Recently at church, we've been talking about marriage in our Bible classes. This past Wednesday night was particularly interesting to me, because we were talking about practically relating the submission of wives and the headship of husbands to our real life. The leader of the class asked for specific examples of how this would look in real life, and most of the class was very quiet. Finally, one man commented that the reason why we weren't getting very specific examples was not that we couldn't think of them, but because in today's society it's so taboo and uncomfortable to speak of women being in submission. I think that many people in class were relieved to have that thought spoken out loud, because I'm sure it was what many people were thinking.
The truth is that in the United States - and probably more so in Europe - it is not 'politically correct' to talk about the Biblical roles that men and women are given. This is sad. It should never be uncomfortable or awkward for Christians to talk about obeying Christ, especially not to other Christians.
So let's talk about the husband's 'authority' in the marriage. What authority does a husband have that he earned, or deserved? Does not all authority on Heaven and on Earth belong to Christ? Therefore, it seems to me that any 'authority' that a human has while on Earth is given to them by God, and not something that should be gloated over. Moreover, there is no one who is not under authority. Even the highest ranking official on Earth is still ultimately under the authority of God.
Conversely, anyone who is in subjection to authority was placed in that subjection by God. Rebellion against that authority is the same as rebellion against God:
"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves." Romans 13:1-2In most passages that deal with husbands and wives, God also addresses the relationship between slaves and masters. According to the Bible, slaves are to obey their masters, whether kind or harsh. Why are they obligated to obey them? Not because their masters are better than them, or because they owe their masters anything, but because they are ultimately not serving their masters, but Christ. In Ephesians 6, Paul tells slaves they are to serve their masters,
"not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free."Likewise, the masters were reminded that God doesn't care if you are master or slave:
"And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him."This sentiment is echoed in Galatians 3:28, when Paul says that, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." So we see that God does not see masters as better than their slaves, or husbands as better than their wives. In either case, what God wants from both parties is obedience and submission to Him.
What can we say then about a wife who refuses to submit to her husband? Ultimately, her refusal to submit to her husband is much more than a slight on her husband - it is a refusal to submit to God. How can you say that you obey God, when you outright refuse to do something He asks of you? Personally, I think that any woman who refuses to submit to her husband has much bigger problems than marital issues. She has issues with God.
The idea of social anarchism eschews any authority other than 'self'. Feminism has taken hold of this ideology and run with it. But the truth is that no one can run forever from the Ultimate Authority. It is foolish to believe otherwise, and especially foolish for those who claim to be Christian and yet refuse to submit to the authority that the God they serve has placed in their lives.