Submission in Marriage - other scriptures


I know there have been other threads discussing the roles of husband and wife in marriage and submission of the wife to the husband vs. mutual submission. However, it seems like these threads have mainly been debating Ephesians 5 and trying to reconcile the “be subordinate to one another”(21) with "wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the lord…(22). However, even if one might find that particular passage contradictory or difficult to interpret (I personally don’t), what about the numerous other New Testament verses that speak of the roles of mariage, such as:

1 Corinthians 11:3-12
Colossians 3:18-19
Titus 2:3-5
1 Peter 4:1-7

Does it not become clear throughout the New Testament that being “subordinate to one another” does not diminish the husband’s authority or the wife’s obligation to submit to him (excluding of course if he were to ask her to do something immoral)? If you feel otherwise, please explain why.

BTW, before I get attacked for being a male chauvinist, I am a married woman in my late 20s who struggles with this dynamic as I have always been VERY strong willed and independent. However, to me, it seems from Scripture & Tradition that the husband is to be the leader of the marriage, so I’m trying to learn to submit!!!


Wives are called to submissive only when their husbands love them as Christ loves His Bride (The Church).


Actually, my husband and I used to struggle with this aspect of the Bible, too. I am very independent…and so is he. But, the grand compromise is that through marriage, two people learn to submit to one another. This in no way means the man is ruling the house like a dictator. It means that as a woman, you give yourself to your husband without pause. You wish the best for him, and he wishes the best for you–together you work at pleasing one another, whatever it takes. (within reason, and morally, of course) It means as a woman, to submit (or sacrifice) one’s self for the greater good of the marriage.

We are one flesh, my husband and I. We are no longer two people. That’s what it means to me.


Well put.:thumbsup:


In my particular marriage, my husband loves me far more than I ever could have imagined, so that is no problem for us. My point is that people use the “be subordinate to one another out of reverence to Christ” as if it negates the husband’s authority, which I don’t think it does.

Just for the sake of debate, though, the Scripture does not put a condition on the wife’s submission that it only applies if the husband loves her as Christ loves the Church. Nor does it state the husband should only love his wife if she is submissive. They are commands to each spouse, but one spouse’s obligation to the other isn’t determined by whether the other person is doing their part, does it? Otherwise, you’d never get anywhere. In fact, 1 Peter 3:1 says “wives should be subordinate to your husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives’ conduct…”


This answer doesn’t make me feel good so it must be wrong. :wink:


I think you’d have a really hard time being submissive to your husband if he didn’t love you. It’s very hard to submit to a tyrant (impossible actually).


Why does this typically come up only when there is a “problem?” Yours - as stated - being you are strong-willed and have a hard time with the idea of submitting. Since you are asking I hope you don’t mind me asking: is there something specifically your DH is asking you to do or to sacrifice that you don’t want to? Even if it’s letting him have complete control of the finances or some other marital necessary - like grocery shopping?

I think the term “submission” does not sit well with us Westerner’s, both men AND women, or in this case husbands and wives. It initiates feelings of the loss of control and the loss of personal freedom. Think about the term for a minute and then ask how you feel about the word itself, or how would you like it applied to your title, as in “Mini-me, wife, friend, SUBMISSIVE.”

Then think about how often YOU DO submit to your DH or he submits to you. Quite often it’s daily, or even hourly, but we don’t think of it as “submission” we think of it as “compromise.” THAT, to me is marriage - and that is, I believe, what the initial term “submission” was referring to in Scripture. When you go out of your way to make your husband happy, or he does the same for you, that is also “submission.” The same as you saying “No honey we can’t afford the new iPhone right before Christmas.” Or him saying “I really don’t think we should spend so much on extended family this year, do you mind reeling in the list?” You submit to each other because it’s mutually beneficial to you, not only financially (as I am just using two examples), but emotionally, and justly: “Honey, I really miss you when you spend so much time with your sister…please stay home tonight.” Another example.

Sola Scriptura is the basis of Protestantism. This submission business is a “biggie” in the p-side churches I have noticed.
If you read the Catechism you’ll notice that the sections covering marriage are typically full of the adjectives like “unity” “one in being with God,” “two souls joined together,” etc. Meaning bring it together, not one dominate the other. The church wants you to have a happy marriage - it’s a sacrament - to be celebrated, not resented! If you have to struggle with the word “submission” or you struggle with your Dh asking/demanding you to do something that is immoral, illegal, rediculous, hurtful, demeaning or dangerous…you are not obliged to “submit.” Or something that puts you or your children in danger of the basic rights of life. Like food and shelter. Heck even sanity is covered here.

So if you are having a hard time with the idea of submission as a whole start using the term “compromise” in your mind. It’s a smaller, and more applicable pill to swallow. IMO. :thumbsup:


What KC said.


Also, if we were buying a new lawn-mower, painting the outside of the house or even getting new tires for the car, I would take the lead on those type of things. When it comes to which color to paint a room in the house, what color the drapes are or furniture, I yield to my wife, as long as it is not to frilly.:rolleyes: When it comes to picking out appliances we are both involved with each step.

If you consistently and repeatedly are not interested in the conjugal love in a marriage and think that being intimate should only be when you feel like it and any more than that is submissive. That may be a whole other topic.

In addition to compromise, their is something called “The Economics of Specialization” this is very effective at running a household too. You cannot do everything by yourself, especially when you have children.


Hah. Let’s hear some from an unmarried man. Nah, seriously, pardon my initial cynicism and let’s get to the core. :wink:

The problem I sometimes have with “mutual submission” is that it tends to become a replacement of the Epistle to Ephesians. I don’t like that vibe. What’s written in the Ephesians is written. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no lord and master type - I prefer to give advice or ask before giving a stronger request or an order, especially if I’m not formally entitled. I don’t have an interest in asserting my will over another person’s and I sometimes tell people to find their own ways or opinions instead of following mine. Actually, anyone who enters into contact with my particular leadership style sooner or later realises it’s quite demanding because it requires own thinking and own opinions. Some people can’t take that, actually. But when I hear, “mutual submission,” I hear in it a bit more than just, “submit to one another.” I hear in it sometimes an antithesis of, “wives, submit to husbands.” And no, I’m not forgetting what follows afterwards. :wink:

Yeah. People sometimes have insecurities which prevent them from following the lead of experts just because they’re younger or female or lower on the social ladder. I think it’s pretty silly to disregard the matter of an opinion because of the person of the author.


Indeed, domination is not two people uniting. It’s one person absorbing the other.

If you have to struggle with the word “submission” or you struggle with your Dh asking/demanding you to do something that is immoral, illegal, rediculous, hurtful, demeaning or dangerous…you are not obliged to “submit.” Or something that puts you or your children in danger of the basic rights of life. Like food and shelter.

Any sensible and righteous person in a position of authority, let alone a sensible Catholic, should like to be disobeyed if he were to make a demand like that. We can require such things because we’re fallible, but we’d rather we weren’t obeyed.

Heck even sanity is covered here.

Hmm? :wink:

So if you are having a hard time with the idea of submission as a whole start using the term “compromise” in your mind. It’s a smaller, and more applicable pill to swallow. IMO. :thumbsup:

I think it’s a little bit different. :wink: The Bible doesn’t speak about compromise anywhere. I can’t even think about a single example of two people meeting each other half way in their demands. However, I can easily recollect examples of people going out of their way to serve others, however. Sure, I do realise it’s easier said than done when only one person wants to do that, though… Then it becomes more like Alternative Dispute Resolution. Personally, I’m not hoping for a marriage with compromises if I ever end up in one - I’m hoping for one in which both people will go out of their way for the other. If people focus on each other, it’s easier. Compromise, I think, sometimes gets stuck on the level of focusing on oneself but just trimming it down so the other person can focus on himself too.


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