Does Christian Submission Mean Being Controlled?

Are you looking for Christian marriage help to answer the question: Does submission mean being controlled? Whenever a woman tells me she is struggling with submission in her marriage, I suspect a difficult marriage. The question is typically phrased as “Do I have to submit to my husband no matter what he asks me to do or am I allowed to say no?” In difficult marriages, submission is taken literally and often used abusively by a spouse to control and manipulate. Listen to this woman’s experience:

“My husband is a dictator who believes all his demands should be obeyed without question, his opinions agreed with without dissent, and his decisions upheld even when they are poor. He believes he should control all the finances and monitor every penny I spend. He believes he can discipline the children any way he wants and I can’t state my opinion. This doesn’t feel like submission to me, it feels like control and I don’t like being controlled.”

Submission is supposed to be part of a loving mutually beneficial relationship with give and take. Both partners are supposed to care about each other and the marriage. Neither should want to do what is harmful or hurtful to themselves or the spouse. The purpose of submission is to enable the man to fulfill his God-ordained responsibility to lead and the woman to work with him cooperatively.

Submission and control are not the same thing. They are actually opposites.

1. Control is demeaning; submission is loving.

2. Control is a demand; submission is a choice.

3. Control is disrespectful; submission is respectful.

4. Control is about the controlling spouse’s self-centeredness; submission is about the loving spouse’s concern and care.

5. Control robs the spouse of the right to be a person; submission protects the spouse as a person.

6. Control is destructive; submission is constructive.

You don’t have to be controlled. God didn’t intend for submission to rob you of being a person in your marriage. Control isn’t healthy. Submission…

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