Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. - Ephesians 5:22-24
How could Paul say the word "everything" in this verse? What if a husband tells a wife to do something sinful?
Looking at the account of Abraham and his son Isaac, we see demonstrated a blind faith, if you will, in obeying a command that would seem to be unbearable. It is quite apropos then, when I speak of taking Paul's writing in Ephesians literally, I'm most often asked the question: "What if your husband tells you to abort your baby?" It's an extreme example and meant to be a test or a stumbling block to prove that something else needs to be added to Paul's writing. That it is obvious he left something out that wives should just know. That the undeniable and obvious meaning of the word "everything" is: "everything except _____." The blank then needs to be discerned by the wife.
Abraham’s faith is a fascinating example for wives who might find themselves in a situation where they must choose to obey or rebel. It is written that God was testing Abraham and in knowing his obedience said to him:
“Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”As wives we may find ourselves in a situation where we must rely on faith to obey what might otherwise be seen as a request that is impossible to obey. It is a spiritual battle to be sure. It is scary and heart wrenching. Intense prayer is the only thing that helps stave off the fear. And if there were anyway I could bottle up the end result and let women experience a whiff of it I would. But it is something she must decide for herself by faith.
Here's Abraham's end result:
15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”A husband doesn’t quite have all of that to give when his wife has displayed the ultimate loyalty and obedience to his request. But what he does do is everything a woman needs to KNOW she chose the right path and she will hit her knees and thank God that he allowed for her to see the truth – there needn’t be an exception to what Paul wrote in Ephesians. Everything does mean everything and God is really that big.
I received an email yesterday from a woman who has candidly told her experience of submitting in everything. She has graciously allowed me to share this experience with you:
I know that there is quite a bit of controversy, [denial is a better word] about whether wives should obey their husbands in everything. In light of this, I would like to submit an account of the last few months in order to illustrate, first hand, that our God is bigger and infinitely more wise than wives are, and He did, in fact, mean what He said when He commanded wives to obey our husbands in everything.
To start out, a few months ago, I confessed to my husband that the Mila Kunis & Natalie Portman love scene in the Oscar winning movie Black Swan, had stirred up female fantasies in my mind and dreams. My husband became ecstatic about this and from then on, we had a long running 'lesbian fantasy' that we often joked about.
Well, after a while, and after he directly asked me if I honestly was curious enough to try this and I answered yes, he decided that we should set something up. Once it shifted toward a future reality and no longer a fantasy, I was flooded with emotions and blame. I spent about 6 weeks disrespecting, crying, threatening to leave, apologizing, begging, and starting over again with the disrespecting.
We made a few Craigslist personal ads, some including pictures of my genitalia, or body shots not including my face. Then, i would skim through the other ads and see trannies soliciting several men for group sex with vulgar invites in the subject line. When I started to feel the pain of the reality that I was rightfully grouped alongside these evil, reprobate fags, I started using offensively manipulative tactics in order to rationalize my own sin and make my husband feel as bad as I did, like telling him that if he doesn't love me enough to protect me from immorality just because it would be enjoyable for him to watch, then I guessed I would have to protect myself from it. Then I would take down the pictures, or entire ads, only to put them back up after we would come to some agreement where I would chose the lady, she can't be sexier than me of course, before he would even read the ad and I would decide 100% of the details i.e. if we would meet her at a hotel, have drinks first, etc.
During all these months, I was purposely ignoring God. No prayer, no Bible reading, no entertaining my conscience. Just suppression, suppression, suppression. After a while, I realized that I could only go on ignoring God for so long and all of my sexual fantasies or my obsession with increasing my husband's desire for me were not worth ignoring God anymore. I finally came to Him.
I wrote down all of the disgusting things I wanted to repent of: self obsession, disrespect and manipulation of my husband, the lesbian fantasies, the addiction to moderating my husband's exposure to women that I deemed more attractive than myself and the indignation that ensued when I could not stop a situation from happening, t.v., phone or real life where he seen an attractive woman, the will full determination to ignore God, the constant frustrations that I took out on my husband through extreme personality shifts from crazy, psycho wife to sweet, happy wife and the ignoring of our kids that they endured during the hours and hours that I spent recreating new personal ads, renewing them, taking photos, arguing with my husband and other things.
I honestly and finally gave it to God. I prayed a prayer to save my life and bring me back above water. I starting reading Hebrews. I also happened to read Dalrock's most recent M-I-L post where the comments highlighted a debate between you and a few other women about obeying your husband unto sin or not. This was yesterday.
I have always believed that the passage was written as is for a reason and I have been committed to obeying my husband no matter what command he gives me. So, when my husband got home last night, I repented to him for my emotional highs and lows and for all of the offenses that I committed against him. I told him the truth- that yes, I do have a fantasy that involves me with a woman but that it doesn't mean I have to make it a reality. I asked him if he wants us to continue with this and if he has considered if it is a sin or not with possible repercussions. He answered that yes, he wants us to continue and that he does not believe it is sinful because we, as a married couple, are choosing to do it together and that if I did it alone, without him present, it would be a sin.
At this point, I had wondered about why a woman who wants a life of promiscuity but wants it to be excused, wouldn't marry an unbeliever who would ask of her sinful requests that she already knows she would enjoy but she would be blameless because she is obeying her husband, who will be accountable to God for the things he has asked of her. I felt immense guilt because I was going to be able to do something sinful that I would enjoy and yet my husband will be at fault and not me. I did not share this with him, just thought these things.
Anyways, we renewed another posting and answered a few emails, one of which was a couple saying that they would be down tonight to come over and let us wives get together while they watched. This was a no for my husband because he didn't want another man to see it and so we never answered them and we went into the bedroom to bed. The urgency that I felt when they responded before my husband said no, knowing that I might be doing this very thing in a few hours prompted me to say to my husband "I suppose if this is actually going to happen in the very near future, I better change our sheets." I then divulged to him that I had an internal conflict over this being done on our bed as opposed to a couch or something because of the Hebrew's verse: let the marriage bed be undefiled. I then said that I know it is just a euphemism and that it is in fact the marriage that is to remain undefiled and I understand that the bed means nothing more than the couch. I said out loud, "but you said that we are okay because this is something we are doing together."
Suddenly, my husbands countenance fell. He stopped talking and started thinking. I asked him what he was thinking about and he said "you know what I'm thinking about." I waited a few minutes and said "here, give me a kiss goodnight in case you're not done thinking before we both fall asleep." He answered "I'm not gonna fall asleep." I waited a few more minutes. Then I said "I don't mean to prod but can you tell me the gist of what you're thinking?" He answered "That verse will not leave my head. I can't get passed it."
At that moment I knew it was over. I felt a rush of relief and I just started silently praising and thanking God. I walked with my husband, both of us drenched in sin, I did not freak out once I had addressed my convictions of this being immoral, I simply, in passing made a quick statement/joke about washing the bed sheets and it was over. My husband protected me, himself and our marriage from defilement and now he knows that I was with him.
God found a way to intervene only once I gave it to Him and still honored Him through obedience to my husband. Today is a new day for both of us. Things are different and fresh. The sun is shining brighter and our cuddles last night were more meaningful. We are united once again. Praise be to God!
Had I refused and continued to make my husband feel crappy for allowing/asking me to be with a woman, he nor I would have ever felt the real unity that we feel now. Whether I would have chickened out or put the brakes on, I may never know. I would like to think that I was at peace enough to follow through, but I don't deserve that much credit.
I hope you enjoyed my story and that it will serve as a piece of proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if the tunnel is in the form of a sinful request that a wife must obey.