Women: Don't Ever Submit to Your Men

Submission, wivesIf Michelle Bachmann was a guy, she would’ve never had to answer a question like: “As president, would you be submissive to your husband?” And if I were there at that debate — which would be about as likely as an ice cream tree growing out of the Saharan sand — I would’ve been booing, too.

True, Bachmann waves her Christian principles like a banner and has strobe-lighted them as part of her platform. But to include that in her questioning was a roundabout way of asking if her man would in fact be calling the shots if she became Commander in Chief. I guess because a woman isn’t capable of doing it all by her lonesome.  

Whenever I hear the word “submission” in the context of relationships, I cringe because so many folks get the definition twisted. If zealots had their way, they’d pump out an assembly-line of women who fit Stepford Wives-esque conformity. But that’s not what it is.  


Heck, I don’t even agree with Bachmann’s decision to haul off and become a (yawn) tax attorney simply because her hubby made the suggestion. That, to me, is extra. It would take plenty of prayer, fasting, and meditation of my own to make a drastic career move — not because I didn’t trust that my husband had heard from the Lord, but because I needed direction and guidance to go about the thing that God was telling me to do through him.

That’s why it’s important for both people to have an active relationship of their own with whatever higher power they serve. Because what my husband won’t do is hand down orders from on high like I can’t check in with the great Jehovah myself. We’ve all got his number and equal access to him.   

The scripture at the root of all this hullabaloo is Ephesians 3:22-23 which, along with Colossians 3:18-19, presents this whole “submit to your husbands” thing that’s been interpreted and remixed to fit just about anybody’s agenda. Depending on what translation of the Bible you read — I love the NLT but the New Century Version is quickly becoming a favorite — you can see why there’s so much confusion. Old-schoolers all about the conservative King James Version receive the Word like this:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Reading that, I can understand why a woman would think she needs to second-guess her own goals to instead fall in line with her man’s orders and be obedient to God’s Word. That’s a “just because he said so” way to spell it out. Instead, I like the way the Message Bible puts it, which is also another favorite:

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing .So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

Now, when you break it down in terms of mutual honor and respect and debunking that archaic way of looking at a woman as an accessory to a man instead of an equally capable partner, it makes “submission” more palatable. I’m a big believer that we need to understand the Word as it applies to modern times and with millions women honing powerful careers, multiple degrees, and clear visions for their lives as individuals, testosterone-induced tyranny just won’t jive.

Of course the unit of hubby and wife is important. But no husband that’s truly operating under God’s direction would stomp on his wife’s dreams and goals and insist, “Nope, do this instead. God and I say so.”  

From what I can see, “submission” does not mean “subservient.” It just means that a man’s vision should cover the entire household, that he should be thinking bigger than himself to get direction and confirmation for everyone in his family. I respect my boo as a thinking, praying man in his own right. But if, after we get married, he ever came to me and said, “God told me you need to go back to school to be an air traffic controller,” I would hit my knees quick to get guidance from the Lord myself before I searched the internet for course offerings. Nothing wrong with double confirmation.

What does the concept of submission mean in this day and age?


Image via Alejandra Mavroski/Flickr

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