Marriage Means Being Under Authority

“Wives, submit to your husbands.” This is a very common phrase and is rejected by most wives. Those who know the Bible admit that it is there in Ephesians 5. However, most people dismiss as having no validity at all. In fact, many say that this is what destroys marriages. And, if taken out of the context of Scripture, it can and it will.

Most people which whom I discuss this subject tell me right up front that husbands should never have the authority to rule over their wives. They are surprised when I tell them that I agree with them. In the cultures where husbands rule over their wives, women are usually treated very badly.

Ephesians 5:22-33 is Usually Misquoted

People read the first five words of this passage and just stop reading. They add their own interpretation instead of reading God’s interpretation of it. If you keep on reading and understand what God is saying, it is putting more responsibility on the husband than on the wife.

You see, this passage is saying that both the wife and the husband are under authority. It is not saying that one is more important than the other. Nor is it saying the husband is a ruler and the wife is the one who is ruled.

This passage is saying that both the husband and the wife must place themselves under authority, or it will never work.

A Chain of Command

Another misconception of being “under authority” is that it gives one person control over another. No human being should have control over another, this is slavery. Marriage is not slavery. In fact, marriage is the opposite of slavery. Marriage is giving ourselves to another person.

Being under authority is accepting a chain of command. This is another reason many reject this concept, they believe in absolute freedom for all people. Yet, freedom can never be absolute. If our freedom is not contained within certain bounds, it is certain to infringe upon another’s freedom. When this happens, there is chaos.

A chain of command is setting limits to our freedom so that we will not destroy another’s freedom. It is being under someone else’s authority who will help me see what I can’t see. It is helping me to set my own boundaries.

Authority Is Responsibility

For the one who has the authority, it is not to rule over, but to accept responsibility for. When someone is under our authority, it is not to tell them what to do, it is to help them to do their best. It is not to control them, it is to help them to reach their full potential.

This is why we go to school. We put ourselves under a teacher’s authority. The teachers responsibility is not only to teach us, but to see to it that we learn all that we are capable of learning. We do this because we know that it is the best way to become the best we can be.

Under Authority Means Being Protected

Why do we put ourselves under the authority of Jesus? It is because of what God tells in 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV): “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The devil (Satan and his demons) are spiritual beings that trick us into following them.

If we are not aware of what they are doing, they very easily trick us into following their suggestions. Look at what happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden. We put ourselves under the authority of Jesus so that we can be protected from the trickery of the devil.

Remember a very simple fact. No one can really protect us from anything unless we submit to what they tell us. For instance, if someone tells us to stay in a certain place, it is because they know that they can protect us if we stay there. If we move from that place, we put ourselves in danger because we move to a place where he cannot protect us.

We may not understand why our authority tells us to do something. That is why we place ourselves under their authority. It is because we trust them to protect us.

Why does God say that wives are to be under that authority of their husbands? It is very simple. The wife who accepts being under her husbands authority receives a double blessing. Yes, she is under the authority and protection of God, but she is also under the authority and protection of her husband. Satan has to go through two people to get to her.

How To Make This Work

Most men like the idea that their wives are to submit to their authority, but they forget to read further in the passage that tells us how to make this work. Husbands are to love their wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

The only way a wife can freely put herself under her husband’s authority is if he loves her enough that he would die for her. This is what Christ did for His Church. How many husbands truly love their wives this much? How can we, as husbands, develop this kind of love for our wives?

The answer lies in putting ourselves under the authority of Jesus Christ. Unless we can experience this kind of love from God, through Jesus Christ, we will never be able to have this kind of love for our wives.

Husbands, do not expect your wives to be under your authority, unless you have placed yourself under the authority of Jesus Christ.


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