Submit: a verb. Merrian-Webster dictionary tells us that it means to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another.
This word has been used in history as a means of control, most quoting the Bible without reading things through. It has gotten such a negative connotation that even in church we want to argue that word.
We’ve always heard “wives submit to your husband, it says it in the Bible”. Which is honestly such a cheap shot, especially for those unfamiliar with the word of God.
During my devotional reading, I got to read Ephesians chapter 5, great chapter but right now I wanna focus on verses 21 – 28. What does it mean to submit in a relationship? Whether you believe in God, a higher power or none I do feel it’s important to see what was truly intended with this word.
For those who don’t have a Bible or don’t want to go digging for my verses of reference, here they are in the NLT or New Living Translation version.
21And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 2
To break it down in a way that’s understandable, as children and people of God we should defer to him. He even says in Matthew 6:33, to seek his kingdom first and everything else shall follow. By no means is Jesus saying that if you faithfully follow me and read and act according to my word, all will be well in your life. You’re probably wondering, then why should I follow God if I’m not saved from suffering? The simple answer, we’re all passing through earth, this is not our final destination. All that we do on earth in accordance to God’s words shall then be rewarded with eternal life when the day of judgement comes.
Oops, I got off track a bit. When you look at verses 22 to 24, Paul (an apostle and the author of this book) is saying that there is an order to things. I know we live in a world where things are shaking up, people aren’t living or accepting social norms and that’s fine. However, things progress better when there’s a sense of order. Put it this way, your head can’t be at your feet because then it wouldn’t be your head nor would it function accordingly. In this case, the husband is the head.
Now before you come jumping down my throat about gender equality, focus on verse 25 and on. We have a tendency to harp on the duties of a woman and how she should behave without reading the fine prints. A woman submits to a man who loves her like Jesus loves the church. How much did Jesus love the church? God sacrificed himself in human form as Jesus so that everyone, not just the Jews would have the opportunity to get saved. He ate with all types of people, even when his followers thought he was crazy for it. He washed his own disciples feet to teach them. Read the new testament to see how he showed his love.
That means what? Verse 28 says it best, “For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.” With that being said, if that man or individual does not; care about themselves, they’re unambitious, they don’t believe in self-care and self-love, lacks discipline, can’t do the basics such as doing his own laundry or cooking, then that’s not someone who you should submit to.
As children we deferred to our parents because they were older, we looked up to them once upon a time and we felt that they were capable of leading us. If you don’t look up to your partner, they don’t motivate you, they don’t respect you, they’re abusive instead of uplifting, you don’t have to even say yes if they proposes because you already know that person is not worth leading you. To submit to your partner means you trust their judgement, and that they have your best interest at heart.
To conclude; women, more specifically black women, we don’t have to be strong all the time. Yeah we got our own, we can do for ourselves, but with the right man we can comfortably put our cape down and let the right man take charge.