This verse shows us the leadership roles between relationships. Within the Trinity, God has authority over Christ. A man is subject to Christ, and a husband has authority over his wife. Paul compares the Trinity with marriage because within the Trinity all of them are equal in character, God had the highest position of authority. The same in marriage- a husband and wife are both seen as equal importance to God- they were both created in His image, but God has also placed the role of leadership on the man. When the Bible uses the terms authority and leadership- it obviously doesn't mean that a man can abuse, take advantage of or disrespect his wife without judgment from God. God placed this role on the man to keep things in order. Just like God designed man to be in submission to Christ- which is best, so God designed women to be in submission to her husband- which is best. As a woman, we are to submit to our husbands, in that it pleases God. This should not be taken lightly. These are the roles that God intended for a marriage- any other way are not aligned with God's will. As a man, this is a heavy responsibility. The husband is responsible for his wife. In Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve sinned by eating the fruit of the tree that God commanded them not to. It is a very familiar story- even to unbelievers. But have you ever noticed, that the serpent tempted Eve first? Was she more vulnerable than her husband? The thing that I just learned about a year ago, is that Adam was RIGHT BESIDE HER when she was tempted. Instead of correcting her, he submitted to her- and sinned also. When God walked into the garden, He first called Adam and asked what they had done. Adam was responsible for her. In verse 17 it says, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife..." In verse 16, after God told the woman she would experience great pains in childbearing, He also said to her, " Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."
Ephesians 5:22-33 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. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
I wanted to display this verse from Ephesians too because there are women who have a hard time reading in God's Word to submit to their husbands. But I want you to notice that God also instructs husbands to love their wives as themselves. God commands husbands to build their wives up as a women of God, that she might be holy in sight of Him. I have included all the study notes from my ESV Bible on this passage ESV Study Notes- I encourage you to read them.
Until over year ago, I was the spiritual leader in our home. I did the finances, I made many decisions and I was in the place of leadership in our home. We didn't plan it that way- naturally I tend to lead, and my husband tends to allow others to lead. God convicted both of us about the roles we each played in our marriage. It was very challenging at times to reverse roles, but now my husband leads the home- including the budget, decisions and spiritual leadership. Our marriage has never been greater. Trust me, giving up the budget so my husband controlled each dollar spent wasn't fun at first, because I had a way of finding a place for the extra money we had each month. Instead, those dollars are now spent on things we need rather than things we don't. Our finances are in better shape and the marriage is much more enjoyable. My husband finds joy in the responsibility of leading our home into growing more mature spiritually- although it is also burdensome- and he also finds pleasure in loving me and serving me as Christ served and sacrificed for the church. Believe it or not, I am a happier and more joyful wife with the submissive role I have now surrendered to. God's way is best, even if it seems difficult. If you obey God, He will bless you.
Do you think it will be hard for you to have the role of a submissive wife or a sacrificing husband? Ask God to help you. That's what He wants for your marriage, and He won't let you figure it out on your own.