In his letter to the Colossians Paul simply said, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” (Col. 3:18). Despite the rise of the feminist movement, the Bible remains clear and authoritative on the role of women in marriage. This biblical command is not a demand that all women in general need to submit to any man they come across. Sadly, some men believe that this ought to occur. That is not what this text says. He is addressing wives which indicates that it is a reference to married women.
The evangelical feminist will try to redefine this, making it refer to mutual submission (Click here for an excellent article by Wayne Grudem). What does it mean to “submit“? It means for the wife to line up under the leadership of her husband. This is done in such a way that she has an attitude of respect (Eph. 5:33) and the action of obedience (1 Pet. 3:5-6). It is the recognition of the one in whom God has placed the responsibility and authority of leadership. This kind of submission flows from a desire that wants to honour Christ. A submissive woman is a wife who lines up under the leadership of her husband and supports him. When it comes to making a final decision, she will comply because she knows that her husband has been given the authority to lead from the Lord. This does not mean that a wife cannot share her opinion, nor does it imply that a husband and wife cannot jointly make decisions. Because a lot of the time a man might be headstrong about going in a certain direction, but as he discusses it with his wife he discovers that his idea wasn’t that great. There is wisdom in that. Scripture doesn’t eliminate the mutual discussion of a husband and wife. A godly husband will never squash the opinions of his wife, instead he will listen to her and discuss matters with her. It is not about a husband talking down to his wife and shutting down all her ambitions and opinions. However, he must lead.
Are there any occasions in which a wife should not submit to her husband? If her husband would demand of her to disobey the clear teaching of the word of God, it would be her duty to honour Christ by not submitting to her husband (Acts 5:29). That must be done in a gracious manner as a godly wife will not celebrate in this and flaunt her lack of submission to her husband.
What it the motivating factor in all this? It “is fitting in the Lord” (Col. 3:18). That is to say, this is the way God wants it. It is what the Lord has determined in His blueprint for marriage and this is how a wife displays the supremacy of Jesus Christ in marriage.