109 My husband holds to the verse "wives listen to your husband"
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After a few years of marriage, I've secretly begun blaming my husband for my unhappiness. From that blame and unhappiness, I've found myself daydreaming about how much better life would be if we were separated or even divorced.
You see, early in my marriage I realized how strongly my husband holds to the verse "wives listen to your husbands" that even in the most minuscule everyday occurrences, like what food I should buy, if I don’t listen to him, I'm immediately labeled as a stubborn and disrespectful wife and reminded that I MUST obey him. I would often remain quiet and convinced myself that if God put that verse in the bible, it must be because that’s what I have to do whether I liked it or not. And that’s where this unhappiness began because I felt most times my husband was doing things out of his own selfish desires.

I am searching for the Lord’s counsel in scripture, but since life at home hasn’t changed, my fantasy of being divorced only gets stronger.
Is there a book, some bible verses, anything to help me shake off this horrible desire growing inside of me?


Dear Fantasizer of Being Divorced,
I am glad it’s just a fantasy you have and not a reality, however, if your husband keeps up that behavior of misapplying scripture to support dysfunctional behavior, then that fantasy might just become a reality.
Now please help me, where in the Bible did you find the text, “wives listen to your husband?” I did not bother to waist my time searching for that text, because I know it’s not in the Bible. However, if you or your husband do know of such a text in the Bible I will gladly “listen” to it.

I believe the text you are referring to is Eph 5:22, “wives submit yourself unto your own husbands as unto the Lord.” This text is often misquoted and miss-applied to suit one’s purpose. Therefore, let me provide you with a brief explanation to the text.

There are four categories of Submission mention in the Bible.
1. Citizens to the State... (Compulsion)        “Render unto Ceazar” (Lk 20:24)
2. Slaves to their Master... (Subjection)        “Obey your Master” (Col 3:22)
3. Children to their Parents... (Obedience)    “Children obey your parents..” (Eph 6:1)
4. Wives to their Husband (Spiritual)            “Submit yourselves unto your own husband…as unto the Lord” (Eph 5:22)

The first three has to do with imposed obedience: compulsion, subjection & obedience (not relating to husbands and wives). The last one (relating to husband & wife) has to do with willing submission, which is a spiritual submission “as unto the Lord.”
This kind of submission that Paul is talking about is in the context of a symbiotic respectful relationship, the husband should love his wife unto death (as Christ loves the Church) and the wife should submit to her husband (as unto the Lord). If there is no loving there should be no submitting and if there is no submitting there should be no loving. You can’t have one without the other.

If what you are saying about your husband is true, he needs therapy. Sometimes people misquote the Bible or used it out of context to cover up wrong or to practice evil. History is replete with examples of atrocities because of the covering up of wrong or the practice of evil. The Holocaust, the Genocide in Rwanda, and the Slave Trade are prime examples.

Because of the years of pent up emotion, the anger and the pain, you need some counseling yourself. In order for your marriage to heal and grow you both should get professional counseling. Show your husband this response to your question, and challenge him on the issue of “submitting”. If he wants you to submit to him, he should love you enough to go for counseling. Remember, “no submitting without loving”

God bless and thanks for your question.
Dr. Smith
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