The definition of submission in the biblical context is an act of yielding and/or complying to the authority or control of another. An example of submission would be a highly trained soldier in combat who follows orders because he or she trusts their commanding officer’s decisions. This soldier knows they have a specific job to do that leaves the rest of the unit vulnerable to attack if they do not fulfill their responsibility. Submission differs slightly from being humble because humility is a choice to reduce power or independence. Meanwhile submission does not lessen the power of the individual but instead uses that person’s strengths to reinforce the power of the team.
Submission also requires a person to trust someone else to fulfill their role of making decisions that are in the best interest of the health and safety of everyone involved. All people are called to submit to God (Proverbs 3:5-7, James 4:7) and married couples (NOT dating couples) are to submit to one another (Ephesians5:21). However, ultimately women are commanded to submit to their husbands, “as you do to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22).
Submission requires a very solid, very healthy level of trust in both directions. Think about the huge frustration when you’re leading a project at work. The people you’ve assigned various duties to do not contribute what you expected because they felt like doing something different. They contributed and feel accomplished but likely duplicated and/or undermined someone else’s work. Not to mention the piece you needed from that person remains unfinished. On the flip side, the same frustration occurs when your boss insists on a course of action that you or maybe even everyone on the team knows in advance will not be successful, but in his/her stubbornness the boss refuses to listen and the whole team fails.
When a headstrong person refuses to take his/her spiritually designated place on his/her marriage team, it throws everything out of whack. It opens the spiritual door for attacks and strongholds to form. When the enemy gains a little ground into your heart or your spouse’s, the only purpose is to destroy everyone on your team. Sins creep in: anger, resentment, disrespect, impatience, selfishness, lust, addiction, betrayal… if left unexposed, unrepented and unforgiven you could see total annihilation. The late pastor Myles Monroe said, “When purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable.” If you go into marriage not fully understanding your purpose inside that relationship, you can’t fulfill a purpose you don’t fully grasp and you can almost guarantee you will be used by evil to cause harm.
So many believers don’t understand that the purpose of marriage has absolutely nothing to do with your happiness or your worldly success. (Even though I grew up in the church, in my youth I was one of them.) Before sin entered the garden created for Adam, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'”
Genesis 2:18 NIV God said something was not good before sin entered man’s heart. That should tell you how important the role of women is on the world. Girl, you are so crucially important.
Men still don’t fully seem to understand that leaving them alone, without accountability to a person who sees and processes the world very differently than they do, is not good. Even in a perfect world men need women and vice versa. If this were not true, if it were about companionship and camaraderie, God would have formed another man.
Many look to find their identity, their value, their security, and complete acceptance inside of marriage but that is not the purpose of marriage. You are to seek those most important things inside of Christ alone. The purpose of marriage is to glorify God by using your security, identity, value, and acceptance from God to overflow the love Jesus fills you with onto your spouse. BUT, most importantly, the covenant bond of marriage intends to make both partners not happy but holy. If one partner refuses to submit into their role in relation to their spouse and continues to do things without submission, you’re both doomed to never-ending struggles before the ink dries on the marriage license.
If you know your goal, you can understand your role. If you walk in your purpose, you can avoid sin’s crazy circus.