Biblical Fundamentals Home and Recreation

Does a Wife Have to Obey Her Husband?

Before obeying, read with discernment
Before obeying, read with discernment

Nope! As a Liberal Christian I believe that the Bible is subject to historical and contextual interpretations. I like the explanation that Wikipedia provides of Liberal Christianity. And it is a good thing I am a liberal because this is what the Bible says on obedient wives:


Wives submit to your own husbands as you do 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.

That is a pretty strong statement from Ephessians 5:22-24. Similar sentiments show up again and again in the Bible. The Bible is also full of directions for how the husband should treat his wife. Conservative Christians believe that what is in the Bible must be strictly adhered to. However, this becomes problematic when a husband makes unreasonable or unfair demands on his wife. Some churches won’t even support a woman when she separates from an abusive husband. Others will support a woman only when she is being victimized. The problem is that in our modern society it is difficult to imagine submissive women taking an obedient role in a relationship.

I read the Bible and I don’t reject it. I pray and listen for the Holy Spirit to provide me with discernment. Then I act. I encourage this. Women and marriage is just different than it was in Bible times. That cannot be ignored when making decisions about how to conduct yourself in marriage.

Fortunately Obadiah and I have a great way of working out decisions. Obedience is not an issue that comes up much. Like the ideal of the modern couple, we talk, compromise and come to an understanding. Is there something about a relationship built on mutual respect and understanding that is NOT Biblical? I doubt it. But this ideal is as difficult to achieve as the balance between a fully obedient wife and a fully Christ-like husband.

Maybe there are times when obedience is the best option. But common sense should never be rejected. After all, isn’t discernment a gift from God?

For more thoughts on marriage in a modern context see the following links:

“Wives, submit to your husbands”. Why We Mistakenly Assume This is God’s Word to Us Today

Kirk Cameron: Wives Must Be Submissive