This is a continuation of a series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone. -Elisabeth
What I Learned About Submission
The Bible says it – “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22. This I had learned since I was very young. The Bible also says that husbands should submit themselves to God and that believers should submit to one another. I wholeheartedly believe in God’s order for marriage and the church. I have even heard some teach that wives should submit to their husbands no matter what — even if this includes him doing something wrong. They have said that God will work this out and that as long as the wife is submitting to the husband she will have God’s protection and the husband will ultimately be held responsible for the wrong. I guess I somewhat believed that teaching.
Over and over I saw sin in my husband’s life, but felt I could not or should not do anything. But gradually I became more disturbed this. I remembered of the story of Ananias and Sapphira. In Acts 5 we see they sold a piece of property and Ananias said he gave all of the profit to the church, but actually he kept part of the money for himself. When Peter questioned him about his lie he immediately fell down dead. When Sapphira came in later and was questioned separately, she repeated Ananias’ lie. When confronted she also was struck dead.
But wait, she was just supporting her husband, obeying him, doing what he asked her to do, right? Isn’t that what a good wife is supposed to do? Yet God still held her ultimately accountable.
So, what is a wife’s responsibility when her husband sins? Of course, I’m not talking about little sins that we might all be tempted with and then ask forgiveness for. I’m talking a repetitive sin that controls someone’s life and affects their relationships with others. Things a wife ends up compromising her own conscience for.
My husband was addicted to alcohol. He was physically violent with me and sometimes our children. He was a pastor and I often saw him use our church’s credit card for purchases that were not church expenses. But eventually I began to wonder when a wife should act as a sister in Christ instead of a wife?
Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” Confronting sin is not just a job for men in the church.
Before we separated I had asked my husband, when should I act as your sister in Christ and bring someone with me to confront you about sin you won’t repent from. His answer was “Never.” He thought my only role was to be a submissive, unquestioning wife.
Eventually, I became more and more convicted that true love doesn’t allow someone to continue in destructive sin. Exposing the vulnerabilities in your marriage to other believers comes with its share of risks, but sometimes is necessary. I learned that sometimes you have to follow Christ alone.
If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:
If you would like to join one my private Facebook groups (difficult marriage, separated/divorced, single moms, remarried), please send me a friend request at www.facebook.com/elisabethkleinfisher.
If in a difficult marriage:
Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books
Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage is available in paperback/e-book: http://tinyurl.com/phowp95
If a single mom:
Moving on as a Christian Single Mom is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books