“A wife being submissive does not mean her being a doormat”. This phrase is commonly used even within traditional and conservative Christian circles which promote the submission of wives to their husbands and male headship. But this teaching, that wives should not allow themselves to be doormats for their husbands is totally unbiblical and instead finds its basis in modern humanist teachings.
The Modern Church’s False Doormat Doctrine
GotQuestions.org, in an article entitled “How can a Christian avoid being a doormat for other people?” makes the following statements which accurately represent the modern Doormat doctrine:
“A doormat is a small rug placed just inside a doorway where people can wipe their dirty shoes before entering the house. The term doormat is also used figuratively to describe people who allow themselves to be (figuratively) walked on by others; that is, a doormat allows himself or herself to be abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of without mounting a defense. Since Jesus taught us to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39) and to “do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27), was He telling us to be doormats?
Jesus was not teaching His disciples to be doormats. Rather, He was teaching that, to glorify God and show ourselves to be His true children, we need to be pure inside and out and to be as accommodating as possible for the sake of a lost world. To “turn the other cheek” does not mean we place ourselves or others in danger or that we ignore injustice…
It may appear noble and Christlike when someone allows himself or herself to be used as a doormat, but there could also be a selfish reason behind it. For example, some people allow themselves to be doormats because of their own insecurities and low self-worth. They fear rejection, so they allow their personal boundaries to be violated by others in hopes they will be appreciated and loved. They are trying to gain validation by purchasing it with their compliance, in effect, expecting fallible people to tell them who they are instead of relying on God to do that….
Third, Christians can seek wise counsel about boundary-setting. The Bible is a book of boundaries and consequences. Healthy boundaries make for healthy relationships. The word no is powerful. We need to learn that enabling the sins or irresponsibility of others is not loving; it is self-indulgent. Selfish fear, rooted in a desire for others to love, appreciate, or need us, propels us to rescue those who should experience their own consequences.”
So, what is the synopsis of this false doctrine?
The modern doormat doctrine teaches that no Christian man or woman should allow themselves “to be abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of without mounting a defense” and to tolerate such mistreatment makes one guilty of the sin of being a “doormat”.
According to the Doormat doctrine, in order to avoid the sin of becoming a doormat, a Christian must learn to set boundaries with others and learn the concept that “The word no is powerful”. When one commits the sin of being a doormat, they are “enabling the sins or irresponsibility of others” and engaging in “selfish fear”.
And let’s not kid ourselves. The Doormat doctrine was invented as a result of the influence of feminism in modern churches. It was invented to give power to women that God never meant for them to have. And that is why in most cases, you will see this Doormat doctrine applied to wives in regard to their husbands.
A Little Truth Mixed in With the False Doormat Doctrine
Many false doctrines have at least a little bit of truth in them. This is what gets people to fall for false doctrines. And this is the case with the Doormat doctrine.
First, it is true that is not always wrong for Christians to say no, in fact sometimes it absolutely right to say no and resist wrong doing that is being done against us or others.
In Deuteronomy 22:23-27 God requires that a young woman say no and cry out and resist if a man who is not her husband tries to make her have sex with him. And the Apostles, when told not to preach the Gospel, said in Acts 5:29 “We ought to obey God rather than men”.
In Nehemiah 4:14 the God given right and responsibility of men to fight to defend their wives, their children and their homes is firmly established where it states “fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses”.
Even within the Christian church among the Apostles, we see that the Apostle Paul took a strong stand against injustice when he saw the Apostle Peter discriminating against the new Gentile Christians in Galatians 2:11-12:
“11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.”
The point is that sometimes we must absolutely say no and take a stand against certain sinful behaviors that are committed against us or against others.
And certainly, we all must set the boundary with others that we will never allow someone to make us do something which God forbids in his law.
The Errors of the False Doormat Doctrine
One of the foundational errors of the modern church’s false Doormat doctrine is that it utterly ignores the relational context of when someone is being “abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of”. But in the Bible, the relational context of when someone is being “abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of” is crucial to understanding what God wants our response to be in that situation.
For instance, if someone is threatening or committing harm against a man, his wife, his children or his property he has the God given right of self-defense (Nehemiah 4:14).
But what about someone who has a master? If they are being “abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of” what does God say they should do in that situation? Should they mount a defense? The answer is given to us in the following passage from 1 Peter 2:18-21:
“18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”
So, what is God’s answer to those who have masters who are froward (cruel and unjust) toward them? Does he tell them to mount a defense? No, but rather he tells them that it is “thankworthy” and “acceptable with God” for them to endure such unjust treatment by their masters and that in doing so they emulate Christ who also suffered unjustly.
And then, immediately after saying this to slaves regarding their masters, he says the following to wives regarding their husbands in 1 Peter 3:1-2 & 5-6:
“1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear…5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement”
When taken together – 1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6 teaches that those who have masters, whether they be wives or slaves, are commanded to endure cruel and unjust treatment from their masters. And in doing so, those who endure mistreatment at the hands of their masters emulate Christ in his sufferings.
Why 1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6 Is So Hard for Americans to Accept
1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6 is a very difficult passage of the Bible for modern westerners, and especially Americans, to swallow. This passage really takes a sledge hammer to the individualist and humanist ideals which form the foundation for modern American values.
Below is a list of modern American values which 1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6 contradicts:
- No person may be owned by another – to do so makes them a slave and slavery is always immoral under any circumstances.
- No person may be controlled or coerced against their will to do something they do not wish to do. (Of course, the humanists make exceptions for parents with children and the government making people do certain things like paying taxes, giving up guns or taking vaccines).
- Men and women have equal rights and should have equal opportunities in all areas of society.
- No person should ever tolerate abuse from another person, they should always defend themselves against any unjust treatment by others.
The fact is that the Bible does not hold to any of these modern core American beliefs. The Bible explicitly allows the taking of slaves and the concept of human property in Leviticus 25:44-46. The Bible does not condemn slavery, but rather it condemns the unjust taking of slaves in Deuteronomy 24:7 (someone taking one of his fellow citizens and selling them). The Bible also condemns the physical abuse of slaves in Exodus 21:20-21 & 26-27. For more on the subject of slavery from a Biblical perspective see my article “Why Christians Shouldn’t Be Ashamed of slavery in the Bible”.
The Bible also teaches that a person can have a master (be owned) and yet not be slave. This concept is a real head-scratcher for modern Americans but it is very Biblical.
In the passage above from 1 Peter 3:6, God exhorts women to follow the example of Sarah who called her husband “lord”. The Greek word there is ‘Kurios’ which means “master/lord/owner” and throughout the Old Testament it was common for the Hebrew word ‘baal’ meaning “master/lord/owner” to be used in regard to a woman’s husband.
So, both wives and slaves have masters, yet wives are not slaves.
The primary difference in the relationship between masters and their wives and masters and their slaves is that the master of a wife has a much greater set of responsibilities toward his wife than that of a master of a slave. The master of a wife is to love her as Christ does his church and to provide for her and protect her as he does his own body. A master of a wife is to give his body to his wife in the bed. He is to be willing to lay down his life to save hers. He has a responsibility to mold her and teach her how to emulate the church and to be the glorious wife she needs to be. A master of a slave has none of these responsibilities toward his slave. For more on this subject of the Biblical comparison of wives to slaves see my article “8 Biblical Differences Between Wives and Slaves”.
And this is why passages like 1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6 is almost impossible for modern Christians to fully comprehend without first understanding that some of our core American values are in fact unbiblical.
But Aren’t Wives Enabling Sin If They Don’t Confront Their Husbands?
This is a very popular aspect of the modern false Doormat doctrine. It teaches that if wives allow their husbands to sin against them by mistreating them that they are enabling their husband’s sin and thus sinning against God themselves in doing so.
But I encourage you to look throughout the Scriptures to find God calling a woman to go to her husband and rebuke him to his face about his sin. You won’t find one passage. Yes, we have Pilot’s wife warning him about a vision she had about Christ in Matthew 27:19 – but that was not a rebuke – it was a plea. And even with Abigail in 1 Samuel 25 when she acted to save her family from her husband’s evil deeds, she did not rebuke her husband to his face.
So, what is so different about the husband/wife relationship which forbids a wife from rebuking her husband? The answer is found in Ephesians 5:22-24:
“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
The husband/wife relationship is different than any other human relationship. It is a sacred institution created by God. The husband represents God and the wife represents the people of God. For the wife to rebuke her husband would symbolize the church rebuking Christ.
Now some would argue that husbands are not perfect like Christ and that is true. Christ was the only sinless man to ever walk this earth – amen.
But the Biblical prescription for how women should handle sin in their lives of their husbands shows us that even though husbands are sinners, God has not given wives the right to rebuke or chastise their husbands for their sin.
The prescription for how a wife is to handle sin in the life of her husband, whether it is toward her or others, is found in 1 Peter 3:1-2. The wife is to win her husband without a word, by her behavior (that is what conversation means in the KJV translation of 1 Peter 3:1).
However, the situation is very different with a husband in regard to his wife. The Bible tells husbands to love their wives as Christ does his church in Ephesians 5:25 and in Revelation 3:19 Christ says to his churches “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”. Therefore, we can rightly say that is a sin for a wife to rebuke her husband but on the other hand it is a sin for a husband not to rebuke his wife because the husband and wife have different positions and responsibilities.
The Doormat doctrine, the doctrine that wives should never allow themselves “to be abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of without mounting a defense” is completely contradictory to the Biblical teachings of 1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6.
The Bible says it is “acceptable with God” (1 Peter 2:20) for those with masters, which includes wives, to “endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (1 Peter 2:19). In other words, it is acceptable and honoring to God for wives to be doormats when it comes to their husbands. And in doing so, wives emulate Christ when he suffered unjust treatment.
Rather than rebuking their husbands for each and every offense, 1 Peter 3:1-2 teaches wives to win their husbands without a word by their behavior which includes their pure actions, their submission and their reverence toward their husbands.
Can and should Christian wives have any boundaries with their husbands? Yes.
Not all forms of abuse must be taken by Christian wives. The prohibition against masters abusing their slaves from Exodus 21:20-21 & 26-27 absolutely applies to masters (husbands) of wives. And women can be freed from their husbands if their husbands do anything that risks serious bodily harm to them. Women can also take actions to defend themselves and their children against imminent harm that their husband’s actions pose against them or their children as Abigail did in 1 Samuel 25.
Women can and should establish the boundary with their husbands that they will never do anything which God forbids in his Word. That means if a husband asks his wife to engage in a threesome with their neighbor or asks her to help him rob a bank, she must respectfully decline in obedience to God which is her higher authority.
This really is the big difference between the Doormat doctrine and what the Bible teaches. The Doormat doctrine teaches that wives should not tolerate any abusive behavior from their husbands, while the Bible teaches that women should tolerate most kinds of abuse but not all abuse from their husbands.
And a final note on husbands and their sin. Many will ask – “If a wife cannot confront her husband on his sin than who can?” And then answer is other men. Whether it be fellow male church members, his brothers, his wife’s brothers, his father or his wife’s father other men absolutely have a right and responsibility to confront one another about their sinful treatment of their wives.
16 thoughts on “Why God Wants Wives To Be Doormats”
Thanks BGR. My experience has been that my fellow Christian’s advice to me in relation to my wife is: I as the man should be the “doormat” to my wife….as Christ suffered silently on his way to the cross. I might put up a cross in my yard so she can go ahead and crucify me publicly as well. Then my true authority will be revealed when I rise from the dead. Also, the metric for my “relationship” with God is the frequency of my devotions/prayers and my “intimacy” with God….which I must virtue signal by sharing the “deep insights” God has shown me in my times with Him. Never mind the clear Biblical teachings and commands that can measure the fruit in anyone’s life as good or bad.
Forgive me, but is there a reason there is not a disclaimer addressing men that this “doormat” teaching for women is NOT meant for men to take advantage of and treat their wives like garbage?
Oftentimes when addressing women in regards to their husband’s responsibilities towards them, you leave a disclaimer for women not to beat their husband’s over their heads with those truths – yet I don’t see the same for men? I would think with women being physically weaker and so dependent on men, one would warn and remind men against misusing this and abusing their wives for their own evil gain.
I’m just curious because while I truly understand the real meaning behind being a doormat (i.e. emulating Christ) it’s just a bit concerning that men can take this teaching and (maybe quite literally) beat their wives with it. I do not believe that is your intention at all, but possibly something to consider?
Of course, please, please forgive me if I’m wrong or have not noticed such disclaimers elsewhere. But having been with a man who was extremely physically abusive towards me and my children, and who would have had a field day with this teaching, it’s worrisome that other men can and will take this teaching for women out of context and use it in evil ways.
I know in the past I often left disclaimers, but sometimes I prefer to simply let the truth lay where it is. Yes, some men can and absolutely have abused their authority and truths like what I have shown here all throughout history just as women have abused other truths with their husbands.
I did however add one paragraph at the end of this article for something I meant to include and forgot about how a husband’s sin is meant to be confronted since wives cannot confront their husbands sin.
I actually have had several Christian male friends over the years that apply 1 Peter 2:18-25 to their marriages with their wives. And I have respectfully disagreed with them applying this to husbands. The context is clear with an authority abusing (the master) abusing the one under him. While Christ was God in the flesh, from a earthly perspective his social class was that of a Jewish carpenter and later a teacher and prophet. Christ took great abuse from his earthly authorities, whether it was the Sanhedrin or Pilot and the Romans. This is the message of 1 Peter 2:18-25 that our suffering unjustly from our authorities can bring honor to God and emulate Christ in his sufferings.
But when men apply this to themselves as husbands (the masters) of their wives and allowing their wives to abuse them – this is a misapplication of this passage in my view. Rather than sitting by and saying nothing, Husbands are called to wash their wives spiritual defects with the Word of God (Ephesians 5:25-27) and to rebuke and chasten their wives for their sins as Christ does his church in Revelation 3:19. Now will a wife always respond to her husband’s rebuke and chastening? No. But he must at least make the effort.
What I am saying is that while it is completely Scriptural and honoring to God for a wife to be a doormat to her husband, it is completely unscriptural and dishonoring to God for a man to make himself a doormat for his wife.
My personal response to your comments is that in no way do I believe that I am biblically justified to abuse my wife in any way. It is just that when my wife does not agree with my direction (that is neither immoral or illegal) she attempts to characterize it as emotional or spiritual abuse. This has functionally emasculated me in my marriage and put me in a role of submission to her authority even though she likes to pay lip service to the Bible. The so-called Christian community that I’m involved in upholds the American standards that BGR wrote about and does not accurately discern the word of God. In your situation it is incumbent upon the men of the church and a man’s family to confront a man who is actively sinning against his wife.
BGR and Jcepi1, thank you both for your responses.
Most men I’m sure wouldn’t dare take this as a license to misapply Biblical truths, but it is still concerning especially considering women ultimately aren’t given the right to protect themselves, at least not in the same way as men. I pray more men will stand up and speak out against other men who are sinning in this way. “Terrifying” is such a huge understatement for what it feels like to be at the complete mercy of someone who believes a late dinner is an infraction worthy of a beating.
Unfortunately, at least in my case, my husband secluded me from most others, especially my own family. He believed a man’s family was his own business and no one had a right to dictate to him how he was to lead his own family. He required that I wore long-sleeve tops and long skirts or dresses, but it was to cover the bruises. He pretended it was for modesty purposes, and I went along with this. One day without thinking, I pushed up my sleeves to prevent getting them dirty from cleaning up a spill at the church we attended at the time. The ladies noticed bruises on my arms, and as women are, there was talk that got back to my husband. Not a single person stepped in to help me, and things went from bad to worse.
I am ashamed to say I’m divorced from him as God does not like divorce, but the last beating he rendered caused me to miscarry. I pray God will forgive me for leaving my husband, but I could not take it any longer.
My apologies for dragging this out. Thanks again and God bless.
The Scriptures reveal that God is very much for corporal (physical) punishment. In Proverbs 23:13 we read “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die”. And in Proverbs 26:3 the Bible says “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back”. In 1 Peter 2:20 the Bible says “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”
The word “buffeted” means beaten. So God was saying if a person was beaten by their master and they deserved it there was no glory for that person with God. But if they took a beating unjustly, then their was glory for them in them emulating Christ in his unjust sufferings. And this very much applies to wives as well.
In Ephesians 5:25 the Bible commands that husbands are to love their wives as Christ love’s his church and in Revelation 3:19 Christ said to his churches that he whom he loves, he rebukes and chastens. My point is, as I have written in several articles on this blog, that domestic discipline, i.e. wife spanking, is not a violation of God’s law. I have written more on that in these articles “Does the Bible allow a husband to spank his wife?”
and “The Biblical Case for Domestic Discipline”.
Now having said all that, I do show in my articles on wife spanking and domestic discipline that a husband can go too far, just as father can go to far in spanking his children. The Exodus 21:20-21 & 26-27 show that God absolutely places limits on physical punishment. A husband or father may not do anything that risks serious or life threatening injuries to the one he is disciplining.
Also it is very possible that a husband or father could stay within the letter of the law and not do anything which risks serious or life threatening injuries and still just be using his power to discipline for his own sadistic pleasure and that may well have been the case with your husband. I have written on that sin as well in my article “Why Sadism is Unbiblical”
I’m going to preface this comment by saying, yes it absolutely is a feeling but it’s an observation I’d like some clarity on.
I understand woman, wives in particular, are not given the ability to confront their husband’s sin and that men are accountable to other men of the church body. However, this makes it seem like the church is EVER involved in one’s personal (home) life. Most Christians go to church exclusively on Wednesday and Sunday, without much of the pastoral staff taking a vested interest in the affairs of the home. How then is a man’s hypothetical sin against his spouse to be confronted if it is not known in the first place?
I am aware that some men are very good at hiding their sinful treatment of their wives. The Bible does not allow a woman to rebuke her husband for his sinful behavior because she is not his authority, but it also does not forbid her from telling another person about what her husband is doing, whether it be a pastor or deacons wife so they can discuss it with their husband or she could tell one of her family members like a father or brother. I realize that this could be abused, with the wife going and tattling on her husband for every little infraction and I would not condone that. And the Bible absolutely condemns women from being gossips and tattlers in 1 Timothy 5:13.
This is where the other men who are told of the husband’s behavior must use great discernment and judgment. They need to make a judgement call about the wife’s behavior. Does the woman have a past of making stuff up or exaggerating? Is she a gossip and a tattler who is just trying to make her husband look bad? And if they then determine that she has no such past of being those things, they need to look at the severity and frequency of the behavior on the part of the husband. Also while it is not right for a husband to go overboard in discipline, sometimes wives can omit what they did to their husbands. For instance if a woman is yelling and screaming in her husband’s face and punching on him (and I have heard of many women doing this to their husbands) and then he reacts in similar fashion, yet she omits what he did and only says what he did – we have a problem. That it is why any involvement by other men of the church or her family needs to be taken with great discretion.
And sometimes the man who is informed of this information will make a decision not to become involved after weighing all the factors I have just mentioned. Is it a perfect system? No. Will some real cases of abuse slip through? Yes.
But is the humanist/feminist system today perfect? Where “every woman must be believed”? No it is not. And many marriages and many mens lives have been shattered and destroyed as a result of the system we have today which places the erasure of any kind abuse against women or children to be its number one concern rather than the good of the family unit. Our modern system is built around the good of the individual, not the good of the institutions of marriage or the family – our system is more than willing to let marriage and the family be destroyed during their abuse witch hunts.
I understand we may not see eye-to-eye on this issue but, if this current system of “believe all women” is the problem, why then should men marry at all?
I’ll be the first to admit I am FAR more liberal than you when it comes to interpreting the scriptures, (after all, I live in California) but it appears that the only solution to this dilemma would be to do one of two things.
A) avoid marriage all-together as it has become to marred by anti-biblical rhetoric to be considered necessary in a believer’s walk with God.
B) allow the possibility for real cases of physical, mental, and even financial abuse to go unaddressed because a woman’s testimony should be based entirely on her reputation and not the severity of what she claims.
God has not rescinded his marriage mandate from Genesis 1:28 and he still commands marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:2 and 1 Timothy 5:14. Celibacy is a permission he grants for those with this special gift (1 Corinthians 7:7) so “that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction” (1 Corinthians 7:35). Man fulfill his created purpose to image God with his life (1 Corinthians 11:7) without being a husband and father. A man cannot picture the relationship of Christ to his church if his does not marry (Ephesians 5:22-29) and he cannot picture God as a father (Ephesians 6:4) without being father himself.
Yes marriage is far more riskier for men with modern abuse witch hunt courts, “believe all women all the time” and the teaching that women do not have to tolerate the least bit of mistreatment from their husbands. But that higher risk does not cancel out God’s directives for men. A man who simply avoids marriage to avoid potential hurt from a woman is like the man in the parable of the talents who buried his one talent in the ground for fear of risking it in investments and loosing it. It is cowardly and God hates cowardice, especially in men.
Should the family court system be radically altered? Yes. Unless there is rock solid proof of a man doing things to his wife or children which causes them serious bodily harm or risks their lives or solid proof of sexual molestation by the father towards his children the courts should stay out of all other situations.
But while we wait for society to either collapse under the stupidity of egalitarianism and all the other humanist isms or we take society back slowly over the next 50 to 100 years as patriarchal Christians – we must work in the system as it is and fulfill our mandate from God as men.
I want to be a wife where I will surrender completely to my husband. My life will be his – to support him in his career goals, vision and ministry. To make a home for him. To submit and obey completely (especially in the sexual area).Although it has been a struggle to accept, I want to rely completely on him for leadership, protection and provision and trust him unreservedly. So I’m still an unmarried 23 year old who hopes for a marriage like this – it could be difficult but it is what I want too! I pray that God in his grace would choose to bless me with and make me worthy of a man who would want the same in a wife as well.
Submissivevirgin’s comments resonated with me. Even in “conservative” circles there is so little understanding of what it truly means to submit and completely obey, and how that truly is the key to not only a good marriage and family but also she raises a good point – to support a man in his goals, vision and ministry.
As a man with deeply held convictions and values, and very driven to accomplish big goals, while I have seen many victories in my life, I know that God’s design is to have those goals supported and encouraged with the unique gifts of a feminine and obedient wife. There are men who want the same – but that is hard to find. For her complete surrender, he has to have the maturity and strength to completely lead and teach. To bring his wife under subjection.
It’s true, such men and women are hard to find… But i think there is a possibility of falling into a trap of wanting perfection.
No man is going to be mature enough/strong enough to perfectly love, lead and provide, similarly no woman is going to perfectly surrender herself and become an obedient, affectionate and respectful wife – but the inner desire to be so, is the first big step
Every woman must examine herself and ask – do i secretly want to control and manipulate my husband? Or do i have a genuine desire to surrender myself to him – to obey him, to not be a burden to him- but to reverence him. When our attitude is in the right place, I think then inspite of shortcomings we will eventually be able to completely surrender in action as well.
Similarly, every man must ask himself, do i want to dominate my wife just to satisfy my sinful desires… Or do i truly want to build a partnership where I lead and take control so that together(with her obedient support) my vision and goals can be realized? Where I lead and dominate not for selfish reasons but in order to protect, provide and care for her?
No man or woman can be perfect initially – but i think that’s what marriage is for, a covenant relationship where we can learn to model Christ and his Bride, the church.
There is much truth in what you said and a couple areas where I respectfully disagree.
First I agree 100% that no man will be the perfect leader he needs to be as he enters marriage, nor will any woman be the perfect submissive wife as she first enters marriages. None of us will reach perfection in this life because we are sinners. But we can have the desire to grow and be what God calls us as husbands and wives to be. In other words after decades of marriage, neither the husband or wife are perfect, but they certainly should be far closer to what God wants men and women to be in marriage as they grow over the years in their faith and marriage.
And one other thing I will say on this – I will have more articles on this in future articles on courtship. If you as a man are looking for the perfect Christian wife, a wife who has everything together in her life spiritually, emotionally and physically before you marry her – you will never marry – I can promise you that. And it goes the same for women, if you are looking for this perfect spiritual man who has everything together spiritually, emotionally and physically before marriage you will never marry either.
Now on to where I have some disagreements.
You are right that the Bible says that marriage should be a model of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:23-29). But the Bible never refers to marriage as a partnership. A partnership generally speaking is a relationship of equals where they voluntarily cooperate and do different things to reach a common goal together. Marriage is not a partnership, but rather it is a patriarchy where the man rules over his wife (Genesis 3:16) and is made to be in subjection to her husband both by him and by herself (Ephesians 5:24, 1 Peter 3:1-6, Revelation 3:19).
And finally yes I agree that a man should never uses his God given dominance over his wife to fulfill his sinful desires. But it is also untrue that a man must only use his dominance over his wife in order protect, provide and care for her. Let me give you some examples. A man can and should use his dominance over his wife to make her sexually satisfy him and ravish him as the Bible commands in Proverbs 5:18-19. Practically speaking that means a husband can make his wife have sex when she does not desire it and in ways she does not desire as long as his requests do not violate God’s law. It means he can compel her to wear what he wants her to both inside and outside the bedroom and to keep herself in a way which brings pleasure to him.
Even outside the sexual arena, a man can compel his wife to cook food as he desires it, and parent their children in accordance with his desires. As long as his desires are within the bounds of God’s law, the woman must obey the law of her husband in all these areas.
Yes, a man’s dominance over his wife is meant to facilitate his protection, his provision and his care for her – but it is also meant for much more than that. It is meant to allow him to enjoy the gift of woman that God has given to man.
It is a breath of fresh air to hear a young woman with the mindset and heart attitude that you have! I must say I have the utmost respect for your wish to be a submissive wife. I myself am 27 now, still hoping to find a woman like that, and your words give me encouragement that there are still some out there who hold by the traditions and teachings of the entire Bible.
I don’t know what what your expectations are for a man, what your ideal husband would be like, but if you will, I would like to get to know you a bit better. My email is email@example.com; if you feel lead to, I would be honored if you wanted to get to know me better.