What Does It Mean to Be a Submissive Woman in Modern Times?

I was truly disheartened to read a recent study from the Barna Group that said that the divorce rate among Christians is nearly equal to that of non-Christians.  I fully believe that one of the main causes of this is that women have forsaken their role as the wife and mother that God outlined for us.  “Submissive” now has a negative ring, causing women to cringe and run the opposite direction.  Most people picture a submissive wife as a woman with a soft, frail voice who runs around at her husband’s beck and call while he plops down in the recliner and hollars for another drink.

A true submissive wife is a strong, intelligent, resourceful, hard-working (not to mention patient!) woman.  She embraces the differences that God designed between man and woman and uses her skills to the glory of God and the benefit of her husband and children.  She is the embodiment of Godly love and praised by all around (Proverbs 31:31).

The best way to see what God really expects out of a wife, to lay the negative connotation to rest and see the ideals that God desires, is to take a deep look at exactly what He said and to dissect how He meant for us to apply it to our lives.  In Proverbs 31:10-31 King Lemuel passes on the words of his mother as she describes the “perfect wife”.  In this study we will break down the passage and see how her words can be applied to our lives.  We will see how strong the submissive woman truly is.

*all passages come from the Holman Christian Standard Bible

Proverbs 31:10: “Who can find a capable wife?  She is far more precious than jewels.”

In this context “capable” can also be said like “wife of good quality or character”.  Right off the bat we are told that a good wife is extremely valuable.  In fact, she is MORE valuable than jewels and there are not many things that exceed the value of a diamond yet a “capable” wife readily does.  After starting with this teaser, the author then spends most of the next twenty verses telling us exactly what it takes to be considered “capable”.

Proverbs 31:11: “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good.”

Because TRUST is mentioned first, it tells us that that is an important aspect of the marriage. The ideal wife never puts herself in a compromising situation; she is honest with her husband at all times so that he never has a reason to question anything about her.  She also does everything she can to take care of him, and make sure that he has what he needs.  The use of the word “good” tells me something.  It tells me that the Lord desires for us to have “good” things, and not just to scrape by.  That there’s nothing wrong with having a nice ride or flat screen tv, as long as we are good stewards of our money and have not purchased those things at the expense of necessities (like, say, oh…food or diapers or electricity).

We must keep in mind that the ideal woman was not created overnight, nor was she a perfect android who kept house like June Cleaver.  She was a woman who strived to do right by God, and her husband, and in doing so brought blessings upon her and her house.  Submission is not an easy road, nor is it a popular one, but it is the road that I have found to be more satisfying than any other.

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