In our Christian Ed class on marriage and relationships, we’ve been unpacking what it means for husbands to love their wives and now we’ll turn to what it means for wives to submit to their husbands. And I’ve also been personally studying this Ephesians 5 passage in my devotions. One thing that I’m really struck by is how counter-cultural and ‘ahead-of-the-times’ this passage really is.
But for most in the world, this seems so backwards. Like going back in time. Someone in my community group informed me last night that Huckabee was asked this submission question in a debate. Does your wife ‘submit’ to you?
People hear such words as ‘submit’ and don’t read the husbandly role of ‘love.’ If you think about how few rights women did have back in the day, this verse really was ‘ahead-of-the-times.’ If you think about how women need to feel cherished, protected, sought after, its quite down-with-the-times. That means relevant if you’re not ‘with it’ and ‘hip’ like myself. Husbands primary need is to feel respected. Once again, that fits.
The husband cannot rule over (what people think of when they think ‘submission’) the wife. In fact he is to cherish and nourish her as if she were his own flesh (Eph 5:29). How strange might this have been for its first pagan or Jewish hearers? It might have seemed quite anachronistic, like a command from the future. And now today folks think of this command as an abacus-not necessary in our calculator world. But its really down-with-the-times and is consistent with the needs of humanity.