How Practical is it for Women to be Submissive to Their Husbands in Modern Society

What does it mean to be submissive to your husband? Does that mean being obedient? If so, why? That is supposedly the way God intends it to be. When does it become controlling or abusive? I am my own person. Why should my husband tell me what to do? With today’s divorce rates, how is it still practical to be submissive? Not only this, what happens when your husband dies or leaves you for another woman? You need enough confidence and life skills to fend for yourself.



“When your husband dies or leaves you for another woman” you don’t have to worry about being submissive to him any more, that’s for sure.


But at the same time marriage shouldn’t be a power struggle between spouses. There should be compromise by both, this doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself.


It’s a two way thing. Husband must also love, respect, and sacrifice for the wife.


Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her […] “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. -Eph 5:22-25, 31-32

I don’t fully know the Catholic explanation but it doesn’t differ too much (and probably does a better job of explaining it with better thought out points). This is what we (‘non-denominational’) were taught. ‘Submission’ has conditions attached. The husband must love his wife. He must be Christ-like. Ultimately, the wife has to submit to God. God is always first. In fact, we were taught, ’ if you’re looking to get married, find a spouse who loves God more than you’. If the husband is ungodly, the wife has every right to disobey.
‘Submission’ doesn’t mean weak and fully dependent. It’s more like taking a bit of a rest.


It works both ways, the husband is also commanded to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and give himself up for her.

I’m not sure what you mean by “With today’s divorce rates, how is it still practical to be submissive?” I don’t see a correlation between divorce rates and being submissive. Maybe if people were quicker to honour the other partner rather than themselves, there’d be fewer divorces.


For starters, it doesn’t mean what secular society thinks it means.

Husband and wives are equals in the eyes of the Church and with God. However, both have their own strengths and weaknesses.

As a whole, men are called to be protectors, providers, and leaders (or fixers, priests, pursuers). While women are called to be nurturers, educators, caregivers.

The protector role and the priest role are the two roles that the wife is supposed to be submissive to the husband on. If in his role as protector, the husband orders something to be done, it should be done without question.

And in the role of priest, this is similar because the priest role is often interchange with the role of protector.

The Bible is not saying the wife must be the husband’s slave, far from it. It simply is telling with wife to obey the husband in these important matters, ones where the husband is more than willing to lay down his life to protect his wife and children.

NOTE: in today’s society, it is possible to have a wife in the main protector role (i.e. a female cop married to a male teacher for example, but in general if a criminal breaks into your home, it will be the husband who is trying to protect his wife and children, not the wife trying to protect her husband and kids).

I pray this makes sense to you.


This is a really relevant point, especially when we see this passage in the historical background. There were large family groups including men with their wifes submissive to their family leader. But the bible wants the men to leave this authority for the authority of god, and teir wifes to follow them and support them in this huge work which is sometimes, even today, full of struggle.

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Let’s back that up one verse and read the whole thing in context please:

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.*
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.s
As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her
to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
“For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother

and be joined to his wife,

and the two shall become one flesh.”

This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.


When you are in a valid marriage with a Catholic man, he loves you so much that he lays his life down for you. He puts you and your family second only to God in his priorities. He does not rule over you, is not a slob who sits on the sofa guzzling a 2 litre of soda while his wife slaves over a hot stove.

Marriage is a mirror of the Trinity, of the relationship between Christ and His Church.

When someone loves and respects you as much as Christ loves and treasures the Church, submission is nothing but joy.


I guess it is good if your husband is a loving man.

As they used to say when I was a teen “only date those who will make a good mate”.


I am my own person.

Two become one…


It means exactly what it sounds like. Husbands (and fathers) are the spiritual heads of the family. With that headship comes special authority to govern the family life. Just as the first Person in the Blessed Trinity is the Father of the Universe, yet the Son is equal. So too the Husband is the head of the family and his wife, equal.

The problem is that too often this generation has an almost vitriolic objection to any type of authority. There are people out there who cannot fathom that someone else might have the right to tell them how to live their life, to pass judgement on what they ought and ought not do.

People see the words “be submissive to…” and instantly shriek from it because of this revolt against authority. If taken in context, there would be no problem. In fact, many couples do take the marriage commission in it’s proper context and they live happy, flourishing lives.

There is a duel commission to both the husband and the wife which is meant to ensure a prosperous domestic life. The man must always love his wife as Christ loves the Church and he must be willing to die for her and the family in order to provide for their well being. Wives have a complimentary obligation to submit to their husbands proper, loving authority.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” -Eph 5:22-25


According to you, who has the right to tell someone what they can or cannot do? Explain yourself please.

I think it means letting him be the husband as far as making most decisions feeling like he is the man in the family but it should never be all one sided. The wife should never make all of the decisions because it can really do a number on the man’s ego. She should ASK what he thinks and listen to what he thinks and why. Marriage isn’t 50/50 like some say because that is not enough, marriage HAS TO BE 100%-100% from both spouses.


That’s honestly the one of the many things I’m confused about.

When people go on and on about submission…it’s honestly a waste of time if we don’t know how that looks like in a marriage today (ie where are the practical examples?).

Using actual examples would be a better use of time because both sides get to talk about the actual act of submitting instead of ‘feel good’ sentiments made to not scare women off.


I don’t think submission is any more of a challenge than it has ever been, but I do think modern society makes it very difficult for husbands and fathers to feel comfortable in their Godly role.


correct. And if you are not in the hands of a loving man, then the submission thing is null & void because he’s breaking his part of the contract.

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