What does God mean when He asks women to submit to their husband?
American society has a strong sense of independence built into it. Women in our society have opportunities that were not available to them in the past. Because of that the verses in Ephesians particularly "Wives be subject to your own husbands" seem more problematic for today's women. What could God have meant?
I suppose this is an issue that every Christian woman struggles with at some time. For myself, when I became engaged I struggled with this idea for a long time. I finally came to the conclusion that it was really a matter of trusting God.
After all God also asks that we obey our rulers (unless, of course, what they are asking is unbiblical). We trust that God is in control of who our rulers are and that He is working out His plan through their choices. However, it becomes more difficult to trust when that leadership is more personal.
Another thing we should remember is that the letter doesn't stop with "Wives be subject to your own husbands". Paul is telling us about God's plan for the perfect marriage and God doesn't just require the wife's obedience. Husbands have instructions as well. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her". Men are instructed to love their wives even to the point of sacrificing their own lives.
So what does this look like in practical terms? It would mean a wife who is looking out for her husband's plans. What does he want to achieve for himself and his family and how can she aid these goals? Meanwhile the husband will be planning for that which is best for his wife. What would make her a better person? A happier person?
If you look at the whole picture, what God wants to achieve is a beautiful image of marriage. So again it comes down to trust. We don't trust that our husbands can do as God asks (probably because we have trouble doing it ourselves). Moreover, we don't trust God.
Try to remember Romans 8:28. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Even if our husbands are resistant to God's working upon their hearts God has a plan for our good. And, while our husbands may not love us as God commanded, God loves us more than any human being could. Hold that thought to your heart.
If you would still like more information on this subject I heard a sermon on this topic "Submission in time". I hope this has provided a little help.
Ephesians Sermon Part 1
Ephesians Sermon Part 2
The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission
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