Is a Christian Wife Supposed to Be a Doormat?

Back of a woman with long blond hair overlooking the ocean and mountains at sunset
Photo by A. L. on Unsplash

My issue earlier in my marriage was that I steamrolled over my husband. I was controlling, mean, and disrespectful.

But some women are on the opposite end of the spectrum—thinking they should be a doormat.

Some people believe that being a godly woman means being passive. They think obeying the Bible means their thoughts, feelings, and concerns don’t matter in marriage or to the Lord. Or that God values men more than women.

Some of these precious women tell themselves:

As a Christian wife, I think should…

NO!!!!!!!! No! No!

I am completely heartbroken to think that ANY Christian wife would ever think like this!

I don’t know a spiritually healthy husband who would want his wife to become a shell of herself. And I don’t believe God calls us to yield our free will or to think of ourselves as if we are not real people.

Who would want anyone to give up her personhood, become a slave, or be a second-class citizen? Other than the enemy of our souls who loves to twist God’s Word and His design?

God’s Purpose for Marriage Is Primarily to Display the Gospel

Marriage is supposed to be a picture of the way that Jesus interacts with His Bride, the Church.

Jesus allows His beloved people to:

  • Pray and request things of Him.
  • Share our thoughts, feelings, concerns, and ideas.
  • Communicate with Him 24/7.
  • Have responsibilities and our own gifts and callings.
  • Be real and authentic with Him.
  • Share our fears, anxieties, doubts, and cast our cares on Him.
  • Look to Him for help.
  • Care for the baby Christians and disciple people.
  • Be His ambassador to the world.
  • Share the gospel with others.
  • Meet the needs of those who are suffering.
  • Be fruitful.

He wants a one-Spirit relationship with us. Where His Spirit lives in us and communes with us constantly in fellowship and love.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.…

Heb. 4:15-16

It is a two-way relationship. He is tender and compassionate with us. He is understanding of our weaknesses and gentle. He speaks the truth in love and always seeks our welfare. He honors our free will.

He is our Good Shepherd, our Great Physician, our Defender, our Deliverer, our Shield and Fortress.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Prov. 3:5

His motives toward us are always good and always right and always based on love. Never pride, selfishness, or abuse.

How to Stop Being a Doormat: The Basics of Being a Godly Wife

Biblical submission essentially means a few basic things, in my understanding after studying it for many years:

1. I submit to the Lordship of Christ first.

All followers of Jesus are to live lives of 100% submission to God, yielded to Him as LORD of every area of our lives.

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.

John 14:21

Here is a post about Christian Submission and how it is for all believers, not just wives. It impacts every area of our lives. Not just marriage.

I no longer walk in the power of my sinful flesh that causes harm to myself and others. But I seek to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and my new nature, my new identity in Christ, pouring the blessings and power of heaven into my marriage and family!

I am full of God’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. I am overflowing with the divine unconditional love of Jesus for others (I Cor. 13:4-8). And I walk in God’s wisdom, discernment, boldness, courage, and heavenly power.

All my fear melts away because of the warmth of the love of Christ that flows through me (1 John 4:8).

I walk in the authority of Christ, seated with Him in heavenly realms, ready to do all of His will. I have respect for who God says I am. I don’t idolize my husband or have a dysfunctional relationship with him.

2. I honor God’s design for my marriage and family.

Then because I am yielded to Jesus as Lord, I voluntarily decide to honor God’s design for marriage and His authority structure instead of doing things my way or the world’s way.

He does this so that the husband can represent Christ and the wife can represent the church in a living parable that draws people to the gospel and salvation through Jesus.

(Keeping in mind that “authority” in Jesus’ Kingdom is servant leadership. Never lording power over others in a tyrannical way. It is about humility, servanthood, selflessness, sacrifice, and unconditional love, seeking the best for those in its care, knowing one is accountable to the Lord personally.)

We both have certain types of authority (positional authority for the husband and influential authority for the wife).

It is a king/queen relationship. Or kind of a president/vice president one. God’s design for husbands and wives is not a master/slave or parent/child dynamic. (It’s not Fifty Shades of Gray, BSDM, or CDD.)

We have equal worth. Equal access to God, salvation, prayer, the Holy Spirit, God’s love, and God’s provision. But we have different roles.

I don’t want to be a controlling shrew.

So instead of steamrolling my husband, taking charge myself, and forcing my way—I treat my husband with honor, dignity, and respect. We act as a team. I seek to have a cooperative spirit if he is not asking me to sin or condone sin.

I am open to his wisdom, his suggestions, his ideas, and his appropriate use of leadership. I see the beauty in our differences and celebrate them. I appreciate that he has strengths where I have weaknesses. I seek to bless him and do good to him all the days of my life.

But I am not weak. It takes incredible spiritual strength to be a godly Christian wife.

I seek to be like the Proverbs 31 wife. Not a passive wallflower. We tend to swing from one fleshly extreme to the other. Dominating and take-charge or passive and weak. But God can give us His supernatural power to balance in the healthy middle.

It takes incredible spiritual strength to be a godly wife God’s way. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit, dying to self, and living in my new nature in Christ.
(It takes all of that to be a godly husband, too.)

I share my concerns respectfully and in a friendly way. I even confront sin in my husband’s life, if needed, in ways that honor the Lord and honor my husband.**

Marriage is like a long road trip.

Only one person can ultimately be in the driver’s seat—God designated that person to be my husband. If I try to drive from the passenger’s seat, even if I am a great driver, I will probably wreck the car.

Of course, if there is an emergency and my husband has a heart attack or something, I may need to try to grab the wheel and get the family to safety. But, in general, I work with my husband and honor him as the God-given leader of the home.

NOTE: There could be times, like the emergency in the car, when I would not submit to my husband.

Biblical submission is not

  • An invitation for husbands to abuse their wives. (God hates abuse, violence, selfishness, malice, pride, and harshness.)
  • Passivity.
  • Absolute submission to any human.
  • Oppression. (It is not an excuse to mistreat women.)
  • Agreement. (Jesus offers the greatest example of submission in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked God to remove the “cup” of the cross from Him, but then submitted by saying, “Yet not my will, but Yours be done.”
  • Related to value. We each have equal value and are equally loved in God’s eyes.
  • Saying the husband is “always right” or “better than” the wife.
  • Something a husband can force his wife to do. It is voluntary. (But it is a command of God. Just as God commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved His church and gave Himself up for her. Eph. 5:22-33. Husbands and wives can’t force each other to obey God. They must each make that choice for themselves.)
  • Completely mutual. There are times a husband may decide to submit his will to his wife’s as Eph. 5:21 describes, deferring to her preferences. But God calls the wife to honor her husband’s leadership, in general, in a way that He does not call the husband to. And He calls the husband to love, lead, and humbly sacrifice himself for his wife in a way that He does not call the wife to (Eph. 5:22-33, 1 Peter 3:1-6, Col. 3:18-19, I Cor. 11:3).
  • About a wife having no voice or influence.

NOTE: The Bible speaks about women being quiet in church, as in, not speaking/teaching with authority over men as a pastor or teacher for them. Here’s more info about that concept.

Biblical submission is a way to

  • Invite God to work powerfully in our marriages.
  • Demonstrate and grow trust (in God and our marriages).
  • Encourage and inspire our husbands to become more godly men and better leaders.
  • Obey and honor the Lord.
  • Build mutual unity, love, respect, honor, and trust.
  • Promote real attraction and romance in marriage.

Please – as always, compare anything I say to Scripture. God is the true Authority and His Word is the source of absolute truth.

Resources for a Christian Wife

For more details on biblical submission, what it is and is not, and what it means to be a godly wife, check out my book, The Peaceful Wife!

My posts about biblical submission and godly leadership in marriage.

If you don’t know if you will go to heaven when this life is over or you would like to find out about how you can have salvation in Jesus, please click here!

Am I Too Chatty with My Husband?

Am I Too Quiet with My Husband?

Ways I Disrespected and Hurt My Husband – for over 14 years in our marriage

What Does Our Marriage Look Like Now?

Share

If you have godly wisdom to share on this subject, we’d love to hear it.

If you need prayer or encouragement, you can share in the comments or privately on my contact page.

**NOTE: If you or your kids are not safe or your husband is dealing with severe issues like abuse, addictions, mental illness, or adultery, please reach out to someone you trust who is experienced and wise and can help you.

THE ABC’S OF SALVATION

A = Admit you are a sinner and you can’t be perfect and holy enough in God’s eyes to be right with Him on your own. You have fallen short of God’s standard of total perfection in your thoughts, motives, words, and actions, as we all have. Turn away from your sin. 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23

B = Believe that Jesus (God in the flesh) died on your behalf to pay the price for your sin and to give you a way to be right with God – to be forgiven. He lived the perfect life you couldn’t live. He died the death you deserve and rose from the dead in victory over sin, death, and the grave on your behalf! 

“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Rom. 6:23

C = Confess that Jesus is your Lord – this means, Jesus is now your Master and you live your life for Him and His glory rather than for yourself. You say it out loud to others and you live it from now on. You lay down your will and your desires and follow Him, inviting Him to direct and use your life for His will.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.” Rom. 10:9-10

5 comments

    1. Brittany,

      There are some husbands who do feel that way for various reasons. Other times, it is a wife’s perception.

      You are welcome to send me a message on my contact page privately if you’d like to email me. Maybe we can hash through this together?

      Also, I invite you to search “Radiant” on my blog search bar to read the story of a wife who felt this way in her marriage and to see the healing the Lord has given to her.

      Much love!

  1. Thank you April. This is what I needed to read today. I’m married to a wonderful Christian man and I can definitely see where I’ve made mistakes in my marriage.
    And happy way belated birthday. I still can’t believe it. You look so young!

    1. Regina,

      I pray this will be a blessing and I pray for the Lord’s comfort and healing for you, dear sister.

      Thank you! Yes, I looked 12 until after I was 30. Ha! Thankful that now most people do think I am an adult.

      Much love!

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