Okay, I’ll Submit. But Are You Ready To Love Me? (You Know, Like Christ Loved The Church)

September 18, 2012  |  

It never ceases to amaze me how out of all the things that Christians ignore in the bible, and all of the ways the world disregards the commandments therein, one principle that has not died among believers and non-believers alike is the idea that wives must submit to their husbands.

As it relates to relationships, this is one of those topics that’s always readily available to be debated, sort of like questions over when you should first have sex (forget that whole your body is a temple, thou shalt not fornicate thing, right?) or move in together, or even simple things like paying for dates.

I’m sure one of the reasons this notion remains such a hot button issue is because of the new-world I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T woman who gasps at the idea of the man being the head of her household and having to submit to him. And though I wouldn’t say I used to be one of those women, I do take issue with the fact that too many men (read boys) walk around pronouncing their God-given right to be submitted to simply because their reproductive organ dangles between their legs. It’s a given that no woman should even consider marrying a man who is not worth submitting to, but the thing that’s missing from this discussion – and many others when it comes to relationship advice — is how women are supposed (and biblically commanded) to be loved. This might be shocking to you since most people don’t bother to look past Ephesians 5:22-24, so let’s have a look, shall we? The bible clearly states:

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 their own body, but they feed and care for their body, 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.

I don’t know about you, but when I think about a man personifying these qualities, I actually look forward to the day when I can completely place my trust in his vision for us and our family. Unfortunately, too many men get caught up in submission being unquestioned authority over a woman, rather than a position of responsibility and accountability to the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with.

Imagine how different the submission conversation would go if a man were to tell you that he will love you as much as he loves himself? In our individualistic society we’ve come to believe no one is going to take care of us like we take care of ourselves, even our spouses, but biblically men are commanded to do just that. I won’t pretend to be a bible scholar here, but I do know a little somethin’ somethin.’ Notice that verse 25 talks about Christ giving himself up for the church. For those who may not know about the crucifixion, Jesus Christ literally died for those who believe in and obey God. A man may not have to sacrifice his life for his wife in the literal sense, but it’s clear there’s an expectation of giving of one’s self for the sake of her betterment and their overall union. On one hand, this is why women shouldn’t fear that being willing to submit, i.e. respect their husband’s place of accountability in their relationship, means they are agreeing to be led blindly into oblivion. The man you chose to be united with in holy matrimony is instructed to make choices that edify you as a (Christian) woman. For men, this ought to be a wakeup call that being called to be the head of one’s household engenders a great deal of responsibility that most haven’t even thought about in their power-hungry quest for submission. Not to mention that being submitted to isn’t simply a birthright relegated because of your sexual orientation. There are things men must do, not only to earn their wife’s respect but also the favor of God.

In all honesty, I’m not surprised these details get left out in these discussions. After all, when was the last time you saw a woman writing a book to men on how women want to be loved – or better yet, a man teaching his boys how to find “the (right) one.” Instead, men continue to dish out advice about all of the things we need to understand about  them and change for them and sacrifice for them, while maneuvering under the guise that they have absolutely no work to do in this great relationship divide we’re living through.

Men, feel free to relish in the fact that your wife must submit to you, but realize with that submission she is symbolically placing her entire well-being in your hands with the expectation that you will love her unconditionally and do all that you can to make sure that her mental, spiritual, and physical needs are met. In my mind, that’s an even taller order than submitting. We’ll do our part if you do yours.

How do you feel about the lopsided way in which we discussion submission in marriage?

Brande Victorian is the news and operations editor for madamenoire.com. Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

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  • Carol

    I say it’s about time somebody pointed this out. In the book of Ephesians there are 4 verses instructing women to submit to their husbands. There are 9 verses which instruct men to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Just based on volume alone, if one wants to determine which should be getting the most air play, it should be the 9 verses which are written to husbands. Yet, ALL YOU HEAR is that women should submit to their husbands. What’s more, women are as bad as the men at magnifying this truth. I say we’ve got it a little upside down. Thank you very much for drawing attention to this.

    • Jean(Supporter of wives/women)

      I am thankful to you Carol for writing the truth in this comment. And I am most of all thankful to Brande Victorian for bringing us this powerful, truth releasing aticle. Please keep writing the truth, women need help and some of us don’t even know it. So many of the women commenters who read on these Christain marriage sites, tell how their men hurt them then they thank the female or male counselor for scolding the wife for just for being a wife. It is so cult like and so shocking.
      I am relieved when I hear from two powerful people who are not afraid to tell the truth. We need help because these sites keep telling women how bad we are and no matter hat a man does, we must still lick his boots ad apologize to HIM for HIS sins. It is unbelievable. They all make the same broke message to women about submitting and respecting even when the man does not do his part that god tells him to do
      Thank you all, so much!! 9-18-13

      • Jean

        God should have a capital G.

  • Jeanette

    Correction to this article: a women does not (and should never) place her well-being in her husband, rather she places it in God. A wife should never agree to anything against her conscience. Her obedience is to the Lord first. The command to submit (love) her husband does not mean he can make decisions for her while she sits back like a mindless drone and obey. Rather, the two should be seeking to become ONE everyday. The problem is people (Christians) focus too much on submission and headship instead of focusing on becoming more Christ-like. This takes work.
    Ladies: I would caution against a man who is concerned with his wife being in submission to him. Such a man will not be focused on his call to love his wife, which the Bible states emphatically, but he will be focused on getting his needs met. I would also warn against reading articles and listening to others on what a Christian marriage is supposed to look like (which will be unique for every marriage) because you will get a wide array of opinions, most of them misguided. However, I would suggest opening your Bible, reading it, and letting the Holy Spirit guide you. Talking to a spiritually mature Christian couple won’t hurt either. Emphasis on mature.

  • Mamanzee

    When I saw the title of this article I thought ‘Sigh. Here we go again- probably another article ridiculing the Bible, Chrisitians and any and everything we believe in. She’l probably end by labelling us intolerant, jugemental, etc.’
    Then I read the article…and I am so glad I did.
    Thank you for discussing this issue of submission and love in such a clear and concise way. Yes, we have a long way to go before we come close to modelling marriage as Christ intended. And being the fallen human beings we are, we mess up ALL THE TIME.
    It was refreshing to read something so objective and informative and a far cry from the usual condescending stuff I usually come across. Nice one!

  • Ms. Bee

    Gollee, you preached that thang, sista!

  • Pingback: We Need More Males Willing To Teach BOYS How To Be The MEN()

  • player81

    Gotta love the church. Keeping black women single forever. Only education and the questioning of “authority” can break the shackles.

    • lol

      gotta love black men. always shurking off anything that means responsibility.black women opening up to others will break the shackles.

      • player81

        I’m not down with anything he bible says. Most of it is outdated or common sense or flat out wrong. The bible is as helpful in relationships as Steve Harvey. I’ve never had a problem in a relationship because I care for and respect my woman like I want her to do for me. End of story.

    • Adrina

      It’s not the church, it’s the BIBLE! Did you read the article? The word said that, not the ppl of the church..but you posted your name as player81, and if you are indeed a player, then I wouldn’t expect much from you on this topic.

      • player81

        By church I mean the Bible as well as the leaders who interpret it to have you sitting in the pews waiting on a man or excluding men who don’t follow a pastor blindly. Player81 refers to my love of sports – see how you made assumptions to fit your perspective?

        • Adrina

          What does that have to do with this article though? This is talking about a man taking on responsibility and not turn a blind eye to it and only see the submission part. You said nothing about that. Let me take a different approach…..do you agree with a man treating his wife this way especially if he’s looking for submission?

          • player81

            The article refers to bible passages to guide relationships. My position is that the bible is irrelevant regarding relationships. Like one of the other commenters said, the woman’s role in relationships has evolved drastically. The bible hasn’t been relevant for decades. We should stop referring to it. As far as submission, that doesn’t even come into my mind when I’m dealing with my lady. We treat each other as equals. If I get home first I cook, same with her. If neither of us feels like cooking, we order or go out. Simple. I clean sometimes, she cleans sometimes. We budget for the mandatory items and spend the rest reasonably. There’s no “submission” or turf wars. I don’t need the bible throwing submission into the picture. Just act like reasonable adults. Am I missing something?

            • calixteliss

              And you are making the same mistake that most people who dont get the Bible always make, especially on this topic. You are confusing gender roles/household reponsabilities with what the Bible is asking. The Bible never talked about who cooks, cleans, cut the grass or shovel the snow. What it is doing is explaining that the Family is a unit that needs to have a leader. And the biblical definition of leader is a servant; the husband is called upon to serve his wife and children, regardless of whether he cooks or not.

              • player81

                Did you really need a bible to tell you that? Common sense. What about gay/lesbian relationships? Who’s to say that gender roles won’t be completely reversed in 200 years, with women then leading the household?those looking to an outdated bible will be wondering why it is so hard to make their relationships work within its teachings.

    • The church is not “keeping” anyone single! It everyones personal mentality and way of doing things that keeps thems single.

  • Ferice

    I’ve been the head of household and provided for my family. However, it is a bit disturbing when I have to come home and cook or clean the dishes too. My wife actually spend all of her days watching hair video online. In addition, she’d take money from our saving to buy hair stuffs that she found on those website. As a man, I am taking care of business, but my wife is simply not.

    • lol

      you didn’t see any sign of this kind of behaviour before you got married?

      • Ferice

        The sign were not there when we got maried. We did not have enough to save and I was making enough to pay the bills. After graduating and obtain a descent job, it was all going fine until she went natural and created a youtube page. It was mainly for a few hour, and it has escalated now to 14 hours or more.

        • MLS2698

          Is it a good Youtube page? Does she do hair?

    • Adrina

      I completely understand this. You are right, if you are holding up your end, she should as well, and spend money wisely. Unfortunately, you got her and not someone who appreciates your hard work.

    • PosterGirl

      Is there any way you can encourage her to make it a moneymaking venture? Maybe ask viewers what they want to see, and when she’s got enough, write to companies and offer to promote their products? If it’s something she likes to do, the two of you might as well profit from it…

  • STIXIE

    I have always said that it is hard to be in Subjection to a man, while supporting him at the same time… so many women in the black community have taken on the role of Pseudo Head of Household. An Oak tree must learn to stand…and weather all storms! [Who ever heard of an Acorn propping up an Oak tree]?

  • ferice

    I think we have to be very careful here when it comes to he bible. I believe folks are manipulating the bible in order to achieve their own goals and agenda.

    • Pivyque

      As usual lol Sad, but true.

  • 1micmcna1

    Ok, as someone who has been a Christian for many years and of course (if you have read some of my other comments) has been counseling and such for many years on relationships and everything else, I do see this as an issue. But let me first point out the reason why it seems so lopsided. It is in such a way because of the paradigm shifts we have had in the last century. The fact is that women have changed far more than men socially. Men still want, think, and generally act the same ways they have always acted. Men were always demanding. Men always wanted sex as much as possible. Men always wanted to be and generally were in control of things. And yes, many of the atrocities or bad things that men do or think were still there. It’s women that changed drastically. A few weeks ago, there was an article on “Why Do I have to cook” speaking about a woman who felt it foolish to cook for her boyfriend and any potential suitors, noting that this doesn’t make a good wife (in her opinion). Well, just half a century ago, it was agreed upon by all of society that this was a neccessary trait for women to have in their households. Now, it’s perfunctory. Just consider in that time, we’ve gone from most women working part-time jobs so they could still be considered housewives to us as a nation considering making a woman president just a few years ago (voting the black guy instead). Men talk about this so much because many find it (at least they say this) that most women can’t leave their “boss chick” attitude at work where it belongs. They bring it home (as men used to and still do themselves). Then there is the definition of obey. Most couples still can’t agree on what it really means, let alone men and women in general. And finally, there is this myth (that women hold even more so than ever before) that men will change or that things will change when they get married. It’s this whole Christian Grey–Fifty Shades–he’ll change if I love him thing. Women can’t expect men to suddenly love them as Jesus did the church if they haven’t been or don’t suddenly obey and serve him as Jesus did for God.

    • Pivyque

      I agree with you to an extent. I do think that everyone (not just women) should know how to cook. It just helps save money in the household. At the same time, I don’t think it is necessary for a woman to cook for a boyfriend or potential suitor. Her husband? Yes. If that’s what they agree to. Some men prefer to cook. With gender roles being so blurred, it’s essential that couples communicate their expectations.

  • SK

    I enjoyed this article. It was so refreshing. Thank you.

  • L

    Halleluyur!!!! (in my Madea voice

  • I absolutely love the last paragraph! I have no problem submitting to a worthy man. It’s just that a lot of men out here don’t know the meaning of being a man worth submitting to! They make you be independent, then complain that you won’t LET them be a man. HUH? I’m ready if you are!

  • L-Boogie

    As Christian, I will say with the most honesty. We are the worse. I really do not even like using the Christian title anymore. So damn judgmental and rude.

    • Candacey Doris

      What an ironic post.

  • Oooh Yes! Well written!

  • Gigi

    Preach that, Sister Victorian!!!

  • I had to break this down to my significant other about a year into our relationship. He had to pause because he was so intent on what I should do, he failed to realize what his role was so kudos to you for putting it out there for everyone!

  • Allison J

    YES!!

  • Adrina

    And you know what, send this article over to SBM for their male readers to check out….

  • Adrina

    And let the church say AMEN!!!!! Well written

    • C

      This article is on-point so much.

  • Fancy

    mmmmm love it!!!!!