Be the Woman of Your Husband's Dreams
It’s okay to have expectations. In premarital counseling, it is important at the onset to ask the engaged couple to share their expectations about marriage with each other to avoid frustration. Allow me to share two things about expectations.
First, be REALISTIC. Your partner probably will not meet your expectations. J. Grant Howard, Jr. wrote, “We have a picture of the perfect partner, but we marry an imperfect person. Then we have two options. Tear up the picture and accept the person, or tear up the person and accept the picture.”
Second, be RESPONSIBLE. Ask yourself, “Do I have those qualities I am looking for?” In his Secret of Loving Josh McDowell wrote, “The golden rule of a successful marriage is that whatever qualities you desire in a mate, develop first in yourself. If you want a queen, you need to be a king. If you want a good lover, you need to be a good lover. Most of us search and search for the right person, when all the while the key is being the right person.”
That is why we should base our expectations on the Bible. God already spelled it out for us. Also, He will not command us something that we cannot do. “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome”. (1 John 5:3) In one translation it says that God’s commands “are not hard to follow.” In another it says that they “are not too hard for us”. Plus, He gives us the strength to obey, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) So, if we are disobedient, it’s not because we can’t. But it’s because we won’t.
Now, the Bible spelled out for us what a dream wife is. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. ...and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:22-24, 33b) Men, this is what you should expect from your wives. Ladies, take heart. For this is how God designed you. Today we will talk about “Be the Woman of Your Husband’s Dreams.”
Before I continue, may I call on my wife Ellen to share a few words?
Now, let’s look at verse 22: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” Verse 22 connects with verse 18: “be filled with the Spirit.” Therefore, if you submit to your husband, you are Spirit-empowered.
We women are often uncomfortable when the word “submission” is mentioned. We often say this is difficult if not outright impossible. When we look around us, we see more and more women CEOs, more and more women in the hierarchy of the corporate world. On the other hand, we see more and more husbands staying home or “house-bands.”
Indeed in some households, women earn more that their husbands; wives are more resourceful, more dominant, more in control. This makes submission difficult for some of us.
But submission is God’s idea for order. Before I married Pastor Eyriche (Oh, by the way, maybe some of you don’t still know that I am 10 years older than he is) one major issue I have to grapple with is: Can I submit to a man younger, less experienced, less independent, and at that time earning less than I am?
That is when I came at grips with submission. Submission is God’s idea. When we accept that, submission became an easier concept to grasp.
I think submission becomes difficult when as a child we are not used to submitting to our parents, or as a student we are not submissive to the school, or as an employee, we are not submissive to our bosses, or as a Christian, if we are submissive to God.
Before we got married, and early on into our marriage, I have to constantly, consciously work on submission. From a very young age, I was very independent. Even when my arm was amputated after I fell from a tree, my mother instilled in my mind and heart the ability to do things with one hand sometimes even better than other two-handed people would. I was educated at U.P. which reinforced my independence.
Then I realized that submission is my issue with God, not with my husband. Do I believe God is wise when He said “Submit in everything?” Women let us admit there are times when we are clearly right, our ideas are better. There are times when our husbands are sooo slow, we get impatient. But we are still called to submit. In my case, there were times early in our marriage that I have "convinced” Ptr. Eyriche that my idea was better, why? Here are the reasons...1, 2, 3... But later on when he hesitatingly agrees, then it flops. He was right. There are times when it seems his moves and decisions would “clearly” not work...but I followed him and it turned out, he was right. I learned through many tough lessons that God honors my commitment.
Ladies, it pays to obey your husbands. Ultimately, we benefit from it. Husbands love better, when their wives submit. I think the men will agree with this. But our biggest incentive when we submit is we get God’s approval.
Again, I encourage the ladies, for the singles, the time to learn submission is now. Submit to your parents, teachers, bosses, elders so it won’t be too difficult in the future. Wives, submission is our issue with God. If we are fully submissive to God, God will enable us to submit and He will bless our relationships. Thank You!
Submission is not optional. You are disobeying God if you don’t submit. For this is a COMMAND: Submit to your HUSBAND. In the Greek, the word “submit” is a military term which means “to rank in an orderly manner underneath.” In marriage, then, the wife is to arrange her life in an orderly manner underneath her husband. It simply means to obey and respect your husband as the leader of your home. This has nothing to do with our standing before God or before each other. Women follow and men lead not because women are inferior or men are superior. We are equal before God and with each other. But God designed the married life in such a way that there would be order or system.
The Life Application Bible Commentary clarifies it for us: “This should not be taken to mean that wives are to be doormats, allowing their husbands to walk over them; nor are they to be silent partners, wordlessly carrying out their husband’s directives. It means that wives are to willingly support their husband’s leadership—not balking or undermining him. They are to be active participants in the challenging task of running a Christian home. They are to do everything they can to encourage and support their husbands’ leadership in the home, but not blindly or unquestioningly.”
Now, men, don’t hit your wives on the head with this verse. Some men have committed abuses in the name of submission. That’s also one of the reasons women find it hard to submit. It’s like we’re rubbing salt on the wound.
God through the apostle Paul is talking directly to women through this passage. He is not telling men, “Men, make your wives submit! Conquer them by hook or by crook.” Maybe He knows men can’t really do it. You know why? Women will surely fight back. Kidding aside, God wants the women to be personally accountable to Him. He wants you to voluntarily submit to your husband. Not because you were forced but because you want to.
Since the tense in the Greek of “submit” is in a present tense, women are to continuously submit. Thus, the wife should not view it as something you do once in a lifetime or once in a while. Women must do it not only when they feel like it or when it is convenient to do so. But women are to submit at all times.
Second, “Wives, submit to your husbands AS TO THE LORD.” That’s your COMMITMENT. In The Message it goes like this: “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ.” It does not mean that women must worship their husbands. You honor Christ when you respect your husband. How can you say you obey God whom you can’t see when you can’t obey your husband whom you can see?
Note what Paul said: “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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:23-24) The way you follow your husband gives us a beautiful picture of the way the church ought to follow Christ. And it’s a bad publicity for the Lord if we claim to be believers and yet we have a poor relationship with each other.
“Head” means “leadership.” By the way, there’s nothing in the Bible that says women are the neck. Just as Christ is the leader of the church, so also the husband is the leader of the wife. It’s not the other way around. The church cannot be the leader of Christ. So also the woman cannot be the leader of the man. “Wives should always put their husbands first, as the church puts Christ first.” (v. 24) Wives, look at the way you treat your husband. What Paul is saying is that, what you do to your husband, you do unto Christ. That’s why Paul wrote: “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (v. 24)
You may be asking, “You mean everything as in everything?” You read it right! That’s the scope or COVERAGE: Submit “in EVERYTHING.” It means “entirely or completely.” Everything includes everything and excludes nothing. Of course, as Dr. Bruce Wilkinson in A Biblical Portrait of Marriage said, “It does not include the immoral or the illegal. Don’t break the law of the Lord. Don’t break the law of the land.” When your husband commands you to do something that God prohibits or prevents you from doing something that God commands, obey God not your husband. But other than the immoral and the illegal, it covers all things.
Now, you may be asking, “What if my husband is not the leader he is supposed to be? What if the man is not as educated or not as talented as the woman? What if the woman earns more than what the man earns?” But Paul did not qualify his statement. He did not say, “Women, follow your husbands if they are worth following.” Of course, there are times it’s the men’s fault why women find it hard to follow. Yes, it is their responsibility to submit. But, brothers, we have to make it a joy for them to obey us by being the loving leader God meant us to be. Rev. Harg Ang will talk more about that next Sunday.
Look at what the apostle Peter wrote: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” (1 Peter 3:1-2) Note that, even if the husband is disobedient to the Lord, still the wife must follow him. No grumbling... No complaining... No nagging... “so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives”.
I like what Charles Swindoll, one of my favorite authors, wrote: “God says, ‘Let Me handle your man. You leave the preaching to Me. What I want from you is a godly life. Remember, he won’t be able to ignore your quiet, calm spirit.’ But that’s tough! And because it is, many wives resort to a substitute for this quiet spirit. It’s been my observation that the woman who employs this substitute is usually the one who cannot leave things in the hands of God. She finds it virtually impossible to believe that the Lord can handle her husband without her help. Therefore, she resorts to any number of manipulative techniques [like, for example, nagging]. By manipulating her man, she hopes ultimately to get her own way. Wives, no amount of rationalization will ever justify manipulation. Your husband cannot be manipulated into any permanent change.” Men, don’t hide behind these words. Yes, it’s unconditional. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make it easy for our wives to support us.
A rich businessman went to a gas station to fill up his jaguar. His wife was with him. To his surprise, he saw that the gas attendant was his wife’s ex-boyfriend. When they left the station, the husband could not keep himself from gloating. He asked his wife, “Aren’t you glad you married me and not him?” The wife answered, “Well, if I married him instead of you, he would have become the rich businessman and you the gas attendant!”
Ladies, if you would follow God’s calling for you, if you would submit to your husbands as He spelled it out, I believe you would bring the best out of your spouses. May each one of you become the woman of your husband’s dreams.
All Bible verses are from the New International Version, unless otherwise specified.
Contemporary English Version.
 Good News Bible.
Contemporary English Version.
Note: This was the talk Pastor Eyriche Cortez delivered last July 16, 2006 in the English Worship Service of Makati Gospel Church.