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Q. Does the biblical teaching about husbands and wives mean that husbands can be domineering and insensitive to their wives – not listening to their needs, desires, or opinions? Is that what submission looks like?


Dear Friend,

I think we need to begin by considering the ultimate standard and example for husband/wife relationships:

21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:21-33, NASB).

With this perspective, I can now look back at the relationship between a godly husband and a godly wife in Proverbs 31:10-31. This woman is given a great deal of freedom to function in many ways. Her husband trust in her, publicly blesses her and affirms her value, and

Finally, I believe that the best model for a leader is that of a shepherd. Over and over again leaders are called shepherds. And of course, Jesus was the “Good Shepherd.” This is the kind of leadership a husband should have in his marriage, or an elder in the church, or a king over his people.

Don’t let those who would ignore or distort the teaching of God’s Word keep you from seeing the beauty of godly leadership. Does this ignore or set aside the teaching about wives submitting to their husbands? It does not, but it always holds up the ideal, that of our Lord Jesus as the leader of the church.

Bob Deffinbaugh

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