NEW! Intimate Connections

Take Our Current Survey

Three Things Survey

Answer a quick question about what you would like to have more of in your marriage

Popular Series

Click the arrow to show/hide series

Search Journey to Surrender

Blog Archive

Tuesday, July 27, 2010
In communicating to men and women about God’s design for marriage, I am consistently faced with a difficult challenge: words.

The terminology around the topic of biblical instructions on marriage is so loaded, so filled with contentious misconceptions, that as I write I am continually reminding myself to clarify, expound and add the appropriate disclaimers. It makes it difficult to be succinct, but to do otherwise risks distortion and the likelihood of miscommunication.

Even in my best efforts to write sensitively and carefully, I realize that at times there will be room for mis-interpretation. It comes with the territory when writing on a topic that has been the subject of so much controversy over the years.

With that said, I thought it might be wise to spend a post jut talking about the words I often use and to give at least a brief description of what I mean when I use them.

Biblical Order or Biblical Authority – refers to the fact that in The Bible God set up families and marriages to operate under a definite structure. That structure gives husbands a certain authority and responsibility within marriage. (I don’t know why he set it up that way, but he is God, so he can do that kind of thing.) I like to think of this arrangement as “leading out in front” kind of authority, as opposed to a more hierarchical “controlling from the top down” form.

Surrender – I was purposeful in my choice of the word surrender in the titling of this blog because it applies equally to both husbands and wives. Principally it refers to the surrender of self-focused living in exchange for the life focused on your spouse. It also applies to husbands and wives equally in their relationship to Jesus. The wife’s surrender takes the form of submission to her husband; the husband’s surrender takes the form of sacrificial, servant-hearted leadership.

Submission – This is the word commonly translated in the bible to describe a wife’s surrender to her husband’s authority and loving leadership. It has to do with her relinquishing her own will and rights for the sake of her husband and the benefit of her marriage. It has to do with the complete giving of herself to her husband in serving him, respecting him, honoring him and trusting him It has nothing to do with her being less important or less capable than her husband.

Leadership or Headship – This is the role that a husband takes in walking out his own surrender. It has to do with relinquishing his will and rights, even unto laying down his life for the sake of his wife and the benefit of his marriage. It has to do with him giving of his complete self to his wife in serving her, protecting her, nurturing her and beautifying her. It has nothing to do with him being more important or more capable than his wife.

You can see from the descriptions above submission and leadership share many of the same attributes. Maybe that isn’t the common understanding of these terms in every day use, but the descriptions I give are based on my understanding of what the word of God says about the roles of husbands and wives.

How do you define these terms? What are your instinctive emotional reactions to these words? Do the feelings they evoke line up more with what the Bible teaches, or with how the world defines them, maybe even how they have been mis-used by the church in the past? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

You can more of what I have to say about these terms and concepts in my overview post defining a surrendered marriage and the  bridal paradigm.


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

We Have Moved!

Journey to Surrender
is now

Stay here if you want to search old content.

Click on over if you want to see the latest and greatest!

Connect With Us

Subscribe by email and never miss a post!

New subscribers will receive a free copy of my ebook :

How to Have a Succ-Sex-Full Marriage

My new Heaven Made Marriage Facebook page has lots of extra marriage-related stuff not found on my blog.

Follow Journey to Surrender on Twitter: @marriagejourney.

Subscribe via

Member of:
Christian Marriage Bloggers Association Members Badge

Contributing Writer: