Tag Archives: wives

What Does it Mean for Wives to Submit to Their Husbands?

I am a Superman fan. When I grew up I would watch Superman II over and over again. I had nearly the entire movie memorized. Even as a teenager, I would drive to the local movie rental place and, at least once a month, I would check out Superman II on VHS and watch it. My favorite scene in the movie comes at the end, where Superman has supposedly lost his powers and General Zod is standing triumphant. Zod says to Superman, “And now, finally. Take my hand and swear eternal loyalty to Zod.”  Superman kneels, takes Zod’s hand, and crushes it as the Superman theme song begins to play.  Zod gasps in pain, and Superman picks him up with one hand and throws him up against a wall in the Fortress of Solitude.  Even now I am getting a smile of satisfaction on my face.

I would imagine there might be a few wives who would love to be Superman in this situation while their husbands would be Zod. They’d love to crush the grip of control and throw off their husband’s domineering views.  The reason though, I believe, for these feelings is two-fold: 1) the wife does not understand what submission really means, and 2) the husband is just as clueless, if not more so.

Taking the example of Superman II once again, Zod represents the mischaracterization of submission. This is what people tend to think about when they here the words “submit” or “subject.” After all, Zod is a general, and submit or subject are military words.  Very few people actually want to emulate General Zod. He’s the bad guy. And (at least in Superman movies), the bad guy finishes last.  General Zod cared only for world domination, to defeat and control anyone he felt was a threat to him. He was more than a jerk; he was a tyrant. And while many do not seek to imitate him, often men–husbands and fathers–come across in such a brutal fashion.

On the other hand, most people look to Superman (even if they are Batman fans) and see someone whom they wish to aspire to, knowing that they can’t.  He stands for truth, justice, and the American way. Two of those are biblical principles (truth and justice, in case you were wondering). He fights evil and stands up for the weak. He protects and leads with strength and kindness.  That’s what leadership looks like!

But there is a point in the movie where it looked like Superman was defeated. Hey! He had a bus thrown on him! From the crowd you hear people saying, “He’s dead. Superman’s dead. He’s not coming out!” “They killed Superman!” “Let’s go get ’em!” “Yeah, I know some judo. Let’s go get ’em!”  On the one hand, one could say that they are being extremely dumb. If the bad guys killed Superman so easily, they could definitely kill these guys without a sweat. But on the other hand, one could see that they are willing to die just as their leader did because of their love and devotion for him. That’s what submission really is. It is a love and devotion toward another.

Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and General Leonard Wood organized the Rough Riders to fight in the Spanish-American War in Cuba. Even Wood knew that the group was made up of men who knew they would follow TR into battle and perhaps even get killed. Thus Roosevelt was given his commission and the troops to lead. When he charged up San Juan Hill the Rough Riders were right there along with him.  After the war, they campaigned for him without his needing to ask.  The men had such a love and respect for their leader that they’d do anything for him, whether he asked them or not.  That’s what submission really is. It is a natural tendency toward the one respected and loved.

This is why Paul wrote as the last thing in Ephesians 5: “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband,” (Ephesians 5.33, ESV).  That’s the true motivation for submission: respect. Sadly, many husbands do not act in such a way that deserves respect. In those cases, the wife ought to respect the position rather than the person.  So if your husband is a Zod rather than a Superman, he is still your husband. As long as he is not asking you to sin, going against God’s Word, then one is to respect the position and treat the man with respect.  If he insists you go against the Word, then respectfully decline to do as he says explaining why.

If he is abusive, separate from him, until he receives counseling and repents of his sins.  Always seek reconciliation, but do not return until true repentance is made.

I’d love to read your thoughts, questions, and comments below.

Husbands, What Does it Mean to Drink From Your Own Cistern? More Than You May Think…

In the midst of Solomon’s warning to his son about going after the forbidden woman, he turns from the negative to the positive.  In ways that it seems only Solomon can do, he euphemizes the sexual intimacy between a husband and wife.  So he says,
Drink water from your own cistern,
    flowing water from your own well,” (Proverbs 5:15, ESV).

This is parallelism, but more than simply that.  There is a difference between a well and a cistern.  A well is a generally defined as a hole, deep in the ground that reaches an underground river.  There is an ever-flowing fresh source of water.  A cistern, on the other hand, is a deep hole in the ground that acts as a reservoir.  It’s source is outside itself, whether it’s rainwater or perhaps the pouring of water into it from a different source.  The thing with reservoirs is that they can crack and lose water, they dry up and offer no water, or the water has been inside so long that it stagnates and spoils.

What was Solomon’s command?  It was that the husband drink water from his own cistern.  That would imply that the husband must also keep the cistern filled.  He cannot receive what he has not put in.  It has been said that women are like Crockpots and men are like microwaves.  Men are always ready to go while women take much longer, perhaps hours.  Now, if you’ve ever had a piece of chicken from the microwave, you realize that it’s rubbery, bland, and hardly worth eating.  A piece of chicken cooked in the Crockpot is juicy, succulent, and tasty.  Women might have something going for them.

That being said, drinking from your own cistern isn’t just merely about not having an affair (or to use a biblical phrase: committing adultery), it is about filling up your wife with sweet, refreshing life-giving goodness.  It is making sure that she is not cracked (overly stressed, worked, or manipulated).  It is making sure she is not stagnated (festering over something that has happened between you, her mother, her sister, her friends, your children, etc.).  It is making sure she is not dried up (tired, weary, exhausted).  In order for your wife to give what men would call “water” (sexual intimacy) she needs to be filled with what women would consider “water” (a helping hand, a listening ear, some time alone, adult conversation, an encouraging word, etc.).  As my wife said, basically the “five love languages.”

If this sounds like manipulation, it isn’t.  Manipulation is one person doing something only to get what they want in return.  I say it isn’t, and hopefully it isn’t.  Some boys may manipulate, but men won’t.  Don’t be those foolish boys in man bodies. Real men understand that this is what it means to cherish your wife.  You take care of her, love her, and keep her.  If sex is your only goal, then you need to grow up.  If enjoying your wife completely and as fully as possible is your goal, then you will seek to drink from your own cistern by first filling her up.  In fact, this goes more into the second part of the verse.

As I said, this is parallelism.  Solomon also said to drink flowing water from your own well.  The idea is similar (hence the parallelism), but it is step parallelism, thus one step beyond.  Your wife is on the one hand a cistern that needs to be filled by your love and care.  On the other hand she is a well flowing with riches to be enjoyed.  Thus, we go back to the idea of sex not being the only goal.  You’re wife is more than a sexual being.  I think men know this, but those who haven’t grown up, either don’t know or have forgotten.  What makes marriage so great are those little things deep within your wife.  It’s different from every wife and different for every husband.  Some wives make their husband’s lunch every day and leave a little note just for him.  Some wives do their family’s laundry so that (in part) their husbands always smell nice and clean.  Some wives work hard all day in their jobs only to come home to their even more difficult job without all the pay and fringe benefits.  And through it all finds ways to show love and devotion and respect that refreshes her man.  Drink from that.

It has been said that often an adulterous relationship begins because some woman at work or elsewhere starts to pay attention to a married man and “identifies” with him.  The husband doesn’t feel appreciated by the wife and this other woman just “gets” him.  She builds his confidence and showers him with praises.  He “drinks it up.”  Stop drinking from the wrong well, guys.  Your wife may not say the same words as this woman you know, but holy cow! look at what she does for you.  Doing your dirty underwear: that’s love.  Saying, “Wow. You sure are strong,” is infatuation and in manipulative; it’s juvenile.  Drink from the flowing water from your well.

Next week, I’m going to be dealing with another verse or two from this chapter.  But for now, drink from your own cisterns by filling her daily with the love that she needs, and drink from her flowing waters of love to you.