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Is There a Woman in the Home?, Part 2

From the series Marriage that Works

The role of women has been changing for the past several decades and here’s the question: “are women living more fulfilled lives today?”  Chip provides a fresh perspective on this issue and his findings may be surprising.

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Message Transcript

Imagine being a man and you grew up in a culture - a Jewish man, a Roman man, or a Greek man. And it’s the 1st century. And maybe you’re a pretty new Christian and so you’re nicer to your wife than most people and you really love her and you’ve got a decent relationship.

But, you do understand that you’ve grown up thinking women are slaves. You’ve grown up thinking women are just an object of pleasure and you’re growing up thinking everybody around you has been divorced ten, twenty, fifteen times, if you’re a Roman. And it’s not a big deal.

And now you receive Jesus as your Messiah and you’re following Him, and you’re in this church in Ephesus and God, through the apostle Paul, speaks and they open this scroll, and they start talking about mutual submission and you’re going, “Whoa, hey, whoa, well mutual what?”

Then she’s a coheir of the grace of God that she’s not only equal, that she’s your partner in life, and you’re supposed to lay down your life for her? Die for her?

Do you understand that the greatest liberator on the face of the earth, of women, was Jesus and the apostle Paul? The greatest liberator. And when they talk about submission or being subject to, it is in the context of a sovereign, good God who created roles that, when they fit together and each does their part, it’s the healthiest, richest.

You know what a woman wants? She wants to be secure. She wants to be protected. But out of your fear, you want to control. And the radical feminism pushed all the buttons into a place where, we not only don’t need men, we hate them.

And there are some vestiges of that planted in our culture and society.

And ladies, at the end of the day, I’ll tell you this. I’ve watched very, very bright, well educated, great women who, unconsciously, have bought into what the culture says and end them on paths where they hate their life.

So, you’ve got to get clear on who is it that God wants you to be, as a woman, and what really matters, and be able to make some hard decisions. And choose when, and how, and why you’re going to work and when, and how, and why you’re going to be a couple.

And where can you live and economically, how are you going to play this out? Because I will tell you, fast forward, wherever you’re living right now, five to seven to fifteen years, what will be better than anything you could ever achieve is a deep, rich marriage with someone that cherishes you and you love them. And if God wants and you so have children, kids that actually grow up that are stable, that love you, want to be around you.

That, and I’m, getting there, so it gets kind of crazy. And then you actually grow up, and your kids grow up, and they still want to have a relationship with you and they look back and thank you for the huge sacrifice and investments you’ve made in their life.

And I just want to say, ladies, God has a plan for that. And He has a plan for men. What we’ve – how is the present plan working for most of us? Let me, think about it. If you think this is radical, ask yourself this.

Most women I know would like their men to be more romantic. Maybe? Okay. More responsible. Like, actually pick up their own stuff. Lead spiritually, financially provide, and communicate more.

So, God says, “If that’s what you would really like to see happen in the life of your husband, submission is your greatest ally.” How? Most of you have learned nagging does not work. Right? Withholding sex does not work. Yelling, screaming, and having fights does not work.

I want to tell you, when a man feels honored, respected, affirmed, and encouraged. Now, it’s the office too. There are times where his behavior, you don’t respect his behavior. You think, “And he’s out to lunch! But God put him in this place. I’m going to respect the office. And I’m going to treat him the way he ought to be treated even though he doesn’t deserve it. Because there are days going to come that I don’t deserve it.”

So, let me talk about some very specific things that this does not mean so you can understand what we’re really talking about in practice. And then I’m going to ask my wife to come up and give you some real practical ways, ladies, that I hope will be helpful.

Number one, it does not mean that you’re to be passive or inferior. You’re to be, you’re to step in but not over.

The second thing is it doesn’t mean that you submit only when you think he’s right. That’s just called agreement.

The test of submission is when you’re thinking to yourself, “I think this may be among the top three dumbest things he’s ever done. I’ve talked about it, I’ve made my case, I’ve laid out the evidence, I passionately argued my case and he’s absolutely convinced this is what God wants us to do.”

Then you just, you just give him and God and say, “Okay, Lord, please don’t let us get hurt too badly and show him what he needs to know.”

Third, it doesn’t mean that you violate Scripture, reason, or morality to support your husband.

Fourth, it doesn’t mean that you’re a doormat. You come with strength, beauty, concern, persuasion, you exchange ideas in a strong way. But it doesn’t mean you roll over and his ideas are the best ideas.

And, five, it doesn’t mean that you use submission as a tool to get your way. And what I mean by that is that there is a way where you can, what I call fake submission. “Oh, yeah, dear.”

I had a son that we went through a difficult season with him. And he has many of his mother’s genes in terms of being smart. And so, being very, very smart he would be a rebellious kid until he knew: I really want to do this.

And he could turn on this submissive, “Whatever you say, Dad, I’m on board. I’m on the team.” Just long enough to get what he wanted and then the real him would show up.

Now, ladies, I’m sure there are not many of you that have ever done anything like that. But submission really is not very much about your relationship with your husband. Submission is everything about your relationship with your heavenly Father.

I think it’s time for the men in the room who are talking the most, that would be me, to zip it. And what I thought as I prayed this through was, ladies, this is another one of those statements that we can’t use.

You may not realize this, or yes, you do. Is that not being a woman, I really don’t know what I’m talking about in practice. Okay? I know what the truth is. I know how it works.

And so, I asked my wife if she would take a couple minutes and ask what I thought would be, ask and answer, maybe the top two or three most difficult questions about this issue of submission. So, honey, could you come up here just for a minute before we wrap things up?

[Chip] Question number one. What has helped you the most in fulfilling God’s role, especially in this area of submission? What are the positive factors that have helped you do that?

[Theresa] I came up with three things that have been real helpful for me in being able to submit, as a wife. And I was thinking one of the things Chip did, one of them I did, and one of them we did together.

And what I have to say about my husband is that he has been a wonderful leader in our home. He’s a strong man. He’s, I have a real man in my house. And I’m very grateful about that.

But he has been a man of God. He doesn’t just make decisions hastily, or without a careful thought and prayer, and I respect him.

And so, I feel secure, I feel like his leading is good and that I can entrust my life because I know that he’s hearing from the Lord. So, that’s number one. That’s probably been one of the greatest things for me. And I know all women don’t have that in their homes.

The second thing, for me, is that just because I love the Lord and I love His Word, I want to obey God. And His Word tells me that I should be submissive to my husband and I should respect him, and so I just strive with all my heart to be able to do that and I pray, I ask God to help me, I claim His promises from His Word when I don’t understand what’s happening, and I don’t feel like submitting.

And I know that God will always take up my cause. He cares for women. He cares for wives. And he could make the worst mistake and he’s made a few, I have to say. But God is watching over me. And He does that for us as wives. He will take up our cause for us, the Lord will. He’s the one who cares for us.

And the third thing that’s been real powerful for me in submission is that we talk about everything. Communication is really a key, I believe, in a good marriage. We’ve truly worked at communicating. We spend time, nearly every day, talking about what’s going on, what we’re thinking about, what we’re struggling with, what our dreams are.

And so, we know each other’s heart. And when big issues come up it’s a lot easier then to talk about things, when we disagree, because we’ve communicated so well when we’re not disagreeing. So, I think those are just three of the major things.

[Chip] What has been your greatest…why did I write these questions? What has been your greatest challenge in your role in this area of submission and how do you or how did you deal with it?

[Theresa] My greatest challenge is submitting when I don’t want to submit. It’s just, I don’t want to do that. I don’t believe that’s the right thing to do. So, that is a challenge.

And like Chip said, when our children were growing up probably the biggest issue that we just knocked heads over was disciplining our children. And also another issue was taking care of our home, and repairs, and just doing things to make our home better and we’ve had many, many conflicts over that because we see it differently and it’s been hard for me to submit sometimes when I want to have things done.

And what helps me when we have those issues, and when it’s very difficult for me, is just crying out to the Lord.

I really do want to do God’s will and so I just claim His promises. And a promise that I claimed many, many times is from Romans 8:32 and it says, “He who spared not His Son but gave Him up for all of us, how will He not, our God, with Him freely give us all things.”

And I have realized that we may disagree but if he strongly believes God is leading us in a certain direction, and I submit and follow him, God’s going to provide everything that I need. Because God’s just like that. I hope you know that. He’s just like that. He loves us.

And I think the last thing that I thought about here was, I state my concerns. I’m not shy about that. And…

[Chip] What would you say to a woman who is, from her perspective, feels like her husband’s not leading well and she fears, she’s thinking, “Okay, now, if I do what I believe God is teaching here, things are going to fall apart. If I let go of the reigns in this area, maybe it’s our finances, or spiritual leadership of the home, or something.

“If I let go, I am really afraid things are going to fall apart.” What would you say to that lady?

[Theresa] I think, first of all, the woman, she needs to ask herself, “Am I really willing to submit to my husband? Am I really willing to allow him to lead in our family?

Because, there are so many of us, we want control. And we want to run our homes and our families and so we have to be willing, first of all, to allow that to happen.

And, secondly, to just remember that when you do that, God cares for you. And that He will take up your cause in whatever situation that you’re dealing with. He will take up your cause for you. And work in your husband’s life as you submit to the Lord. Submit that situation to the Lord.

And another thing, I’m big on prayer. But pray for your husband. God can change him. And He can move in his heart, and change circumstances, and I would say give him room to change. Give your husband room to change.

Sometimes we see people act a certain way for so many years and we want them to change but we never give them space to change. We never, we don’t give them the time, and the belief in them to change. And so, give them room to change.

And just the last thing that I thought about was a motto-scripture for my life with Chip and our marriage is out of Proverbs 31. And it’s talking about a wife here in relationship to her husband and it says that, “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

And I just think that’s the best thing. If we could keep that in mind, in any situation, does this do him good? And I doing him good? Or am I doing him evil?

And sometimes doing him good means that we submit to something that we really don’t believe is God’s will for our life but he really does. And sometimes doing him good is doing, not doing things for him in the home and caring for things that he really needs to take responsibility for.

And so, it can look different. But if we were to strive to do our husbands good and not evil all the days of our lives, with the Lord’s help, I think God will do amazing things.

[Chip] Well, thanks very much. We had a little triangle that we talked about as you, the man and a woman, as you move closer to the top to God, you can hear that we both come from really dysfunctional families. We both come from alcoholic families.

This is a real journey and a process that, but what you see is, as you move closer in your relationship to God, He really will work in you and through you.

And with lots of bumps. We’ve certainly had lots of bumps and as I guess you heard, we still have a few. But that’s normal. I don’t think that’s going to end.

But our heart’s desire is to see you embrace God’s design for your relationship. And I can tell you now, every area of a relationship that you can imagine is richer, and deeper.