“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.”
What is submission? The word “submit” comes from two words: under and arrange. A wife is to arrange herself under her husband. This means she fits into her husband’s essential need in his leadership in the home. She is to gear her life to the husband’s role in marriage.
The idea of submission in the Bible deals with authority. Submission was used primarily as a military term with the idea to rank under. This term means to place or arrange under, to post under, to subject. This word comes from two words: 1) “to appoint,” “to order,” with such nuances as “to arrange,” “to determine,” “to set in place,” “to establish,” and middle “to fix for oneself.” 2) the second word is under.
The wife’s role in marriage brings order to the institution of marriage.
Every divine institution has its own duty. If there are two people in an organization, one must have authority for there to be a resolution between them. In marriage, God chose the husband to have that authority. The husband may or may not have the capacity to handle this authority. In principle, he has authority.
Why then does the wife submit herself unto her husband? Because it meets his essential need for respect to the leadership role God gave him. The husband’s basic need is to carry out the leadership in the family God intends for him. The wife’s role is to help him achieve that goal. To do that, the wife must fit herself into his leadership in the home. This is what makes the woman feminine and wonderful to the man.
Christian marriage for the woman does not mean that she is a slave or inferior. Men who treat women as inferior lose out on women. Where love does not exist, the wife’s surrender becomes slavery to her. No matter what her husband gives her, it does not satisfy her. There is no rapport, no satisfactory relationship. If there is no rapport, it is just two neurotics hanging onto each other. Obviously, their sex life will be less than the best.
A woman first submits her soul, then her body. One of the worst things in life is to have a woman’s body but not her soul. She gives her body while thinking of something else. Some of these women even think of other men while having sex with their husbands. They conjure up unrealistic romantic relationships that have no basis in reality. The husband has nothing if he does not have her soul as well as her body.
Submission has nothing to do with the intelligence of the wife or any other capacity. Her intelligence may be 50 IQ points above his. Subjection does not mean to demean the capacity of the wife. It is possible that her personality may be much more vivacious and wonderful than his. Submission has nothing to do with the capacity of the individual biblically. The issue is the role. The point is to fit the marital relationship into its proper function.
Whatever this verse means, it does not mean that the husband and wife are in a master-slave relationship. This is often the interpretation of some males. This is not God’s design for marriage.
On the contrary, submission is not slavery; it is something that fulfills her — it is an expression of rapport. She has something to yield – both her mind and body. In this case, she has something to give to her husband beyond description.