I have found that the subject of submission has been quite misunderstood and abused for a long time. I recently taught a Marriage and Family class and while I spoke to the men about loving their wives, a married gentleman made a comment that was quite insensitive. He said, “Everything you have said is correct but in this day and age, we as husbands have to teach our wives some lessons because they lack respect. We have to make them respect us”. I replied by asking him, “So you want your wife to be scared of you?”, and he said “Yes. That’s the only way it would work”. You can imagine the response of the class at that point. Majority of the class disagreed with him and everyone wanted to air their opinion.
When I was able to calm the class down, I reminded them of 1 John 4:18, which tells us among other things, that perfect love expels all fear. It’s casts out all fear. So, where there is fear, there cannot be love. It’s true that we wives, must submit and give you respect; yes! However, we should never come to the point of being afraid of or frightened by our husbands. The truth is this; if your wife submits to you out of fear or because she feels threatened by you, you are going about it the very wrong way and you can never have positive results in your marriage like that. That gentleman felt like the best way to get his wife to submit to him was by force but submission should always be done willingly. That scripture goes on to tell us that… ‘If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.’
I always like to remind husbands, those who claim to be Christians, that you are a picture of Christ to your wife (Ephesians 5:25): therefore, your love towards her should be perfect! No excuses. The respect and reverence from your wife has to be earned and not taken by force; it needs to be done willingly and cheerfully even, otherwise she would never give you her best and you both will keep fighting against each other. If you have been forcing her, I strongly believe that the Holy Spirit needs to deepen your understanding of what love and submission in marriage, are really all about. Ask Him with sincerity of heart and He would show you.
The Bible admonishes us to love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins. So… show her deep love and affection. I’m not saying she is perfect and I’m not saying you will never be offended or upset by some of her actions. I’m saying you have to keep exhibiting God’s nature to her, if you want the best in her to come out and if you want her respect and reverence for you to be natural. Remember that you are meant to protect and defend her, not be one of her attackers fault finders. So stop trying to prove to her that you are the boss and be friendly with her. Let her have fun with you, relax! Change your approach and you will see God’s best for your marriage come alive. You may not like what I’m telling you but there is no controversy; if there is fear from your wife, you are not loving her correctly.