talk all I want but follow all he says


“Submission means to voice my opinion vigorously, and then to submit wholeheartedly”. What an epiphany!

Some time ago, I questioned my perception that headship is about seeing the big picture. Forcing Graham to conform to my mental ideal when it’s unnatural for him and then rejecting his decisions did not seem a lot like submission to me!

Graham and I have diametrically opposite ways of gathering information from the world around us. He’s an ISTJ while I’m an INTJ. That just means he uses his five senses to discover details in the present reality, while I intuitively consider the big picture and future possibilities.

Of course part of me always secretly feel that INTJs are born leaders (ha ha!). We are big-picture thinkers who are not confined by present limits and we are super imaginative! But how then could I submit?

That’s why the principle my friend taught me is such an elegant one. To voice my opinion vigorously means I’m no door mat; instead I am to use all my God-given strengths to help my husband make good decisions for the family.

Yet if he decides differently in the end, I must submit wholeheartedly by trusting that he’s considered my opinion. Most importantly, I need to trust that God works all things out for our good.

All that’s left is to apply the principle rigorously and regularly!


12 responses »

  1. I’m not a Christian, and is genuinely puzzled by some of the things you write. I don’t mean to be rude, but am curious to know how you think. Please help me to understand, why the husband is the one to ultimately make decisions, why he gets the last say? As a woman, is your only role to offer suggestions and pray that he listens to you?

    • Hey Jess

      Thanks for your honesty and curiosity in asking your question. It gives me the opportunity to think deeper about what I wrote!

      It really begins with how God created the world, and how he created man and woman to live in the world. There are 3 things to note here:

      1. Because God’s the creator of everything we see in the world, and he’s our creator too, he knows the best way things work. It’s a bit like how Steve Jobs is the best person to know how a Mac works since he made it.
      2. He created man and woman with equal worth, because he created both of them to be like him.
      3. Although he created us with equal worth, he also gave us different roles to play in the world.

      In God’s original design for marriage, the different roles plays out like this. The wife willingly defers to the husband’s ultimate leadership, while the husband is also told to love the wife sacrificially, always putting her interests first. That is God’s plan for a healthy marriage relationship.

      But we see all kinds of distortion, don’t we? Authoritarian husbands who ride roughshod over their wives, or wives who completely disregard their husband’s opinions… those are the two extremes, and there’s a whole spectrum between them.

      We naturally think we are serving our own interests by looking out for ourselves and not for our spouse, but it’s really to our disadvantage.

      Marriages break down because we never quite followed God’s plan. That’s just part of our rebellion against God in this world. It’s only possible to follow God’s plan when we understand how he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die, to take the punishment that our rebellion deserves.

      When I agreed with God that I’ve been living in rebellion against him and trust that Jesus has died in my place, then I begin to have a relationship with God. And in that relationship, he helps me to want to follow his plan for the way I live.

      So when I submit to my husband, I’m ultimately submitting to God’s authority because I acknowledge that he is our Creator and Saviour.

      In that sense, it’s not out of a blind hope or crossed fingers that I voice my opinions to my husband, but I’m trusting God. If my husband is submitting to God the same way, then I can trust that he really is looking out for my best interests too as God wants him to.

      I hope that answers your question!

  2. I would respectfully have to disagree with some things that you have presented as biblical. First, the word ‘roles’ is not in the Bible. That is simply a tag word used to magnify the anatomical and reproductive differences which in turn is used to create these mystical gender rules for men and and esp. women to conform to. Instead of focusing on our common humanity and the sameness of the male and female in Genesis we chip away at the female and make her ‘less than’. Adam said, this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. God gave Both the man and the woman the mandates to take dominion and to be fruitful. But, we act like God took Adam aside and whispered, You take dominion, you the man. And pulled the woman aside and said, now, you have babies and do everything your husband says. I am not trying to be facetious, but that is what the church teaches people. Pastors love to teach Eph. 5:22 (wives submit yourselves unto you own husbands) but refuse to teach that submission is mutual Eph. 5:21- Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Now, I ask, what group is excluded from submission and all the other ‘one to another’ passages in the Bible?

    I also would like for you to answer if you can, how the constant imposition of a husbands preferences sometimes over and against the will of his wife’s can be seen as a sacrifice on his part? (As you said you voice your opinion but follow all he says) There is alot of talk about ‘servant leadership’ from husbands but all it is talk. If a husband is not willing to sacrifice personal preferences for the sake of his wife, he sure would not be willing to sacrifice his own life as Christ did (Eph. 5:25.) What I see is the wife getting repeatedly sacrificed on the alar of male egocentricity. The Bible places on the husband the burden of ‘acting in love’ to the point of self-sacrifice, not the wives.

    I will stop here as I don’t know if my post will get through. If you would like I would be more than happy to discuss this topic more at length.

    God Bless

    • Dear Territippins

      Sorry for the late response.

      My response may still be inadequate to address your questions despite having taken some time to think about it, because my study of the relevant passages has not been as in-depth and intense as yours has been.

      Firstly I would like to affirm that I agree with you on a couple of points. 1) That both man and women are created in God’s image. 2) The mandate to have dominion over creation and to be fruitful applied equally to both of them. Hence, both have equal worth as persons and an equal responsibility in ruling the world. The woman is certainly not ‘less than’ the man.

      Secondly, I am sorry to hear that your experience of pastoral teaching on submission and headship has been negative and imbalanced. Ephesians 5:22ff is not a command for women alone; it places a much greater emphasis on the husband having a sacrificial, Christ-like love for his wife. Nearly three times as many verses is devoted to teaching the husband to do so, than to instruct the wife to submit.

      I recommend this message by John Piper for your listening. He speaks clearly about a husband’s “responsibility to love like Christ: to lay down your life for your wife in servant leadership.” And he also talks about the matter of mutual submission and hierarchy.

      I’ve heard other messages that are also faithful to teach all of God’s word; John Piper is one of the most compelling speakers I’m aware of. I hope it will encourage you to know that there are pastors who teach and model the sacrificial love husbands ought to have for their wives.

      Lastly, you asked the question: How can a husband’s constant imposition of his preferences against his wife’s will be seen as a sacrifice on his part?

      The answer is absolutely not. When the husband selfishly insists on doing things his own way without considering the wife’s needs and opinions, he is being dominating and gratifying his own desires. The Bible on the other hand says that he has the responsibility to consider what’s best for his wife and her sanctification (Eph 5: 26).

      Voicing my opinions vigorously but ultimately following what my husband says requires trust that he is, in fact, doing just that – considering what’s best for me, and my sanctification.

      Submission doesn’t mean I stay silent and do just whatever he says. Because my husband is not infallible, we benefit from listening to each other’s opinions to decide what’s right, or moral, or wise to do in each situation. Telling him my views also helps him to love and serve me better since he would know what my actual needs are, and have no need to guess.

      Being sinful beings means that my husband does not always love me as Christ loves the church. It also means that I very often just want to do things my own way as well without considering his needs and opinion.

      However when I do submit, especially at the times when he fails to make wise decision, I find that it has been an encouragement to him to keep working on loving me sacrificially.

      I’ve got to go now! Thanks for writing.


      • To begin with I would like to say thank you for responding. As I stated before in another comment most often when the subject is brought up you cannot even broach it in a friendly and congenial way so, your gentle response is much appreciated. I am gald that we can agree on some points, that is great!

        I am familiar with the work of John Piper. I do not know him personally but, I think I have a pretty good grasp on where he is coming from on this topic. There are some theological points that I am sure we share, but this is not one of them.

        I read the article you suggested on his site. I take issue with quite a few things that he stated as though they were fact. I will not deal with every point (as I do not want to weary you) but I will touch on a few.

        John Piper claims that ‘headship’ (a word not found in the Bible) was instituted at creation, Gen. 1&2. I looked an I saw NO mention of the created man being in leadership or authority over the created women. I only read where God gave THEM dominion over the animals, not over one another. Where is the passage that says, God gave authority/leadership to the man over the woman? If one cannot find that passage then that is purely esogesis on Piper’s part.

        John Piper says that, Sin didn’t create headship and submission; it ruined them.” That statement in itself is presuppositional and not found anywhere in Genesis 1,2, or even 3. The exchange of the word ‘head’ for ‘headship’ is what has brought new complications into the so-called “loving servant leadership of the husband and the intelligent willing submission of the wife” (John Piper). Mr. Piper presupposes a leader/submission paradigm (even though he uses the word servant-leader, we all know the emphasis in on the man leading with serving being secondary and maybe even optional is some cases.) This paradigm is never spoken of in Genesis but nevertheless, he has to continue down that same pathway to to now describe the willing, intelligent submission of the woman to be distorted (by sin) into manipulative obsequiousness (what a word! Meaning ~ overly submissive, much to willing to serve or obey, fawning.) Does the creation and fall account really say or even imply all that…………I think not.

        One more point I would like to make before I close (as I do not want to weary you by a super long response) is John Pipers totally whack definition for headship. ” Headship is the DIVINE CALLING (emphasis mine) to take primary responsiblity for Christ-like leadership, protection, and the provision in the home.” When I read that definition I went straight to my bookshelf and took out my trusty Old New World Dictionary and looked up the word headship, this is what I found. ~Headship- n. the position of authority of a chief or leader; leaderhip; command~. It shocked me to see that headship was never defined as a ‘divine calling’ likewise, neither was submission. Just by Mr. Piper adding the words ‘divine calling’ does not make it so. Mr. Piper is very expressive and very lose with discriptives when he talks about headship and submission.

        I will stop here as this post was longer than I intended. I hope to get a response from you. And again, I appreciate your willingness to participate in this discussion.

        God Bless
        Terri T.

      • Hello Terri,

        I wanted to answer some of the objections you had made earlier to what Serene was saying. There’s been much said so far, so I’ll restrict my comments mostly to your recent post.

        First, you’ve brought up several times that certain words are not used in the bible – “roles”, “headship” – but that really shouldn’t be much of an issue to you, right? Certainly you’re aware that words such as “trinity”, “bible/biblical”, “theology” and your own “eisegesis” are not present in the bible, but certainly have a bearing on the way we live? Surely you agree that Biblical doctrine requires the occasional presentation of a term in order to encapsulate and communicate a bibilical concept or truth.

        Secondly, you’ve stated that Genesis 1-3 neither said nor implied that man has authority over women – yet Paul seems to think so in 1 Tim 2, particularly vv. 13 and 14. Since you’re familiar with this passage (you quoted it on June 4), and have studied this subject for so long, why do you reject Paul’s explanation for his disallowing women’s authority in the church – namely, that authority is rooted in the created order? More importantly, why do you reject the Holy Spirit’s explanation of His command?

        Finally, you take issue with Piper describing “headship” as divinely ordained. Yet time and time again in God’s word we see His commands to women to submit to their husbands, or within the church.
        – 1 Tim 2:12-15
        – 1 Peter 3: 1-7
        – Eph 5:21 and following (I assume you’ve read Piper’s treatment of V 21, and its implications for the rest of the chapter)
        – Col 3:18-19
        – 1 Cor 11:3

        The scripture doesn’t ever explicitly say, “Husbands are to exercise authority over their wives”, it is assumed everywhere you find a command for wives to submit. She is under her husband’s authority. Her husband has authority over her.

        The call of feminism is appealing because it is an attack against authority, which is inherent in the Godhead and all of His creation. And because of sin, we all hate authority – I probably hate it more than you do.

        Sincerely yours,

  3. I hope I have not offended you by stating a different perspective on marriage. I noticed that you did not respond to the comments that were left on either two posts. Typically when I try to engage people with complementarian beliefs they either 1. ignore my comments 2. Tell me I need to repent of my feminist ways. But to faithfully engage in a discussion, this has not happened yet. If one believes something with so much tenacity they should at least be able to defend thier viewpoints on the topic in a scriptural contextual manner. To be honest I never really thought about the ‘male headship’ teachings until it hit me right square between my eyes in my beloved church home. Now, after 8 years and hours and hours of intense study on Greek/Hebrews words and thier definitions I can honestly say that what seemed like ambiguities and contraditions where women were concerned in the Bible were actually translators bias against women. When they translated words like (greek ‘hesuchia’ #2271 which means ‘stillness’ into the word ‘silence’ when it referred to women in 1 Tim. 2:11, ‘Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.’ It is obvious that translators ‘chose’ silence instead of stillness based on biased preconceived notions about women and the worth of the female voice in the congregation. Along with the passage found in 1 Corinthinans 14:34, “Let you women keep silence in the churches….” the greek word translated ‘silence’ is ‘sigao’ which actually means to keep silent and hold ones peace. But, what is revealing is that Paul refutes this in verse 36, by saying, “What came of the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? Three consequtive questions……….a logical person would say why would he say all that about women keeping silent and learning from thier husband only to follow with questions directed at specific people. Came the word of God out from you? You who? or came it unto you only? You who? Paul is definatly correcting someone………don’t you think?

    Any way it would be great if you could answer the question from my last post. How can the constant impositon of a husbands preferences sometimes over and against the will of his wive’s be seen as a sacrifice on his part?

    God Bless

  4. Hello Territippins

    I have read your previous comments but have not replied because I had not have adequate time to sit, think and respond adequately such that it will address your question. And I did not want to be hasty since it probably will not do your question any justice… If your interpretation of Scripture is correct, I want to carefully consider it so that I may obey God’s word too. Thanks for your understanding and I would try my best to answer as soon as possible!

  5. Thank you for your kind response. I hope I do not come across to brassy or like I think I know it all, as that is surely not my intentions. I think it is a good thing to think hard about what we believe so that when we are asked tough theological questions we will have an answer to provide. I know that there are ‘some’ things (Jesus/Bride, Trinity, etc.) that are mysterious and hard for our finite minds to grasp, so when people tell you they understand the Trinity or the Jesus/Bride paradigm so well that they can now apply thier understanding to human marriages they are misguided and misleading. We now have people that are doing this in the conservative movements to the detrement of the understudied, leader worshipping lay people. Now, as far as my study tools are concerned: KJV Bible, Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Strongs Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, Interlinear Bible (Green). Now I do own a few commetaries, ( Strongs, Wycliff) but I rarely use them as they are again, just another mans opinion………..granted a smart man’s opinion, but an opinion nonetheless.

    I do not take this topic so lightly anymore as it has now become a salvific issue……who knew. The topic (women’s roles, marriage, church ministries, etc.) has become such a hot button issue that to have different perspectives put’s you into the ‘lost’ catagory with the assurances that your are not only unorthodox you most likely are a heretic as well. It does no one any good to attack the other person rather than the discussion at hand (Ad Hominem). Fuzzy logic and attacking others is not the way of Jesus. Just saying men are the head of the household but never providing a passage that promotes this is just not good enough for me anymore. The only thing that I have found that even comes close to men ruling thier houses was an edict put forth by a PAGAN KING when the Queen refused to appear before Him and his drunk friends (Esther 1). And it was not the King that even initated the edict it was a prince called Ma-mu-can, who had his ear. Anyway, I digress……….I look forward to our discussion together.

    God Bless

  6. Hello Dan,

    Thank you for responding to some of my statements. I find myself dealing contiually in discussions about women, marriage, etc. with those two particular words ( roles, headship.) I guess I would not make such a big deal of that if complimentarians did not give these invisible words so much weight. They continue to pop up over and over in every discussion. This happened so much that I began to keep count of how many times these two specific words were used in posts, it was astounding! These two words are used in the most powerful arugments raised against women and authority in the church and home. Are they important? Just see a person with a complimentarian perspective try to prove his case without using them! Dan, a role is something that you play, it is not something that defines the essence of who you are. I will concede ‘partly’ to your ‘occasional presentation of a term’ but I do not agree that that can apply to the words role and headship. These words are mainly used to prop up an argument that has been within the body of Christ since the very beginning and has even in our day, not been sufficently reconciled.

    Complimentarians make the argument that Egalitarians are caving into the liberal cultural mandates of feminism. I say that Complimentarians do exactly what they condemn us for. It is not a secret that Jesus was born into a patriarchal society that treated women more like children and posessions. Some of the laws inacted in Leviticus will more than prove that there was a blatant double standard between men and women. We could talk about this some time if you like. 🙂

    Secondly, you are reading what you believe to be a prohibition (for all women) in 1 Tim 2 BACK INTO GENESIS 1-3. As I said, it (the authority of man over woman) is never stated by God, the man or the woman and is never even hinted at in any passage there. You have to TRANSPORT that Idea BACK INTO GENESIS from 1 Tim 2 and then transpose it onto the creation story. Dan, why do you do that? I say because it cannot be found in the Genesis text. This means that not only do you believe that God instituted hierarchy between the man and the woman in the beginning, you must also believe (to be consistant) that women are more gullable and more easily deceived (1 Tim 2:14.) than men. Reality and a quick thumb through a book of cults should resolve that matter easily. Of course, this same reasoning would also require that christian women either are saved by having babies or don’t die during childbirth (v. 15) which interpretation is it? I find that complimentarians like to be ‘literal’ when a passage deals with women but ‘loose’ when it deals with men per. 1 Tim. 2:8—very selective.

    As far as submission goes Eph 5:21 is somewhat disregarded by most in favor of a one sided submission for women alone v. 22. John Piper teaches that submission is always to an authority. If this is so then submission is no longer submission and instead becomes domination. As submission is ALWAYS VOLUNTARY in nature, therefore it cannot be demanded. You totally misunderstand what is being taught about marriage in Ephesians 5 by importing ‘authority’ into the text. As the metaphore used is not the ‘husband is the head and the woman is the tail’ then there would be no question. But instead the metaphore used is the ‘husband is the head and the wife is the body’. It is a metaphore about oneness, unity and connectedness. Eph. 5:21 makes submission reciprocal and mutual, and no group is excluded (not even husbands.) The passage says, ‘submit yoursleves one to another’ it does not say ‘some to others’. I can list all of the ‘one another’ passages if you like but it would make this post wayyyyy longer and I am afraid I might weary you even more.

    Your last statement bemoans feminism as the reason I reject unilateral submission of wives to husbands. I take no offense as feminism seems to be the favorite scapegoat for all the ills that have befallen the church. But I do not reject unilateral submission because of feminism but, because I simply believe that a one sided submission of wife to husband is not what the Bible teaches about marriage. I do not want to end on a sour note so, I will just thank you for your time and the opportunity to discuss such a hot button topic with you.

    God Bless

  7. Dear Terri,

    In Gen 1-3 there are many signifying points, such as Adam naming Eve, which indicate an authority given implicitly to Adam. You can find a clear exegesis of Gen 1-3 considering sexuality at

    I believe every single one of your other questions and objections are covered here:

    As this is not my blog, I’m unwilling to be one of the main perpetuators of the conversation here. So, I’ll wait for the moderator. I’ll leave with merely re-stating my question from before: Paul says that in the church, women are not to exercise authority over a man, because authority is rooted in the creation order, and in the fall. “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Tim 2:12-14). It seems you reject the Holy Spirit’s reasoning for disallowing women leadership in the church. Do you reject these verses?


  8. Dan,

    I can tell you are not exactly thrilled about discussing this topic one on one. You just simply give me links to cbmw which I am already aquainted with. You submitted to the owner of this blog (which is female) and I find that commendable. And I will say that men and women do this every day but instead of calling it what it is many prefer to leave this act nameless.

    I will only respond in short to the importance (to some) of the chronological order and the act of naming and it’s importance in the scheme of things. Your mentors advance that the passages in 1 Timothy 2 :11-15 convey timeless truths and also transcultural truths that are to be obeyed by women until Christ returns (and some fundamentalist teach women’s obedience to men even in heaven, Astounding!) This is taught as God’s ideal for the man-women relationship in the church and the proof they say is in 1Timothy 2:11-15. Even beyond all the authority that the man is said to hold we are told that the chronological order of creation shows us even ‘more authority held by the man. Man was created first and thus superior, women second and thus inferior and subordinated. The problem we have is that being created second does not logically imply subordination. Even John Calvin said ,( and I am not a fan) that the argument for woman being created second is not a very strong one, for John the Baptist went before Christ in time and yet he was far inferior to him. The animals were created before man does that make them superior to him?

    As far as naming being a representation of authority that is simply reading into scripture something is does not state. I know that it is taught that because Adam said, ‘she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man’ that this was an excercise of domination over her. However, woman is not a proper name any more than man is. These are generic terms for female and male human beings. When the Bible relates the naming of a person, it uses a specific phrase, (to call one’s name) which is lacking here. And remember, that God first called her woman, in Genesis 2:22~ Adam understands why God calls her that thus,V. 23. Not much further in Genesis we see a woman naming her son (Gen. 4:25, after the fall) what do we do with that? Is she excercising authority, usurping authority?

    Anyway, I could post more but I do not want it be considered a waste of my time, the blog owners or yours. You state that I reject the Holy Spirit’s reasoning, what are you trying to say? I believe the Bible but am iffy on some mens interpretations (esp. passages dealing with women.) With the 1 Timothy 2 passages a oversimplification technique is employed, and I dont like it. Simplistic approaches to these passages will not do as it affects over half of the church community. When you sit some one down (in this case, over half of the church) and shut them up you better know exactly what you are doing and why.

    God Bless

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