Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. [Colossians 3:18,19]
This scripture resounds the same admonition in Ephesians 5:22-33.
This instruction is for the functional union of marriage where the husband has been appointed the head by the Word of God and the wife has been asked to submit to his authority.
Does this make women inferior to men?
Does this make the wife inferior to the husband?
Can a functional hierarchy exist between equals?
What really does the Word of God say about this?
Well we have insight into the mind of God on marriage by meditating on these truths. For we know that man and woman stand equal before God, and His spiritual giftings and endowments is not distributed using a sexual disposition but the same God is rich towards all that seek Him…the same Spirit is graceful in the bestowal of His giftings to all….there is no male or female bias.
Therefore, within the context of marriage, it becomes very critical that the question of who the head is be clearly stated. For if the union was not of equals, the need to make a statement becomes irrelevant. But seeing that the marriage union is between two souls – equal in life and nature, it behoves Wisdom to state clearly who the head in this union of equals should be. Thus the revelation shed in the above scripture gets its context.
For as in the Godhead, we see Christ submitting to the Father (a submission of which Christ is not in the very least disparaged as God) even so must the wife in marriage submit to the husband. For so has Infinite Wisdom decreed. This submission does not rob her of her spiritual giftings and endowments. Actually to the contrary…her submission to the will of God will fan to flames her giftings even more. Selah.
We must understand this – the marriage union must have a clearly defined God ordained head because it is a reflection of the reality of the relationship between Christ Jesus and His Church of which Christ is the Head.
The marriage union serves as a symbol with respect to the Oneness of the Church with her Heavenly Head Christ – to whom we (the Church) submit to. The emphasis is on the reality of Christ and His Church….the reflection of which we see in the relationship between husband and wife in the union of marriage.
Then again we must note that the instruction is for the wife to submit to her husband. The instruction is not for the husband to demand submission from his wife….or dominate and subdue her to submission. There is a difference.
For she must submit willingly to the husband’s authority just like we submit willingly to the Lordship of Christ. I choose to call Him my Lord. I am not forced or coerced by fear or expediency…I of my own free will and volition have chosen to submit to the Lordship and Spirit of Jesus. This is the same premium expected in the union. And the inspiration should be the same. I call Christ Lord because I deem him alone worthy. The wife must reckon the man worthy. That she married him, must be seal to this attestation. If it is not so, then she may have married him for the wrong reason. Nevertheless, it behoves on the husband to show his wife – in the light of the wisdom and power of the Holy Ghost – that he is worthy for her to accord him that honour. Selah
The wife’s submission must be of her own volition and it must be under-girded by the right inspiration. To this I will say many husbands in our generation fall short. I once said and still stand by this: that a man who is not acquainted in the mysteries of Christ and His kingdom has no business getting into the sacred institution of marriage. I say so for the woman too. Selah
Then he says husbands ought to love their wives. Again I reiterate: this is a reflection from the light we awaken to when we truly see Christ and His Church. How soundless the depths of His Love towards us….how deep our allegiance to Him must be. The reality is Christ and His Church. The marriage union should reflect that reality.
The husband as the head should love unconditionally even as Christ loves His church unconditionally. The wife should submit to the husband as her head even as the Church submits to no other but the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Selah
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.