A marriage works as God intended when a husband loves and a wife submits. Now before you stop reading this post, I want you to know that I recognize the word “loves” and the word “submits” require much defining and unpacking. Unfortunately, it would require several articles to fully develop what these words mean. And unpacking these words in detail is not the point of this article.
The point is that one reason why your wife might not submit to you, her husband, is because you don’t love your wife.
You see, in Ephesians 5:25 the primary responsibility of the husband in a marriage is to “love your wife, just as Christ also loved the church.” To love your wife as Christ loved the church is a huge responsibility. So let me make this clear: no man will ultimately be able to do it perfectly. But just because you cannot love her perfectly does not mean that you cannot love her at all.
So what does it look like to love your wife? I left out a part of the verse I quoted earlier: “love your wife, just as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself up for her.” How did Christ love the church? He gave himself up for her.
How can you love your wife? Give yourself up for her. Give away your wants, needs, and desires. Live self-sacrificially for her.
Think about this for a moment. Is it not relatively easy to submit to someone you know self-sacrifices for you? Think about a pastor who works tirelessly to help your child deal with drug addiction. Think about a boss who is generous with their resources, giving you raises, bonuses, and benefits. Think about a friend who serves you without expecting anything in return. Isn’t it easy to submit to these folks? Why? Because you know they love you.
Husbands, do you find yourself frequently asking, or even demanding, or at least wishing, that your wife would follow you? Are you tired of trying everything to get her to submit? Perhaps one reason she finds it so hard is because you do not love her.
Your wife wants to feel cherished, appreciated, valued, and treasured. That’s what she really wants. Simply, she wants you to love her. And when you love her, you will find that love leads to submission.
Here is some helpful teaching that does dig deep into the roles of husbands and wives including what it means to love and to submit: