Femininity and the Power of Submission in Marriage
In a world where feminism is as relied-upon as coffee, to turn the gears of change, we have lost sight of God’s design for us as women. The great news is that we only have to read the Bible to get us back on track and align us with the truth again.
God’s word is his Spirit, and every verse is ‘profitabley for teaching and admonishing’, so ignoring the black and white opinion of God in the Bible on submission is essentially discrediting His word and ultimately rebuking God’s opinion and will.
What does the Word say on submission?
Ephesians 5:22-24 says: ‘Wives obey your husbands as you obey the Lord. The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church.’
How do we obey the Lord? We learn everything about him, about his laws and what he likes and values, his love language (obedience and repentance), all the things he wants to route out of our lives, how he wants us to carry ourself, behave, to glorify him, and how he wants us to speak about him and live so that we are excellent ambassadors and maintain a high name. God, through the Word, calls us to obey our husband in the same way we obey him, so we are to learn everything about him, spend quality time with him, learn his love language, hold him in high esteem, speak well of him, put his will and needs first and allow him to guide us.
Genesis 3:16 ‘Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you’
The desire described here is not a good desire or a sweet longing, but an urge to control and answer back to your husband, but ultimately always returning to him despite the conflict. It gives the sense that as a result of the fall there will always be a power struggle yet the husband will always rule. We see this occurring throughout history, with men still leading in most spheres. So choosing to control or lead your husband is giving into the curse of the fall and instigating inevitable conflict.
How did God design women to fit their role?
Women’s brains have more white matter, equipping them to be better multi-taskers than men and more able to pay attention to many things at once, allowing women to nurture children, look after the home, earn an income and get involved in many areas of community.
Because of hormones, boys are more likely to relieve stress through aggression and impulse while girls are more emotional and bond more strongly, so are more perceptive to a breaking bond, enabling them to be the steward of unity in the marriage.
Females have more neuroconnections in the hippocampus so they sense more things in their environment, giving them a greater attention to detail, benefitting all around them who are pursuing the all-encompassing, complex goal of righteousness.
Males have fewer verbal centres in their brain connecting words to memories so are less able to discuss their feelings, setting women up to be key in helping men and other women process their emotions and the ups and downs of their journey with God.
Different levels of blood flow in the brain makes women ruminate on memories more than men, while men analyse it and move on. This leads women to place greater value on honesty than men because their visceral memories result in quicker and more alarming detections of fallacies.
There are over 100 differences between the male and female brain but not enough time to discuss or analyse them here.
Based on my reading of the Word, my understanding of biological differences and my own experience of putting submission into practice, as well as not doing so, I’ve come to the conclusion that in submitting, women hold a great position of power and influence. This will sound counter-intuitive, but hear me out.
I read in a book called Biblical Femininity that…
Women are meant to be intelligently submissive while men are meant to be gentle leaders.
Proverbs 31 says: ‘Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value… her husband is respected at the city gate. Her husband arises and praises her: “many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”‘
Her husband lacks nothing of value merely because she is a woman of virtue. Simply by being a woman of virtue, you add incredible value to your husband, including the respect he has from others, his influence and success in the marketplace and the strength of His walk with God.
Proverbs 14:1 says: ‘The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.’
Here we see that the wife can single-handedly build the house with her wisdom or tear it down all because of her foolishness, discord and desire to control her husband. A lot is riding on the wife’s submission and obedience!
1 Peter 3:1-3 says: ‘Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your husbands, so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over WITHOUT WORDS by the behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of their lives.’
This is not said for husbands in the Bible. Husbands don’t actually lead by example of holiness, they lead by love. Women make their greatest impact by their example of holiness as this has an incredible impact on their husbands, leading him to holiness, to stronger faith, to greater fruit, and ultimately to loving you better and to being a better leader for your family. It is a constant positive feedback loop if you are holy, virtuous and submissive.
How I see it…
The man is like the President and the woman is like his chief policy advisor. The man is like the CEO of a business and the woman is like his lead researcher or product developer (the subject matter expert).
1 Peter 3:6 says: ‘You are daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.’
We control our husbands because we are afraid.
We are afraid that if we don’t call men out for their wrongdoing, or correct their ways, or make them consider us more, or draw attention to the details (a gift God has given specifically to women), we will lose our dignity. We push them to marry us because we are afraid to be alone, we make the first move, we want the to be this and that because we are afraid we will end up unhappy and dissatisfied. We want to lead because we are afraid of where we might end up if they do. We do not trust God with our lives. We are afraid that all our rights will be taken from us and we will not be valued. Yet in choosing to control we are only oppressing ourselves more, removing ourselves from the bosom of God, from our inheritance as his daughters. By choosing to control, to lead our husbands, we are giving in to the curse of the fall, to the heavy hand of disobedience, which will ultimately crush us. But through Christ, by living under his blood, in His righteousness, the way God designed us to live, we have freedom, we have value, we find ourselves on a beautiful path, noble like no other, praised by our husband and children, proud of who we have become, and even more proud of who our husbands have become, because we have chosen to submit, to allow the beautiful process of sanctification and transformation to happen magnificently because we have chosen to be obedient to God, let go of control, and do it His way.
My Experience with Submission…
I was the very LAST person to want to submit and I certainly did not submit to begin with. This resulted in a LOT of fights, breaking my husband’s spirit, sadness and pain in the household, and the lack of God’s presence.
I wanted him to come to MY CHURCH, to go to India because I FELT CALLED, to live in Croydon because I DIDN’T WANT to live in London Bridge, to recycle the garbage in THIS WAY, to shower BEFORE bed… the list goes on! When I fought against these things there was only sorrow. When I let them go, submitted and gave them up to God, I got a husband who has flourished in his walk with Christ, strong friendships and fellowship in the church as well as opportunities to flourish myself and an incredible community of mothers in London Bridge that has nourished my life. My husband last week wrote me three cards saying how he appreciates my dedication to the family. He literally woke up and praised me saying, ‘many women do noble things, but you surpass them all’. Of course I am NOT the most noble person in the world, but to him I am an incredible influence in his life. To him I surpass ever other influence besides God. To him, I am so very very very very very very important. By choosing to submit, I choose to have incredible influence and power.
Praise God for his PERFECT design!