Chapter 6: Lies Women Believe About Marriage
Day 4: The Power of Submission
Lie #25: If my husband is passive, I’ve got to take the initiative or nothing will get done.
We just learned the importance of submission in marriage, and the responsibility a wife has to encourage, bless, and benefit her husband. But what about the exceptions, those cases where a husband is abusive, passive, or just plain ol’ dumb?
Let me begin with the situation of abuse – biblical submission does not suggest, require, or demand that a woman stay with a man who is abusing her. But let me also point out that many people have a warped view of abuse and call things abuse that are not actually abuse.
Abuse is defined as “
By this definition, a husband who asks his wife to cook dinner for the kids is not being abusive. When a husband is late from work and dinner is cold, he’s not being abusive. When a husband asks questions about the finances, and asks his wife to tighten up, he’s not being abusive. But I hear people every day who call these things abuse.
On the flip side, I’ve talked to many women who have been in abusive relationships and use the principles of forgiveness and submission to return to their abuser. This is not biblical, either. Unless there is repentance and change in the abuser, you should never put yourself in harm’s way. Forgive, yes Reconcile, no.
Now what if your husband makes the wrong decision? What if his wrong decision will cost you a lot of money? What if it costs you some of your belongings? What then?
Or what if your husband is passive? What if his lack of motivation results in your power being cut off? What if it causes him to lose his job? What then?
First, you must go back to the foundation of your trust in God, because submission is ultimately about submitting to God. And God does not excuse sin under any circumstances. God is good, He is in control, and He loves you. Will you trust that He is at work, even when your husband fails? If not, when you step in and take control yourself, you can begin to interfere with God’s work and cause even more problems.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss said, “A wife’s submission to her husband, regardless of his spiritual condition, actually releases her from fear, because she has entrusted herself to God, who has ultimate control of her husband and her situation.”
Submission isn’t about logic – and the times when it is hardest to submit, hardest to trust – those are the times it’s most important. And you commit to do it out of love – love for God and love for your husband.
Sometimes the best thing that could ever happen to us is failure. We learn more from our failures than our successes. And if your husband is passive, if he’s ignorant, if he’s too laid-back and things get out of control and it ends up costing him, and you, then there’s a chance that he’ll learn from that failure and make a change so it doesn’t happen again. But if you keep stepping in and bailing him out, taking control, and rescuing him, then how will he ever learn to be responsible?
Sometimes he’s not even failing and we step in to take control – it’s not that it’s going to hurt us if he’s in control, we just like our way better. But you know what that says to your husband? That you don’t trust him, respect him, or support him. When you nitpick, correct, and challenge his every decision, he may very well give up and let you take the lead simply because you’ve defeated him.
Most men hate “scenes.” They despise confusion and disorder. They will go to almost any length to have peace in their homes. They will let a woman have her way rather than argue and quarrel. But the price a man has to pay is the price of his manhood. Before you complain that your husband won’t take the leadership of your home, search your heart carefully. Do you really rely on his judgment? Are you willing to commit yourself to his decisions? If not, don’t complain that he will not lead. For the sake of peace, he may not fight for his authority.
-Elizabeth Rice Handford
Does it cost us to let our husbands fail? Yes. But it also benefits us! It’s time to stop getting in God’s way and let Him use our husbands’ failures to strengthen, challenge, and mature them.
And even when your husband fails, it’s time to encourage, not destroy. Don’t say “I told you so,” don’t complain, nag, or attack. Don’t kick him while he’s down.
Be his partner. Be his strength. Give him hope; show him you won’t give up on him, but you”ll trust him. That you’re with him through thick and thin, and you’re there to help him dig out of the mess.
It’s time to stop criticizing and start encouraging.
Don’t be the Sarah to his Abraham.
Stop tearing down and start building up.
Key Points to Remember:
- Submission is not about logic – it is about love.
- Failure is an important part of learning.
- We must build up our husbands, encouraging them to lead.
- We must stop trying to control and instead trust God and our husbands.
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.