“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” Ephesians 5:21
I had an encounter with the word that most male chauvinistic Christian [myself inclusive-when I was without knowledge] use to barrage their wives with when the down side of marriage hit their homes and for the first time it dawn on me that before Paul the Apostle under the inspiration of God asked the wife to submit to their husband as unto the Lord, he actually asked both husband and wife to submit to one another. In both places [Eph. 5:21-22] it was the same word “hupotasso”, it means to be subordinate, put under, to obey or be under obedience, subject to or under, be put in subjection and submit “self “ unto another.
It seems to me that self [for example selfishness, self-love, self-preservation, self-care or preferring your SELF or believing that your opinion is always better than and superior to that of your spouse] is at work.
So you are actually saying your spouse is a dunce [saying her ideas or opinions are subjective to yours] and you always know better, understand more than and even have superior judgment than your wife simply because the next verse asked her to submit to your leadership in the home. May I say that in New Testament context both husband and wives are indwelled, graced and gifted by the Holy Spirit and without partiality to men God the Holy Spirit have a way of endowing both husband and wife such that each of the two joints supply in all things according to the grace of the Spirit given to each of them for the betterment of the home and their love life.
So sometimes the wife may be a better money manager while the husband could be the prayer leader; the wife could be endowed with more wisdom to solve problems in the marriage while the husband is a better cook than the wife. The wife could be a better driver than the husband while the husband is better at doing the laundry. When a man want to take the lead in every area of married life then there will be problem. The Holy Spirit distributing gifts as He would such that there is no schisms in the home. What we need is to identify who is more graced in a particular gift and the other submit.
What makes natural men behave so unsuitably to their equals [wives]? What makes men look down so much on their wives as inferiors? It is the pride of our hearts [Same goes for arrogant women]. Pride is the great besetting sin of our fallen nature. In our unregenerate state it rules, reigns, and tyrannies; and in our regenerate state, it still harasses, entangles, and tempts us in all we do to make us think we are superior or better. Some are proud of their learning, and some of their ignorance. Some are proud of their intellect, and some of their stupidity. Our ego [both men and women alike] need to be rebirthed with the Spirit of Christ. Remember that there is nothing that we have that is not given to us by God.
So if the wife has a better job as a medical doctor or a pilot, that does not make her the RULER in the house nor should the man born into an aristocratic, famous and rich family degrade his lowly in background wife. When agape love is not the foundation of the marriage or it has been eroded because one has fallen into the trap of Satan to disrupt the flow of godly affection and love in that home, then spouses cannot prefer one above himself or herself nor submit to the evident grace in that area of married life in their spouse.
Some of the times we often have a rough or unproductive side of life where it seems as if nothing is working. For example with this economic meltdown, some men lost their jobs and the wives are primarily the bread winner; That should not give the wife the effrontery to disrespect the husband NOR does it give the husband to be taking out his frustrations in life out of the wife, being abusive, quarreling or turning her into a verbal punching bag.
Be very careful not to continually fight or rain curses, abuses, stormy rage, vehement anger in front of the children. You are actually building a wrong foundation for their future, your children will actually think that is the norm of life and will replicate it in their matrimonial homes if God does not intervene with mercy. I pray that such children will make a covenant with the Lord and be determined that their home will be full of love; determine as wives to respect their husbands while the male children determine to love their wives despite all odds knowing that love covers a multitude of sin. Meditating day and night on scriptures [for example 1 Cor. 13] will surely help to align aright with the prescription of God for marriage.
The manner of performance should be done “In the fear of God”; that is, so that both husband and wives would approve themselves to God, who is the author of all order in every community and society of mankind; and to Him we must give an account as our proper Judge [1Pet.1:17]. The fear of God will help to tame that natural fierceness that is in the heart of man, that we may not refuse the yoke of the Lord to be of a gentle and quiet spirit, to check our pride, that we may not be ashamed to serve our spouse in love and to bridle and curb excess of power over one another. It will make both spouse tender and careful of their duty to one another, and from a right principle and motive, and in a right manner, and to a right end.
“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another” Romans 12:9-10