Kirk Cameron’s comments about women submitting to their husbands have been all over the news and social media. There has been a firestorm of chatter on both sides of the issue. Does Cameron have a point, or is he totally misguided?
According to the Christian Post interview, Cameron stated,
“Wives are to honor and respect and follow their husband’s lead, not to tell their husband how he ought to be a better husband. When each person gets their part right, regardless of how their spouse is treating them, there is hope for real change in their marriage.”
Cameron has long professed his Christian faith, so his stance on wives submitting to their husbands shouldn’t come as a shock to those of us who are familiar with him and his recent marriage event, “Love Worth Fighting For.” Even so, many have been shocked by his candor. I think his most inflammatory statement is “…regardless of how their spouse is treating them…”
That’s a doozy.
Cameron goes on to say, “A lot of people don’t know that marriage comes with instructions. And, we find them right there in God’s word.”
So, what exactly does the Bible say about submission in marriage?
The most pointed verses can be found in Ephesians 5:21-33:
“Submit yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Yes, it clearly says, “…wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands..,” however, many pass right over the verses stated directly before this declaration. Verse 21 states, “Submit yourselves to one another in the fear of God.”
That’s a higher calling for both husbands and wife.
It starts with mutual submission out of reverence for God. Click below for more on this.
Therefore, if a husband and wife don’t revere God and submit their hearts to one another FIRST, the other verses that follow will not play out as God intended. If there is not mutual “heart submission” on both parts, the husband could take the verse “husband is the head of the wife” and abuse it. And, wives could become very resentful of this, and both partners would naturally end up in a legalistic, loveless marriage.
You might even know someone with this kind of marriage, and you want to run the other way. But, God didn’t intend for marriage to be a terrible “life sentence”; He created marriage to be lifelong commitment of love–a communion of souls.
If we really take in these verses, there is a clear theme throughout these words. God calls us to LOVE each other with a self-sacrificing kind of love. A love that sees no exit. A love that respects and reveres. A love that is unconditional and binding in every way. A love that transcends social norms and cultural trends. A love that promotes oneness and harmony.
That’s a beautiful kind of love. That’s a love worth fighting for with everything that we have. And, yet, many of us hate the thought of “submitting” to our spouse or even seeking his/her approval on matters because we’re too prideful or we’ve been burned in the past. Click on the blog below for more on this.
Submission is more about humility than anything else. If our marriage is going to work, we must humble ourselves to God and one another. In fact, we won’t experience the mystery of oneness in our marriage until we do this.
I don’t particularly agree with the tone and word choice of Cameron’s statements about submission, but I do agree that Christians, including myself, need to pay close attention to what the Bible says about marriage. God created marriage, and He provided some guidelines about it in the Word. This isn’t something we should ignore or take lightly.
How much better will our marriage be when we surrender it to God and do our best to love and respect our spouse? What if we thought more about how we can serve our spouse than what our spouse has or has not done for us? What if we both approached one another humbly and with honesty? How different would things be in our marriage?
Maybe…just maybe, our marriages would look more like what God intended them to be. And, what a blessing that would be for us, our children, and all those around us.