Singer Aretha Franklin made the word R E S P E C T famous in 1967, yet the desire for respect was put into man from the time God created him in the Garden of Eden. The majority of problems in marriages stem from the failure to obey God’s instructions given to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5: 21-33.


Although God’s admonition for a man to love his wife as Christ loves the Church is critical, too often women pay little attention to God’s command for them to respect and submit to their husbands. 

A wife who learns the beauty and joy of submission will find that her marriage can be radically transformed.The word “submission” in the context of marriage seems ludicrous in a culture where political correctness reigns. 

Have you considered that the “PC” climate that has replaced and made a mockery of traditional values has contributed to the following changes in marriage over the past 50 years?

 “Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years     ago and four times as often they did 50 years ago…between 40% and 60% of new marriages will eventually end in divorce.The probability within the first five years is 20%, and the probability of its ending within the first 10 years is 33%…Perhaps 25% of children ages 16 live with a stepparent.”Brain K. Williams, Stacy C. Sawyer, Carl M. Wahlstrom, Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships 2005

It would appear from these statistics that we are bearing the fruit of abandoning God’s commands regarding marriage.

An open-minded look at the commands found in Ephesians 5 reveals that although a man and woman are designed to have differing roles, that does not at all imply that they are not both of equal value before God.An example in our culture can be found in the game of football.The quarterback calls the plays, but he could never win a game on his own. The other players’ roles— although different from his— are vital and of no lesser value. Similarly, the roles of husband and wife are both essential and of equal importance to achieving God’s plan for a “winning” marriage.

The command to wives to respect their husbands is not conditional.We are not commanded to submit to him if we agree with him; or if he treats us as we think we deserve; or for any other reason other than that God who created the institution of marriage and made us “male and female” knows best what leads to a harmonious marriage. Again, drawing from the analogy, how many games do you think a football team would win if the players only followed the plays if they agreed with the quarterback’s calls?

If you wish to have a “winning marriage”, choosing to follow God’s command to respect and submit to your husband is not an option.

And which do you really think is more challenging? To love sacrificially as Christ loved- which means willing to lay your very life down— or to respect and submit to the person who has been assigned by God to the role of headship?

**I want to clarify that I am not, nor do I believe God is, advocating that a woman should submit to physical abuse that places her life or the life of her children in danger.In that case, I would advise immediately seeking godly counsel regarding how to respond in a way that honors God and also protects the lives of those involved.

Written by Julie Van Gorp