This is part three of a four-part series that covers some material I recently taught on marriage at Grace — four things we need to admit so we can become better helpers of our husbands.
Link here to read Part One | Part Two | Part Four

Today’s a fun one:


I am quite possibly the least naturally submissive person on the planet (for references, see Mike and my mother).

But there’s no way around the fact that almost every time biblical writers speak directly to wives, that concept is right at the center (Ephesians 5:22; I Peter 3:1, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:5).

To do submission right, we need to know what it is and what is isn’t. So here’s a really complicated word study that helps me grasp this concept and live it out:

Sub = under
mission = mission

The heart of submitting to your husband is coming under the mission of your husband. It means being passionate about him, what he does, what he stands for and what he loves.

The main passage where submission is discussed in relation to wives and husbands, Ephesians 5, compares the submission of the wife to the husband as a representation of the Church’s submission to Christ. (And lest you think your husband is getting off easy, he is called to play the role of Christ in this allegory. I’ll just stick with the Church part, thank you very much.)

A church that is working under the mission of Christ has her own gifts, thoughts, strengths, and personality, which she humbly submits to be used by Jesus in the work to which He has called her.

So it is the same with us — we aren’t yes-women who never have input or ideas, but rather we humbly offer them with a heart for our husband’s strength, success and greater purpose.

Here’s the flip side, though: submission is not only working to support your husband — it’s working to keep from undermining your husband. And that is a much more difficult and subtle thing. Here’s why:

As people who were created to be helpers, we naturally gravitate toward someone who needs help. So if we worry for a moment that he’s not a person who actually needs our assistance, we’ll turn him into one.

We’ll mock him in our hearts. We’ll put him down to our friends. We’ll magnify his weaknesses and maximize our strengths.

We’ll make him smaller than he is, so we’re sure he needs us and he knows it.

True submission is staying under the mission, not above it. We help by lifting our husband up, not pulling him up.

That is the way we show the world most fully the strength of a humble Church serving a glorious Christ.