“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.“
“as is fitting in the Lord”
The qualification to submission is “as it is fitting in the Lord.” The Bible does not command submission under all circumstances. Her first priority is to the Lord. There is an analogy here to government. The Bible limits the wife’s obedience to the government (Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13) to her priority to God. Scripture does not bind the wife to her husband if he asks her something that disagrees with Scripture.
It is a becoming relation to submit to a husband because it is obedience to the Lord. The word “fitting” means what is proper or right. It is fit; it is right; it is proper. The submission of the wife is self-evident from reason. This is true without appeal to experience. This is essential to social and domestic order and welfare. There is an order of authority in creation. The Father obeys it. The Son obeys it. All nature observes it.
“In the Lord”–If you do not like this command, take your complaint to the Lord. Note Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” How much is the wife to submit? As she would submit to the Lord! If a wife is not submissive to the Lord, she will not submit herself to her husband. The ratio is “as to the Lord.” The wife may say, “Well, I don’t know why I should do this. I am smarter than he is.” “So let the wives be to their husbands in everything.” (Eph. 5:23) The girl says, “Everything? I think I will stay single!”
It is befitting to God’s order of things that a wife fulfill her God-given role.
Submission does not mean that a woman is not equal to the husband. God addresses the word “submission” to men as well as women. Thus it is not a sexist word in the Word of God. God wants all Christians to submit to one another. Jesus submitted himself to the Father. Therefore, submission has nothing to do with inferiority. If the wife does not uphold and support her husband and recognize his leadership role in God’s order, chaos will result.
God makes this command to wives, not husbands! God has his command to the husband in the next verse.
Whether the marriage is good or bad, it is still part of God’s established order. Both husband and wife enter it with their free will. Freedom is the basis for entering a marriage. Ignorance is never an excuse, “I did not know he was such a monster.”
The husband is the established authority under the laws of divine order. Any woman thinking of marriage should think twice before she agrees to marry any man. She should ask herself the question, “Do I want to be under this man’s authority for life?” She should not deceive herself by his superficial handsomeness or scintillating personality. Most girls do not have the judgment to make this decision early in life. She should make sure she knows what he is really like. If she says yes to an emotional child, her life will become intolerable slavery.