What is the use and does it really matter? I would watch my Mom serve my Dad a meal and think to myself, he is being really lazy and making Mom do extra work. One day I approached my Mom and asked her why she would serve my father when he had two feet and was capable of doing it himself. She told me because she loved him so much and wanted to make his life a little more relaxing and be helpful. When I marry, will I be willing enough to serve my husband with no questions asked or will I put up a fuss? It all has to do with submission and how we incorporate it into our lives. Women should submit to Cod and their husbands, but in the process they can keep their own identity.
In the beginning all started with the submission of Adam and Eve to Cod and each other in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, death, suffering, pain, heartache, and more came to be common in the lives of humans.
Cain and Abel were the first children and Cain murdered his brother. God tells children to respect their parents for it pleases the Lord (Col. 3:20). Respect requires listening to the rules, good judgment, and submission. Cain didn't like that his brother was the favored one and had to be second in line when it came to gaining the respect of the Lord (Gen. 4:4, 5). Throughout history there has been story after story of people who didn't submit to the Lord. So the question we should be asking is, who did submit to their husbands and the Lord?
Hadassah was a young girl who lived with her Uncle Mordecai due to the death of her mother and father (Esther 2:7). A decree went out for all the beautiful maidens to be summoned to the palace for the possibility of being chosen as queen (Esther 2:8). As a young woman I would fear the king wouldn't pick me, then leaving me for the rest of my days in the second house of concubines. Esther went to the palace and Hegai liked her out of all the women. He sped up her purification time, gave her seven maids, and put her in the best apartment in the house of women (Esther 2:9). If someone was in my care that was behaving bad and giving me a hard time, questioning every move, after a while I wouldn't want to spend any time with that person. I can just imagine Esther trying to be helpful and make Hegai's daily chores lighter. She probably also helped women who were homesick or depressed. She was submitting to God's will that she be in the palace to be chosen as queen and also to her future husband through his decree. The king found favor with her and crowned Esther queen (Esther 2:17). She was able to be a witness to her king and husband but wouldn't have ever been able to do so if she had not been submissive. God wants to bless His children but they need to be obedient and submit to His will.
Another young woman who submitted to her Lord and husband was Ruth. She married outside her faith and didn't have any children by her first husband. When her husband and brother-in-law died her mother-in-law decided to return to her home land of Judah (Ruth 1:7). Naomi told her daughters to return to their homes and enjoy life. Orpah did return but Ruth told Naomi she would never leave her. Ruth made the God of Naomi her's and promised to go wherever she went (Ruth 1:16). When Ruth arrived in Bethlehem she worked the fields to provide for Naomi because there was no man to do so. Naomi got the idea for Ruth to marry Boaz instead of the other relative, but that meant that Ruth needed to follow the directions Naomi gave. Ruth could have argued and hesitated but she trusted Naomi and did as she instructed. God used the situation and out of it came the union of Ruth and Boaz who were in the lineage of a king (Ruth 4:17). Ruth submitted to her mother-in-law and God, because she did follow directions she was blessed and is one of the four women named in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew.
God has given guidelines for both men and women about submission. Ephesians 5:22, 23, 25, 28, 31 instruct, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is of the church. ... In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."
God tells how a home should be and who is the head. Volume 6 of the SDA Bible Commentary states "The submission enjoined upon the wife is of a kind that can be given only between equals. The wife should see the relation to her husband as a reflection of the relationship to Christ" (p.1036). The Commentary tells us for verse 23 that the husband should protect and sustain his wife and family, if there are to be no questions about who is the head he must be as Christ was to his church (1036). In verse 25 the Commentary states " the husband is not to give a command, but to love making a partnership and not a dictatorship. A true husband never utters rude commands. His love will find expression in a variety of ways. It will be given in words of understanding and affection. The husband will properly provide for the wife's temporal support; he will do everything possible to assure her happiness; he will give her every honor. The husband is to imitate Christ, giving up personal pleasures and comforts to obtain his wife's happiness, standing by her side in the hour of sickness.
Christ gave Himself for the church because she was in desperate need; likewise the husband will give himself for the salvation of his wife, ministering to her spiritual needs, and she to his, in a spirit of mutual love" (1036-37). Both husband and wife have important functions in a marriage that require love and devotion to each other. In a way the husband has the larger weight and is responsible for the wife's well being while she is to respect, support and love him. There need to be an essential unity and be headed in the same direction in a sense of goals, interests and ideals (1037).
When God mapped out marriage he designed it to be a lifelong bond between a man and a woman, and any society that treats it lightly is planning its own demise (1038). The family is the center of the universe and if it is ripped apart our world will crumble. God gave us an outline but the question is are we doing as he instructed? Why is our society in such upheaval and straining at the seams? We need to ask God to teach us to do his will (Ps. 143:10) and be willing to take the cup God has for us even if we don't want it, we must be willing (Matt. 26:39). In James 4:7 the best advise is given, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." God wants to be an active part of our lives but that requires submitting to his laws and his plan. Submission was a part of the Garden of Eden and needs to be a part of us now here on earth. An element of the plan is for someone to be head of the home, responsible and accountable to God for all that was done.
To answer the question in the beginning, yes I plan on serving my husband to the best of my ability because he was the one ordained by God to take care of me and is responsible for all that happens in his household. Being submissive to God and their husbands as in Esther and Ruth's story, they were women used by God and still remained unique, their own person. Women can enrich a home by obeying God's law and still be themselves, they are now part of a unit that can't be severed and is blessed by the Lord.
Shelly M. Rios is a religion student at Southern University in Collegedale, Tennessee.