Today’s post is written by guest blogger and author Karla Downing. Often we minister to women whose husbands are not spiritual leaders and many do not even know Christ. Biblical submission is often skewed in the mind of the husband and/or the wife. Read Karla’s post as she gives thoughtful insight to help women have a healthy view of submission.
“If you’d only submit to me, everything would be fine,” Trina’s husband sternly tells her. “The problem is that you don’t just do what I say without opening your mouth.” Trina feels confused and wonders if Rick is right. After all, she does tell him her opinion and tries to get her way sometimes. She also questions some of the things he does and even argues with him like when he spends the money on himself and then there isn’t enough left to pay the bills. On the other hand, Rick is demeaning and demanding and only sees his way. When she tells him she doesn’t like what he does, he doesn’t seem to care how upset she is. All she knows is that she is unhappy and hurt and now she wonders if she should just keep it all to herself and be quiet.
Submission is often misunderstood and misapplied. It doesn’t require a woman to be a non-person in the marriage. It doesn’t give her husband the right to dominate her or refuse to hear her concerns. And, it doesn’t mean she should ignore irresponsibility, mistreatment, or sin. When a man is demanding submission and blaming his wife for all the problems, it is a tell-tale sign that he is misusing his authority. Women in difficult marriages need to know the truth about submission, yet they often don’t. One of the characteristics of these women is that they look at Scripture rigidly and apply it in a black and white way. It’s all or nothing and their husbands reinforce that thinking.
One of the ways you can help women in difficult marriages is to be aware of their struggles with submission. Be careful not to tell them to submit without really understanding what that means in their particular situations. Recognize that there are women in your Bible studies that need to hear that there are exceptions to submission. They need to hear that it is good for them to speak up about things that aren’t right and that their husbands need to give them a voice in their marriages. The next time the topic of submission comes up, keep these women’s needs in mind. There are more of them in your studies than you think.
Karla Downing is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the author of 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages and the founder of ChangeMyRelationship.com. Karla offers practical tools based on biblical truths to Christians in difficult relationships. She also has a passion to teach ministry leaders how to reach out in more effective ways.
10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages, Karla Downing
Women Making a Differrence in Marriage, Lana Packer