Posted by: Lisa Guyer | April 12, 2008

Respecting Your Husband

Okay, by a show of hands, wives… How many of you said, “Goodbye, master. Have a good day at work!” to your husband as he left this morning? Hmm…well, my hand’s definitely not in the air. Is yours?

1 Peter 3:5-6 says:

For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.”

Wow. Many of us look at that passage and just say, “HA! Yeah right, honey. Good luck getting that one out of me!” It seems a little old-fashioned, and probably just something they did in “Bible times”, right? Well, I don’t believe that these scriptures are saying that we must literally call our husbands our “masters”. However, I believe God wants us to carry the same attitude as Sarah did in her heart. Let me explain.

In the original language in which this was written, “Master” (or “Lord” in some versions) means “supreme in authority” or “controller”. Ephesians 5:22-24 says, “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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” I don’t think anyone would argue the fact that Christ is “supreme in authority” or the “controller” over the church. And if the husband is the same to the wife as Christ is to the church, then that would place him as being “supreme in authority” and “controller” over her.

Sarah accepted Abraham as her master. She allowed him to be in “supreme authority”. She not only showed this in her actions, but also in the thoughts of her heart. Genesis 18:12 is part of the account where God tells Sarah that she is going to have a baby in her old age. She laughs at the thought of it. Verse 12 is her own personal thoughts to no one but herself. In it, she refers to Abraham as “my master-my husband”. No one was around to hear her show this respect. She didn’t say it because she thought that Abraham might overhear her. She said it because that was how she truly felt in her heart.

Submission is an issue of the heart. It is accepting the fact that God has placed you as the helper, not the leader. Sarah happily accepted the role that God gave her. She was a “helpmeet”. She wasn’t in charge, and she was okay with that.

Are you okay with that? Do you think of your husband as “your master? Submission is out of style these days. Sadly, so are Godly homes. We aren’t the status quo. We are the people of God and therefore, we’re living a new life in Christ. Let’s live it at the center of God’s will by respecting our husbands as masters.


  1. Thank you for that post. I think the only time I’ve said “yes master” to my husband was not in a serious tone. Thanks for that thought, I think if we did that from time to time it would humble us and bring our minds to where they need to be.

  2. 100% agreed, Faye. We get too caught up in being comfortable in our marriages that we lose the respect sometimes. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Hi Lisa,
    Good to see you on the blog. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts–an excellent reminder for all of us wives today.


  4. This is a great reminder but it is also important to remember that we are not the only ones God talks to about this. We as women are told to respect our husbands. Is this because this is what we struggle with most. But husbands are told to love their wives. It is important to do both for a strong marriage. We as women also need to remember we are to respect our husbands not be a doormat for them. I respect my husband dearly and because of this he loves and values me. They go hand in hand!

    Miss you guys!!

  5. Karen, thanks for stopping by the site. It’s been too long since we’ve seen you. We miss you too!

    I want to encourage you to go back and read through I Peter 3 and Ephesians 5 when Paul and Peter talk about the role of the husband and the wife. Neither Paul, nor Peter, ever said, “Wives, your husbands should love you like Christ loved the church” or “husbands, your wives should submit to you”. No, both Paul and Peter stated that they should take care of their own problems. Christ didn’t love only if we would submit to him. He loved us unconditionally. He loved us while we were still sinners.

    In fact, Peter explains this further “if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives”. There is no condition on which the wife is to submit or the husband is to love. Both must do their job regardless of what the other does.

    I think we have to be careful concerning ourselves with someone else’s role. We have been given ours and by doing it, we fulfill God’s will whether our spouse does or not.

  6. Thanks to everyone for the feedback. This is an important discussion and I’m glad to see people are questioning and thinking about it more.

    Karen, you should check out my post from a week ago for the men about loving their wives. I shared with the men that they have not been told to force their wives to submit. It’s their job to love their wives whether they submit or not. Hosea is a great example of this very thing and a perfect example of the issue you’re bringing up now.

    If you get a chance, go check out the post about “Loving Your Wife”.

  7. Puh-leeze. You have to be kidding. The only people that could live in a marriage like that is a woman who does not have the intelligence to trust her own ideas and decisions and a man that is so weak that he needs to dominate someone and so uses some quote from the Bible to justify his bullying. A person is no less of a person because of his gender, and my brain functions very well on its own.

  8. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

    I Corinithians 1:18

  9. Living up to being the master isn’t the easiest thing on earth, to say the least. As a matter of fact, there are many times I’ve run as far as I could from the very idea.

    When a man runs from his role in marriage, inevitably the woman steps in to take over because she senses that security should be there. When the man fails to provide it, the woman fails by stepping in to provide it herself and ultimately ends up hating her husband because she’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing.

    Then, to top it off, if the man wants to be a man, he needs to get permission from the woman, who, having supplanted the man’s natural role, becomes the “man-maker” and ultimately plays the role of God. The woman becomes a false god in her own home breeding not love and security, but hate, resentment, infidelity and other things that are opposite the love that God intended in His natural order of things.

    “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.” -King Solomon

    The problem isn’t women taking over the roles of men, it’s men not being man enough to let a woman be a woman. A woman knows a man needs to be in the house to guide guard and direct, and if there isn’t one, she actually is the next best thing, albeit not the real thing. It’s like a false prophet whose stolen the minds of the weak. Often times the only way to turn things around is to destroy them all and start over.

    If a group of lunatics all gather together to claim they aren’t lunatics, it doesn’t mean they aren’t crazy, it just means they all agree with one another. Consensus isn’t truth.

  10. Don’t you think it is interesting that all of the different ‘careers’ we want growing up are all wrapped up in one. Growing up here are some of the things most women want to be; teacher, chef, nurse, day care organizer, family organizer, psychologist – to just name a few… We have all of those jobs as a wife and mother. I love the fact that I get to be everything I ever wanted to be. I don’t have to change jobs to get all the different experiences or intelligence it takes to manage all my different ‘careers’.

    Submitting to your husband can be one of the hardest challenges there can be in a marriage. It takes skills of the mind we are not taught to use growing up. It takes an obscene amount of patience sometimes. I don’t always like it – or do it the way I should. I should continue to make it a daily effort. Doing so takes hard work, intelligence and knowing the bible calls us each to our place. I am blessed to know Christ. I am blessed to be a wife. I get to do a whole bunch of careers in one. I get to make my husband smile. I am blessed to have the opportunity to please God by submitting.

    Thanks for the reminder Lisa! Love you!

  11. Thanks so much for your thoughts on this! As you said, this trend & marriage in general is failing in this society. I, myself, as a single girl read this with hope of finding someone worthy of that. I do not feel like I’m lessening myself to a man’s needs, because I have no man (yet). I choose to do that because I recognize that is God’s design and makes for a happy household. Thanks for this reminder & the time it took to write it so clearly & concisely. Hopefully this will be an encouragement to many more!

    Love you!

  12. It’s amazing to me how people can use God’s word to look outward. The sole purpose of God’s word is to look inward. Countless times I’ve heard and been guilty of thinking this myself, “I’m not going to do this, if she/he’s not going to do that” When it’s all said and done, we can only worry about if we are fulfill OUR roles has husbands and wives.

  13. You know, this really angers me when I see this and hear this.

    I grew up in a very church based home and then when I got married……it was a major wake up call that has not stopped ringing for 25 years now.

    The day I call my husband “master” is the day I give him a divorce.

    I have dealt with the all the trials of trying to live my life by what the bible says, but you know, it never once mentioned on what the woman’s rights were when her own husband not only beat her brutally, but also has threatened her life.

    I haven’t left him, because of what I have always been taught in church and I have to live every day with being “submissive” only to find out that not only is it giving him what he wants, but it is destroying me in the process.

    What you don’t mention here is also the fact that the husband is supposed to dedicate his life to making his wife happy and making her dreams to come true. Not the opposite. How many men can you say that about?

    Whether it be her succeeding in a career of her own or allowing her to be able to see her family and actually have friends.

    So, if this is the case, then someone needs to have a really long talk with whomever wrote this stuff and look at it from today’s standards.

    If you base your life on what was written thousands of years ago, then no matter what you do, you will find yourself being controlled and in the wrong ways.

    I will say this though, I am denouncing what the bible says and I am going to have to go with what my heart is telling me and it is telling me to save my life.

    Not call someone “master.”

    You start calling someone “master” and you might as well just consider yourself a bought and purchased piece of property.

    It also tells me that the woman that called her husband master, certainly didn’t see much in herself as a woman and by golly, she sure didn’t see the value in herself to be who she really is…..


    I don’t mind fulfilling my role as a wife, but I flat refuse to be someone’s property and that is exactly what you are implying when you throw this garbage out about a husband being called “master.”

    You also have to look at this garbage too for what the slaves went through also.

    Do you really think they are willing to go along with this?

    Please…….no one deserves to be called “master” and frankly, I am appalled that anyone would even consider this, even today.

    • Thank you for your comment! I’m really sorry to hear that you are willing to denounce the Bible over teachings like these. But we are fully convinced that this is what the Bible teaches, so we cannot back down on Christ’s teachings. I’m also sorry that that your husband has abused you for so long. We have had many couples contact us where there is abuse involved. We hate to hear of each incident, but we have seen God work through even the hardest of situations.

      We’ve said repeatedly on our site that Ephesians 5:22 (Where it talks about husbands loving their wives and wives submitting to their husbands) never says anything about an “If/Then” clause. It never says that IF your husband loves you then you should submit. It also does not say that the husband doesn’t have to love his wife if she doesn’t submit to him. When you get to heaven, God is not going to listen to you while you say, “Well, he didn’t do this, and he didn’t do that…” You will answer for YOUR actions and your actions alone.

      Also, I must clarify something in your comment, according to scripture. Although this may sound completely unfair, there is never a scripture that says that the husband is supposed to dedicate his life to making his wife happy and to making her dreams come true. A husband’s goal, scripturally, is to serve and glorify God. Our purpose as wives? Gen. 2:20 says that we were created to be man’s helper. That is the entire REASON we were created…to help our husbands to do their job. If we are focused on our husbands making us happy, then neither we nor our husbands are fulfilling our real, God-given purposes.

      Finally, it is very ironic that these teachings make you feel like a “bought and purchased piece of property”. That is exactly what you are. Jesus paid the ultimate price to redeem your soul. He died for you. He bought you with his blood. So, when someone buys you with their blood, you are forever indentured to them. If you are going to follow the Bible and its teachings, then you will want nothing more than to serve the God that gave everything up so that He could save you in the end.

  14. “Abused too much in too many ways,” you spoke of sticking around for horrible abuse because you believed you were required by scripture to do so. Fleeing a situation for your health is not prohibited in scripture, though remarriage is (apart from the circumstance of sexual unfaithfulness). Pleas don’t through out the baby with the bath water. You may have been taught wrong in ways, but that does not mean that you should through out the Bible.

  15. I am not a Christian; I am not religious at all in fact. I do, however, consider my husband to be my master.

    From an early age, I’ve had to take care of myself and my children (I was an unmarried mother at 18) and I done it very well. After starting off life very poor, by my mid twenties, I was earning in the top 2% and have continued to do so. I am also very capable and can fix just about anything so I haven’t needed a man for much.

    When I met my husband, I was very used to being in charge. So was he. I have never liked anyone telling me what to do and I wasn’t going to start with him. I did respect his intelligence and character and, for the first time in my life, I felt that I’m met a man who was my match. Unlike my previous husbands, he didn’t give up control to me but I wouldn’t give it up to him either, even though, deep down, I knew that if it came to it, he would win.

    After 7 years of battling for control, our relationshop was disintegrating. I had to decide what I wanted — a strong man or one that I could control. Without saying anything to him, I changed my attitude. I started to deferring to him. I handed over control of the finances (we earned about the same) and he’s a lot better at money than I am. The effect on our relationship was immediate and drastic. I felt less critical and more in love. His attitude towards me softened and he become more loving and tender. It’s been 4 years and we are more in love than ever. I haven’t become a slave (he’s lucky if I cook 3 times a week) or less of a person. I haven’t become a housewife. He loves my intelligence and earning abilities. I have just embraced my feminity and I feel more powerful and happy than ever before.

  16. […] The following is what God revealed to my friend during her struggle to respect her husband. […]

  17. […] Not Burdensome I have written about submission before and about letting your husband lead as it talks about in scripture.  We have gotten quite a […]

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