I know that many christian women (including myself) struggle with the idea of submission. We fear being taken advantage of. We fear being walked on, and truth be told, we fear not getting what we want. It’s totally natural, and I am not ashamed to admit that my stomach drops when I read Paul’s words:
Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 1 Cor 14:34
Many women read Ephesians 5:22 and stop full of indignation:
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
If I have any sisters in Christ who are also struggling with this, I don’t blame you, but there is hope! It always hopes to get some context. Read the whole chapter. You’ll notice some encouraging and precious words just before and after that one verse:
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
We have to start out with a humble desire to understand from God. If you go in with a hard heart, firmly wanting to be right, little progress will come. Remember that Jesus did not consider being equal to God something to hold on to.