“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” Ephesians 5:21-23
I believe that most people, even Christians don’t truly understand this passage from Ephesians. Not because it’s not understandable, but because they fail to view it in accordance with the full counsel of God – the whole Bible.
If you look at it in the perspective of all of scripture, starting from the beginning. You see that God created both man and woman. God created them, so they are equal in the sight of God. Both are his creation, but he assigned them specific tasks. Adam’s job was to tend the garden of Eden and name all of the animals. “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” The NASB renders the last half of this verse, “but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:20
While Adam’s task from God was to tend the garden, Eve’s job was to help him in this and every endeavor. Again, as equals, but with different tasks assigned by God. After God created woman from the man, “…Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:23-24 This is the first marriage, and clearly, the two become one as they pull together toward a common goal. The goal could be producing children or tending a garden, but the key is that they collaborate and determine the goal as equals.
People are sinful errant and fallible, and this includes women that try to usurp authority from the rightful head of the household. They think their will is more important than God’s will and his original instructions. Men are the same. Men feel that they have a right to dominate their wife in accordance with verse 22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” What they fail to do is read the verses in context and reconcile the verses with the rest of scripture. We are to submit ourselves to each other in reverence to God’s will, not our own.
Husbands and wives are equals in the eyes of God, but with different rolls to play in the family and the kingdom of God. You can only understand this completely if you have read and understand the entire Bible and you have come to the realization that you are not God and you need to give up control and accept God’s will.
Also see: Colossians 3:17-19