Could Submission Restore a Family?

This provocative guest post is from Natasha Johnson, 2L at Regent Univ. School of Law and current Family Law student:

     In a world of feminism and freedom, a woman’s desire to submit to a man, even if she is married to him and sees marriage as a spiritual connection, is somehow worthy of death threats and ugly Twitter posts. Just ask Candace Cameron Bure. In 2014, the Hollywood star, wife, mother, and devout Christian publicly announced that in her marriage, she submits to her husband: “My husband is not a dictator . . . [w]e work together . . . [w]e are two equal people but I love my husband and I want him to lead. I trust that my husband has our family’s best interests at heart, so I wouldn’t fight him on that.” (Christian Post, Jan. 13, 2015). But, why is one woman’s marriage of such interest to the rest of the world? I believe it is because her attitude of submission, like most Christian attitudes, causes others to stop and self-assess; and many times, we may not like what we see.
     To submit means “to defer to another’s judgment, opinion, decision, etc.; to give over or yield to the power or authority of another; to stop trying to fight or resist something; to agree to do or accept something that you have been resisting or opposing; to surrender.” Eww, who wants to do that, right? As a law student and employee, submitting to my professors and boss is hard enough; but, to think about submitting to my husband for the rest of my life? No thanks! However, that is exactly what God has called me to do – submit. There is a disconnect between what God means by submission and how the world views submission (imagine that–a disconnect between the world and God!)
     The principle verse that many think of when they hear “submit” is Ephesians 5:22-23, which says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which He is the Savior . . .” However, there is more to that scripture. It starts at verse 21, which says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Then, goes on in verse 25 to say, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by washing with water through the word . . . In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Emphasis added).It seems clear that submission is an act of worship and reverence to God, and that by following His formula for family, starting with both husband and wife, further invites God and His blessings into your marriage. But, equally important, husbands are also called to “love [their] wives” just as Christ loves each of us! (More on that a little!)
     The Bible is explicit that submission is always about honoring and following God, not man. God called the new generation of Israelites to “not be stiff-necked” but rather to “submit to the Lord,” (2 Chronicles 30:8), that by submitting to God, we will be “at peace with him,” allowing God’s prosperity to come into our lives (Job 22:21). God also warns that refusing to follow His command to submit to the authority He places in our lives leads to the destruction of our land, famine, and plagues (Jeremiah 27:8, 11-13; Romans 13:1). Could this be a reason why some marriages are “destroyed?”
     So, why is submission such a hard thing for women, especially Christian women, to accept? I think it is partially due to the fall of man with Adam and Eve, and partially because of what occurs when we submit. Beginning with Adam and Eve: Adam was given headship–not to abuse or dictate over Eve, but to protect her. We often use their story to analogize disobedience, lack of faith, and sin. But, what if their story was really discussing the breakdown of marriage? Adam was given the command to not eat from the tree; that command was not given to Eve (Genesis 2:15-17).  Adam was responsible for protecting his wife from the very thing that could harm her. It is obvious that Adam and Eve talked about the tree and he told her about the command (Genesis 3:1-3), but she failed to submit to his warning, coming to the conclusion that what Adam and God said may not be right. Adam stood by and watched his wife eat of the very thing God warned him about. What would have happened if Adam had sacrificed himself – by stepping up as the head and saying “Don’t eat it!”– to protect his wife? His lack of sacrificial love for her as for his own body, and her failure to submit, indeed led mankind to its present state of falleness.
     Some may disagree with this premise, but I believe it is adequately supported by Christ himself. Remember, we are called to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. How did Christ show His love for the church? He sacrificed His life on a cross! Whoa, husbands! That is definitely a high standard; yet, women become the focus of submission in this passage.  And in truth, both spouses are held to this high standard of submission. How much better would married life be if we followed God’s instructions, rather than the model seen in Adam and Eve?
     Now, for what is most important - when we, as women, submit to our husbands, who are living in submission to Christ, we are submitting to God.  But, you say, “What happens if my husband’s choice is not my way, and it goes wrong? Why let him choose a path that I can clearly see leads nowhere in order to validate his manhood?” The answer: because in submitting, you are honoring the authority God placed in your life (Romans 13:1), and, in turn, you are opening up your heart to be loved by your husband in a way that shows him he can trust you with his own vulnerabilities.
     If marriages returned to the model that God designed–submissive wives and Christ-like loving husbands–then there is no doubt in my mind that marriages and families across the world would be restored. Candace Cameron Bure understands that God’s word cannot fail, and His ways are timeless. Spouses who honor Him in this way open their marriage to blessings that only God can bestow, and reap rewards, such as breaking generational curses, rehabilitating broken homes, and curbing the rate of divorce.
     Who wouldn’t want to increase their chances at “happily ever after” while simultaneously honoring God and providing a beautiful example of love to their children and the world?  Family restoration begins with submission to the author of marriage who loved to the point of ultimate self-sacrifice.


  1. Awesome Post Natasha! Very insightful.

    1. Thanks, Venecia! It took a lot of humility to write this because it is such a "hot button" topic, but hey, I like to push people's buttons; and to do it for God?!?! That's just icing on the cake!

  2. someones read too much 50 shades of gray

    1. Actually, 13 Shade of Love. You should try it sometime. It comes in over 200 versions and almost as many languages. 1 Corinthians 13 is particularly beautiful. God bless!

  3. I believe that a wife's role is to be a wise helper for her husband, and the act of submission is a part of being a good helper. Loving one's wife just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her is not an easy task at all! I agree with you that when wives submit to their husbands, who are submitting to Christ, they are submitting to God. The goal is to serve God, who can only make the marriage perfect, together. Great post!

  4. Thanks, So! I definitely agree that it is not an easy task to submit. I have a hard enough time submitting my will to God's will, and following His ways when I do not know where they will lead. It is all about trust, however, and trusting that just like I follow God, I will follow my husband who is serving God. I do not act as though I have all of the answers because I do not-I am not even married. But, I do see the state of marriage in America today, and it seems to revolve around this power struggle and the idea that marriage is a fulfillment process, where each joined this union to be made into something that, as individuals, they desire. Marriage is bigger than that! God does not think "small picture' as we do. He is further into the future then we can ever be in our own imaginations, and if He says "submit," then I trusting Him, even more than my own husband, that His ways are better than my own.