This is What Biblical Submission Really Means

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A bride and groom on a standing between two aisle's of chairs looking toward mountains

With a great huff I drove to our local grocery store and bought a big bag of Tide and a bottle of fabric softener.

I felt like the biggest cheater in the blogosphere.

After all, I had blogged about and written a book of my own tried-and-true recipes for chemical-free cleaning products. I had Tweeted and Intagrammed my lovely homemade, 2-ingredient laundry detergent that was significantly less expensive than anything I could buy.

I felt like my creativity and frugality were highly insulted. And all because he wanted his clothes to smell like laundry detergent.


And then that little voice said something that both made sense….and irritated me.

Don’t you hate it when that voice makes sense….and still tells you that you’re wrong?

Yea, me too!

Because I really, really wanted to be right this time!

This is what the voice said:

It’s impossible to submit in the big things until you learn to submit in the small things.

The thing is this: its not about me, my blogging reputation or how creatively frugal I am. Because I can have all those things in tact and live in a home where there is constant tension because I refuse to submit my right to be right.


I can submit my right to be right and assure my husband that his needs and wants are my greatest priority in the home.

And this is what I’ve been learning in 2015, as I’ve made a greater effort to be more present with my family.

I am learning that my husband’s wants and needs – no matter how trivial they may seem – need to come front and center.

Not because it’s a nice thing to do.

Not because he deserves it because he’s a really great guy.

Not even because there are 100 reasons why I love him.

(and all of those things are very true, and they really good reasons, but they are not the reason)

The reason is because the Bible says that a wife should be submitted to her husband.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. – Ephesians 6:22

In my mind I had always viewed submission as something a lot more spiritual than laundry detergent.

In my mind, I had divided the home into “his and hers”. His being the car and garage, and hers being the home and whatever makes it function – such as the laundry.

And I’ll be honest, I’m still not there yet. Next month we’ll celebrate 8 years of marriage and I feel like I’m only just now “getting” this idea of submission that has always seemed so nebulous and foggy.

I used to talk about it a lot as a single person, because without a husband requiring my submission it was black-and-white.

Suddenly I found myself married and someone telling me what to do!

The nerve!

Oh – and for the record, I’m also 2 years older than him. A fact I have brought up a time or two, lest he forget that bit of leverage I have.

Not that age factors into this very important biblical principle. God frankly doesn’t care if I’m younger, older or much older.

So, I stopped talking about submission almost entirely, because I felt that until I had begun to comprehend this complex idea of submission, it was best that I just be quiet.

And yes, it is complex. It’s complex because it requires two people to lay down the rights and their lives.  The Bible tells women to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord, and the husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church.

But it does not say that if our husbands don’t love us as Christ loves the church that we can hang that over their heads as an excuse as to why we refuse to submit.

See how complex this is?

It requires us to surrender our will and our right. It requires us to lay down our lives.

So, today as I pull a load of nice-smelling, chemical-laden clothes out of the washer and prep them to hang on the clothesline, I do it with great love and surrender.

Oh – and thanksgiving because there is peace in our home.

I have given up so little, and received so much!

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  1. This is a hard hard lesson and I am sure you have seen from other things something that the “world” does not understand. I have been married 14 years and I will say I have learned to let go of what I want just because I want it, if HE wants something different. It is very similar to letting go of our plans when God has greater plans in mind for us. Take heart, its just laundry! Hugs and Blessings!

  2. Oh, I know what you mean about that little voice! And I also understand the whole “remaining credible” thing. With all of my couponing, there have been times when I have put the deal first and my husband second, and even if he doesn’t know it, I do…and it doesn’t feel quite right. Thanks for the reminder of doing what is right in even the little things!

  3. I loved this post!! If you think you will have it all together when you are married as long as I have been, well, then you will be doing better than me. I have learned so much and just about the time I think I have it ‘down’ along comes another test looking a whole lot different than the last one. I hope this is encouraging to other women. I used to think I was the only one going through anything in my marriage!!

  4. Good for you, Rosilind. Submission is so much better than strife. I’ve got a ton of “laundry” episodes in my married life. And just like Judith said above when you think you’ve got it down something new comes along to challenge us wives. Thanks for sharing a little bit of your struggles as well as your triumphs. There’s nothing that can compare to the peace of following God’s word.

  5. Thanks for this encouragement. There’s times when my husband gives his two cents or an idea and I jump all over it saying why mine is better or more functional. I think I really need to work on one of the first steps in submission by listening to my husband before I speak!

  6. We have worked out a compromise and we are both very happy with the decision. Unfortunately, I will have to delete you comment, because I don’t allow profanity in my blog’s comments. I wish you could have commented here without using profanity, because I welcome all comments that add to the discussion, even when they disagree with my content. However, I don’t tolerate profanity because this blog is a Christian blog and I like to keep it classy.

  7. Thank you for this post. It gave me a different perspective and I appreciate that. I still struggle with this because I equate submission with losing myself . I think it’s healthy to feel that both my husband’s and my needs are being met equally. It’s so hard to find that balance and not become bitter not not having my needs met as well. Or my opinions valdated. I hope to find that balance and reach a happy medium.

    1. I think a lot of wives battle with this. I know I do as well. And I do think that balance is important. it isn’t wrong to want our needs met and our opinions validated. I think that is love being communicated properly. Just as our submission to our husband’s God-given authority is love and respect communicated as well. It’s a balancing act…or dance. It takes time and practice.

  8. Great perspective Rosalind! It really is all about selfless love and cultivating peace in our homes isn’t it? It’s hard to do but when we do We see why God asks us to! The blessings that come far outweigh the sacrifice 🙂

  9. I have a question on submission. My husband wants me to take a skydiving class with him eventhough I am afraid of heights. I have gotten panic attacks in the past due to my phobia. I literally coukd endanger myself if I skydive because I could have a panic attack while midair . My husband says to trust God and that exposure is good for phobias.

    1. I wouldn’t include this under the umbrella of submission. I do believe that there is a difference between submission and holding to your own preferences. In your situation, I wouldn’t do this. I, too, am afraid of heights, and would never entertain the idea of skydiving. I think if you’re wanting to conquer your fear of heights, start small and work your way up to skydiving. But to go straight to an activity like that – as you said – could be dangerous. Appeal to your husband and ask for understanding and grace, because I don’t believe this is wise.

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