Insight News

Feb 06th

What does it mean to be submissive

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"Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22). What does it mean to be submissive? Throughout my travels, the word "submit" or the concept of being submissive has always been a volatile topic. Just because the Bible says wives submit to your husband does not mean everyone believes it to be true. Some women view the word as reminder of an archaic time when it was believed that a woman's place was in the home bare-foot and pregnant.

The word submit is not a dirty word. It means to yield to governance or authority or to be under the authority of another. It does not mean that a woman has to do whatever her husband says. It does not mean she is a silent partner with no say whatsoever. It simply means that she is able to be governed or led by another. The wife has in her the ability to lead and follow. She is reasonable, accountable, and responsible.

When a man and woman come together in holy matrimony, the family unit is formed and the concept of submitting comes to play. Two heads make a monster so someone will have to take the lead in accountability and responsibility. One person will be under God's divine authority and other will support them in that role. There is no guess work to what role the husband and wife will have because the Bible spells it out for them.

The husband is required to submit to God. He is the family's point man that is required to take the brunt of the pressure and responsibility. He is called to be the head, lead, financial provider and the responsible agent to God on behalf of the family. He is not required to make all the decisions, but he is responsible for all the decisions made. This accountability to God is the husband's part in the family equation.

The wife is required to be under her husband's divine authority and protection. Her role in the family is to be the other half of the equation that brings balance, peace, and unity to the family unit. She is at his side providing the love and nurturing needed to build a family. She is his equal and called to be under his spiritual accountability to God.

What does it mean to submit? It means that both the husband and wife are both under God's authority. They are spiritually one, and God is able to lead and guide them in the things that will lead to success. Working together, the husband and wife become a cohesive family unit that is not only submissive to God, but submissive to one another. "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:21). This is only possible when God is the nucleus of the family.

Timothy Houston is an author, minister, and motivational speaker who is committed to guiding positive life changes in families and communities. For questions, comments or more information, go to

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