“Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself it’s Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their own husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that in he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without sport of wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church because we are members of his body.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
Ephesians 5:22-6:1 (emphasis added)
If you glazed over that Scripture passage, I urge you to stop and read it again. Really read it, and take in the significance of those sections I italicized.
This topic of authority, and family structure can be difficult, especially for women, and even more so for the culture at large. Here’s why I bring it up: It is massively theological, Christological, and so vital to our practical day-to-day living. Don’t believe me? Here’s a real life story of this biblical truth coming into play in our family, and a beautiful moment God gave me to teach my son about submitting to my husband’s authority.
My son loves to show off his physical abilities. He’s three, so it usually consists of how fast he can run, or how far he can jump, or how high he can climb and then jump, or how well he can throw and catch a ball. This day, it was how well he can jump off of something, anything, in our house. First, it was the arm of the couch. I told him no. Second, he tried jumping off my favorite comfy chair, which is situated up against our front windows. I told him no, again. Third, he got up on the piano bench and looked at me with that question in his eyes, “Is this a no too mom?”. I told him that one was ok. His sister was out of the way, and there was nothing that he could hurt himself on if he landed weird, just clear floor. He was very proud of himself, and insisted I watch every jump off the bench.
Then, my husband came home. I went to finished getting dinner prepped. I hear my son say with delight, “Daddy, watch me!”. Daddy responded with, “Oh, no, buddy not off the bench.” Instantly, my son is crushed and starts bawling. My husband is confused at why he’s so upset. He tries to pick up our son to explain to him that Daddy didn’t think it was safe, because the bench creaks and wiggles a bit too much for that activity. Our son would not even listen, but insisted, “I need Mommy!”
Alright, I had to make a choice. Do I defend my son’s confusion? Do I get defensive over my parenting decision that my husband suddenly comes in a deems unsafe? Honestly, I took two seconds to wash the potatoes off my hands and pray.
This is what, by God’s grace, I decided to do instead: teach my son about God.
I took my son aside, sat him on my knee, and told him this:
“Hey, buddy. I know this is confusing. Mommy said yes, but Daddy said no. You know what? Mommy and Daddy don’t always agree. When we disagree, we go with what Daddy says. Let me tell you why, because God made Daddy the boss. Mommy is the boss while Daddy is at work, but when Daddy is here, God says Daddy is the boss. God is the big boss, so what God says is what we do. God gave Daddy the job of boss because God loves us and wants us to be safe. That’s Daddy’s job: to love us, and help us stay safe. That’s why we do what Daddy says when Mommy and Daddy disagree.”
God softened my little boy’s heart! He listened, he understood, he went and hugged his Daddy, and he didn’t jump off the bench any more.
It was a “wow God” parenting moment. Only by God’s grace did 9-month-pregnant me have the brain power to come up with all those words. Only by God’s grace did my three-year-old boy stop crying and listen to my words. Only by God’s grace did my son then choose to obey.
As parents, and as a couple, my husband and I are NOT perfect. Not even close. I’d like to tell you that the rest of our night went wonderfully, but that wouldn’t be true. With kids as young as ours, every minute is brand new, and often unrelated to the last minute. They are incredibly forgetful, but so am I.
I forget I’m called to live for the Lord, which is why it’s hard to submit to my husband. I forget God is good, which is why I worry about tomorrow’s struggles. I forget that “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22-23a), which is why I dread the morning after a hard day of parenting.
Pray with me that we don’t forget who God is, and remember that His ways are best.
Pray with me for opportunities to talk to our children about who God is, and instruct them to walk in His ways with us.
Pray with me words of thanksgiving for the steadfast love, mercy, and grace God gives us as we parent our children, love our spouses, and serve Him in all things.
Pray with me words of praise to our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ for who He is, and His work of redemption that sets us free to obey Him.
Soli Deo Gloria!