top of page
Search
  • Josephine Hirschfeld

2 • SUBMISSION BASICS

Updated: Sep 23, 2021


As I mentioned in the introduction, I am a housewife, which means that I primarily take care of the home as my occupation. This is a concept that has only recently fallen out of popularity. I say recently because most women embraced their role as housewives throughout the centuries up until about 60 years or so ago. Just look at advertisements from the early 1950s. One that stands out to me is a photo portraying a clearly distressed wife in her kitchen, crying on the shoulder of her husband who comforts her with, “don’t worry darling, you didn’t burn the beer!” Here’s a hint: this ad was not geared towards husbands.


Of course, being a housewife or even taking on the responsibilities of the home while you work a job is controversial in and of itself. I mean what kind of woman would stoop to the level of washing dishes and folding laundry? Probably a white supremacist.


I take this concept a step further though. You could even venture to say I take this concept a step closer to the Bible. I am not only a housewife, oriented towards the workings of my home; I am a submissive housewife. Cue the music that introduces the villain. After all, what kind of woman would stoop to the level of washing dishes and folding laundry in service to her husband? Probably a white supremacist who hates women and gays or something.


The Bible is replete with the command for wives to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24, 33, Colossians 3:18, 1 Peter 3:5-6), let alone example after example of Godly women modeling that in Scripture (Sarah, Rebekah, Ruth, Naomi, etc). I am convinced that God’s word couldn’t be more clear on this subject. This is not a gray area in which there are plenty of Christians that I deeply respect that land on both sides of the issue. I’m sorry to say, but I can’t think of one Christian that I would look to for Biblical wisdom who is egalitarian.


I feel so deeply about this topic, that my first question while looking for a spouse was always, “do you hold to complementarianism?” It was my litmus test for whether or not we would go on a first date at all. I had one guy who tried over and over again to convince me that whatever view I held on the matter he would make it work. That sounded a little too much like he was going to submit to me in marriage instead of the other way around. My apologies sir, but I only give my heart to grown men.


If we grant that wives are to submit to their husbands (like the Bible says), what does that mean? Well, obviously there is no cookie-cutter answer to this. Every couple is different and this is going to have to be curated on a per marriage basis. That being said, I can say that submission that a wife shows to her husband is rooted in respect that she gives unconditionally to him, and is modeled after the Church submitting to Christ (Ephesians 5:24). In a God-oriented marriage the husband also submits to Christ and models Christ’s sacrificial love to his wife (Ephesians 5:25-33). In this way the two become a beautiful picture of the Gospel and are a witness to the rest of the world that God is good and his precepts are perfect.


Does a wife have to bow down and say yes to everything her husband demands of her? No (duh!). There are limitations to submission in marriage. She must first submit to Christ as her ultimate authority (James 4:7, Galations 5:1). Therefore if he tells her to sin, she must not do so. But generally speaking, the wife should be oriented towards serving her husband and aiming to please him out of love for God (1 Corinthians 11:8-9). So if he longs for spaghetti every night, a submissive wife will comply. He likewise should be lovingly leading her, caring for her so that she may more effectively care for the family. So if she is bored out of her mind by constant spaghetti, he would want her to make something that she enjoys too (Ephesians 5:28).


So if the Bible is so clear on the command and limits of submission, why do so many Christian women have such a significant recoil at the thought of it? Of course the answer we all learned from Sunday school is (…all together now…) the Fall. That’s not wrong. Sin entered the world, Adam and Eve were cursed, and now life is much more difficult than it was before (Genesis 3). Obviously women who don’t care about God’s special revelation won’t care about his instructions for life at all (Proverbs 2:16-19). But why are specifically Christian women (and men) so intent on trying to come up with a way in which they can “interpret” Scripture to mean the complete opposite of what it clearly states?


My theory is that many Christians generally in our culture are more interested in mirroring the world around them than searching dutifully through God’s word for how to live (1 John 2:15, 3:13). This is of course dependent on whether or not the surrounding community they find themselves in will stroke their ego and overlook their sin (real or perceived).


For example, many Christian women will find themselves posting beautifully filtered photos of their Bibles open on a rustic wood table next to a floral notebook and a pumpkin spice latte. The caption reads something innocuous such as “love God, love people” or “seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.” In their next online declaration they are saying something to the effect of “modesty is too often just a trojan horse in which men have the opportunity to dominate women” or “that new heartbeat law restricting abortions is too extreme because what about cases of rape and incest?” The trouble with this is that they are affirmed by everyone (or at least a large following that feels like the whole world).


So when the popular narrative is that submission is actually oppression, raising children is not dignified work, and household chores are akin to slavery, some women in the church will do whatever it takes to remain in polite society. It turns out that people pleasing can be a dangerous stroll to Hell (Mark 15:15). Because as we take our worldly desires and try to convince ourselves and others that they aren’t actually sin, we are forced to twist Scripture as justification. This is why we have egalitarians in the first place. Women rebel against the role God has given them, and men are okay with it because it allows them to sin in a socially acceptable way as well (Genesis 3:16). Gather these people together in a church and suddenly they have the best of both worlds – taken seriously by both “Christians” and coworkers alike.


Perhaps I am just the type to enjoy ruffling a few feathers here and there (as if you couldn’t tell by the nature of this content), but I wasn’t convinced that the world had a better grasp on how to live than the Author of life did (Psalm 119:34). In my slow personal reformation I have spent oodles of time reading the Bible. Come to find out, it’s really difficult to misinterpret God’s word in the way Christian feminists have unless you are intentionally and maliciously doing so. That being said, I think most egalitarians have not studied the topic in God’s word enough to take an informed stance. They have simply been influenced by the very loud (and obnoxious) voices of those who have charisma and are generally respected by most people in evangelical circles.


So what are we as Christian women to do? Reject the world, reject wolves in sheep's clothing, and follow Christ (2 Peter 1:4). Submit to the Lord, and you will end up submitting faithfully to your husband as well (Proverbs 3:5-8). Read scripture (Joshua 1:8). Don't take anyone seriously who contradicts God's word (Matthew 7:15). Reformation starts in your own home.

Commentaires


bottom of page