Leadership and Submission

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Anonymous (not verified)
Leadership and Submission

I'd like to share some personal thoughts concerning the topic of marriage, specifically around the concept of the wife submitting to the husband and the husband being the leader of the family. We are fairly new to the concept of christian polygyny, and I by no means pretend to understand all the complexities of life in this area. We have made numerous observations in our journey to this point. This concept is one of the central themes that come up around polygamy. The most often quoted scripture is this: Ephesians 5:22-33 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Emphasis is often give to the two simple concepts of "wives submit" and "husbands lead", But I see something much deeper in this scripture. I see cause and effect. let me explain... The foundational theme here is that husband love their wives as Christ loves the church. Everything in the family depends on this. Even the submission of the wives depends on this to a large extent. The wives will submit when the husbands love them as christ loves the church. cause and effect. it is the love of the husband, the total dedication, selfless giving, total death to personal desires of the husband that draws the wife into submission. I know this becasue that is how christ loves the church. Jesus never demanded anyone follow him. His leadership was based totally on example, respectable behavior, followed by invitation. He never told the disciples to "follow me because scripture demands it". Rather, he lives a life they wanted to emulate, he drew them in with his selfless love and service to them, and encouraged them to "follow me as i follow the father in heaven". This is how christ loves the church, so much that he takes time out of his short life here to wash their feet. Think about that.. the eternal god of the universe, creator of all things that are... here on earth for a short few years, and he takes an evening, one of only a thousand or so of ministry, and spends that evening washing feet. THAT is service, love, commitment, dedication. That is how husbands are to love their wives. So cause and effect... IF a husband truly loves his wife, daily, as jesus loves the church... then submission of the wife to husband is usually not an issue. The husband usually only needs to demand submission when he has failed in his duty to love the wife. I say this through personal observation. The husbands love must come first, followed by submission. How does this relate to polygyny? Thats an interesting question... Before introducing a new wife, or the concept of taking a new wife, a foundational question is.. does the husband love his wife as christ loves the church? Does he have personal ambitions, personal desires, wants? does he WANT another wife for his personal reasons? does the wife he choose fit his desires first? If so.. is he truly loving the first wife as christ loves the church? Jesus had no personal ambition. zero, zip. His life was all about those put under his care. Every minute of every day was centered on how to best help them. That is our example. It is all too easy to "fall in love" with another woman, invite her to join a family, and rely on "wives must submit" to force the first wife to accept it. Is this Jesus loving the church? How much better to spend our days as husbands loving our wife and family to the point where SHE will want to share our love with someone else in need? How much better if the first wife helps choose the additional wives, being a partner to the husband in expanding the family? How much better to lay aside our manly desires, and look at / serve the family we have as jesus looked at / served his disciples? I am not criticizing anyone, I am just pointing out that, the husband must FIRST love his wife as Jesus loves the church. Give up his own desires (even personal desire for a second wife?) and concentrate on serving his family. THEN God can bless as he did king david... through an expanded family. How can a man selfishly seeking a second or third wife be blessed if what he is really doing in his heart is serving his own interests, desires, lust? To be blessed, we as men need to walk first in our primary responsibility... to serve the wife and family we already have to our fullest ability, laying aside ourselves, dieing to selfish ambition and drives, THEN God will bless. Then the wife will want to submit, to follow his lead. Just my $.02

DaveandBrenda (not verified)
Bottom line...


Here's the bottom line of this post...

If men would spend more time and effort being an example of Jesus, loving their wives as Christ loved the church, giving up himself (his interests, his ambitions, his desires) for her benefit, THEN the whole issue of women submitting would diminish greatly. Women naturally want to submit to a man that is actively and humbly following God. The sense the humility and sincerity and are drawn to that. We (as men) should concentrate on being the one to submit to, instead of demanding submission.

The way to encourage women to submit to the leadership of men, is for men to be a leader worthy of following.

re bottom line



Acting or Being as Christ is certainly the path of any man striving to better himself.

A woman that will not submit to the leadership of a husband is a different matter. Just because a man acts in the way and mind of Christ does not mean that a woman will simply 'submit'. Her willfullness is another matter.

You stated that men should not concentrate on demanding submission. That's a good way of putting it.

I don't demand it, I require it.

In this day and age, I have no more tolerance in trying to make a woman behave like a wife.

A boat only has one captain. Otherwise the boat flounders in chaos, contest, and contention.

If the first mate won't follow....then she gets off at the nearest port. Immediately. I don't have time for rearing women that act like children, perhaps that is your work on this earth...but it is not mine. More power to you.


DaveandBrenda (not verified)
re: bottom line


It is hard to imagine how a man can be head of the houshold, priest, leader, etc... and yet the submission of the wife is a "different matter". If the man is in fact the head, then he is responsible for everyone and everything within his household. Just as Jesus is head of the church and responsible for everyone within the church. If the wife is not at a place where she can submit, or wants to submit to his leadership, that is in fact a reflection on his leadership. the wife's willingness to submit to his authority is in fact a bit of a "barometer" whereby he can meter his own success at being priest in his household.

For a man to say "she just wont submit" is then, in essence, the man neglecting his responsibility to bring her before the lord "spotless and without blemish". as the scripture says. To say her submission is a separate matter than the success of his leadership is, in essence, a diminishing of the man's responsibility and likewise his authority. He is either in charge or not, and if in charge, then responsible for all those put in his charge.

For any woman to be "forced" to submit because "the scripture says she should regardless" seems to me, in my humble opinion, to degrade men and their authority. It is as much a feminization of the family as if saying that she doesnt have to submit at all. As I read scripture, the man should take responsibility for his family, his wife, accept her as she is, and lead her into the truth in love. This doesnt mean forcing, demanding, nor insisting. It means only what jesus did... invite and be an example worth of following.

Sorry for hte typos.. keyboard issues here....

re re bottom line



your verbose response fails to treat my reply.

It is as if you are trying to excuse the woman of HER responsibility to submit to her husband. You simply provide an excuse for a wanton woman to scrutenize her husband, find him lacking, and then is justified in acting willfully against him.

I have personally witnessed divorces that occured due to a wife telling her husband that if he didn't do what SHE deemed was 'God's Will' then she would leave him. ...when in fact her idea of 'God's Will' was obviously selfish and irrational.

Your point of view that a man's Christ-like behaviour will somehow create a submissive wife is absolutely incorrect.

It is the personal responsibility of a woman to submit to her husband, NOT the responsibility of a man to be 'perfect' so a woman is somehow obligated to follow him.

I, of course understand your point, and it is somewhat valid and it is obvious that a good leader leads by example ...that is OBVIOUS.

but a wanton woman, if she were in your home, would walk all over you, and I'm sure you would step up to the plate (not joking) and you would do what you could to educate her in order to help her to be mature and unselfish...and it would try you to no end. ...and perhaps you would help her in her spiritual development during the process...or perhaps she would simply tell you to go to hell and walk out....and all the while she would create contention and dysfunction in your family.

the best leaders cannot save everyone.

I require a woman to submit because a captain with a first mate that contends, engages in contest, and creates friction among the crew is not a project I desire.

If you can't understand this...please don't respond with a full treatise that is meaningless. I'm sorry to be rude, but ....I do understand your point and it is generally valid...but Your choosing to ignore the veracity of my argument does not impress anyone.

DaveandBrenda (not verified)
Be like christ


I will be succinct.

The man is the head. Being the head means he must present his wife(s) without spot or blemish. Therefore, if the wife has spots and blemishes, it is the husbands responsibility to help her. Beating her with scriptures to just "submit to me" is not how Christ did this.

Men are to ge like Christ. If more men were like Christ, fewer women would be rebellious. All? Certainly not. But fewer.

If a man has a rebellious wife, he should see that as a problem he must solve by helping her. Until he has been in prayer and fasting for extended periods, pouring out his heart to God seeking an answer for hours on end instead of TV, fishing, even meals... Until then... He has not begun to do his duty. Period.

Has he sweat blood over his duty to his wife? Has he stayed up all night in the garden pleading to God to show him how to help her? Have his tears run like rivers and then dried for no more moisture there? That, my friend is Christ. I know of few men that have given their heart, soul, time, and physical needs in an effort to help a rebellious wife.

"if she walks"?? Seriously? What is he doing as she walk? Quoting scripture or pleading his heart to God show him how to fix his family?

Be like Christ. It really is that simple, and that hard.

re be like Christ


Hello Dave,

It is apparent that I need to provide a better example for you to understand. Your reluctance to be open enough to see the simplicity of what I am saying is akin to a woman that refuses to submit to the truth.

You talk of Christ.

Christ lived a perfect life on earth. Christ taught perfectly. Christ would certainly be classified as the most perfect leader possible.

His actions and words drove the vast majority of people to hate him and crucify him.
Why did his leadership fail, Dave? Why did they not submit to the principles of truth and follow him? Instead, they crucified him.
Just as I said that a wanton, modern woman would walk all over you, the hordes persecuted and killed the Saviour.

Did he fail, Dave? Why did they not see the wisdom and perfect love in Christ's words and actions, Dave?

All the praying, fasting, and perfect wisdom cannot bend the heart of a willful soul.

Dave, your reluctance to listen and learn from others is irrational... and in truth, it is very willful. Your heart is hard and your neck is stiff.

good luck, this will be my last response.


DaveandBrenda (not verified)
Did Jesus Fail?


"Why did his leadership fail, Dave? "

Seriously? I suspect that the statement that Jesus leadership "failed" would be appalling to the vast majority of Christians.

The ultimate sign of his failure that you point to (his crucifixion) is in fact the greatest purpose and gift to us all, including you!

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

What of his teaching to the public, did it fail?

“And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind’” (John 9:39).

And what of those he was sent specifically to lead (the equivalent of his "wives" by the analogy relationship) ?

"While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled." (John 17:12)

Did Jesus fail? Not the Jesus I know. I will follow him, and I invite all men to do the same. Because :

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,"



enough already, this is like beating a dead horse

Here to talk to friends. I am pro-poly, but am not seeking.

Joleneakamama's picture



Now I certainly see truth being spoken on both sides. The difference I see is some seem to have negative expectations of relationships with "modern women."

Years ago I read Debbie Pearl's book for women called "Created to be His Help meet." My sis in law told me enough about it in a sentence. She said "It's the first book I've read about relationships that left me wanting more from myself, rather then more from my husband." She was right, and I second her high recommendation.

Though truth has been stated on both sides of this thread, I'd say the wiser individual is the one willing to apply self to the changing of self. You cannot always change your partner, and attempts are unlikely to work if there is any degree of double standard. It is human nature to be more tolerant of your own mistakes while demanding much from your partner. I was told from my youth I should work at doing the opposite, being more understanding of other's shortcomings and being less tolerant of my own. I still think that is good advice.

In marriage to say to your partner "YOU have a problem" is the equivalent of saying "Your end of the boat is sinking." One alone cannot succeed at marriage.
A marriage that ends was never a marriage at all, but only a failed attempt at it.
Some men go through women until they find one that works, and others are determined to make the one they have work. I'm glad my husband is the latter.

Now while it is true some women like to read books that talk about how their men should be, rather then learn, and apply themselves to their own marital duties, it seems the reverse is also true, and some men don't like to discuss the responsibilities that go with being the head, but would rather just make disdainful statements about modern women. *Shrugs*

I have also been around enough people to know that some can't for the life of them agree to disagree. Wanting to be right or know the truth is admirable, but convincing yourself you know it already can sure make you blind to more learning.

Some say "With God nothing is impossible," other say "With God all things are possible." I prefer the positive outlook myself.

Keep posting Dave. Hubby and I might not agree with everything you say, but your input is appreciated.


There is a principle proof against all argument, a ban against all progress and which if persisted in cannot but keep the mind in everlasting ignorance, and that is contempt prior to examination.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes~

My two cents worth


To begin with, it is very difficult to change ones self, and we're each coming from a different background or raising. So if a man expects his woman to show immediate submission.... is that the way Christ is with us, or is He patient?
How much do you love your wife? What is she worth?

Shortly after I met my wife her family invited me to dinner. When her dad asked her to serve him she flat refused and told him "No. I fixed it, you can serve yourself." Needless to say, seeing that modern attitude, I was not impressed. However, after a lot of talking, and sharing about our lives I knew I loved her. That was a lot of years ago, and she is definitely not that way now. Our children have a very different example in a mother then what I might have imagined, based on that incident. My children all want to be the one to bring me food, or pull off my boots at the end of the day. I am truly blessed to have the wife and children that I do, and if someday God gives me another wife, I hope she will be as much of a blessing as my first wife.

The majority of women would not want to submit to every or any man's authority, because we don't have love for every woman. But Christ does have love for all of us. This I believe is where it's at. There first has to be love. If there truly is love, then I believe that changing the mindset of the modern woman is possible, though it does require love and patients.

One cannot just claim to love another as Christ. Such words need to be backed with actions, and that might mean a lot of changing on the man's part, before he sees the desired change in the woman.

We keep livestock, and You can learn a lot from animals. We presently have about 80 head of sheep. My children shepherd these sheep, and to begin with they pushed and herded them where they wanted them to go. This entailed throwing rocks, or sticks, and chasing them here and there. It was a lot of effort with very poor results, and the sheep tended to be afraid of them. Over the years I have taught them how a good shepherd takes care of the flock. Now they can call them and they will follow, because they know they have their interests at heart. They take them to greener pastures.
When you lead, you lead with love. When you are behind you are driving. If a man thinks that driving works, he has his work cut out for him.
Some people could call me stubborn. But I do what works, and have the results to prove it.

DaveandBrenda (not verified)
Leading vs driving


Beautiful analogy!

We also raise animals and I can fully agree with the leading vs driving comparison. In fact... Hogs are much more so then sheep. You simply cannot drive a 600 lb hog that is solid muscle . I have tried!

As resistance and strength increase, you need more lead and less drive.

Good post Dave


I've read, but haven't posted, as most of the time people here are arguing over petty differences, rather then bringing anything of value to the forum.
I appreciate your perspective. I too have seen the same thing.

I would like to comment on the difference between power and authority. All authority comes from God. If a man is not submitted to God he has no authority, in his home or anywhere else. Generally governments rule by power.In the end all such governments fail, because they rule by power. If a government was submitted to God, and acting in His authority it would stand forever. The husband following Christ does not guarantee his wife will stay with him. But if he is following Christ and finds a woman who submits to him, he is blessed.
A wise man realizes that a "head" doesn't get very far without a body, regardless of how big it is.

DaveandBrenda (not verified)
Leadership / submission / government


I agree totally... there are examples to be drawn between the family, the church, an the government. All are basically the same authority struture, and all work under the same set of natural laws as defined by god. Just as a government CAN force citizens to submit... a priest CAN force/ insist/ demand that the church submit... a man CAN force, insist, demand that a wife submit... but in none of those cases does it bring peace. the fruits are rebellion, stress, resistance, heart hardening, etc.

A good leader of any group, society, organization, etc.. is the one that washes feet as jesus did. He is the example to follow. When husbands concentrate on "washing feet" of their wives, they dont normally need to insist on submission.