In the context of Colossians 3:18-19, submission in marriage is a reciprocal act and required of both husbands and wives. In this particular scripture, the apostle Paul’s instruction to a wife centers on the obligation she has to submit to her husband; however, he makes it clear that her primary obligation is to first and foremost follow and practice the teachings of Jesus.

A wife’s submission to her husband should always be contingent upon due respect. Her act of submission should never place her in psychological, physical, or spiritual harm, or put her in legal jeopardy.

But Paul also instructs the husband to practice submission. When a husband practices submission, his requirement is to love his wife as defined in 1 Corinthians 13, and to never abuse his headship by being harsh with his spouse.

Contrary to many distorted interpretations on the concept of submission, the most important thing to understand is that submission is a mutual and reciprocal act required by both spouses. When this is understood, a husband’s ascribed headship in the family becomes less about the exercise of authority and more about nurturing and leadership.

In a healthy marriage, there is no room for authoritarian suppression or control. And, if you want to build a marriage that models true Biblical teachings, then both you and your spouse need to understand that real submission is reflected in a life lived in service to one another. A wife’s submission to her husband should always be contingent upon due respect.

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Some things to do for the week

Day 2: Reflect on the message and scripture reading; journal if you like
Day 3: Pray for or meditate on what you think you need
Day 4: Discuss the message and scripture with your spouse
Day 5: Plan how you can best respond to the message
Day 6: Rest; don’t think about the message or the scripture; listen in the stillness
Day 7: Recommit yourself to your marriage

Applicable scripture listed under Discussion References.