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Austin Cline

Wives Need to Learn to Submit

By April 10, 2006

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American women are getting too uppity, paying more attention to cultural norms instead of what God wants. And what does God want for them? God makes it clear in the Bible that wives are to submit to their husbands - no ifs, ands, or buts. Husbands have the responsibility to lead their families. If wives do not submit, they are being ungodly and disobeying God - like what Eve did in Eden.

That, at least, is the perspective of Danny Akin, vice president for academic administration and dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It's also the perspective of many other conservative Christians. Baptist Press News quotes Danny Akin as saying:

“If you look at Ephesians closely,” Akin said, “there are actually more verses that relate to the role of the husband and his responsibility than ... the wife. My responsibility is not to make my wife submit to me. It is to love her as Christ loved the church. He died for the church. Do I love my wife that much? That is an awesome responsibility. I’m certain that few wives would have trouble submitting to their husband’s God-given leadership if they were loved like that.” ... Akin said wives could honor their husbands through their submission to his leadership and by their admiration of him as a godly man.

Five needs a husband has of his wife are: The need for her admiration and respect. The need for sexual fulfillment. The need for home support. The need for an attractive wife (“Ladies, this flows from your inner beauty.”). The need for you to be his best friend.

So, there you have it. It’s time women learned their place in the general order of things and get busy making themselves attractive for their husbands. According to Aiken, if you do that then your family will be happy and divorce-proof. You just have to make sure that you obey God!

Personally, I think that Danny Akin doesn't understand modern society. I don't know any women who would give up their independence and autonomy simply because a man is willing to die for them. True, it's good if a man is willing to sacrifice his life for his wife and children, but that can't be used as a club to guilt women into becoming subservient and second-class members of the marital relationship. If a man is unwilling to be a partner with his wife, as oppose to her leader, then his willingness to die for her doesn't mean as much.

I would also go on to say that the "five needs" which Danny Akin lists are not the needs which men today have. They may have been the most popular responses during the 1950s and 1960s, but they have become completely outdated in modern America. Today, men need women who can pull their own weight: emotionally, psychologically, and financially. Men need women who can be full partners in the marriage, who can be their own independent persons with their own lives, interests, and thoughts.


Quick Poll: Is marriage better when wives submit to the leadership of their husbands?

  1. Yes, male leadership is the natural order of things. Women can't lead in marriages or otherwise.
  2. No, a marriage should be a partnership of equals.
  3. I don't know.
  4. I don't care.
Click an option to vote, or View Current Poll Results


Christian Right & Christian Nationalism:

Mrs. Midwest(1)

If both captains of the ship are trying to apddle in different directions, the ship won’t go anywhere.
I am a Southern Baptist, a mother, and a wife. I greatly enjoy fulfilling my duties as such. I love nourishing my family with home cooked meals rather than eating greasy take-out nightly. I enjoy working with my daughter to clean the house as it gives us time to bond and allows me to teach her responsibility. I enjoy looking nice for my husband. I am embarrassed when I go out in public with aquaintances who wear sweatpants that are ripped and have stains. I do not submit to my husband out of fear or a feeling of inequality. I submit to him out of love. God put him in my life. I trust God, and I trust him to do the right thing. Why would I marry a man and have a child with him if I didn’t trust him?

January 11, 2008 at 3:55 pm

If both captains of the ship are trying to apddle in different directions, the ship won’t go anywhere.

What sort of psychology is required to assume that two people can’t compromise and work on going in one direction together? My answer is that it requires a very authoritarian-minded personality.

I do not submit to my husband out of fear or a feeling of inequality. I submit to him out of love.

So, your husband doesn’t love you because he doesn’t submit to you?

God put him in my life. I trust God, and I trust him to do the right thing. Why would I marry a man and have a child with him if I didn’t trust him?

Well, since he doesn’t submit to you then he must not trust you. Why would you marry a man and have a child with him if he doesn’t trust you to be as much in charge as he is?

January 13, 2008 at 5:12 pm

My husband is forcing me to go to his church. He says that if I don’t do this then I do not have a proper relationship with God. I feel like I’m in a trapped relationship. The bible tells me to submit to my husband. So in other words its saying the man can tell his wife to do whatever he wants.. which takes away the wife’s free will to be an individual. I’ve grew up this way and am scared to not go to my husbands church because of his obtrusive behavior.

February 3, 2008 at 11:25 pm

This whole article lacks the proper Biblical context and the proper context that Akin was speaking on. Austin, Men and women have equal roles and equally bear the image of God, but they have DIFFERENT roles and DIFFERENTLY bear the image of God. Thus your logic of trust lacks the correct context. Yes, women are called to submit which may be difficult, well men are called to lead…which is difficult. Dont get hung up on the word submit, the way it is used in contemporary society is not the way it is intended to be used. Submission does not mean to be inferior. Christ submitted to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane but through scripture we know that Jesus is equal to the Father (John 10:30). Jessica, Its also important to highlight the responsibility of the man to take into account the feelings of his wife, if he is not than he is not loving his wife as Christ loves the Church, therefore he is not fulfilling his role. But it is important that you both come to a consensus about a body of believers to be involved with, though it is not a part of self-sacrificial leadership to simply demand that you go to a certain church against you will. I hope this was encouraging!

March 10, 2008 at 11:15 pm

Austin, Men and women have equal roles and equally bear the image of God, but they have DIFFERENT roles and DIFFERENTLY bear the image of God.

People used to say such things about different races, but today we recognize such rationalizations as mere excuses for racism. Saying that women merely have “different” roles and that those roles just happen to be subordinate to men is a way to excuse and justify misogyny.

March 11, 2008 at 6:09 pm

Andrew said “Submission does not mean to be inferior.”

George Orwell had one of his characters say something similar in 1984; “Six means eighteen, two plus two equals five, war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.”

“Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness” and in Animal Farm “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

I believe the principles which Orwell illuminated are similar to what Andrew believes with his whole “loving” heart.

March 14, 2008 at 2:47 pm
Ray Birnbaum(7)

You deserve to be treated as badly as your husband can treat you if you are dumb enough to believe such nonsenst.

The bible is a collection of mythological fairy tales written by men, and that is why it says you should submit to a man.

Write your own bible and have it say a man should submit to a woman, since he wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a woman.

When someone asks where your bible comes from, say it was divinely inspired by your Goddess in the sky.

When a man asks you to prove this Goddes exists, say ” I will conjure up my Goddess to prove my bible is correct, when you conjur up your God to prove your bible is valid.”

Until he does, tell him to go pound sand and do his own cooking and laundry.

March 14, 2008 at 6:16 pm

Yes, there’s nothing like religion to make an atheist man start marching in support of women and gays.

It is terribly sad that so many women, like Mrs Midwest above, are willing to do all the dirty work to keep themselves and their daughters under the heels of their husbands and fathers. You know that your prison is effective when the inmates voluntarily keep themselves locked in it.

March 14, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Women get pregnant and have children. Men do not. That is the only real difference.

March 14, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Mrs. Midwest is right.

For those of you whom comment on such a case and say she shouldn’t be doing what she is doing, you are sadly missing the point.

God’s greatest commandment is to “Love one another, and love you neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus came to this earth to serve and not to be served. Her intentions and heart are completely on target with the goodness that God wants us to display to each other. She is putting the needs of her husband first, her childrens needs FIRST, knowing that her labor isn’t in vain and isn’t to please them, but to please the Lord.

My heart grieves for those of you who don’t know Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Don’t you know how much He loves you? And that all of the things which you think will make you happy – that seem to give you freedom – are only chains of bondage.

I myself know that. I lived for MYSELF before I knew Him, I thought that if I did what I thought was GOOD that I was and okay person. Until I realized that as I continually tried to fill the hole inside me with relationships, partying, and a mess of other things. I always was left empty.

This woman looks to God because she knows that she is complete in Him now. She submits to her husband out of reverence for the Lord. And if you would read your bibles, you would understand that when God asks us to submit – he asks both the husband and wife to “submit to one another as to the Lord, ” -Ephesians 5:21 and in 1 Peter 5:5 “…be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility.”

I plead with you all – to look at God’s plan for serving Him – and you will see as we give of ourselves and put others needs before our own – we GAIN tremendously – we don’t lose a thing.

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 15:26

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.
Galatians 5:13

For those of you whom don’t know you’re maker – please give your heart to Christ. He came to give LIFE – LIFE more abundantly. He can show you want is actually good – not the false sense that we have as humans. He is perfect and Good. Trust in Him – try it – and you WILL see your life transform. And you to can have joy and a peace in serving your family and others like this woman.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

September 15, 2008 at 4:49 pm

I think I love you for writing this article. I couldn’t be more disgusted at the complacency and fear of christians.

“the dingy, nasty memory makes Winston desperate to have an enjoyable, authentic erotic experience. He thinks that the Party’s “real, undeclared purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act.” Sex can be seen as the ultimate act of individualism, as a representation of ultimate emotional and physical pleasure, and for its roots in the individual’s desire to continue himself or herself through reproduction. By transforming sex into a duty, the Party strikes another psychological blow against individualism: under Big Brother’s regime, the goal of sex is not to reproduce one’s individual genes, but simply to create new members of the Party.”
-sparknotes analysis of chapters 4 and 5 of 1984

March 27, 2009 at 11:20 am
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