What does Women are Portrait in our Catholic Faith

I have a question to asked. According to our Catholic teachings, is true that the wife should be “submissive” and act according what the husband says and cannot do other wise?

Also, what are the roles, morals, behaviour does Catholic women should be?
As well as for Catholic men?

I’m asking because I was reading Ephesians 5:22-33.
And it is a confusing according to “two to become one fresh” , does it contradict?

Please help me and explain it as much details as you could.


Yes, wives must obey their husbands. Here’s what the Roman Catechism says are the duties of the husband & wife:

Duties of a Husband It is the duty of the husband to treat his wife generously and honourably. It should not be forgotten that Eve was called by Adam his companion. The woman, he says, whom Thou gavest me as a companion. Hence it was, according to the opinion of some of the holy Fathers, that she was formed not from the feet but from the side of man; as, on the other hand, she was not formed from his head, in order to give her to understand that it was not hers to command but to obey her husband.

The husband should also be constantly occupied in some honest pursuit with a view to provide necessaries for the support of his family and to avoid idleness, the root of almost every vice.

He is also to keep all his family in order, to correct their morals, and see that they faithfully discharge their duties.

Duties of a Wife On the other hand, the duties of a wife are thus summed up by the Prince of the Apostles: Let wives be subject to their husbands. that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word by the conversation of the wives, considering your chaste conversation with fear. Let not their adorning be the outward plaiting of the hair, or the wearing of gold, or the putting on of apparel: but the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptibility of a quiet and meek spirit, which is rich in the sight of God. For after this manner heretofore the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.

To train their children in the practice of virtue and to pay particular attention to their domestic concerns should also be especial objects of their attention. …

Again, and in this the conjugal union chiefly consists, let wives never forget that next to God they are to love their husbands, to esteem them above all others, yielding to them in all things not inconsistent with Christian piety, a willing and ready obedience.

Wives are to obey their husbands, but husbands are also to obey their wives. It boils down to who is right.

How about starting with Ephesians 5:21 instead of skipping it?

See if reading this in context helps:


  • **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.
    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.

usccb.org/bible/ephesians/5 (emphasis added)

Husbands and wives are to live a love of agape, totally giving themselves to the other as Christ gave Himself for us.

To merely say that wives are to “obey” is trite, shallow, and utterly misses the spiritual point that Paul is making with respect to the covenantal relationship that exists between a husband and wife.

There is NO contradictions. “Be submissive to each other”.

Don’t get hung up on the word “submissive”. The concept is one of TOTAL MUTUAL SELF-GIVING.

to be frank, the term submissiveness has nothing to do with catholic faith. the real meaning of catholic marriage consists in selfless and sacrificial giving of oneself to the other. the example of this sacrificial love is the relation between Christ and church. Christ who sacrificed his life for the church and church, hence in return live a life of total unity with the Lord.

and that is the model for marital relationship. so submissiveness is a wrong term i believe.


I totally agree with that. Let’s not let far-right sexists usurp the faith.

Yep. When teaching about marriage and we are asked about the passage from Ephesians we often use the model of Christ crucified to explain the core of marital love. Marriage requires the ability to die to self for the good of the other. We are submissive to each other in that we place our selves (or our wants) beneath the good of our spouse.

Confiteor Deo,
Would you please post the paragraph numbers? I cannot find those quotes in the Catechism. Thanks in advance!

I think you might find this article helpful: catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=6387

In our marriage class, we learned that “submission” means, “under (the same) mission.” So that in submitting to her husband’s authority, the woman is trusting her husband to take responsibility and to lead her (and any children) in their shared mission of family. It takes a lot of trust in God, as well. If her husband goes against the mission by sinning, and/or doing serious harm to the family, she is not to follow him in that, but to gently and respectfully encourage him to return to the mission.

A wife is to follow her husband (except in sin). However, keep in mind that doesn’t mean he gets to “order her around” like a bully or a tyrant and expect her to obey. He is to love her “as Christ loved the Church,” so this is not saying the husband gets free reign to do whatever he wants–he should do what is best for his marriage.

This means he needs also to take his wife’s feelings, perspective, and knowledge into account when making decisions that affect the family–he should not typically be making important decisions without consulting his wife (not for her permission, but for her perspective). He should make the best decision he can for the family and generally take responsibility for the outcome. The wife should accept his decision, even if she does not agree with it (again, assuming there’s nothing immoral about it). The husband must be willing to sacrifice his own desires when necessary for the sake of his wife and family.

A husband also should generally trust his wife with his authority to make decisions that benefit the family, such as in the day-to-day running of the household and errands while he is working.

Marriage is a unique bond, a covenant. The “two become one” in a few different ways. One way is that they physically become one flesh in the marital act (and in the begetting of children). Another is that they come together and discuss their goals and future, and (hopefully) become of one mind, under the same “mission.” They generally should also share a household, expenses and income, struggles, successes, goals and responsibilities as “ours,” no longer as “yours” and “mine.” They are to put their union above all other relationships, to honor each other above others, and to put the other spouse ahead of even themselves in total self-giving. There are probably plenty more examples, but this post is already getting too long. :slight_smile:

The Roman Catechism doesn’t have paragraph numbers. I think you’re talking about the CCC which is a different catechism. The Roman Catechism is the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

Ah, that would be why I was confused. Thanks!

Thanks, what I’ve understood then its a unity of “one” as such to love one another in equal dignity and respect.
A good friend of mine, told me if the husband does something to “wrong” himself, he is actually hurting his wife, and even though it does not applies to her directly.

He explain that is the mystery of Sacrament of Marriage, when husband and wife are in union that is beyond reasonable understanding, that when there are consequences that effects one and the other, as the bond between them is “consecrated” by our Lord what makes it holy.

So in sense, “submissive” has taken out of context as I though the husband has to be the one that makes the rules and make sure the wife follows.

What Deacon Jeff said. Plus, did you know that you can read the current catechism online?

I think the bit at the end that says, “Again, and in this the conjugal union chiefly consists, let wives never forget that next to God they are to love their husbands, to esteem them above all others, yielding to them in all things not inconsistent with Christian piety, a willing and ready obedience” is fairly important.

More in a bit.

Here are some quotes from Casti Connubii (1930) where Pope Pius XI says:

“24. **This mutual molding of husband and wife, this determined effort to perfect each other, **can in a very real sense, as the Roman Catechism teaches, be said to be the chief reason and purpose of matrimony, provided matrimony be looked at not in the restricted sense as instituted for the proper conception and education of the child, but more widely as the blending of life as a whole and the mutual interchange and sharing thereof.”

"26. Domestic society being confirmed, therefore, by this bond of love, there should flourish in it that “order of love,” as St. Augustine calls it. This order includes both the primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, which the Apostle commends in these words: “Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church.”

  1. This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion; nor does it bid her obey her husband’s every request if not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due to wife; nor, in fine, does it imply that the wife should be put on a level with those persons who in law are called minors, to whom it is not customary to allow free exercise of their rights on account of their lack of mature judgment, or of their ignorance of human affairs. But it forbids that exaggerated liberty which cares not for the good of the family; it forbids that in this body which is the family, the heart be separated from the head to the great detriment of the whole body and the proximate danger of ruin. For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.

  2. **Again, this subjection of wife to husband in its degree and manner may vary according to the different conditions of persons, place and time. In fact, if the husband neglect his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family. **But the structure of the family and its fundamental law, established and confirmed by God, must always and everywhere be maintained intact .

  3. With great wisdom Our predecessor Leo XIII, of happy memory, in the Encyclical on Christian marriage which We have already mentioned, speaking of this order to be maintained between man and wife, teaches: “The man is the ruler of the family, and the head of the woman; but because she is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone,** let her be subject and obedient to the man, not as a servant but as a companion,** so that nothing be lacking of honor or of dignity in the obedience which she pays. Let divine charity be the constant guide of their mutual relations, both in him who rules and in her who obeys, since each bears the image, the one of Christ, the other of the Church.”

We have at the same time the duty to be loving and prudent, and that may mean saying “no” sometimes, without even getting into the issue of whether or not the thing is a sin–that’s the “not in harmony with right reason” that’s mentioned in Casti Connubii.

Sometimes “no” is genuinely the most loving thing to tell someone.

Yes, that’s a very good point. I think many people think that the wife being obedient to her husband means she’s his servant and must treat him like a king of some sort, which is not what the Roman Catechism is trying to say. The wife shouldn’t become dumb in her obedience and obey her husband blindly.


If we take that away, we have a servile submission, which is not what Saint Paul or Saint Peter ever wrote about! The relationship between husband and wife is to be modelled on that of Christ and the Church, not on a pagan or non-Christian notion of “submission” without any sort of context. :slight_smile:

Yes, wives are generally required to submit to and obey their husbands. Of course, there are exceptions. Obviously, if the husband tells his wife to do something instrinsically wrong, then she would be duty-bound not to obey. SImilarly, if anything commanded is clearly contrary to her own good, or the good of her family (incl. the husband himself), she would not be bound to obey.

Honestly, to add my reflection to this, the main objection to this comes from seeing submission and obedience as somehow dishonorable, denigrating and shameful. This attitude, however, is completely at variance with a truly Christian spirit. Submisison and obedience are the very means of our sanctification. Our Divine Redeemer Himself became obedient even to death on the cross, as St. Paul also says (Phil. 2:8).

Understandably, it needs to be spoken about with some deal of circumspection, since the command can be abused by husband (machismo, for example). But the abuse of a principle doesn’t justify abandonment of the principle itself.

Anyway, that’s my two cents on the matter.

Benedicat Deus,

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