verse does not mean obey. To be subject to means that one willfully yield their “own” rights in preference for another. The two key words here are “willfully” and “rights”. Each partner has rights that must be recognized and respected. However, there are times when we may choose to yield our rights in preference to our spouse. This is what Paul is saying to the wives. Paul says that the woman’s submission to her husband is done out of her service to the Lord – not that the man is all that and is worthy of her being submissive to him. Again, do not forget that we are to submit to one another so it goes both ways.
When we look at Scripture and evaluate it from Christ’s perspective, it is easily understood that Christ valued women and allowed them to learn with the men. Thus He made women for all intents and purposes, equal to men. He also allowed women to serve in ministry work and there are several references to women functioning in ministry roles. 1 Cor. 11:11-12 speaks of the unity between man and woman. It says “However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.” (NAS) Woman originally came from man, but that was the first and last time that happened. Since that time, man has come from woman. The point here is that the woman’s responsibility is as important to the man’s responsibility in God’s eyes. Their role, however defined, is just as important as the man’s role.
Galatians 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” I share this with you so that when you consider the position of the wife, you understand that whatever she does is by choice – by her own free will in service to her Savior. Secondly, whatever role she plays is equal to the man. When men and most importantly women start seeing women as equals in the marriage the blessings begin to flow. There is an old movie that came out in 1973 called “Five on the Black Hand Side”. It’s a movie about a family where the father rules the house with an iron fist. He picks out her clothes and makes a list of things she should do with her day – a full list including breaks. Finally she has enough. She cuts her hair, refuses to do any housework, cooking, etc until she is recognized as an equal partner. As you would guess, although he resisted as best as he could, the father could not deny that his wife was his equal. The movie ended with his final acceptance of her. Every wife brings something unique to the marriage and should not have to fight to use it.