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Should You Strive to Please or Keep Your Husband at ANY Cost?

This post is specifically for wives who are disrespecting themselves or disrespecting God in order to put their husband on the throne of their hearts

** (please note the disclaimer about severe issues at the bottom of the post)

IDOLIZING A PERSON

Our culture thrives on encouraging us to idolize our spouses and be enmeshed/codependent with them. Whether

  • I expect my husband to meet all of my deepest spiritual and emotional needs (rather than Christ) or
  • he expects me to meet all of his
  • or both…

We will destroy our relationship if we continue on like that. If the goal is to ultimately to please a person at any cost – myself or my spouse – I am building my marriage on sinking sand instead of the Solid Rock of Christ.

An idol is something or someone I trust to bring me ultimate fulfillment, contentment, peace, joy, and happiness – that is not Jesus. It is something or someone that I place above God in my heart and give all power to in my life. I rest my faith in that particular thing. Some of us are willing to do ANYTHING to save our marriage, for example – even if it meant sinning, condoning sin, or allowing great harm to come to ourselves or our children.

I must seek to please God alone “no matter what the cost,” not to please another person to that degree.

Verses about idolatry:

  • Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. Jonah 2:8
  • Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5
  • Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. Galatians 4:8

Idols can’t save us. When we trust idols, we are ultimately trusting in ourselves – what our hands (or minds) have made (Isaiah 2:8, Psalm 135:15-18). Idolatry is slavery. We become hostages of our idols – the things in which we place our greatest faith and hope. When we trust idols, God often uses the things we trust to teach us that nothing is trustworthy except for Himself. We often bring upon ourselves the things we fear the most when we trust other things or people rather than God.  Idolatry and fear go hand in hand because we are trusting in somethings that cannot save us. We are trusting in broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

WHAT GOD REQUIRES:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37

If we love someone or something else with all our hearts and we set our hearts on that thing or that person, we will destroy ourselves. But when we set our hearts fully on God, we are blessed spiritually and overflowing with His Spirit – and then when we are right with God, He can empower us to have right relationships with others – as far as it depends on us. We may even see Him bring about miracles as we trust Him with our difficult relationships and our trials.

FROM THE TRENCHES:

I’m recruiting some help from the trenches from two wives in whom God is doing such amazing things…

Wife 1 whose unbelieving husband left her in the last year or so:

I think a HUGE red flag is fear. If you fear your husband, his reactions, losing the relationship – anything – You need to pray about it. Ask God why you fear, because perfect love casts out fear, and if you have fear for your husband or marriage, that is not love. You are not loving God more than your husband if you let fear of your husband trump your fear and reverence for God.

Wife 2 whose unbelieving husband is rather controlling and difficult at times:

Fear was a huge factor in most of my marriage. Fear of his reactions when I tried to share my feelings. I kept tweaking and tweaking my delivery of that, thinking it must be me, I must be doing something wrong. And, yes, it is true that many times I would come at him in anger after he had hurt me (these weren’t petty things, either – they were things that would make any wife or husband angry because they threatened our marriage).

But, even as I learned more about respect and how to approach these things in a better way, I started realizing that I would never reach the perfection status that would allow my husband to finally listen to what I was saying. My husband was never physically abusive, but I still had a lot of fear because he would shut me out and ignore me for days if I upset him and there were subtle things he did and phrases he used that made me feel really bad for sharing my feelings about something hurtful that he had done to me.

I was full of fear of losing the marriage, fear of losing my family. God had to take me to a place that I had to surrender it all to Him and He delivered me from all of that fear!

Now I can walk in truth and am free in Christ in my marriage! I no longer fear what my husband thinks of my relationship with Christ, I no longer fear his reactions if I speak truth that needs to be said to him (not trying to save him or preach to him, but just truth about things in our relationship or with our kids, etc.). And, my anthem during that whole process became the song, “No Longer Slaves to Fear.” That became like a prophetic song in my life that God made real for me.

God wants His daughters (and sons) to live free in Christ. That’s a huge red flag there, I think – If you do not feel like you have the freedom to be yourself and are always trying to “soften” your Christian walk so that it isn’t offensive, something is probably off (from April – this requires great wisdom and godly discernment to be able to see clearly). I think we are to live boldly for Christ and I also believe that is why those verses are there in 1 Corinthians 7 about an unbelieving spouse leaving…. the Christian’s life will be so different that it will repel some unbelieving spouses and may cause a permanent separation in the marriage. That’s not a popular topic in Christian marital teaching, but it is absolutely biblical.

It is a painful process and doesn’t happen overnight, this being able to get to a place where you are willing to lose it all and you choose to follow Christ wherever He leads and start living from an authentic place instead of sweeping sin and issues under the rug or letting someone keep trying to convince you there’s nothing wrong (when you KNOW there is something wrong). God is the one who has to do it, really, but we have to cooperate and go through the painful places so that He can lead us on to this beautiful freedom!

My husband threatened divorce (not always that directly, but it was very much implied) many times over the last few years as I started getting stronger in Christ and was standing in truth about the things that were happening in our marriage. Of course, this brought a lot of fear in my life – but eventually, I just started to let him know that he was free to go. This took him back every time I told him that. He was so used to me adjusting my behavior to keep that from happening. But, I think what I said and did was rooted in God’s Word and from His Spirit.

As Christian wives of unbelieving husbands, we need to realize that these verses are in God’s Word for a reason. He may be saving some years of heartache and struggle. And, really, those verses are just as much of a command as any other directive/command in the Scriptures. If an unbeliever wants to go, let him go. I know it’s not a popular view in the Christian culture of “marriages are worth saving at all costs”… (April, I know you do not teach this and I so appreciate that). God is infinitely above marriages and our marriage or husband should never take His place.

If you are operating in fear, things will only get more and more destructive. But, when God sets you free from that fear and you are willing to follow Him at ALL costs, then yes, you can move and operate from the power of the Holy Spirit.

It doesn’t mean that things are all going to be rosy and pretty and pain-free, but you WILL have an underlying peace and assurance from the Lord that He will never let you go, *He* will never be unfaithful or leave you, and you can begin to see the reality of the spiritual warfare you are in, as well. May God continue to bring this freedom to many, many more brothers and sisters!

My husband actually said to me as I was getting stronger in Christ and he could sense something was changing, ”I want you to worship me.” Yikes!!!!

God got my attention big-time with that statement. I calmly but strongly said something to the effect that I would never be able to do that for him. I brought that up in counseling and my husband said he was joking, but still. Red flag.

As far as idolizing our husbands so much that we think we couldn’t go on in life, I know another big thing for me regarding this was that I was a very insecure person. My security was resting on my husband’s love for me and that is a very, very shaky and doomed-to-failure kind of foundation. I think equal with dealing with fear is that every Christian has to find their security and worth in Christ alone.

  • God will absolutely do this in His children’s lives, one way or another, I think.

It might come through marital problems or probably whatever it is that you are finding your security in. If we have not come to a place, like Paul, where we can say “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” then this is something that has to be worked out. We have to be absolutely unshakeable and convinced that God is never leaving us and loves us with a love that cannot even be measured! We also need to be convinced of our righteous standing in Christ before God and in the finished work of Christ. Then our foundation is sure and strong.

RELATED

Fully Trusting God with My Husband – Laying Down All of My Fears 

My Security and Identity Must Be in Christ Alone!

Finding Victory over Feelings of Insecurity

Roots of Insecurity Low Self Esteem, Sinful Jealousy, and Desire to Control

Is Divorce the Worst Thing That Can Happen? VIDEO

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Bitterness

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

Taking Our Thoughts Captive

People Pleasing

Tearing Out the Idols in Our Hearts

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband

**Note – if you are dealing with severe issues in your marriage (unrepentant adultery, active drug/alcohol addictions, major porn addictions, severe uncontrolled mental health issues where someone is not in his/her right mind, or other very toxic or abusive situations,) please seek trusted, godly, appropriate counsel in person. If you are not safe, please try to get yourself and your children somewhere safe if possible. Please reach out to your pastor, the police, www.thehotline.org, www.focusonthefamily.org has a free Christian counseling service, a trusted doctor – depending on the situation. If you are dealing with emotional toxicity, check out Nina Roesner’s e-course, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.” Please compare anything I or any human says to Scripture. Search for yourself. Seek Christ for yourself. Find the healing and hope that is available in Him!

 

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

 

This is such a serious issue. How I pray that God’s Spirit will be very much involved to help me write and to help each of us understand things clearly. I have had many women read a bit about biblical submission and conclude that submitting to our husbands means things like:

  • My husband is my absolute authority not God.
  • I have to do whatever he says no matter what.
  • I can’t voice any disagreement with my husband, that’s disrespectful.
  • I have to follow him into sin.
  • I have to treat his words as if they are always the very words of God even if he clearly goes against the Bible.

I don’t believe this is what Scripture teaches at all.

With almost every biblical principle, there is balance. If we veer to the right or the left of what the Bible teaches, we will end up with a destructive false teaching. So let’s always “test the spirits” as Scripture says. Let’s not just believe anything that any human teaches. Let’s compare everything to the Bible and pray for God’s Spirit to give us His wisdom and discernment that we might handle His Word rightly. It is impossible to delve into all that marriage means in one post – so please take lots of time to study this issue and to seek God’s truth wholeheartedly.

Note – There is a danger with a post like this that a wife who is not abiding in Christ and not seeing clearly spiritually may try to use this list to justify her own sin or selfishness. We are accountable to God for any sin in our own lives.

Let’s keep in mind that ultimately our submission is to Christ as Lord – as men and women. And let’s be sure we are hearing God’s voice clearly, not listening to the enemy’s lies or walking in the power of the flesh so that we can clearly discern God’s voice. Let’s ask God to purify our hearts and motives and to expose any sin or wrong thinking we may have. The goal is that God might say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant,” to each of us. Let’s desire obedience to Him above all else. 🙂

TIMES THAT I PERSONALLY WOULD NOT SUBMIT TO MY HUSBAND

I am posting this with my husband’s full support and knowledge.

Greg wants me to be sure to emphasize, “A wife will need godly discernment and the power of the Holy Spirit in some of these situations. Sometimes things are gray, not clearly black or white.”

We all need God’s Spirit to give us His wisdom as we seek first of all to submit to Christ as Lord. Ultimately, we will each answer to Him. I want us to handle His Word and our decisions rightly in His eyes. We need to be abiding in Him and we need to know His Word well and be seeking Christ far above all else so that we can hear His voice clearly. God gives us as wives a command to honor our husband’s leadership. I don’t want us to be always looking for a way out of obeying the Lord. That is not the point of this post. Our hearts should long to obey the Lord in everything.

This list is one that Greg and I came up with together for our marriage.

I Would Personally Not Voluntarily Yield to My Husband’s Leadership If:

  • He was not in his right mind
    • he had an uncontrolled severe mental illness at the time – psychotic, manic, extremely depressed, suicidal, schizophrenic, hallucinating, etc…).
    • he was on medication that was causing him not to be able to think properly (like he was not in touch with reality after anesthesia).
    • he was high or drunk or involved in a severe addiction that ruled his life.
    • he had significant dementia.
    • he asked me to do something truly foolish or reckless to endanger himself, others, or me – like asking me to get on the roof when I was 9 months pregnant, unless the house was on fire, refusing to go to the hospital when he clearly just had a heart attack and needed life-saving treatment, or saying we should strap the kids on the hood of the car and drive down the interstate.
    • he was obviously demon-possessed.
  • He was asking me to condone or commit clear sin according to God’s Word – not about my personal convictions – but clear sin. i.e.: He wanted me to get an abortion, to have a threesome, to watch porn with him, to lie on our taxes, to steal something, to worship someone/something other than the Lord, to be okay with him having an affair, to take the Lord’s Name in vain, to blaspheme against God, to turn from my faith in Christ, etc…
    • He demanded that he had absolute authority over me and was to be my primary “lord” instead of Jesus.
    • He wanted to lead me into a false religion or cult.
    • He wanted me to condone something illegal (unless it was to smuggle Bibles into a closed country).
    • He was threatening harm to me or my children, brandishing weapons,  or he had rage so out of control that I felt that I or our children might be seriously in danger.
    • He was truly abusing me or our children. (see note on bottom of post about abuse)
  • He was asking me to do something I literally could not do. (i.e.: drive a stick-shift that I have never learned how to drive, pick up a 300 lb couch, speak German fluently when I haven’t learned German, etc…)

Note – I haven’t been in such a situation with Greg so far, but if I did face something like this, I would not be able to just blindly follow him. God requires wives to be accountable for our decisions about when to submit and when not to submit. Check out what happened when Sapphira followed her husband into lying to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5. Abigail is a great example of a wife who honored God and who did not follow her husband’s disrespect toward David in order to keep the males of their household from being killed in 1 Samuel 25. For more on this issue of when it is appropriate to disobey a person in a position of God-given authority (in the home, government, church, or workplace), please check out the class notes on the post Spiritual Authority from a minister at my church.

There are some situations where a wife may be able to stay in the home and honor his leadership concerning non-sinful things. There may be other situations where things are so toxic that she prayerfully decides to seek a separation in hopes that her husband will repent and find the help he needs and that they can rebuild a stronger, more godly marriage in the future. Separation is not ideal, but it is acknowledged in 1 Corinthians 7 and sometimes it is very necessary.

I could still have a desire to be able to honor my husband’s leadership and a heart that anticipates being able to honor him again. But before I could honor my husband’s leadership in cases like the ones above on my list, I would need to see that he was back in his right mind. I would need to see clear repentance and fruit of repentance if he had been involved in major sin and trust had been severely broken. If wives are dealing with issues like this, I believe they may need godly, appropriate outside help to help them navigate these kinds of issues and find the help for their husbands that they need spiritually and medically – depending on the situation.

To me, this would be similar to a situation where my husband is driving the car. I don’t grab the wheel from him because I would wreck the car if he is driving even though I am a very responsible driver, myself. I can’t drive well from the passenger’s seat. However, if my husband were to pass out or become incapacitated, I would certainly try to grab the wheel then and bring the car safely to a stop, if at all possible.

We also need to be sure that we are not endangering our men, abusing them, sinning against them, trying to lead them into sin, or continuing on in unrepentant sin ourselves, as well. And if we are involved in addictions or we need help spiritually, emotionally, or mentally, we need to be sure to reach out for the help we need. I don’t want to ever see anyone in danger from family members! Home should be the safest place on earth, brothers and sisters!

WE ANSWER TO CHRIST ABOVE ALL

Ultimately, we must each study to “show ourselves approved workmen” before God. We will answer to Him alone for all of our motives, thoughts, words, and actions. So will our husbands. I want us to obey His Word above all else.

There are some who teach that submission/authority in marriage is about a husband lording power over his wife. That is not how Jesus describes authority in His kingdom to His disciples in Matthew 20:25-28. There are some who teach that husbands have no authority or that husbands and wives have “equal authority” to lead. I also don’t see how that is biblical when we read passages that clearly teach that husbands do have authority in ways that wives do not (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-19, I Peter 3:1-7). We do have equal value in Christ and yet we have different roles. But there is to be mutual unconditional love, and unconditional respect flowing both directions in marriage. We are to treat all others with honor, dignity, gentleness, 1 Corinthians 13 love, and respect if we love and know Christ.

Even though husbands have a God-given position of authority, it is not a position of absolute authority.

God doesn’t ever give a human a position of absolute authority. All authorities on earth answer to Him and He has put all authority in heaven and on earth under Christ’s feet. Human authorities often answer to other earthly God-given authorities, as well. Husbands answer to the church, the government, and the police, for example. If there is abuse going on, these other authorities are there to help stop that. Any human authority must have limits. We know that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” for sinful humans. Thankfully, God’s Word has answers for us – I share some resources below that may help, as well.

I pray you will take the time to really study this issue and seek to understand God’s teaching rightly. Misunderstandings on this issue lead to great dysfunction and harm to husbands, wives, children, and the Body of Christ.

WE CAN BE GODLY WOMEN NO MATTER WHAT OUR HUSBANDS DO

If our husbands are involved in unrepentant sin or are not in their right minds, that does not mean we get to sin against them. It doesn’t mean we get to treat them with contempt or disrespect. But it does mean that we may have to spend much time wrestling in prayer to discern God’s wisdom and direction for us and how to best handle these very difficult situations. There is not always a one-size-fits-all formula for what a wife should do.  I would encourage women with extreme situations to seek one-on-one, experienced, godly counsel and much prayer.

 

For More Clarification on Spiritual Authority and Biblical Submission:

NOTE – please compare EVERYTHING any human author says to the Bible, my precious sisters!

Spiritual Authority – by Rev. Weaver from my church

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – by Rev. Weaver from my church

What Does “Submit in Everything” Really Mean? The Nature and Scope of Marital Submission by Steven R. Tracy – Overall I agree very much with this paper, there is only one point towards the end that says if a wife ever disagrees with her husband on anything, the husband should always seek outside godly counsel before leading in that direction. I can think of some possible exceptions to that. If you want to talk about that, please let me know.

The Danvers Statement  – from The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Husbands Are Never the Absolute Authority

My Husband Gets Upset If I Respectfully Disagree with Him

What Is Biblical Submission?

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

Do I Condone BDSM or CDD? – (The short answer is – no, those things are not what I am teaching at all.)

Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband Is Always Right

What Biblical Submission and Headship Look Like at Our House

Husbands May Not Force Their Wives into Biblical Submission

The Pendulum Effect – men and women must avoid being dominating and avoid being passive

Godly Leadership

Healthy Relationships

25 Ways to Respect Myself

Do I Condone Abuse?

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

Secret Church – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – David Platt

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – April Cassidy  – There is a whole chapter on submission in marriage, after a whole chapter on submission to Christ as Lord.  I talk about what biblical submission is not, and what it is.

  • It is not an invitation to abuse.
  • It is not agreement.
  • It does not mean I can’t have my own opinion.
  • It is not mutual (in the way that many evangelical feminists describe it).
  • It is not absolute.
  • It is not related to value.
  • It demonstrates trust – in God but also in our husbands.
  • It allows God to work.
  • It promotes real romance.

 

DEFINING ABUSE:

I want to be clear about a definition of “abuse.” This term is so overused. Some women who truly have godly husbands claim their husbands are “abusive” because their husbands want them to check with them before the wives making purchases over $500 or because their husbands would like them not to show rated R movies to their young children. These kinds of things are not abuse! That is godly leadership. Other women don’t think they are being abused, but they really are and don’t recognize it. Other women truly are being abused, severely sinned against, and mistreated, but think they have to stay and take it. They think that is what “submission” means in Scripture and are told they are “bad wives” or “sinning against God” if they leave.

thelawdictionary.org’s definition of abuse – “Cruelty that causes harm to another.”

legaldictionary-thefreedictionary.com’s definition of domestic violence – “Any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another can constitute domestic violence.”

I would argue that all sin is abusive. All sin causes harm to those we sin against and to ourselves – as well as our relationship with God. But there is a continuum and  progression of sin where it becomes more and more toxic. There is a point at which it can be too poisonous for a spouse and/or children to stay with the abusive spouse. Sometimes both spouses are abusive.

What is the Biblical Perspective on Domestic Violence – by www.gotquestions.org

Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity is for women in very difficult marriages for them to find healing in Christ and to learn to think rightly about themselves and to learn healthy boundaries and biblical principles so that they have God’s wisdom and Spirit to know how to handle the marriage issues.

www.thehotline.org – a secular resource for those in physically or severely emotionally abusive situations

Practical Steps to Overcoming Hatred, Rage, or Any Sin in the Power of God

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Ladies,

If you haven’t already read it, please read the first post in this series, “What Place Does Hatred, Rage, and Violence Have  in Our Lives as Believers in Christ?”

Please do keep in mind – there are times when we will feel angry. Feeling angry is not sin in and of itself and there is such a thing as righteous anger. There are times when we need to confront those who sin against us. Expressing the fear or pain behind our anger can be really important. We can even express our anger itself without sinning – the thing to watch for is when the anger slips into sinful anger or we hold on to the anger for too long and become resentful, bitter, or hateful. I think it is key for us to watch our motives. If we are seeking to hurt the other person, that is a sign we are involved in sinful anger.

HOW DO I GET RID OF SIN IN MY LIFE? (These steps work for any sin. Of course, you must belong to Christ for God to hear your prayers. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, please check out this post first.)

  • Confess your sin to God.

Agree with God that this is sin and that God hates it and it is repulsive to Him. Realize that every single sin separates us from God. Focus especially on learning to recognize and shoot down pride – it is generally the root cause of all other sins. (If I believe I am above God or above others, I can justify any sin in my heart.)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

  • Repent to those you have hurt.

Humbly apologize without blaming the other person. “I want to apologize for X. I shouldn’t have done that./I was wrong to do that.” Be sure not to add a “but.” It is not a real apology if I say, “I’m sorry that I did X – but if you hadn’t done Y, I would never have done X.” Take responsibility for your sins against those you have hurt – even if they have some responsibility, too. Ask for forgiveness.

Try to make restitution for anything you have done wrong against them (Matthew 5:23-24). You can ask someone to forgive you. But you can’t force someone to forgive you. That is each person’s choice. But you can take care of your part of things and trust God to work with them on their end. Keep in mind that if you have engaged in rage or violence or very hurtful words against someone, it may take time for them to trust you again. Trust will need to be rebuilt. If there are serious issues, please seek trustworthy, experienced counsel to help you.

  • Commit to absolute surrender to Christ as Lord.

Recognize there may is a spiritual battle against a spiritual enemy who wants to take your thoughts, mind, and soul captive who wants you to walk in the power of the flesh and to cause division and broken relationships. But we can walk in Christ’s victory over sin…

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10

  • Stay in God’s Word daily.

Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

  • Live in a constant spiritual posture of humility before God and prayer. 

“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2

  • Cast your cares upon the Lord. Trust Him fully.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

  • Depend on God’s wisdom, power, and strength, don’t trust your own wisdom, strength, or self-effort. 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5.

  • Desire to walk in obedience to God and seek to walk in obedience out of gratitude for all God has done – not to earn salvation, but out of thanksgiving for the salvation Jesus bought with His blood on your behalf.

To obey is better than sacrifice I Samuel 15:22.

As soon as you realize there is anger, resentment, or negative feelings – separate yourself from the situation if possible and go write down your feelings. Separate truth from lies by examining your thoughts in the light of God’s Word. Write down every negative thought and kick out all of the lies. Embrace God’s truth. Write down His truth. Receive it into your heart. Memorize His Word. Ask him to help you see as He sees and to shoot down every sinful thought immediately.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

  • Sing praises and focus on things to be thankful for to God. Think about good things.

My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Psalm 34:2

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Verses about praising God

  • Trust God to take any vengeance that is necessary. It is His place to take revenge. He will repay. 

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

  • Focus on God’s sovereignty and realize that He can and will bring something good out of even the most awful situations we experience.

That is His promise to us as His children – Romans 8:28-29. Examine the example of Joseph in the Old Testament whose brothers sold him into slavery. This was his response later when he saw them again and was in a position of great power and could have them imprisoned or put to death:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

  • Take up your cross and follow Jesus. Deny yourself. Self will, self-effort, self-exaltation, and human wisdom have no place in our lives as followers of Christ.

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.…” Luke 9:23-24

  • Get rid of any addictions to anything – drugs/alcohol/gambling/porn/food/etc…

Addictions often greatly exacerbate our anger, hatred, and rage against our loved ones. We are not in control, the addiction is. Seek help from Celebrate Recovery – link at the bottom of the page – or another reputable program, preferably one that honors Christ and biblical principles. Celebrate Recovery may be able to help you find God’s victory over rage, as well.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

PRACTICAL STEPS

  • Understand what you control and what is not your responsibility.
  • Know your triggers and prayerfully ask God to help you develop a plan to handle them rightly.
  • Examine the examples you observed when you were a child and choose to reject any ungodly examples and rebuild your life on the truth of Christ and His Word alone. Allow God to completely and radically change you to make you more like Jesus. Look for godly examples to follow.
  • Don’t justify rage/violence/any sin to yourself, rationalizing how it is “right” and “understandable” in your case. God gives no one a free pass to sin against Himself or anyone else even if we are sinned against.
  • Realize that responding calmly and gently will feel “foreign” and “weird” if you are used to responding in rage or sinful anger. That is normal.
  • Picture Jesus on the cross, paying for your sins in agony and seek His help to overcome temptation.
  • Whisper or sing instead of yelling (yes, I actually do these things sometimes with our children – it seriously helps).
  • Take a deep breath and calm down when you begin to feel the adrenaline rise and the rage start to boil.
  • Listen and seek to understand others before reacting and making wrong assumptions.
  • Be willing to be wronged rather than to react in rage or with violence. It is better to suffer for doing right than to do what is wrong and suffer for it. (I Corinthians 6:7)
  • Ask for a few minutes to compose your thoughts and cool down. Go spend time journaling or praying before you attempt to address someone if you are not in control.
  • Go for a run or lift weights to burn off some of that rage as you seek to clear your thoughts and allow God to speak to your heart.
  • Seek to respond with warmth, patience, love, and kindness by God’s Spirit’s power. It will feel weird and awkward at first, that is okay! It is like learning a new language.
  • Find some examples on old TV programs of people responding to each other in conflict in respectful ways.
  • Listen to or read trustworthy, biblical sermons and articles about managing anger, rage, and violence. Share what you are learning with us so that others may learn and benefit, as well!
  • Practice in front of the mirror or on video responding calmly. Write down a few possible ways to respond calmly in the future.
  • Practice with family members – maybe even write out some sample scripts and walk through them together of godly ways to handle conflict to prepare for future conflict if you believe that may help.
  • Meet with a godly mentoring wife to help you work through this who will keep you accountable and pray with and for you.
  • Contact Celebrate Recovery for help in overcoming an addiction to rage.
  • Talk with your husband and even your children about how you want to change and perhaps even ask them to help keep you accountable with a signal or a word if you begin to lose control that means  you need to have a break to calm down.
  • Realize that hatred – once it is full grown – eventually leads to violence which can even lead to murder. We must catch our thoughts as soon as the first drop of hatred begins to seep into our minds. God views us as “murderers” when we hate other people.

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:14-15

  • Picture all of the consequences of rage and violence – the lifetime of guilt, the possible ways others might be permanently hurt or killed, the damage to your relationships, and imagine the pain you will suffer, God will suffer, and others will suffer if you go through with the sin that tempts your soul. Imagine seriously injuring or even killing someone in your rage and violence and having to face your family members and those who love this person. Imagine having to face God with the guilt of someone’s blood on your hands.
  • It may be necessary to separate for a time if you are not in control and your spouse and/or children are in danger if they are with you. It would be better to separate and seek appropriate counsel and healing alone and then get strong enough to be able to come back and begin to live in a right relationship with your family than to stay, lose control, and hurt someone.

I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for your life and your family as you trust Him and walk in the power of Christ!

SHARE:

If God has radically changed you and helped you find victory over some of these things, please share your story with us in the comments.

RESOURCES:

Kill Anger Before It Kills You or Your Marriage – John Piper

Johnathan Edwards on replacing the anger in our hearts with divine love and humility

If you want to overcome a habit of rage or violence but feel that you need help and that you are not in control, please contact a trusted pastor or Christian counselor.

Please check out Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray about how we are all to live in total surrender to Christ as Lord every moment.

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin (if you are not safe, reach out for help and do not try to do this alone)

Posts on bitterness

Posts on forgiveness

Apologizing Stories

Where Do Hatred, Rage, and Violence Fit in Our Lives As Believers in Christ?

 

Ladies,

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet (or peaceful) spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. I Peter 3:3-4

Please do keep in mind – there are times when we will feel angry. Feeling angry is not sin in and of itself and there is such a thing as righteous anger. There are times we need to confront others when they sin against us. Expressing the fear or pain behind our anger can be really important. We can even express our anger itself without sinning – the thing to watch for is when the anger slips into sinful anger or we hold on to the anger for too long and become resentful, bitter, or hateful. If we are seeking to hurt the other person, that is a sign we are involved in sinful anger. 

SOME BASICS ABOUT THE HOLY LIFE TO WHICH GOD CALLS ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST:

God desires all of us to receive Christ as Savior and LORD of our lives and to live in victory over sin. God calls “sin” anything that would hurt our relationship with Him, or that would hurt us or others.

Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Isaiah 58:4

The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Psalm 11:5

Not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. I Timothy 3:3 (qualifications for a man who is to be a leader in the church) 

  • He gives us the example and definition of love in how He loves us unconditionally. This is how we are to love others.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

  • He commands us to love each other and He measures our love for Him by the way we love other people. 

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:19-20

“The King (God) will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40

  • God commands believers not to take revenge when they have been wronged because that is His responsibility. We are to overcome evil with good.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil… If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14, 17-21

  • God commands believers not to argue, complain, quarrel, or fight. 

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil… 2 Timothy 2:23-24

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. Proverbs 20:3

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. Matthew 5:21-22

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

  • Pride says that we are above other people or we are above or equal to God – and when we believe our pride, we can justify any other sin. When we crucify our pride with Christ, we are free to live humbly before God and we see ourselves in proper relationship to God and to other people.

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

  • God calls followers of Christ to be gentle with everyone.

To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:2

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… 1 Peter 3:15

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love… Ephesians 4:2

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5

WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE MESSED UP?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:7-10

Let God know you can’t do this on your own and you desperately need His power to walk in holiness and obedience to Him!

THE OLD HAS GONE AWAY, ALL THINGS ARE MADE NEW:

  • Believers in Christ are to live as though we are dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ (Romans 6:3-14).
  • We are to not allow the sinful flesh to rule in our lives anymore, but we are to be filled with God’s Spirit and live in the power of His Spirit at all times (Galatians 5:13-25).

We will be talking about living in victory over hatred, anger, rage, and violence in the next post.

YOU CAN HAVE A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST AND HE CAN RADICALLY CHANGE YOUR HEART AND LIFE!

SHARE:

If God has empowered you to overcome hatred, sinful anger, rage, or violence, please share your story with us. I may even ask you if I can share it anonymously as a post.

NOTE – This post is written to help those struggling themselves with hatred, sinful anger, rage, and/or violence.

  • If you are not safe because of your spouse’s violence or rage – please safely reach out for appropriate help if you or your children are in danger. (Some resources may be – Focus Ministries, The Salvation Army, National Hotline for Domestic Violence – please evaluate everything any person says in the light of Scripture.)
  • Also, please reach out for help if you believe that your husband and/or children are not safe with you because you struggle with rage or violence. You may need to separate from others until you know that you are able to control any rage/violence. Celebrate Recovery may be able to help you find God’s victory over rage. Or please seek a trusted godly counselor to help you one-on-one ASAP!

RESOURCES:

Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray – explains how to give up all of self so that God may fill us with His holy power and victory daily. This is a link to a free download of the book.

Righteous Anger VS Sinful Anger

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Verses on anger to study and memorize this week in your quiet time with God.

Verses about quarreling

Verses about violence

Verses about pride

Verses about humility

Verses about gentleness

Verses about fools

Verses about dying to self

How to Respond to Rebukes and Insults

Nina Roesner has an e-course for women in very difficult marriages – Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity

 

Killing Anger by John Piper

A Two Minute Survey for My Readers

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I would so appreciate as many ladies as possible answering these questions – especially those who are regular readers here. This would be such a gift to me! I would like to get a better gauge of the problems you are facing in your marriages and how many of you are dealing with issues specifically surrounding anger, rage, and violence.

Your answers are completely anonymous. Please answer as truthfully as possible – even if your husband is the one who did something first, answer yes if you have done any of the things in the questions in reaction to something your spouse did.

I will be asking questions about wives first, then will ask almost all of the same questions about husbands’ behavior. I want to try to get as accurate of a picture as I can.

There are 33 questions – if possible, please answer them all. They are very straightforward, easy to answer questions. I think it will be fastest to answer all of the questions, then I believe you will be able to see all of the results at once.

  • If you are not married, but are in a committed relationship with a man and would like to answer the questions (just mentally replace the word husband with boyfriend), you are welcome to.
  • At this time, I would like for only ladies to answer, please.

Thank you so much! I depend on feedback from y’all to have a better understanding of what God may desire us to discuss. 🙂

Thank you again for your time! 🙂

RESOURCES (please prayerfully check all counsel against Scripture):

The National Hotline for Domestic Violence – a secular resource

Focus Ministries – a possible Christian resource for those experiencing domestic violence

How to Be Happy in an Unhappy Marriage – this post is not about an abusive situation by Leslie Vernick (from Focus Ministries)

Healthy VS Abusive Relationships – What’s the Difference? (from Focus Ministries)

"My Husband Can't Make Me Submit to Him or Respect Him!"

a pic I took of a
a pic I took of a “humorous” wedding cake topper at Wal-mart

Oh how the picture above makes me cringe and breaks my heart!

Sadly, this was me for the first 14+ years of our marriage. 🙁

Note: This post is not for wives whose husbands are violent, or who threaten violence, who are actively addicted to drugs/alcohol, who are living in major unrepentant sin, or who are experiencing uncontrolled mental health issues right now. If this is your situation, please seek God and seek godly, biblical, trustworthy counsel in person to help you walk through these extreme situations. There are times when a wife may not be able to submit to her husband in such situations, but may need to reach out for help. (For a bit of clarification on the difference between an abusive husband and a decent husband who is trying to lead his wife in the right way, please see the bottom of this post and also please read last Saturday’s post – Husbands May Not Force Their Wives into Biblical Submission.)

HUSBANDS HAVE A GOD-GIVEN RESPONSIBLITY TO LEAD (1 Cor. 11:3, Eph. 5:22-33, Col. 3:18-19, Titus 2:5)

If my husband has the courage to say to me, “You are being disrespectful.” Or “You are not honoring God’s Word,”  (whether he is a believer or not) – I need to take his rebuke seriously.

  • Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Prov. 15:31
  • Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Prov. 15:32

If my husband’s rebuke/criticism has merit according to Scripture, then I need to repent to God and to my husband and ask God to help me change and stop my sin. God wants me to live a life of obedience to Him in holiness by the power of His Spirit regenerating my heart, mind, and soul. I have no excuse to continue on in sin if I belong to Jesus.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. 1 John 3:7-10

I cannot cherish sin in my life and be right with God. I cannot embrace rebellion against God and be God’s friend at the same time. I must choose sin or Jesus. I cannot have both!

If my husband tries to lead and I say, “You can’t make me submit to you!” What does this reveal about my character and my walk with Christ? Who is in charge of my life? My flesh or God’s Spirit? 

No, my husband cannot violently force me to submit to him – that would violate my free will. I cannot violently force my husband to do anything either or violate his free will. But if Jesus is my Lord – my greatest desire will be to seek to submit fully to Him and to obey Him – out of gratitude for all He has done for me. If I refuse to obey God’s Word, I am destroying my fellowship with God and my marriage. I will answer to God for this and He will be rightly displeased. I tremble at that thought! I long only to please Jesus with all my being! Let’s imagine for a moment that a husband is being unloving, passive, or dominating and harsh  – walking in disobedience to God’s Word. How would a wife feel if her husband said one of the following things?

  • You can’t make me love you!
  • You can’t make me lead in our family. I don’t care what the Bible says.
  • You can’t make me stop screaming at you and going into a rage. I’ll be harsh all I want! I’ll treat you like a slave if I want to.

My husband is right to point out my sin. That is the loving, godly thing to do!

My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20

How I WISH Greg had confronted me about my sin during those first 14 years of our marriage (disrespect, control, pride, self-righteousness, selfishness, bitterness, resentment, gossip, etc…).  Perhaps God would have used his leadership and wise rebuke to wake me up and spare us both the pain of my sin. A godly man or woman does not ignore sin. God does not ignore sin – and God is Love. God is also holy and God speaks truth. His followers are to speak the truth in love and to warn our brothers and sisters if we see them heading down a dangerous path away from the Lord. Wives also have the freedom to respectfully confront their husbands about sin.

A CHRISTIAN HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE: 

As a husband who was married to an unsubmissive wife for many years, I was taught that submission was voluntary so leave your wife alone and just love her. Unfortunately, I was not taught the full truth that many wives will not voluntarily give their submission or respect to a husband because they have a sinful desire to remain in control. It is not until a godly wife is confronted with her sin that she can begin to see clearly that her submission is indeed to be voluntary to her husband, but such submission is a mandatory act demanded of her Lord and Savior. It is in no way optional, except if a Christian wife wants to live in sin.

Don’t get me wrong. The same is true of a husband who is doing or saying unloving things to his wife. He too must understand that loving his wife, no matter how difficult she may be, is a mandatory demand made by His Lord. But a Christian husband should not be ashamed or bashful to ask a Christian wife to consider what her Lord asks of her – as it unlocks a marriage to far greater joy and happiness. A Christian wife may do the same in asking her husband to love her and treat her gently. Neither must live perfect lives to be able to point out to the other their sins. (Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17)

There are many wives who desire to be far more submissive and respectful but are seemingly incapable of moving fully forward because their flesh controls them. It is here that a Christian husband should show leadership in discussing with his wife the Biblical roles and point out to her the times she is being unsubmissive and disrespectful. Calling her out on her willful disrespect in private is vital to helping her overcome her fleshly sins.

Awareness is the road to change and when husbands are afraid to ask their wives to obey Jesus, they are not displaying the headship role God has given them.

Three times I reminded my wife that the God asks her to be submissive, and she said, “Yes, but you can’t make me!” My response was, “You are correct, but you need to talk to God about this.” The Holy Spirit inside spoke to her and convicted her that, indeed, even if her husband was not perfect himself, she had no choice but to obey the Word of God is she wanted to walk in righteousness.

PS:

Sometimes husbands demand more than a wife can possibly do. There can be times when a wife may need to say, “I want to honor your leadership. I want to respect you and follow you as leader in our marriage. You have asked me to work full time, have the house perfectly clean every day, lose a lot of weight (which requires me to have time to shop for healthy food, cook healthy food, and exercise for 30-60 minutes 5 days/week), take better care of the children, and have time and energy for sex. I’d love to be able to do all of the things you want me to do. But I think this is too much. What can we take off of my plate so that I have time to do the things that are most important and do them well? I would like to step down to part time at work so that I can take care of these other important things.”

A wife does have freedom to share her concerns, needs, desires, ideas, and her perspective!

FROM A BROTHER IN CHRIST:

God does not force us to submit to him.

Also, if is forced it is not submission, it is coercion. Submission means nothing unless it is an act of a person’s free will. It would be like forcing a person to love you – it would not really be love.

 

RELATED:

Husbands May Not Force Their Wives into Biblical Submission

Responding to Our Husbands’ Constructive Criticism – VIDEO

What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?

My Husband Won’t Lead

I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me More

Is Respect Optional for Godly Women?

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sins

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

Overcoming Bitterness

——————————

FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION – SOME DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND AND A NON-ABUSIVE HUSBAND: Examples of My Definition of “Abuse” Would Be If a Husband:

  • demanded 100% unquestioning obedience even if he asked his wife to clearly sin against God, i.e.: “You will do everything I say or else!”
  • said, “You have no right to any opinion. You may not speak at all.”
  • said, “You may not talk to anyone but me ever.”
  • threatened or carried out physical violence.
  • forced his wife to cut all ties at church, with her family, with her friends, and with everyone but himself so that he could completely control her all the time.
  • demands his wife to worship him in place of God.

I would like to encourage wives who are truly being abused to find appropriate help and to get somewhere safe ASAP!

What is much more common is that wives have decent husbands (Christian and even non-Christian men), but if the husband attempts to lead – the wife accuses him of being “abusive” and/or refuses to honor his leadership. Some Wives Claim Their Husbands Abuse Them If Their Husbands:

  • don’t agree with them.
  • ask or tell them to do something they don’t want to do.
  • confront them about their sin.
  • are firm about that their sin is unacceptable.
  • tell them they were being disrespectful or unsubmissive because the wives actually were being disrespectful or unsubmissive.
  • ask them to keep a record of what they spend.
  • ask them to spend less time at church (i.e.:  a husband may say, “I think that our family is suffering because you are spending 4 nights/week helping at church. I want you to cut back to one weeknight at church and be home with us the other evenings.”)
  • don’t have the exact same personal convictions.
  • get upset with them about legitimate concerns.
  • ask for their wives to meet their needs sometimes that may be different from a wife’s needs.

These things are not abuse, my dear sisters!

Husbands May Not Force Their Wives into Biblical Submission

Me in May of 2014 - full of the love, joy, peace and presence of God. Living in Him is SO much better than clinging to all my pride, self-righteousness, bitterness, unforgiveness, idolatry of self, idolatry of happiness, anxiety and fear!!!!!

Sometimes violent, ungodly husbands attempt to twist my words and the Bible to justify their sin and abuse against their wives. That is NEVER ok with me and I NEVER condone any kind of abuse or sin against anyone – neither does God! God holds people accountable and punishes those who abuse their positions of authority that He gave them to take care of, nurture, provide for, and protect others.  (For a good definition of abuse, please check out this post.) When I see this kind of thing happening, I try to address it right away – which is what I am doing in today’s post. So, I am talking today about husbands who seriously threaten their wives’ lives or health or who do things like demand their wives worship them as God. This is the kind of “abuse” I am talking about right now. Very serious abuse. I want wives to know that this is not ever okay!

Scripture never commands husbands to violently force their wives into biblical submission and never permits or condones abuse or any kind of sin or harm to one’s spouse or anyone else. Even our enemies – we are to treat kindly, to pray for them, to minister to them, and to bless them and overcome evil with good (Romans 12:9-21). How much more should spouses treat each other well with the very love of God (I Corinthians 13:4-8)!?!?

Biblical submission is something a wife first gives to Christ as her ultimate Authority – just like all believers do. Then a wife voluntarily and intelligently decides to honor her husband’s leadership out of her love and reverence for Christ. Jesus is the absolute authority, not a husband.

The husband is a delegated human authority who will answer to Christ for  every aspect of his leadership.

God doesn’t command wives to make their husbands love them. And He doesn’t command husbands to make their wives respect or submit to them.
The Bible teaches Christlike, selfless, sacrificial male headship/leadership – not abusive, violent, hateful, selfish, prideful, tyrannical male domination. There is a big difference between the two! Husbands are to seek to do what they believe God desires them to do according to the Bible more than what their wives want them to do. Their wives ideas, opinions, needs, concerns, and suggestions are very important – but ultimately, husbands answer to God for their decisions and should do what God desires them to do even if their wives disagree.

God gave us each free will. He doesn’t override it. He is sovereign at the same time in a mysterious way that we can’t fully comprehend. But we don’t have the right to try to control other people. We only control ourselves.

TO CLARIFY:

  • Husbands don’t get to force their wives to do things with threats of violence, real violence, or by demanding that their wives worship them instead of God (Yes, I have seen that happen several times).
  • Wives don’t get to force their husbands to do things with threats of violence, real violence, or by demanding that their husbands worship them instead of God.
  • We are responsible to obey God ourselves and we can trust God to work in other people’s hearts to change them. We can only control ourselves if we have the Holy Spirit working in us.
  • Husbands and wives may address sin in their spouses’ lives.

If a wife is not safe with her husband and he is threatening to kill her or their children – she needs to leave for her own safety and seek outside, appropriate, experienced help ASAP. (The same is true for husbands who are not safe with their wives. If a spouse is threatening to kill you – please get out and get somewhere safe as soon as possible! Keep in mind, that sometimes if a violent spouse realizes the other spouse is trying to leave, that can be a very dangerous time. Please research options discreetly before making a move if possible. And pray for God’s wisdom!)

A wife’s submission is NEVER slavery or oppressive in Scripture! No one is to be unsafe in marriage or in a family!

God commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and to be gentle with them (Eph. 5:22-33, I Peter 3:7) – without qualification. He commands wives to respect and submit to their husbands as to the Lord (Eph, 5:22-33, I Peter 3:1-2). This does not mean a husband cannot be firm. He may need to be firm at times.

A husband may ask his wife to follow his lead – if she will not – and he is not asking her to sin or condone sin – she will answer to God for her disobedience to Him. He may confront his wife’s sin if she is sinning – according to Matt. 7:1-5 and 18:15-17 – just like a wife may confront her husband in a godly, humble way with pure motives. But he has no right to try to use violence or threats of violence against her. He may need to give some consequences if his wife is in sin, but that does not involve hatred, sinful anger, or violence. He may need to say, “I believe you are sinning against me and against God right now because of your attitude/behavior. This needs to stop.” A wife may not threaten her husband with violence either, even if she may need to give consequences if her husband is involved in serious, unrepentant sin.
If a husband tries to lead his wife in ways that are against God’s Word and that are violent or clearly sinful, then a wife is to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). And she may need to seek godly, biblical help – or even police help – depending on the situation. If a husband is involved in unrepentant serious sin like adultery, abuse, drug/alcohol addictions, or is not in his right mind… it may not be safe for a wife to submit at that time until a husband gets these issues handled and is able to be in his right mind again. Trust will need to be rebuilt over time and probably with outside appropriate help in such cases.

I plan to have a follow up post about what a husband’s appropriate leadership looks like and how there are many wives who claim “abuse” when their husbands are actually trying to lead in a godly way. I have a preview of that post in the comments on this post.

For more on these issues, please check out:
Spiritual Authority – a foundational post by a minister at my Southern Baptist church for all believers about God’s design for spiritual authority in every arena of our lives. He talks about what authority is and isn’t and about what it means for Christians to submit to God-given authorities, as well as the times we must refuse to cooperate with those in positions of authority in our lives in the government, the church, work, and the family.
Do I Condone Abuse?
Husbands Are Never the Absolute Authority
My Beliefs (The Danvers Statement)

Why I Don’t Write for Women with Abusive Husbands

And please search my home page for all the posts about:

Biblical Submission

National Hotline for Domestic Abuse

RESOURCES FOR HUSBANDS AND WIVES:

Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – free download edited by Wayne Grudem and John Piper, there are several chapters that describe godly male leadership in great detail. Chapter one is a great place to start. It also describes godly femininity and a godly wife’s role, as well. Fantastic resource for men and women!

Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood – Wayne Grudem

John Piper’s resources on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood at www.desiringgod.org 

Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – David Platt Secret Church

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“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

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What a tough, painful, awful question for any wife (or husband) to have to think about. My heart grieves for the many people I hear from who are in this very situation every week. I don’t have God’s wisdom about every possible scenario – only God can show each wife whether He desires her to stay or to leave at a particular time. Many women want me to tell them what they should do. Sometimes there are no easy answers. But this is something that each wife ultimately must decide between herself and God. 

If a husband continues in unrepentant sin – infidelity, drug/alcohol/gambling addictions, has severe and uncontrolled mental illness, is involved in criminal activity, or is genuinely *abusing his wife and/or children – there can be times when God may prompt a wife to leave or to seek appropriate help immediately.

  • Sometimes in really serious situations, this may be a pretty obvious decision a wife may need to make. There are times when it takes a wife leaving or her asking her husband to leave for him to realize the seriousness of the situation.
  • In some less clear cut situations, God may prompt a wife to stay and seek to minister to her husband His way.

God loves marriage and hates divorce (Mal. 2:16, Matt. 19:4-6). Marriage is a sacred covenant that is designed by God to picture the relationship between Christ and His church (Eph. 5:22-33). There are times when separation is necessary, but separation is not the general goal of marriage. If we must separate, we can do so while praying for God to bring about repentance from any sin, spiritual/emotional healing in Christ, and reconciliation for the marriage (I Cor 7:10-16).

Separation is a very serious thing, and not something to enter lightly. I don’t believe it is wise to bring up the topic of divorce for a believer. It is difficult to find much biblical support for a believer in Christ to initiate divorce (with very few exceptions).

I would want to spend SERIOUS time in fervent prayer and fasting before beginning to consider talking about separation unless there is an emergency situation involving safety. This is a life changing decision that could have extremely negative consequences for everyone in the family. Much caution and godly wisdom will be necessary here!

Some questions I would want to prayerfully wrestle with and consider if I found myself in a very difficult situation of trying to decide what God desires me to do (these questions cover a very wide range of possible situations):

– Do I accept that my husband has free will from God just like I do? He cannot force me into decisions and I cannot force him into decisions. God doesn’t override our free will and we don’t have the right to override people’s free will. We can ask for what we want respectfully. We can say what we are and are not able to do. We can set boundaries and limits on what behavior we will accept. We may have to change our own behavior in response to what our husbands do. But I cannot demand that my husband do what I want or force him to do what I want any more than he has the right to do that to me – even if I believe I am right.

Do I understand proper boundaries in a relationship? I am responsible for myself, my emotions, my decisions, my behavior, my sin, and my obedience to God. My husband is responsible for himself in those areas. I cannot change my husband. He cannot change me. We are not responsible for our spouse’s happiness. We can seek to bless them and we may influence them, but they are responsible for themselves.

– Am I a people pleaser? Do I seek my husband’s approval (or someone else’s approval) more than the approval of Christ?

– Am I acting like a martyr?

– Do I have pride or self-righteousness in my heart?

– Do I want to leave simply because I am not happy at the time? Is it possible I could be placing too much emphasis on my current level of happiness? In my pursuit of my own temporary happiness, am I willing to wound my husband and children and destroy my family? Is happiness God’s greatest goal for me? Or does He want me to be holy, faithful,  obedient, and pleasing to Him primarily? Are my changing emotions more important to me than my covenant with Christ or with my husband?

– What will the cost be to my husband, children, others, and myself if I stay? What will the cost be if I go?

– Do I long to obey God more than anything, even if it is a painful path?

– Am I willing to allow God to “prune me” spiritually?

– Am I willing to trust God and embrace whatever good purposes He has for me and my family in the midst of my pain (Rom. 8:28-30, James 1:2-4)?

– Am I trying to be a godly wife in my own strength instead of resting in Christ and allowing His power to fill me?

– Am I trying to use guilt to manipulate my husband into doing what I want him to do?

– How does God desire me to partner with Him to draw my husband to Himself so that I am not a stumbling block and so that I don’t get in God’s way in my husband’s life? Is this a time of not using words but showing my husband my godly, respectful, cooperative attitude (1 Peter 3:1-6)? Is it a time when I need to confront my husband’s sin? Or do I just need to leave quickly for my own safety or our children’s safety without any discussion?

– How does God desire me to respect Him, respect myself, respect my marriage covenant, respect my husband, and respect our children in this trial?

Am I overdoing respect and submission in a destructive way?

– Am I being controlling or disrespectful?

– Am I meeting my husband’s needs for things like respect, honor, love, and sex – even if I think he is not meeting my needs adequately – unless there are severe issues going on that keep me from being able to meet his needs? (Eph. 5:22-33, I Corinthians 7:1-5)

– Am I being the wife God desires me to be?

– Do I believe I am justified in God’s sight to sin against my husband if my husband sins against me? God never gives any of us a free pass to sin or accepts excuses for any sin. Sin is always sin, even if we are being sinned against. God desires us to respond in the power of His Spirit and overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:17-21, Gal. 5:18-25)

– Is my husband actually sinning against me according to God’s Word? Or is our struggle simply a matter of different personal convictions?

– What do I need to do so that I am as close to God as possible, being nourished spiritually, filled with His Spirit, and abiding in His Word?

– Do I possess and wear the full armor of God each day? (Eh. 6:10-17)

– Do I view my husband as the enemy – or do I see past him to the real enemies – sin and Satan? (Eph. 6:12)

– Do I understand Satan has a plan to steal, kill, and destroy in my marriage? (John 10:10)

– Am I able to let go of any bitterness and forgive my husband? That doesn’t mean I need to trust him until he is willing to rebuild trust. But am I willing to get rid of the poison of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness in my heart so that I am right with God and I don’t give the enemy a foothold in my heart and life? (Matt. 6:14-15, Eph. 4:27)

– Do I need outside, godly, biblical, experienced help?

– Am I safe? Are our children safe? Do I need to involve the police?

Am  I willing to hold my husband loosely and cling to Christ alone – knowing He is sufficient for me and that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (2 Cor. 12:9, Phil. 4:12-13)?

Are there any expectations I need to lay down? Are any of my expectations unbiblical?

– Do I have any idols in my heart – things that I cherish and desire more than Christ? Is Christ truly my greatest desire? Is He the Love of my life?

– Is there anything I might be doing (attitudes, beliefs, words, thoughts, or actions) that could contribute to the toxic atmosphere in our home that God desires me to change (Matt. 7:1-5)?

What sin is in my life do I need to address?

– Am I willing to let God change me first instead waiting for my husband to change first?

– Am I willing to obey God even if my husband never changes without being bitter at God or my husband – understanding that this is all about me and Jesus and that how I treat my husband is a barometer of how I treat God?

– What resources does God have for me in this situation? (the Bible, biblical books, blogs, godly counselors, prayer, prayer partners, means of provision)

– What are my motives in wanting to stay? Do they honor Christ, are they based on I Corinthians 13:4-8 love, or are my motives based in fear or idolatry of my husband?

– What would my motives be if I decide I need to go? Do I have righteous anger or sinful anger? Do my motives to honor Christ or am I filled with hatred and a desire for revenge? Am I trying to punish my husband?

– Am I willing to seek to bless my husband (no matter how he responds) from a position of great strength and power in Christ – not as a doormat and not as a controlling wife?

– Am I seeking to understand my husband, realizing that there may be a lot of things I don’t know about his motives and actions? Am I unfairly assuming he has evil motives?

– Am I willing to seek to obey and honor Christ alone in my relationship with my husband knowing I will answer only to Him when this short life is over (Matt 25:21)?

– Am I secure in my identity in Christ no matter what my husband does?

– Am I able to hear God clearly (Isa. 30:21)?

– Am I praying so that God will hear my prayers about my husband?

– Am I willing to obey God whatever He asks me to do?

– Am I filled with His Spirit?

– Am I seeking God’s greatest glory above all else? That is my highest purpose in life (1 Peter 2:12).

SHARE:

If you have been in such a situation (as a husband or a wife), what other questions would you suggest wives ask themselves as they wrestle in prayer over this painful decision and seek Christ above all else? What encouragement would you share for those who are hurting?

If you are struggling right now and need prayer, you are welcome to ask for prayer and God’s wisdom. We may not know what God desires you to do. But we can pray with you for God to show you as you seek Him with all your heart!

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 46:1-3

* Some women are being terribly abused and that is not right! Not ever! No one should ever be mistreated and abused in any way. God hates all sin. All sin is destructive. What makes the word “abuse” complicated is that some wives think they are not being abused but they are not. I want to be careful here! When I talk about abuse – I am talking about a spouse genuinely seeking to hurt the other spouse emotionally, spiritually, financially, or physically – not just that a husband has a different opinion, is asking for respect, wants his wife to honor his appropriate leadership, or wants a wife to keep a balanced check book. I hope that makes sense!

For wives in very difficult marriages, I encourage you to check out Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. It is a private forum where women can encourage each other and there is instruction in how to think rightly of ourselves and how to heal in Christ first so that we have the wisdom and the Spirit of God to know how to address issues in our marriages properly.

RELATED:

When My Spouse Is Wrong

The Wrong Counselor Can Be More Dangerous Than No Counselor

Trying to Find Security in All the Wrong Places

A Peaceful Separated Wife

A Peaceful Divorced Wife

A Separated Wife Finally Experiences God’s Peace!

When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done.”

The Bible and Divorce

A Husband Teeters on the Edge of Divorce

Some Ideas That Helped Me Destroy My Marriage

RELATED TO ABUSE:

Do I Condone CDD or BDSM?

Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse?

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

April - 01-2010
April – 01-2010

There seems to be so much confusion around the concept of biblical submission for wives. I’d like to discuss today something that biblical submission is not because a number of women think they hear me say that biblical submission means passivity:

  • I shouldn’t ever say how I feel or what I want.
  • I should have no opinions.
  • I should never disagree with my husband.
  • I should never share my insights, perspective, wisdom, or concerns with my husband.
  • I should be quiet all the time.
  • I should smile all the time.
  • I should let my husband decide everything in our marriage without any input from me whatsoever.

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

This is not biblical submission. For a wife to give up all of her ideas, her personality, her influence, her identity, her personhood, her emotions, and her input would be complete passivity and inactivity – not biblical submission. I am not sure how I can be more clear than this. I don’t know ANY healthy husband who would want his wife to act like this. All of the remotely decent husbands who comment here want wives who can think and feel and be intelligent partners with them.

Instead of passivity, biblical submission means:

In our own human strength, apart from Christ, the best we can do as men or women is to be passive and uninvolved or dominant and controlling. We tend to swing from one sinful extreme to another. But there is this place in the center where we can soar far above human ability as God’s Spirit empowers us. That is where we must be as godly men and women – in the center of God’s design for masculinity or femininity.

John Piper (pastor) and Wayne Grudem (general editor of the ESV version of the Bible) define submission in marriage in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:

“Submission refers to a wife’s divine calling to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. It is not an absolute surrender of her will. Rather, we speak of her disposition to yield to her husband’s guidance and her inclination to follow his leadership. Christ is her absolute authority, not the husband. She submits “out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21). The supreme authority of Christ qualifies the authority of her husband. She should never follow her husband into sin. Nevertheless, even when she may have to stand with Christ against the sinful will of her husband… she can still have a spirit of submission – a disposition to yield. She can show by her attitude and behavior that she does not like resisting his will and that she longs for him to forsake sin and lead in righteousness so that her disposition to honor him as head can again produce harmony.” (pg. 61)

Real biblical submission begins when a believer (man or woman) yields control of his/her life fully to Christ as Lord.

We die to our old sinful self. We die to sin. We die to wanting our will more than anything else. Then we are living for Christ through His power in us. We embrace and promote His will. We become His ambassadors. We allow Him to love through us. We allow Him to influence and bless others through us. We take up His desires, His priorities, His goals, His wisdom, His heart, His mind, His power, and His Spirit. Christ allows us to keep our personalities, our personhood, our human emotions, our own free will, and our own thoughts and opinions. We do not become mindless robots. We do not unplug and sit like an abandoned, unplugged, old computer in a closet. We are intelligent, emotional, spiritual beings who are able to think on our own – but we willingly yield our lives to Christ, trusting Him to lead us through our husbands.

  • When He prompts us to be quiet and pray – that is what we do.
  • When He prompts us to speak up respectfully, that is what we do.

From this position of great strength in Christ, we submit to our husbands.

This means, we honor their God-given leadership and we treat them with genuine respect because they are our husbands and because God commands that we do this. We do it to honor Christ above all else. The main time that submission is an issue is if a husband and wife cannot agree. In fact, if we always agreed, there would be no need for submission. But we will not always agree – which is why submission is necessary in marriage – in order for one person to be ultimately accountable to God for the decisions and management of the family.

When I don’t agree with Greg, I share the issues I have respectfully as God prompts me to – and then I let Greg know that I trust him to make the best decision for our family as I pray for God to direct him and give him His wisdom. Ultimately, my trust is in Christ Jesus and His sovereignty to work in our lives – not in Greg. God’s wisdom is worthy of all of my trust. (By the way, there are plenty of things a biblically submissive wife will decide on her own, within the parameters of the loving leadership of Christ and her husband. She doesn’t need to run every single possible issues past her husband, usually just the bigger ones that they agree on.)

We are to share our concerns, our ideas, our feelings, our perspective, our wisdom, our desires, and our perspective with our husbands. We have “influence authority” just like a king’s advisor has. The king has “positional authority” and his advisor has “influence authority.” I may choose to use my influence authority to influence my husband to sin – like Eve did. Or I may choose to use my influence authority for God and to bring praise and glory to God like Esther did with the king, her husband.

It would be tragic for me to take the abilities and influence God has given me and bury it all in the dirt and do absolutely nothing with it. No! May it never be!!!

We are accountable to God to use the gifts, talents, abilities, and opportunities He has given us for His purposes and His glory. We are His servants and He expects us to influence our husbands for Christ and to shine for Jesus in our homes. Check out Proverbs 31 to see how industrious, intelligent, capable, wise, thoughtful, and useful a godly wife is supposed to be. We are responsible for our own spiritual growth in Christ. We are responsible for our own emotions.  We are responsible for our own sin and our own obedience to Christ Jesus.

We cannot shine for Christ if we lay down and become completely passive and do nothing. What is the purpose of us even being there if we are not being godly stewards of the position God has given to us as wives and mothers?

I hope that this might help to clarify some of the confusion some ladies have had and prevent women from attempting to become passive, inactive, and invisible in their homes and relationships.

Much love to each of you!

RELATED:

Submission is not CDD or BDSM

Submission Does Not Mean the Husband Is Always Right

Submission Does Not Mean Being a Doormat

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Godly Femininity

Godly Spiritual Leadership

What Is Biblical Submission?

How Respect and Biblical Submission Impacted a Husband’s Soul

Submission (to Christ) Means Holding Things of This World Loosely

Does Being a Biblically Submissive Wife Mean I Can’t Share How I Feel or What I Need?

A Wife Can Be TOO Submissive!

My Beliefs about Marriage – The Danvers Statement

Husbands Are Never “the Absolute Authority”

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I don’t want anyone to be unclear about this!!!!

God is the only absolute authority.

God’s Word, the Bible, speaks for God – so it is also authoritative over our lives. When God delegates authority to people, it is to protect, care for, nurture, love, tend to, shepherd, and honor His beloved people. In Christianity, authority is not about rights and privilege, it is about responsibility and accountability to God. Those who are in positions of authority are commanded by God to submit first to Christ and to be humble servants.

No husband or human on earth ever has the right to demand total submission or to claim total authority over anyone else. That position is reserved for God alone.

For a man to claim that his wife must submit completely without any question to himself and that he has total authority over her – is to put himself in the place of Christ in her life. That is very wrong and sinful.

  • No husband has the right to demand that his wife put himself as equal to or above Christ in her heart.
  • No wife has the right to put her husband as equal to or above Christ in her heart.
  • No wife has the right to demand that her husband put herself as equal to or above Christ in his heart.
  • No husband has the right to put his wife as equal to or above Christ in his heart.

For anyone to put anything or anyone above Christ in his/her heart is idolatry and is breaking the Greatest Commandment that Jesus gave to us.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment… Matthew 22:37

No human authority has the right to direct other people to commit or to condone sin. If someone with God-given authority over us (the government, our boss, a police officer, a pastor, a husband, or a parent of a younger child) asks us to clearly violate the Bible, we must choose to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). Please see Spiritual Authority for more on this topic. The fact that a human has delegated authority from God does not mean that he/she is always right. All humans are imperfect and sinful apart from Christ. No human is infallible. Only God is perfect and infallible.

Note:

We must also take great care to be sure that if we think our husbands are asking us to sin, that it is God’s definition of sin, not our own definition. Sometimes, we can convince ourselves that something is sinful when the Bible doesn’t say that it is. If we are not careful, we may judge our husbands wrongly. If we are not sure if something is clear sin, it may be wise to speak to an older, godly, mentoring wife before we decide to refuse to cooperate with our husbands. I would want to be VERY sure that what my husband was asking me to do was truly wrong in God’s eyes before I would go against Greg. God commands me to submit to and respect my husband “as to the Lord.” I am accountable for my obedience to God.

Wives DO have a voice and can share their feelings, concerns, and ideas in respectful ways. God does not command that we must agree with our husbands or that we may have no input. But I do need to use caution not to label my convictions as the standard by which I measure sin instead of God’s Word. (Is My Husband Bound to Follow My Personal Convictions?)

Jesus describes and demonstrates godly leadership (this is what He expects from anyone to whom He grants authority to protect, nurture, shepherd, care for, provide for, teach, and lead others):

JOHN 13:1-5, 12-17

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him [a job that was usually performed by the lowliest of slaves]…

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

MATTHEW 20:25-28

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

In God’s definition, authority is about responsibility, love, true humility, selflessness, and sacrifice – its not about power, “rights,” abuse, or ever taking advantage of anyone.

Some of the best descriptions of God’s design for the authority of husbands in marriage I have found are available here:

The Danvers Statement – from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Spiritual Authority – a post on my blog that contains class notes from a minister at my church 3 years ago (used with permission)

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem (link has a free download for this book)

– John Piper’s site www.desiringgod.org

– David Platt’s site www.radical.net

– Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (available as podcasts)

God’s design for marriage is found in a number of passages in Scripture:

– Genesis 2

– Malachi 2

– Matthew 19:1-12

– I Corinthians 11:3

– Ephesians 5:22-33

– Colossians 3:18-19

– I Peter 3:1-7

– I Corinthians 13:4-8a

– Titus 2:3-5

and other places, as well.

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