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All too often when we hear the word "submission" we think of a wife in a marriage that is supposed to yield in relation to her husband. Very seldom do we hear of how a husband is expected to submit to his wife.  In many ways this approach is not spoken of.

But submission is for husbands too; as one author very boldly proclaims: "Submission is a two way street." Many times when we want a scriptural portrayal of submission we focus our attention towards Ephesians 5:22-33.

Repeatedly, the verses before those classic scriptures on marriage are disregarded. In my humble estimation if anything should be used as marriage scriptures, the following should be considered.

I am speaking in reference to verses 15-21, but particularly verse twenty-one: "...submitting to one another in the fear of the Lord."

While this section of scripture certainly includes a lot of people, it incorporates a husband's submission to his wife. Before the wife is commanded to yield to the husband, they both are commissioned to submit to one another. That means that male submission is as important as female submission. In fact, without the husband properly submitting to his wife, she will find it complicated to be truly submitted to him.

Male submission can be summed up in the "attitude" that a man has toward his wife. If he is rightly related to her, he will desire to shelter her. He will endeavor to protect her self worth, self-esteem and her self-image.

As a man protects these parts of his wife's character, he is submitting himself to her. Thus, male submission is contending to defend a woman's honor. One of the greatest examples of this was how Joseph related to Mary before Jesus Christ was born:
Then Joseph her husband being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
(Matt. 1:19-20, 24-25 NKJV)
Other than Jesus, Joseph is the supreme example of male submission that we can identify in the Word. There are several reasons why we can look to Joseph as a wonderful model on this subject matter:
  • He must have had good fellowship with the Lord to know it was Him talking in that dream.
  • He was willing to face public opinion and scrutiny for the sake of Mary's honor.
  • Mary remained a virgin until the Lord Jesus Christ was born, which is another indication of Joseph's submission.
  • He named their child Jesus, exactly as the angel instructed.
What a remarkable example of male submission. Joseph had to be submitted to the Lord. He then had to believe that Mary had never been with a man. He never enjoyed the privilege of a physical relationship with Mary his wife until after Jesus was born.

In addition, Joseph believed the angel and followed his instructions.  Joseph could have been bitter toward Mary, yet he realized that his Mary's lives had superior purposes. Some men verbally attack the image, worth and esteem of their wives, thus showing their lack of submission.

If a husband will not protect his wife by speaking the right things to her, he won't protect her when others speak unpleasant about her, either. And ultimately, if a husband harbors bitterness toward his wife, it will hinder the effectiveness of that couple's prayer life (see Colossians 3:19 & 1 Peter 3:7).

Seven Suggestions to Demonstrate Your Submission
  1. Admit you are not perfect and—with that in mind—extend mercy to your wife just as God extends mercy to you.
  2. Accept the fact that your wife is not perfect; dwell on her strengths, not on her weaknesses.
  3. Don't act as though you are superior.
  4. Pray for the weaknesses of your wife.
  5. Apologize when you are wrong.
  6. Communicate to her your love for her.
  7. Mention to her and others that God has given you your wife.
Anthony N. Wade Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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