Bible Question (I Think...) Wife to be in submission to husband...

Went to Church today… Regarding the Biblical directive for wives to be in submission to husbands… What is this really about? Is it there to provide a way of living together? Is it about sex? Is the word submission the best word used here? Just interested… seems nowdays everything is 50/50 in a relationship… is the bliblical directive a better way or what? My current disposition on this is that this thought is old-timey and can get you into trouble (in a relationship) real fast these days… So would welcome any thoughts on this. :slight_smile:

This will shortly be moved to another forum, but don’t worry about it.

I can see the reason behind the idea. C.S. Lewis summed it up by saying SOMEONE has to be head of the house if marriages are to be permanent alliances - if there is no head, the first irresolvable disagreement can result in divorce - as it often does today. This is not the New Testament idea of what a marriage is.

That said, it’s difficult to carry out today. My poor Dad has always taken headship-of-the-husband overly seriously, and expects his wife to submit unconditionally. He had the misfortune of marrying two utter spitfires.* They didn’t know what hit them until it was too late. Results varied in each case, fairly miserably.

THAT said, I think the idea is a sound one, virtually impossible to live out today because virtually no woman is prepared to do this. (Plenty of men seem to be.)

I am unmarried, permanently.

*Not at the same time.

[Just interested… seems nowdays everything is 50/50 in a relationship… is the bliblical directive a better way or what? My current disposition on this is that this thought is old-timey and can get you into trouble (in a relationship) real fast these days… So would welcome any thoughts on this. :slight_smile: **

I think the 50/50 you speak of is mostly here in the states, you should travel abroad.Is is no wonder we have the highest divorce rate?

I think the pasage we’re talking about is Ephesians 5; it’s amazing how many people(men) stop reading at verse 24:

It’s interesting that the in the Anglican church (where I was married), the ‘Love, honour and obey’ vows for the bride are optional, but if they are included, then the groom must vow to ‘Love, cherish and worship’ her.

Interestingly, the much older biblical writings (Genesis, for instance) take a more modern viewpoint.

They split responsibilities, the woman is clearly in charge of the home while the husband is responsible for dealings with the outside world (market, politics, war, sheepherding, etc), so there’s not “equality” per se. However, in the home, the woman is clearly the one in charge, as in the market, the male is the one in charge.

So wives submit to their husbands in matters of politics, war, etc. and husbands submit to their wives in terms of raising children, passing on the Tradition/religion, etc.

I think either party to a marriage having to submit is a fuck-stupid idea deriving from St Paul anyway, not Jesus.

Submission isn’t such a bad thing; in the relationship between myself and my doctor, I willingly submit to her authority on health-related matters.

It’s my feeling that much of the objection to the idea of submission is based on the assumption that the submitted one is made inferior in some way; this need not be the case.

Likewise, how many never bother to read verse 21 beforehand - "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
A successful marriage is all about mutual submission, each considering the needs and desires of the other over his/her own. Any relationship where one partner demands the submission of the other to his/her desires is doomed to failure.

I think that very few marriages are split 50/50 - ours ranges between 80/20 and 20/80 depending on which day of the week and what time of the month it is… e.g. For the first nine months after we got married, Mrs. Pixie had a series of chest infections which almost landed her in hospital - for those months it was all she could do to go to her lectures and crawl into bed, and the workload was split about 95/5 (It got better :wink: ) and I had to re-adjust my expectations of what “sharing the load” meant!!


Well, I guess if the husband and wife want to play doctors-and-nurses… :wink:


This reminds me of a joke:

Social researcher (to woman): Who takes the decisions in your family, you or your husband?

Woman: (Thinks.) Well, I take all the small decisions and my husband takes the big decisions.

Researcher: Can you give me an example of the kind of smnall decisions you take?

Woman: Oh, you know. What clothes the children will wear, where the children will go to school, where we will live, what job my husband will have, that kind of thing.

Researcher (surprised): And the big decisions that your husband takes?

Woman. Whether the Israelis should get out of the West Bank, whether the US should invade Iraq . . . .


I have often pondered the language found in 1 Corinthians 11. It seems paradoxical to me, but I’m offering it simply as more information on the subject.

For a little more fun, perhaps taken a little bit out of context, check out the Brick Testament version!

IMO the 50/50 split should be an emergent phenomenon, not a target, it’s better if it happens as a result of each of the partners being willing to do as much as it takes, but only being actually able to achieve about 50% of the work because the other partner has got there and done it first.

Well, there’s always

Please be nice-the owner of the site is a friend of mine.

That’s one of the reasons i don’t believe in the Bible anymore. All that submission stuff I learned in the Southern Baptist Church. And in a non-denominational church. I think it’s stupid, and I don’t believe in documents and deities that tell me I have to submit to anybody (except my parents when I was underage and living in their house, but ya don’t need a Bible to tell you that one) My husband and I are considered equal in our marriage.

A somewhat different interpretation of the passage links several similar passages (below). In each passage, a fairly common Hellenistic exhortation is used to call people to maintain their lives in civil decorum. In each, the “standard” expectation for society at that time is provided (in which wives were subject to their husbands, children to their parents, and slaves to their masters–indicating a desire on the part of the growing church to refrain from “rocking the boat” or becoming disruptive of social mores). Attached to each, however, is a further exhortation that the “superiors” in each relationship owe to their “subjects” love and consideration, emulating Jesus, in a way that was not expressed in the “standard” Hellenistic guidelines. Such calls for submission fall badly on our 21st century consciousness, but they were the norm for the late 1st century and were simply examples of the desire on the part of the church to reinforce that they were not advocating civil or domestic unrest.

In this view, Paul (or his pseudepigraphical follower(s)), as well as Clement and the author of 1 Peter are not laying down restrictive calls for limiting the rights of women (or others). Instead, the verses are seen as simply calls for the orderly comportment of Christians within society, strongly modified by the additional obligations that are placed on the husbands/parents/masters to behave in a manner not only ethical, but loving toward those who are naturally (according to the customs of the times) their subjects.

Collossians 3:18 - 4:1

Ephesians 5:22 - 6:9

1 Peter 2:13 - 3:7

Titus 2:1 - 10

1 Timothy 2:8 - 15

1 Timothy 6:1 - 2

And from the patristics, 1 Clement 21:6 - 9:

Cite, please, showing that the US has the highest divorce rate?

A quick Google finds this web page which does indeed show the US at the “top of the league” as far as divorce rates are concerned, while this second site shows that the US has the greatest rate of divorce per 1000 of population, but a lower percentage of marriages end in divorce than some other countries.

Take that FWIW - lies, damned lies, etc…


So where, exactly are men told by God to submit to their wives in any way? They’re only instructed to love them.

My dog must submit to me, and her reward is love from me - a lot like the biblical family heirarchy. There is no question who is the authority - just as there is no question who is supposed to be in authority according to scripture.

Biblical apologists try to inject modern themes such as “mutual submission” as the “real meaning” wihtout supported from the scripture. They choose to ignore this fact, just as they choose to ignore the distasteful child-raising instructiosn, support for slavery, and other parts they don’t like.

LIke SuperLorie, I was raised in a reigious household (my fathers side was Shiite Baptist, and my mother’s a conservative Methodist) and spent a lot of time in bible study. All this taught me was how far from Christ’s teachings Paul led the Christian Church. Read the first 4 books of the NT, and then Paul’s letters and you find two very different schools of thought.

Christ was loving and accepting of differences in people, as long as they (1) accepted him as the son of God and (2) treated each other with love & respect. Christ rejected superficial Judaic law which was outdated and oppressive.

Paul’s messages are much more “my way or the high way”, more control-oriented than Christ ever taught. He was a misogonist, and probably closeted homosexual who hated Christians while a Jew, and dispised women and relations with them while a Christian.

<< Christ rejected superficial Judaic law which was outdated and oppressive. >>

Well, no. Not if you read what he preached. Jesus said things like, [my paraphrase]: Jewish law says not to commit adultery, but I tell you not to even THINK about committing adultery.

That is, Jesus did NOT reject Judaic law, he in fact urged a more strict interpretation of it than did the Jews of the time.

It was Paul who rejected “superficial” Judaic law – the bits he didn’t like – following his vision after Jesus was dead.

It says “submit to one another”.