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A strong, humble, amazing woman wrote to me recently. She’d read my viral post Let Your Husband Be A Man and it spoke directly to her heart, but also left her with questions. Her husband had made a decision that she staunchly opposed and she was seeking Godly counsel about what to do. I could tell she was caught between a rock and a hard place, and her sincere heart-cry was to do the biblical, right thing—even if it was going to be uncomfortable. I wrote her back with the same suggestions that I’m offering you today. This isn’t going to be a post about if you should submit or why you should submit to your husband. Perhaps I’ll tackle that controversial topic another day. For now, I just want share HOW you can simply walk it out and maintain a peaceful home when your husband makes a decision you completely disagree with.
Real quick– I will tell you right here and now, that if you are in a relationship where you are being verbally, emotionally, physically, and/or sexually abused, now IS NOT the time for submission. Please read this post instead. I have a very different and specific message for you.
Listen, I wasn’t always the woman I am today. In fact, in many ways I was the opposite. I used to have some very different values about marriage, womanhood, and faith until I became sold out for Jesus in 2010. I did not grow up having a personal relationship with Christ, I didn’t read the whole bible until I was 27, and I spent my young adulthood as a self-proclaimed (borderline militant) feminist.
But then God intervened. Big Time. And my whole paradigm shifted.
So you can trust me when I say, I REALLY understand why the topic of submission is so hard for many women. It was for me, too. Perhaps like me you’ve been caught in the fray of your own personality- and even beliefs- feeling squelched in the name of respecting your husband and honoring God. But I’ve come out on the other side of that inner battle with such a different perspective. I’m so free now. Free from what pop culture or “religion” says, free from strife in my home, and free from myself. I get to be led by the Spirit of God in all of my relationships.
If you really struggle with this, as I did, I encourage you to seek God for wisdom on your own journey to honoring your man. He will guide you tenderly and personally– and give you revelation that will set you free, too.
He promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Meanwhile, I want to give you some practical tools to help you navigate the waters of marriage when submission is hard. The very first key is to shift your focus from thinking about whatever it is you’re disagreeing about over to the things of God. The enemy loves to ensnare us in offense and distraction so we take our eyes off of Jesus. Don’t fall for his trap. Focus resolutely on the Lord, His Word, and the condition of your heart.
Here’s what I suggest:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Pray for your husband, yourself, and everyone else involved without agenda. Just lift everyone up to God and ask Him to bring forth His perfect will in everyone’s life. Pray for blessings and grace, healing and salvation over each person. These are the purest forms of prayer you can offer up.
2. Honor your husband.
“The wife must respect her husband.” –Ephesians 5:33b
If you have a respectful relationship with your husband and you often discuss issues and make decisions as partners, then state your case. BUT– do it respectfully, unemotionally, and logically. Plan your words in advance rather than responding impulsively in the moment.
It’s also important that you pay attention to your attitude, tone, facial expressions, and body language when you communicate. The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” applies here. HOW you communicate will mean just as much, if not more, than WHAT you say. The more respectfully, succinctly, and thoughtfully you present your opinion, the better he will receive and consider it. Bring your ideas to him with soft, gentle eyes and a relaxed countenance.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”
If you’ve already stated your case and he’s made it clear that he’s not changing his mind—it’s time to lay it down. Yes, even if you disagree. If it’s a serious matter, from here the battle should be fought in humble, pure-hearted prayer, not in the flesh.
Don’t fall into the trap of constantly bringing the issue up, don’t pester him about it, and find peace where you’re at. After all—none of us want to be the quarrelsome wife. We want to be the wife more valuable than rubies.
“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”
Can I be real for a sec? This may feel a bit harsh—but I believe it needs to be said:
This is NOT the time to give your husband the silent treatment, sulk, or withhold sex to make a statement. So many women use these “silent punishments” as a way to manipulate their men into complying with what they want. They defend themselves by saying they didn’t argue with their husband or explicitly disobey. I think we’re better than this. I believe the mature woman can and should rise above this behavior. And if we’re interested in obeying God and having our prayers answered—we must rise above it. I love you enough to tell you the truth: there’s a better way.
“Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” -1 Corinthians 7:5 (emphasis mine)
“…When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…” –James 4:3
At the end of the day, our circumstances don’t control our happiness or our inner peace, our personal relationship with God does. Take the energy you might otherwise spend on trying to change your husband’s mind and redirect towards seeking God.
If something needs to change, let God work it out. Let God speak to and guide your husband. He can absolutely get your husband’s undivided attention if He wants to or needs to. He is the Creator of the Universe, after all.
For now, win your husband over with sacrificial respect, love, and honor. I read a book on this many years ago that kicked my butt, but taught me so much and really improved my relationship with my husband. It’s called The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands by Laura Schlessinger. Not an easy read, but a life-changing one.
3. Seek God with everything you’ve got.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Now is the time to press in to the Lord and allow Him to carry you through this season. It’s a life-changing experience to learn that He is truly all you need. Take advantage of your current difficulty, frustration, overwhelm, fear, or any other negative emotion and take it all before the throne of grace where you WILL find mercy in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16). This is between you and your Heavenly Father. And He’s been eagerly and passionately waiting to meet you in the secret place to be your everything.
Don’t ever look to a church or a Pastor for your salvation or your spiritual fulfillment.
Sunday church is more ornamental than anything else. It’s the day that we get to enjoy fellowship with other believers, but it is NOT going to lead us down the narrow path to salvation, nor is it where we should get all of our spiritual food.
My personal relationship with God is walked out daily by spending dedicated time reading my bible, praying, and worshiping God with songs of praise. And yours must be, too.
You are called to so much more than any pastor could lead you into, Friend! God wants intimate time to talk to you directly, teach you, and give you revelation via His Holy Spirit. Rather than looking to church to do any of this, go after God with everything you’ve got and make it your mission to hear His voice above anything else.
4. Work on You.
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
-2 Corinthians 3:18
If I could only give you one piece of advice for submitting, even when you disagree with your husband, it would be this: ask God to purify your heart and lead you into peace– and don’t stop asking until it’s done. Let the cry of your heart be that God would lead you into a level of healing you’ve never experienced before.
The last thing I want is for you to become bitter on this subject or any other. And in our culture today, I’m deeply concerned for the church. Jesus Christ wants and deserves a pure-hearted bride. He died for her. We owe it to Him to seek a pure heart and a cleansed soul.
The fact is that God may not change our circumstances. If He doesn’t, all that remains is how we choose to respond to them. We can be angry, annoyed, and complain to our husbands until they cave and do what we want– but how does that glorify God and His work in us?
The alternative is we can yield to our husbands and choose to spend our energy on pursuing intimacy with God and peace where we are.
I, for one, am more concerned with my heart attitude towards God and others while dealing with difficult circumstances rather than my circumstances themselves. It’s a much happier place. I guarantee I spent many years railing against everything I didn’t like and it got me nowhere good.
Friend, I hope this helps! I’m sending it to you with so much hope and prayer. You are absolutely precious and I pray that God will use this season to lead you into the very powerful plans He has laying ahead for you.
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