By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
Submission in Marriage
By Amanda Idleman
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” - Genesis 2:18
The story of the relationship between men and women goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. At the start of human history, God created Adam and the animals. God quickly realized that Adam was in need of a “helper” because the animals weren’t quite cutting it. Genesis 2;18 says, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” God created Eve; that long sought after “helper.” While helper sometimes can bring to mind a weaker being, the Hebrew word in these passages of Scripture is ezer which in the Hebrew Bible was only used in reference to a superior or an equal.
As time goes on the relationship between men and women grows more complex. Sin and death enter the human story and suddenly this equal partnership becomes more difficult to maintain. In Genesis 3, one of the many consequences of Adam and Eve choosing to become like God by eating from the tree of knowledge is that the woman's desire will be for the man and he shall rule over you (Genesis 3:16). It is in the Garden that a struggle between men and women enters the scene. Men and Women now have to strive to be that perfect pair that God intended male and female to be.
Since then God wrote a book intended to be a guide for how to live our lives. God is love and his word is filled with advice on how to best love the people he has placed in our lives. Submission in marriage is a part of that relational advice God gives us. The Hebrew word for submit is a verb meaning apply, serve, present, bring near. What a beautiful definition when applied to marriage!
We have to apply effort to our marriages, we have to serve one another in love daily, our marriages only are able to thrive when we commit to being present in our communication with one another, and marriage is all about being near to each other, sharing all the details of our days with one another. Submitting to our spouse, when the Hebrew definition is applied, feels like the recipe for a thriving marriage relationship!
The Bible talks a lot about marriage. The church is called ‘the bride of Christ’ which makes a strong connection between God’s amazing story he is writing through history and the marriage that we are living out in our homes. God is a relational God. He wants to be in close communion with us and he knows we need each other to find peace and joy in this life.
Ephesians 5:21-33 says, “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
These words help us understand that it is through service to one another that our relationships thrive. We don’t get far when we approach others with obstinence, pride, and selfishness. When we become followers of Christ, we live a submitted life! We submit to one another and ultimately in all things we submit ourselves to the leadership of Christ Jesus.
Submission can almost feel like a bad word because it has been abused and turned into a justification for inflating the superiority of one gender over another. This was not at all the truth that God tries to impart to us through his Word. His truth is about partnership, service, love, respect, intimacy, and more than anything else it points us to the truth that He is the essential piece of the puzzle of marriage.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
Submission looks like serving one another with love, it requires a culture of love and respect in your home, and most of all we need God’s help to follow the instructions he has given us for our marriages! What is one act of service you can perform for your spouse this week? How can you affirm your spouse so they feel loved and respected this week? Pray daily that God gives you the strength to humbly work together as one unit with your spouse.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Isaiah Rustad
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.
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