This past weekend I had the blessing to organize an event for couples at my church. It was a one hour dance lesson. We learned the Rumba and everyone that gave me feedback seemed to enjoy themselves, although there were some sore bodies afterward. After the dance lesson, we all went out for lunch it was amazing to see people interacting and getting to know each other. Although it was a social event, God still spoke to me and showed me a couple of things.
In the lesson we’re taught that the man leads. The dance instructor showed us how to create a “frame” for our wives. He gently places his right hand on his partner’s shoulder-blade, and he holds his wife’s hand with the left. From there, he gently guides her to the next step of the dance. But, she isn’t robotic, no not at all. She twirls and spins like a floating flower pedal in the wind; while in his arms, he provides the foundation and direction of her graceful journey. When done correctly, it is a beautiful thing. However, most of us at the lesson were amateurs and fumbled over the steps and our spouses feet. Many times our wives tried to lead the husbands, typically with disastrous results. I noticed one couple in particular did all the steps backwards!
God reminded me of Ephesians 5:22-24 which says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” In our culture “submission” is a four letter word. As Americans we value freedom and independence and that type of thinking seeps into our faith. However, the Bible says that we all should submit to one another (Eph. 5:21).
In the past, and to some extent today, women have been treated as second class kingdom citizens. That is wrong. In fact, both men and women are co-heirs to God’s salvation and He does not play favorites. However, as the church tries to make up for its past mistakes and place women in their rightful positions alongside men, my concern is that we will forget the blessings of submission.
It’s important to realize that submission is not a curse. Beside our American ideology, I think many of us misinterpret scripture, primarily the fall of man. In Genesis chapter 3 man sins and God lays down judgement. To the Eve He says, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (v. 16). The curse is not that the husband shall rule over the wife, because if that were the case the Apostle Paul would not have said that “the husband is the head of the wife” but the curse is the desire to rule. In other words, an un-submitted heart, one that is continuously contending with the husband for headship is the curse.
The good news is that Jesus frees us from the curse. Jesus demonstrated a heart full of humility and one in total submission to God. Both men and women, husband and wife are to have this quality. However, with regards to Ephesians 5, Paul gives this instruction directly to the wives.
The Bible further says that “A man who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov. 18:22). Here’s the picture. The husband is given favor with God, showered with blessing and then he turns around and gives it away freely and abundantly to his wife. So, that she can rest under his covering and become the Proverbs 31 woman the Lord created her to be. And like the dance, she blooms under his gentle guidance. She becomes the rose and he becomes the wind.