Manturity: Submission Is a Two-Way Street

Man and woman
Do you know the rules of submission in a marriage? (David Castillo Dominici/Free Digital Photos)

The wife must submit, and so must the husband. The fact of the matter is that you both must submit to God first and then to each other. For those of you whom this truth irritates, this post is specifically for you. Now that I have your attention, let’s ask some questions.

In the many marriage conferences I have attended over the last few years, I always hear about the longstanding debate where the wife must submit to her husband. This, of course, always brings up some tension mainly among the ladies in the crowd. The men nod their heads, of course, but are quickly sustained.

I also hear a lot of confusion on this topic with couples that are struggling in their marriages. Typically, the husband is trying to drive home the point that the wife must submit to him, not even knowing where it’s written or how to actually define it; and the wife will naturally fight against his wishes because she is not aware of the rules on submission or love.

So, what are the rules?

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1. What does the dictionary say?

  • Submit: "to give over or yield to the power or authority of another."
  • Love: "a profoundly tender and passionate affection for another person."
  • Respect: "to hold in esteem or honor."

These definitions sound like the type of relationship we all need to have with Jesus. Agreed? Now, what about our marriages?

2. What does the Bible say about submission and love?

The standard for this information can be found in Ephesians 5:21-33, and the big verse that stands out for wives and submission is verse 22: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” The next big verse that stands out is verse 24, which says, “Now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

The big verse that stands out for the husbands and love is verse 25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.” The next big one is verse 28: “In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

These verses bring up the exact points that wives are to submit to their husbands and that husbands are to love their wives. Note that there is no hierarchy mentioned here in these verses. There are different roles mentioned, but they are equal. This might be the key point.

To put these verses in a better perspective, I made this infographic below to help you understand those Scriptures. Review the graphic, and then review your marriage and relationship with Jesus. What are you waiting for?

The infographic helped me understand the connection between our roles in marriage and our roles in our relationship with Jesus. All at the same level, the wife must submit to her husband just as the church submits to Jesus, and the husband must love his wife just as Jesus loves the church.

Do you agree with this graphic? Expand on your thoughts in the comments.

So is that it? Are husbands exempt from any form of submission? Absolutely not.

In fact, if you read all of the verses in the Ephesians passage above, you would see that the first verse says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Another hot verse on submission can be found in James 4:7, which reads, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

These verses make it clear that both men and women, married or not, must learn how to submit to God. If you take the initiative to be submissive to God and understand what it means, you will be able to better apply the principles in your own relationship or marriage. Starting to make sense?

So, what is the bottom line?

It’s simple. Both spouses must learn the details on submission and love. Jesus sets the example for us in the Scriptures, and you must learn to live them out in your marriage.

In the case of submission, yes, the wives must learn how to submit to their husbands according to the Scripture. But in the same sense and on the same level, husbands must learn how to love their wives according to the Scripture.

If you are personally living out these principles in your walk with Jesus, it will be much easier to live them out in your marriage. As we are all the body of Christ, we are all one flesh. As a married couple, we are and have become one flesh.

So, here’s your challenge:

  • Husbands, ask your wife today how you can love her better.
  • Wives, ask your husband today how you can submit to or respect him better.

What aspect of love or submission do you struggle with in your own marriage? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Manturity is a blog built on establishing spiritual maturity in today’s man. The goal is to assist men in building better marriages and help them in grow in maturity and explore different aspects of manhood. features new weekly blog posts, daily social media updates and a powerful resources page. Stay up to date with the Manturity blog communities on Facebook and Twitter.

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