Graceful violin music and the evening sunlight framed the hillside stage for the joining of two lovely souls. The groom’s nerves were palpable. The bride was the picture of elegance.
My husband was officiating. The tone was spiritual. The audience was in the moment. That was until he dropped a 4-letter word.
The each person in the row in front of me physically reacted. Some recoiled. Some snickered. Some rolled their eyes.
What was the word? Submission.
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Eph. 5:24
I get it. It seems demeaning and archaic. The word conjures pictures of women in heels serving dinner in her Sunday best to a rather unappreciative man reading the newspaper.
I want you to notice something with me though. The same text of scripture also says this:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Eph 5:25
It is interesting to me that this part of the verse, even though it is much more extreme, doesn’t get nearly the same reaction.
This verse indirectly says, “husband be crucified for your wife.” Husbands are called to provide for, protect and run into burning buildings for their wives. The Bible says you better take nails for her. You better cover her sins. You better heap grace and compassion on her every day you breathe. But we turn our noises up at submission?
Maybe the issue is that the idea has become so distorted we don’t even know what submission really means anymore.
Marriage is a partnership. It is team effort. It is making decisions together, raising children together and paying bills together.
Submission isn’t a man being authoritative, dismissive and controlling. It isn’t the wife cowering, afraid to speak.
Submission is discussing, praying and weighing out your decisions and when differences arise, the wife allowing the husband to make the final call. We respect. We listen. We support.
Our created purpose was to be an ezer kenegdo. While, most bibles translate that as helper suitable or help meet, I particularly love Robert Alter’s translation, sustainer beside him.
R. David Freedman, says the word ezer is a combination of two roots: `-z-r, meaning “to rescue, to save,” and g-z-r, meaning “to be strong.”
Being submissive or a helper suitable, isn’t giving up our strength. It is digging deep to offer our strength to a good man and good man will use it wisely.
Ladies, I’d say we got the good end of this deal.
So the next time the S-bomb is dropped, don’t run from it. Embrace it. It is God’s design and it is lovely.
This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. Eph. 5:33