Coloratura Christian

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:4-5)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Wife's Submission

Ephesians 5 says,
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior...each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
No wife likes to hear the 'S' word, but what exactly does it mean to submit? And what does "respect" for our husband look like? I think one of the best ways to show respect for our husband is to submit to him.

Submitting to our husband is not mindless obedience, I believe it is actively supporting him in the leadership responsibility God has given him. This means we are not competing with him for leadership, but rather, building him up and supporting him in the decisions he makes. We, as women, often become so self-absorbed that we worry excessively about whether our rights are being infringed upon to the neglect of our own husband's well being. Shouldn't we instead be desiring our husband to excel in his leadership? Seeing the one we love most in this world find joy and contentment in what God has created him to be, is one of the greatest joys a wife can have.

In contrast, a woman who criticizes her husband, and who picks apart every decision he makes, does tremendous damage to her husband and consequently to her marriage. I think it is very important for men to feel that their wife really trusts them, and that she believes him to be competent, capable and worthy of respect. Sometimes it can be difficult for us to let go of control and trust our husband with our well being, but ultimately, it comes down to trusting God. If our husband is a believer, we can entrust him to God, and trust that He will continue to sanctify him and guide him in his decision making.

But what if our husband is sinning? Obviously, there is a time to confront, but even this can be done with humility and kindness. I love this example of Winston Churchill being confronted by his wife, Clementine, that I came across in Sharon James' book, God's Design for Women. It's an excerpt from a letter found in Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill. The manner of Clementine's rebuke is so loving and respectful that you know she is doing it wholly because she cares about his well being. She says:
I hope you will forgive me if I tell you something that I feel you ought to know. One of the men in your entourage - a devoted friend - has been to me & told me that there is a danger of your being generally disliked by your colleagues and subordinates because of your rough sarcastic and overbearing manner...I was astonished and upset because in all these years I have been accustomed to all those who have worked with & under you, loving you - I said this, & I was told 'No doubt it's the strain.' My darling Winston - I must confess that I have noticed a deterioration in your manner & you are not so kind as you used to be...with this terrific power [as Prime Minister] you must combine urbanity, kindness and if possible Olympic calm...Besides you won't get the best results by irascibility and rudeness...Please forgive your loving devoted and watchful - Clemmie.


  • At November 12, 2005, Blogger Ruth said…

    Hi Christel!

    As always, a good read...Clemmie sounds like one cool lady.

  • At November 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for your wise and worthy post. I have been reading you for several weeks now and have found your words very valuable. Our church is going through a difficult season of trying to understand the role of men and women. Your post continually direct me to our Lord. Thank you once again.

  • At November 14, 2005, Blogger Christel said…

    Dear Anonymous,
    Thank you for your comment. It brings me joy to know that God has used some part of my blog to minister to a sister or brother in Christ.

    I never thought about her that way before, but Clemmie does sound pretty cool. :)

  • At November 14, 2005, Anonymous Mel(ody Grewal) said…

    That is a gorgeous letter from Mrs. Churchill. Thanks for picking it out of the book to share with us! :) Mel

  • At November 14, 2005, Anonymous horrified said…

    Lady, you are scary. Really scary.

  • At November 14, 2005, Blogger Christel said…

    Dear Horrified,

    I don't quite know how to respond to your comment. I assume you mean that you disagree with me on the differing roles of men and women. I should clarify that I did not make up my views out of thin air, but I am striving to accurately understand what the bible has to say about gender roles. I realize that the views expressed in my post could be quite shocking in light of the current mainstream thought on the issue.

    While I admit that the feminist movement has been justly angry at the various abuses to women throughout history, I don't believe that their conclusions about how to resolve the issue have been correct.
    And, in fact, I believe their ideas have caused great confusion and done great damage to our society.

    I guess I'm not quite sure why you are so scared. I don't desire to do evil to any woman, I desire to do them good (as I am one of them. :) But I guess when it comes down to it, I desire to serve the God I love more than I desire approval by any person.

  • At November 15, 2005, Blogger Ian said…

    Sometimes godliness can be scary. Although somehow I doubt that's what "anonymous" means.

  • At November 15, 2005, Blogger Dan S. said…

    Coloratura Christian,
    Just writing just to encourage you to keep at it. Part of the issue with people like Horrified is that they read "submission" to somehow be negative and demeaning, rather than "one of the greatest joys," as you describe it.

  • At November 17, 2005, Blogger Ian said…

    I realise that I labelled "Horrified" as "anonymous."
    Whoops. Sorry "anonymous"!

  • At April 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why should clemmie have to ask forgiveness for telling her husband something he obviously needed to hear. Plus, why should she say she works under him. Whats the point of having two people in a relationsship if one if under the other. What happened to all are equal in Christ.

  • At May 09, 2006, Blogger Christel said…

    Dear Anonymous,

    Thanks for your comment. I do not believe that sameness always means equality, nor do I believe that differences result in inequaltiy. I believe that God has created men and women unique and different from each other, and yet totally equal qualitatively in the eyes of God. (Gal. 3:28)

    I believe that marriage is meant to be a reflection of the dynamic relationship between Christ and His church, necessitating these role distinctions. (Ephes. 5:24-25)

    Even though our society says that serving or submitting to someone is weakness, the Bible clearly speaks of servitude as one of the greatest virtues a Christian can pursue. (Matt. 20:26-28).

    Christ Himself submitted to the Father, even though they are one God and of the same qualitative substance. (Matt. 26:39, Jn. 5:30; 6:38)

    As far as Clemmie apologizing to Winston, I believe her humble disposition shows that she is speaking out of love for her husband, not out of self-righteous condemnation. She didn't want to hurt his feelings.

    I hope this is helpful to you. I know it can be difficult to accept these biblical doctrines when we are so indoctrinated by the world.


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