The Key to Successful Marriages: Submissive Wives?


Marriage isn’t easy. And there are a million books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble telling us that marriage is easier if we recognize that men are from Mars, women are from Venus, and we need to be multilingual in love languages

We also know that celebrities are really good at using their fame to share their own life stories, including the trials and tribulations of marriage. They write books about their personal brink-of-divorce revelations and the wisdom they reached on the other side. Whether or not those stories provide tips that are actually based in any sort of clinically proven theory practiced by marriage counselors doesn’t seem to make a difference.

One such book has recently popped up in the news, mainly for a particular comment made by the author. In her book “My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper,” volleyball star and model Gabrielle Reece shares the marital challenges she faced with her husband, professional surfer Laird Hamilton, and how they were able to work their way back to each other after filing for divorce. She believes that her marriage improved in part due to the fact that she and her husband adopted more traditional gender roles.

So what is Reece saying that’s causing so much buzz?

To be truly feminine means being soft and receptive and look out, here it comes, submissive.

Submissive. That’s not exactly a word I would use to describe the role I expect to play in my marriage. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership, and I’m not so sure how a partnership can be successful when one half of that duo is submissive.

In an interview with Natalie Morales on the Today show, Reece claims that being submissive in a marriage is a sign of power, not weakness. My first instinct when I read this was, wow, everything about the word submissive implies a relinquishing of power. How is that good for a marriage when a wife is being “unresistingly or humbly obedient” to her husband? Shouldn’t man and wife have equal footing? Why should either partner have power in a relationship?

Watching the actual interview gave me a better idea of what she was trying to get across, but I’m still not sure I’m completely on board with her theory.

“I think the idea of living with a partner is ‘How can I make their life better?’” Reece said. “So if I’m the woman and he’s the man, then yes, that’s the dynamic. I’m willing and I choose to serve my family and my husband because it creates a dynamic where he is then in fact acting more like a man and masculine and treating me the way I want to be treated.”

Okay, I’ll buy into that reasoning. Don’t we all want to help make our spouses’ lives better? And don’t we want that in return? But does that necessarily mean that women have to be the ones to be submissive and serve their husbands before they can get their needs met?

Maybe it all boils down to the fact that marriage is about figuring out your spouse’s wants and needs and trying to fulfill them. Maybe Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton realized how they best compliment each other, and they’re both cool with the roles they’ve created in their marriage, including the submissive wife and the husband who communicates “through food and through sex.”

That clearly works for her. Would that work for you? What do you think of Reece’s statement about being submissive?

About the Author

Heather Sweeney
Heather Sweeney is an Associate Editor at, former Navy wife, mother of two, blogger, and avid runner. She’s the blogger formerly known as Wife on the Roller Coaster and still checks in every now and then at her blog Riding the Roller Coaster.

103 Comments on "The Key to Successful Marriages: Submissive Wives?"

  1. My husband and I always consider ourselves equals and partners.One of the readings from our wedding even stressed that Eve came from Adam's side, they should walk together, not one in front and the other behind… and we have stayed true to that. Even when I was unemployed due to our PCS our marriage was never on uneven footing and I love him for that. We try our hardest to be a team, not stereotypical gender roles. If that works for you, great, no one can determine what works for every marriage, but I am grateful to be in a partnership!

    • God created marriage and He determined its purpose and rules, not guidelines, for success for His Kingdom. A real shame if your focus is only on 40, 50, or 60 years and not eternity.

      If you read the verses after Ephesians 5:22 about wives submitting to their husbands, in verse 25 you will read about the characteristics of that man that God calls the woman to submit to. He will practice servant leadership and demonstrate his love for his wife by serving her as Christ came to serve and not be served.

    • This sounds more like a business, not a marriage. Let's see how long you STAY married.

      • Former Marine | April 30, 2013 at 9:45 pm |

        Statistically, these people stay married longer. Mostly because the wife isn't a miserable, abused wreck.

  2. Dear Heather – You have forgotten who invented Marriage, and what He said the purpose was. It was NOT so that people can "have their needs met", or so that they can form a "partnerships". In fact, you can do that all you want without ever getting married can’t you?
    Marriage, by Gods design, includes much more than labor sharing, mutual pleasure, etc. According to God’s definition, self sacrifice and submission are key elements. It is a Covenant – two unilateral unconditional promises (I will, regardless of your actions, for better or for worse), not a bilateral conditional contract (as long as you do X, I'll do Y).
    What’s more, Marriage is not about you, or your spouse – it is a model of how Heaven works. Christ loves the Church (the Bride of Christ) and gave Himself fully for her. The Church loves Christ (The Head of the Church) and submits fully to His leadership. (Ephesians, Chapter 5.) A marriage without submission is not a “marriage” at all – it’s a misnomer (like a sandwich without bread).

    • Dear Joe – Complete bullshit. Marriage was NOT invented by God, but human society LONG before Christians ever existed. It's a partnership, plain and simple. Now, you feel free to find some spineless, cowering, low self esteem, slave woman, but I find those type of women disgusting and unworthy of the name of Human. I prefer strong women, like my wife, and that is the way I am raising my daughter, to spit in the eye and cut off the balls of men like yourself.

      • Dear Brad – the irony, of course, is that “submission” has such a bad connotation in our culture precisely because of people like you, who see submission as a weakness to be exploited. To you, a submissive woman is a “spineless, cowering, low self esteem, slave woman”, worthy of nothing but subjugation.
        For some people, the bottom line is power, and always will be. For them, every relationship is a power play, and the concept of a relationship based on anything else (respect, submission, etc.) is a recipe for disaster. (And for them, it would be a disaster. If their wives truly were submissive, they would see it as weakness, and despise it, and exploit it. After all, submissive people are “disgusting and unworthy of the name Human”. Why not treat them like the “slave women” that they are?)
        Sir, your hatred and disdain for human weakness is inspiring! Adolf would be proud.

    • You are a nut job. "God" has no place in politics or partnerships. Marriage IS an EQUAL partnership. You can take your god, your church and your ungodly views of modern marriage and shove it. I have never been submissive to any man, and my husband has told me point blank he never would have married me if I was submissive to him, he wanted an equal, not someone he can grind under his heel.

    • The Christian God invented marriage eh? That'd be interesting to pre-Christian societies who had marriage… You're an idiot.

      • gokumonster | April 16, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
      • Christianwife | April 19, 2013 at 10:55 pm |

        I believe you misudnerstand who the Chrsitian god is. The "Christian God" has always existed! The Christian God didnt come to existance along with Christ, but before Him. For a reason we call Him the ALFA and OMEGA. The one who always was, and is, and will always be. He created the earth. He was there with Adam and Eve, and along with Adam and Eve, God created the first MARRIAGE.

    • Joe T… You are right on. God bless you for standing up for what is an absolute truth.

    • Chris Blackwell | April 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm |

      Actually Adam and Eve never got married and there is no record of when the institution of marriage came to be. As late as the Christian part of the roman empire there was no church ceremony for marriage it was strictly a secular legal property matter. The Christian church of the time only did ceremonies for the nobility and for an hefty price. Ordinary people never had a ceremony in a church eve as late as the medieval period in Europe. What was more common for the ordinary person was a hand fasting and no priest was involved in that. In the Bible there are a whole variety of different types of marriage, none of them required either a priest or a rabbi, most of which would be considered to be offensive and illegal today. Remember when Jesus made water into wine for the couple, he did not do a marriage ceremony for them, he was merely a guest.

      • Former Marine | April 30, 2013 at 9:49 pm |

        Adam and Eve were SINNERS! God hath strucketh them down for their sinful acts and fornications outside of GODLY marriage! AMEN.

  3. Admittedly, most husbands don’t model Christ (laying down their lives for their wives) very well, which makes it that much harder for wives to model the Church (submitting fully to their husbands). But our failure to follow His model does not mean that the model is broken. WE are broken. Marriage is the most idealistic, noble thing most of us will ever attempt in our lifetimes. It is HARD! It will break you before it rebuilds you. If you’re not ready for “submission”, forget it. Stick with “partnerships”, “mutual agreements”, “arrangements”, and “civil unions”.
    Next time, before you start writing about what Marriage “should be”, please do a little home work. Feel free to ask whether submission is a necessary element for successful “partnerships”. But the question of whether it is a necessary element for successful “Marriage” was settled long before either of us was born, by the author Himself.

    • Marriage was around longer than the bible, definitely longer than the 6000 years creationists claim the earth is old…

  4. sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 10:22 am |

    Ephesians 5:21 is left out here….it starts: Submit fully TO ONE ANOTHER. Men love to leave that part out. Marriage is about symbiosis, partnership, yin/yang. Truth, as a Catholic I have often questioned whether soldiers could have an Ephesians marriage at all…being submitted fully to the military before all other things. As a Catholic wife, I often feel I make do with what I can get from my Catholic husband soldier…that is the truth. Ephesians marriage in the Bible is about two people being fully devoted, before all else, to God and their family…it's hardly a reality for military couples but in lip service. Yes our husbands can philosophically be Ephesians husbands…but really we all know the military is the only thing that comes before all other things, and the only thing they can fully submit to.

    • Ephesians 5:21 doesn't apply here. It is the concluding thought of the prior verses where Paul is talking about the Christians' actions and relationship, not specifically husband and wife.

      • sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm |

        You do realize that's a direct contradiction? If all Christians are to submit fully to one another in unity to the Church….then it is a direct contradiction to state ..only wives submit in marriage. It is precisely why men chunk up Ephesians and try to rewrite it's intent in entirety. We submit to one another in the unity of marriage. Men have headship in marriage in the latter verses, because in any organization…someone has to be the leader. And because the social construct of the day had men the larger holder of societal clout. It is no different really than most of the other societal quirks assigned to relationships in the Bible. In military marriage, it is virtually impossible for a man to have sole headship of his household. In fact, you could argue it's detrimental to the longevity of the house period. What if he dies? What if he is otherwise incapacitated? Are we to return to…oh well then his brother marrys the wife and then he lords over her? We all have our vantage points. Mine is…military men are virtually unavailable the vast majority of time to lead their households. Their wives lead their households, while both submit to the rigamarole of military life and their unity in marriage.

        • There is no contradiction. Different structures, different purposes, different roles. Verse 21 does not refer to marriage. You are right, God did put man in charge of the marriage, and the husband is responsible. This doesn't mean that the husband has to make every daily decision for the family. As a wife, you know know your husband, and as we say in the Army, his "Commander's Intent." As a commander, I was still responsible for my subordinates' and unit's actions if I were on leave or TDY. It's the same in a marriage. If the husband is not there, you would make decisions based on how he would handle it if he were there. I don't think that you would purposely choose an option that would be the complete opposite from your husband's desires. This is still being submissive to your husband's leadership role that God holds him responsible for. Being submissive doesn't mean that you have checked your brain at the door and can't doing anything without your husband's permission. Wives are going to make daily decisions to make the family run–especially if the husband is deployed. But this should not be construed as being the leader, or head, of the family. Again, God appointed that responsibility to the man. His temporary absence doesn't change his appointed role or function. If he is dead, then that's different situation. However, if dad is deployed and mom is working hard to keep things going, she needs to still show the love, respect, and devotion to dad. And teach the children that even although dad is away, he is still responsible for the family, and mom is making the decisions that he would make if he were there, and that you two still confer on a regular basis.

          • sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm |

            Once again, your theory works great…until the husband is deployed for five years out of twelve and does a hardship tour to Korea for 15 months in there too…and oh by the way all the schools and TDYs therein associated. I am for being real and being honest. My husband has no damnable exaggeration been GONE 80% of the past 12 years…there is no way he is setting command climate for anything. Just as you could not lead effectively if you were gone from your command for 80% of the time. It is impossible to lead in that reality. I also have a fancy Masters in Organizational Leadership, you and I both know…NO leader, no matter how amazing could lead in that reality…you have to be THERE, you have to be in it to lead effectively and you have to do that more than 20% of the time.
            Asking especially enlisted soldiers, such as mine, who has none of the control you do, to bare the burden of family headship, on top of being shot at for 5 years out of 12…. Is NUTS. You are asking too much of one person. In fact, what a hortidwife to do any such thing.

          • sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 2:28 pm |

            This is why I assert, military marriage, perhaps more than any other..MUST be a partnership. The only leading my husband has done in 18 years of a Catholic Army marriage is…he asked me to marry him, and we got married in the church. He has never been around long enough to even know how old our kids are…let alone set command climate for anything.
            Earlier you spoke of what God naturally intends. Well God doesnt naturally intend for men to go to war virtually all of 12 years either..but they did. So our REALITY is itself, unnatural and has required adaptation to not just survive but thrive.

      • sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm |

        You strike me as the type of person who likes history…Spartan wives are a great example of a society in which, adapted to military constraints, women had more power than in any other society of the day, They owned property and more importantly inherited property, they ran commerce and they had virtually sole discretion over their households…why? Their husbands were always ABSENT. This is my point in this conversation. The wives of service members can not submit in an Ephesians way and the service members can not lead through Ephesians headship…military life makes that impossible in practicality. It is a theory of societal construct which does not apply to us.
        Note: Men, there is this thing we women do where we let you think you are in charge, so your lizard brain is stroked and you don't kill us. Let's not confuse that with who really runs military households…women. And let's not confuse that with…guess what there are new social paradigms now, some male spouses, some homosexual spouses and they will also, like Sparta did, redefine the social pact of marriage to meet their needs.

        • VCT_Retired_Army | April 17, 2013 at 11:58 am |

          Exactly. I am female and my husband (in 1981 when it was unheard of) chose to kill his career and follow his officer wife around the world. He raised our daughter – who is now an Army officer – not me. I decided where we would live and he decided just about everything else. It had nothing to do with gender and everything to do with who was THERE. Neither of us are submissive and religeon has nothing to do with it. But we are still together and happy after 32 years.

    • Women leave that part out too (and yes I am a woman). They leave it out because they don't want to submit or don't like the context associated with the word. We, as women, Christian women, are called to submit to our husbands not because we have to but because we want to to please God. Our husbands are called to love us, not because they have to but because they want to. If we, as a wife, do not want to submit to our husbands – listen to them, respect them, admire them, then we should not expect them to love us – care for us, be tender to us, etc. However, we can't expect that anyways, all we can do is expect that we can fulfill our part and be happy. A marriage is 100/0 – not because the other person shouldn't contribute but because we should take the expectation of it out – you take out expectations and the surprises and blessings are 10x more than you put in.

  5. Lots of people get hung up on the specific words for this. I finally found a more modern language to describe this to my single friends: my marriage seems to work because both my husband and I realize and treat each other with the understanding that I am his lover, not his mother.

  6. sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 10:34 am |

    The Ephesian man is to devote his entire life to his family and mutual sharing of the burdens of marriage. He is to not just cherish but teach and be a 100% partner to his wife. I got an A+ in Old and New Testament at a Catholic University…we can argue this all day. Does this sound like military reality to you? Yeah right. We can all have philosophical cores, but let's be REAL here….no service member is an Ephesians husband, any more than any service members wife is an Ephesians wife. It is an antiquated idea that has virtually no bearing on our military lives. Submissive wives in the military are the ones driving us crazy as FRG leaders. They are the one's calling me 20 times a day because they need continual guidance and reassurance. Military life requires partnership. Partnership requires present day reality, not a Biblical anecdote.

    • So really where you and I are in disagreement is Theology. Because I disagree with your statement that the Ephesian man is to devote his entire life to his family and mutual sharing of the burdens of marriage.

      A GODLY man is to devote his life to Christ, after which, all else follows.

      I might have been impressed that you got an A+ if it was at a Theological Seminary, but it was at a Catholic University, where you took 1 semester of old and new testament. That doesn't make you a theological expert.

      • sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 10:56 am |

        Oh for Pete's sake…how long have you been married and what evangelical born again cult do you prescribe to? We ALL are to devote our lives to God, not just men. And we ALL are to be honest, not only with ourselves but with one another to lift one another up. Your interpretation of Ephesians is clear, it's why you left out 21. That interpretation sets military families up for failure. Period. Military men can never be all things to their wives or families, that is a pedestal they will fall from post haste.

        • I didn't hear anybody suggesting an interpretation that makes men "all things to their wives or families".
          Yes, Ephesians is "unrealistic”, if by that you mean that in our fallen condition we cannot live up to it. But that doesn't mean it is an "antiquated idea" with "virtually no bearing" on modern life. "Love your neighbor as yourself" is equally "unrealistic". Is that an "antiquated idea" as well?
          PS. These military wives you complain about are not driving you crazy because they are submissive in their marriages, but because they are immature, worried, scared, etc.
          PPS. I have a military marriage, but I haven’t put up with a TENTH of the deployments you guys have. My heart goes out to you. I will now shut my mouth.

          • sabrinacking | April 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm |

            No actually, I was primarily referring to three, yes three, chaplains wives all over thirty years old who bought into this BS and so promptly fell apart when their husbands deployed. One actually became so anorexic she had to be hospitalized. Another had to have her children removed by relatives because of neglect. This type of marriage only works…if the man is there all the time. If you take men out of that power exchange type relationship, those women, in my actual war time experience…fall apart. They can not function on their own…or they are the wives tanked up on antidepressants. Either way, it is not what we should be advising young women to do…period. Because when the funerals start, and we're waist deep in casualty care and real honest to God militarily reality..the last thing we need is a Chaplains wife fainting at an FRG meeting because she isn't feeding herself.

    • After successfully raising four children on my own since 1988, and doing well in my profession as well, I am gladly a submissive wife to my Marine Corps husband. We have been together for seven years, married three, through two deployments together. I have NEVER sought help or advice from any military source. I don't even know what an FRG is! I am VERY independent and capable, and also have strong relationships, who could be a support team, if ever needed. "Submitting" to my husband takes a lot more strength, and exemplifies much more self-confidence and self-assurance, than doing things on my own- in my own way. (People who try to control things have no control of themselves.) It means respecting him enough to allow him to live his part in our life together. That grows a marriage. For the record, I am a Christian. I submit to my husband in obedience to God. That makes my attitude good, regardless of my husband's behavior. I have personally seen the huge difference in living life according to God's direction, as opposed to my own dysfunctional way. It works!

  7. I am a Christian, so let me begin by saying that, lest I be attacked for not being a Christian. (Do not judge lest ye be judged, may I remind all of us Christains!) In that same vein, I am almost certain Heather did not mean for this to BE a religious conversation. This article is based on an interview about being submissive. I read both the article and saw the interview that Ms. Reece gave, and at no time did she mention religion either. Yes, this is Christian language, and for those of you attacking Heather for taking on this subject, you are only proving the point that this is a topic of discussion that military families find troublesome. If I am condemned by other Christians for not being submissive to my husband, how does that make me feel within my own Christian population?

  8. CONT from Holly G Again, however, I thankfully belong to a Christian popultaion that does not call out others for not living as they do. I live in a world where we LIFT those up in love and prayer, without judgement! Jesus, I am sure does not want His words to be used to judge others, and sadly, some of you, claiming to be Christians have spent a lot of your time doing just that. (Just food for thought) That being said, I have to agree with the comment from sabrinacking. Military life does not lend itself to being a "submissive" wife.

    • sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 11:50 am |

      Actually, the only point of contention I have here is Ephesians is an Epistle attributed to Paul, not the words of Christ. Moreover the intent of the epistle in entirety is the unity of one Paulist church historically. That always makes me giggle when the first groups to use it, drop the 21 and champion it….are those who left…the one Paulist church. Context people…it still remains important.

  9. Cont from Holly G How can I be submissive when I do not see my husband for months and months at a time? How can I ask my husband what he would like me to do in any given situation, when we may go weeks without any type of communication? Should I curl up in the fetal position and wait for him to give me direction? No, that is not a reality that I live in, and as a mother with two young children, I have to be a strong woman who makes decision based on my reality. As a Christian, who loves and supports his wife, my husband sees me and respects me as his partner, and as a Christian I respect and honor my husband in the choices that we make TOGETHER for our family! We have been married 26 years and this has worked beautifully for our family! We love one another, we love our children and we honor and love those around us, which truly, I believe is the message of Jesus…however, AGAIN, NOT the message of this article…stop judging the author..this is not a Christian discussion, this is a military-marriage discussion….on a military site…about military families…read by military spouses….about military marriages.

    • sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 11:22 am |

      I agree completely with this. As a Catholic, I am fully devoted to God and Christ in our lives…but I feel the Ephesians ideal is just that…idealism in military marriage, it is NOT a reality. And like you, I think we can have that conversation without it being centered around any particular form of worship. However, if we are going to use Bible quotes to make our argument…I would really like it if people would start with Ephesians 21… It is the central construct of the entire Ephesians marriage covenant. Leaving it out, many born again type communities focus on the submission of wives and not the equal submission of both partners to one another and God…which is how the covenant starts. And truly, 21 is the only really applicable part of Ephesians for military marriage. We must be partners in faith in military life. But the rest is antiquated and has no bearing on military reality.

    • sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 11:27 am |

      No more than selling your daughter to buy an Ox does. Or all men having beards does…or any other host of antiquated details we can find in the Bible on day to day reality of premodern life. Modern life, especially military modern life requires something vastly different but still requires Ephesians 21: Submit fully TO ONE ANOTHER.

  10. Interesting how so many Christians act and talk as if they invented marriage and therefore have all the proprietary rights to define it for others. The article did not even mention religion: it discusses gender roles, which historically transcend and predate religious definitions of marriage. And yet most of the posts hijack the discussion to go on about the poster's particular religiously defined opinions on the subject. Marital feminine submission is only present in relationships where there is violence, real or implied violence, or the likely potential for it.

    • Marriage is defined by God in Genesis 2. Gender roles aside from the woman being a helper for the man, also in Genesis 2, all occur after the establishment of marriage. If you don't want God a part of your marriage than have a civil ceremony. God can not be separated from marriage because He created it!

      • Just as man created God in his own mind? And the bible and all the rest of that stuff. Sorry, don't buy into such delusions but suit yourself.

      • Marriage predates your Bible you dolt.

    • wow gunnergoz. you couldn't be more wrong. and from your comment i must assume you know nothing about a fulfilling marriage either in your generation or the generations preceding. how very sad for you. and btw, Christians don't think we invented marriage – God created marriage, in the garden of Eden.

  11. Japan Sounds nice... | April 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

    Back to the subject… I think in order to have a successful military you must not only practice submissiveness you must also be comfortable with it. Which is hard for people with a independent mentality. I hear often home is where HE places his boots, you change your schedule to accommodate his, he can't do that because lets face it even though he married to you the military comes first.

    • sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm |

      I think submission is the wrong word period. And who defines successful? We have been married 18 military years and endured a lot…we haven't just survived we have both thrived. I don't think that comes from submission, rather it comes from flexibility, on the parts of both spouses, not just the wife. Be fluid like the river, not rigid like the stick. The stick breaks, the water…always finds a way.

  12. jeffriesboys | April 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

    I practice this in my own marriage, but we approach our marriage with a definite Christian worldview. I can see if you don't approach life with this view point how this would be a challenge to understand. Yet, I still agree it is a place of power. Christ calls us to all to be willing to lay down our life for our brother. How much more does that apply to our marriage. I find it somewhat amusing how people get all bent out of shape when they talk about submission in marriage, yet it is present in every other aspect of our lives and no one thinks anything of it. At work, at school, growing up. Even in friendships. If you have a friend for any length of time, there has been an instance where you have done what your friend wanted, even if it wasn't particularly what you wanted to do because it made them happy. Same thing. When big decisions come up and we can not agree (which rarely happens), I submit, I agree to go along with my husband's wishes and if it turns out poorly, then it is his responsibility. I disagree with gunergoz above me that marriage predates religion. How do you know that? Where do you see that. I would argue that since God and religion have existed since the beginning of time, there is no way to prove that marriage predates religion. But, hey, there is free will. God gave you the right to be wrong, so who am I to take that away from you?

  13. We received good advice before we married. We were told, "Marriage isn't 50/50. It's going to be 60/40, 80/20, 90/10. Someone is always going to be giving more; and the other will be taking. So long as the same partner isn't always doing the giving, it'll work." We were told, "If both of you are always trying to do what's best for the other, you'll always have someone watching your back." I do think the word "submissive" gets a negative rap. If it were replaced with "supportive" or "uplifting", maybe people wouldn't have such trouble with it?

  14. one that cowers in the presence of her spouse?
    Not in my world
    Marriage is not based on someone dictating and demanding but in
    a partnership…………..

  15. conradswims | April 16, 2013 at 6:04 pm |

    Not since Adam and Eve!

  16. My wife and I have been married for…let's see…26 years now. Through it all there have been ups and downs, disagreements, fights, and the inevitable make up in the end. She is quite bossy, but I have finally figured out that when I listen to her, life goes happily along. She does her routine, keeps the house running smoothly, and I bring home the paycheck. We have our roles well defined by now. I fix what needs to be fixed when it breaks, and she does almost all the housework. After the deployments and the long absences, she is still hanging in there with me some how. The point is, she has her place in being the boss, and I have mine. We both submit, we both are the boss.

  17. priceisright | April 16, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
  18. It appears that it should be very obvious at this point in this post. Submissiveness in a relationship by either the husband or the wife is dependent upon ones own person beliefs whether they be from a religious background or from a non-religious yet loving caring background. I feel the need to point out the obvious here in saying that ALL of us can see the broken military marriages that are happening and dare I say that many of them are from one person not being submissive in some way. Whether Christian, non-christian, a good person or a bad person. All of us in these military marriages male or female need to be submissive to our mate at some point …IF WE TRULY LOVE THEM. Christians do this from the example Jesus gave to them. Even tho the people did not deserve or at times even want His love and treated Him unjust, He loved them anyway. The same could be said of a non-christian that is just a really good person. they love their mate with all their heart and many times that mate does not deserve that love at all but the other continues in love. We do things for our spouses because we love them. Sometimes that means NOT doing things (Being submissive) Because we love them. The Bible does show ALL types of Biblical help and guidance on marriage . It goes so far to even say God hates divorce. So, the people saying the Bible has nothing to do with it might want to pick it up and read it all before bashing it. But if you have not read it and want to do this marriage thing on your own, it may help you and your mate by getting all the help you can to achieve a happy , united , mutual loving relationship that will require us all to become submissive… Not just the Wife. And many times, even tho you may always be submissive and be the loving, caring one, the other mate may never be that way. The Christians will continue to love their mate and serve them just as Jesus did towards the sinners. He LOVED them yet did not let them walk all over Him. He did things out of love and non-selfish actions. Many non-Christians will do this as well when they act the same way. The problems comes when ONE spouse becomes selfish and does things not out of love any longer and only looks out for themselves. That is typically when people just walk away from the marriage. Christian or non.

  19. I suppose it depends on the individuals in a relationship, but in my case the answer is no. What drew my husband to me was my independence, intelligence, strength and ability to challenge him. Maybe because in his job he was surrounded by people who complied with his every order and didn't question his authority, so he welcomed those things in his personal life.

    In Gabby's case, it seems she's grasping at straws, and I'll bet her marriage doesn't last. Being submissive (or dominant) is a personality trait. It's who you are as a person, which cannot (and should not) be changed. It's one thing to do nice things for your spouse to show them you care; it's entirely different to change who you are in a desperate attempt to hold onto someone with whom you're not truly compatible.

    • sabrinacking | April 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm |

      Amen. Being submissive or dominant is absolutely a personality trait and not a gender definition.

    • Look up the actual meaning of the word submission as it was originally intended not how we have defined it in the 21st century.

  20. It seems odd all this opposition to leadership in a marriage and all the disdain for willing submissiveness. Just a thought regarding Military families – proper chain of command, submission to the role you are placed in, performing duties assigned you for the success of the whole unit and their mission… That is what we do… God, in His wisdom has His order and assignments for our lives and families as well. If those behaviors create a working successful body of service members, how much more the all important family unit?? Remember, if those in leadership positions have no one who allows them to lead and no one who cooperates in their vital roles, they can not lead. It takes all involved to know their important role and stay within that role so that the whole unit functions to maximum success… Think about it.

  21. Injecting a note of frivolity here….

    All the Coastie Chicks have decided the military is the wife and we are the mistress.

  22. Susiehomaker | April 18, 2013 at 5:57 am |

    I have no problem submitting to my husband although I am a strong opinionated woman he values my opinion and I can trust that he takes my thoughts and feelings into consideration before making the final decision in situations requiring it. The problem a lot of women have with submission is a lack of trust for their spouse or having a spouse who is untrustworthy I feel.

  23. A military Marriage is extremely difficult It is more so than any other profession. More than police or fireman. The military marriage has a year of more deployments, 30,45 or 90 day TDY, and most of the time it is in hostile areas. Whom ever is left behind loses that support system marriage is suppose bring. If you are the one who is constantly deployed, it is unrealistic to expect to come home and interrupt what your spouse has going on. A military marriage only works if both of you are willing to adjust to the ways of the military.

  24. ETCM(SS) (Ret) | April 18, 2013 at 9:51 am |

    She missed the mark. It's a bit more complicated. Being submissive i one area does not require being submissive in another area. A good marriage is give and take, with husband and wife exploiting the strengths they each have, and minimizing their own weaknesses. My wife and I have been married for 37 years, 24 of them on active duty, in the submarine service, where divorce rates are especially high. When we were young, we adopted fairly traditional "roles, " which meant I was the dominant decision maker within the household. Over time, and as our family grew, the fallacy of this arrangement became obvious. I was frequently deployed for long sea patrols, with no contact to the outside world. My wife had to do everything at home, make all decisions, handle all the finances, and so on. Whenever I'd come home, I'd try to slip right in, picking up where I'd left off months before, which to me, seemed natural, as my memories of home were completely intact from months earlier, with no changes accounted for. Of course, that was silly. Everything had changed. The cycle led to repressed anger, resentment and frustration, which finally boiled over one day, when I was exerting my manliness as the head of the household, with my wife's quip, "You just visit. We actually live here." I was thunderstruck, and after considering her statement at length, I realized the need, for both of us, for me to subordinate my control in most matters domestic. It was difficult, as she often did things, or made decisions, that I didn't agree with, but I bit my tongue, and let her run her house. It worked. Our children have all grown into fine, well adjusted, responsible adults, all well educated and gainfully employed. After retirement, my wife gradually abdicated much of her domestic dominance to me. She never really liked handling the bills, anyway. She just needed to do it for continuity, so things wouldn't fall apart when I would be gone for months on end. Today, we share most decisions, and are as happy together as we've ever been.

    In my case, it was necessary for me, the husband, to become more submissive, to ensure a long and healthy marriage.

  25. Robert Burkholder | April 18, 2013 at 11:54 am |

    The Sacred Writ (see Roger Sherman Sept.25,1789-as cited America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations ,Wm. J. Federer Ed. p.163 n.196. clearly addresses the role of the husband and of his wife in"marriage" he "progressive" the unbeliever kicks against the prick but the facts remain factual. The wife is to submit to her husband –and he is likewise to submit to her. As with Christ and the church.In everything? No! that is Not what scripture says. But the unbeliever—the world cannot understand this.(see John 3: 5-21)The controversy is Only stirred up by those stiff necked and rebellious children.

  26. I think, simply put, most people just don't take the time to truly understand what the Bible says about gender roles in marriage. The Bible is clear, wives are to submit to their husbands. But, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the a church and died for the church. My father in law always explains that a husband should lead in a way where the wife wants to follow. That takes time for both partners to learn. I am still learning. One of my most favorite quotes is from the book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney when she writes, "Submission, in its simplest form, is trust in God." another GREAT book that helps explain what the Bible says about gender roles is God, Marriage, and Family. But the fact remains that God knows best and He decided how marriage should be set up, not us. And I am thankful for a his wisdom and guidance and protection.

  27. What I think is interesting, is that one can leave out Christianity and still have marriage. Marriage is as one poster put it, a covenant. If you are not interested in the Christian view then you are not interested in marriage, period. Go about your life and live with whom you like, but don't call it marriage. Marriage is designed by GOD whether one likes it or not, believes it or not. Truth is just that regardless of how you feel about it. If you do not believe in GOD then go about your life without trying to change his precepts.

  28. This article has good points, bad points, and uncovered points. Take for example a Marine: he's out because of a service-connected injury. Has a wife plus one child. While the wife could be submissive: it is disadvantageous to be such. This is the real thing in a marriage: it is not a union of un-equals (read: complementary contradictions). Any really significant disparity before the marriage will end the marriage. Marriage is a union of two individuals of opposing genders making workable a future for a next generation. The Marine: yeah, he is down, but not completely out. Wife: she can step up to the plate and make a hit or two.

  29. The Bible says marriage is based around self sacrifice and submission… and so many people tack on such a negative connotation to those words! but when you think about it, when you love someone, you are naturally submissive. you put dinner on the table for your husband simply because you love him and he deserves to come home to a nice meal, even though that may require some 'sacrifice' because you have to take some time out of your day to make those arrangements. same if he did laundry because you were really stressed out from work, he sure as heck didn't want to do laundry, no one does… but he loves you! marriage is work and if you don't sacrifice a piece of yourself every day, it's like anything else, you'll be disappointed in the results!

  30. rockstardom17 | August 16, 2014 at 4:06 am |

    Submissiveness doesn't necessarily apply to every day life. It applies to being humble–as man should be as well. Husbands don't automatically know the right answer; a lot of times, the wrong one. However, men are thee dominant gender. So it is in the bible, so it is in life. I had to nearly pick up my wife and carry her in the room tonight because she was drunk out of her mind (God bless her she was debilitatingly and angry the whole time–hard to combat that kind of anger and aggression) and walked out the door to go driving God knows where.

    We just recently went to church and learned about humility and she was displaying mass amounts of the opposite. In that state though, she does not comprehend what she does. Hey, I'm not perfect, I'm writing this drinking myself. However, I never NEVER, get like she does. She gets WASTED. Every time… I guess I need to destroy my good time really govern this family and make us healthy and really have a chance, cause right now, these things make me want a divorce. Just wanna go away and be by myself.

    I doubt this will post.

  31. This sounds like a small minded woman's way to get through life in a LAZY way! It's also SICK! Good grief, be your own person! Only weak women would do this, and those who need to grow up! How can you hope to have any self-respect if you act this way? Any who do this will have none of that, and I pity you.

  32. mongolberry | April 15, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
  33. This is where the entire idea comes from, and if you take it out of context, it probably sounds terrible. HOWEVER, neither you or Heather seem to understand this.

    22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 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[a] 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.”[b] 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.

  34. It's not about obeying your husband, it's about RESPECTING HIM AS THE MAN OF HOUSE.

    Notice how it also commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

    You cannot take something like this and reconcile it to a worldly view. It doesn't work.

    And before anyone goes off on a tangent about how not everyone is a Christian, then I suggest you STOP using Christian values out of context.

  35. Again, you are talking from the Christian perspective….that was my whole point to begin with….

    What if I am an atheist? Then NONE of what you are saying is applicable to me. I personally understand what you are saying….but don't feel like the author was speaking only to the Christian population. Non-Christians, or Christians that may not take this definition literally would not be thinking this way as they examine their roles in their relationship. As a therapist, when a couple initially came in, I would not automatically jump in to this context. So that's why I would be hesitating to do that now in the overall sense.

  36. sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 10:36 am |

    Why do you leave out 21? Submit to one another. To do so, takes the Ephesians construct out of context.

  37. Many people put their own needs second. It happens all the time in marriages and families with kids. You don't need to be a Christian to understand that your relationships aren't all about you.

  38. Spikeygrrl | April 18, 2013 at 4:13 am |

    @jaydee: "non-Christians will never [be submissive] because it is against our human nature."

    Then I must not be human. I'm an atheist, and I firmly believe that the ship of domestic partnership can't have two captains! I am extremely assertive by nature in every other social or business context (I had a 30-year career as a marketing exec, the last ten years of which I was Managing Partner of a sci/tech/industrial ad agency), so when decisions are made in this household I have all the input a person could ever want. DH dearly values my advice and counsel and almost never fails to request them. Even when he DOESN'T ask, if I believe he is headed in the wrong direction on any particular decision, I have no qualms about telling him so! But sometimes we argue about decisions without ever reaching accord or compromise…and in those cases, what HE says, goes. That's not against Human nature, that IS Human nature! Any woman who thinks otherwise has been hoodwinked by militant "feminism."

  39. Chris Blackwell | April 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm |

    None Christians never do this. Based on what facts. Sorry but I don't find that ones religious beliefs, or lack of them has anything to do about whether one is good person or a bad person or how they treat anyone, including their wife The 50% failure rate of marriages proves my point, and most of those are indeed Christian marriages.

  40. I'm with you Tara. Christians think they have a lock on marriage and they know best etc. Peoples marriages are their own. Gabby Reece is doing what works best for her and her husband and thats fine. Marriage isnt a one-size-fits all thing.

  41. OK. I’ll apologize for saying she should do a little homework. That sounds mean, perhaps? And I admit that we Christians kind of want to have it both ways – we want marriage to be a universally accepted institution, yet we want it to retain its Christian meaning and purpose.
    I have to accept, as God Himself does, that while Marriage was invented by God, and while it has deep theological meaning, it was not given ONLY to Christians, but as a gift to ALL mankind. While the FULL blessings of marriage are available only to those who understand its theological significance, and embrace their God-given roles (including both submission and self sacrifice), God has graciously included benefits for ALL, even the unbeliever, and those who are simply “shacking up”, (and their children, and society as a whole).

  42. So, we Christians are left in a tough position – we know the true meaning and value of Marriage, so we rush to defend it. But when we do, others take offense, feeling that we are forcing our definitions upon them. Sorry. It is not our definition, but God’s. If anybody is trying to redefine it, or push their own definition, it is NOT the Christians. We are simply standing firm, as God has commanded us.
    I am not worthy to defend Marriage, but I must – both because I am called to, and because it is worthy of the most effective defense I can muster. (That includes pointing out errors in popular thought, and articles on the web.) If I step on some toes in the process, I apologize. Please forgive me. The messenger is unworthy, but the message is of infinite value.

  43. Clearly you are incapable of looking at life and the world in any terms other than your own religious ones, thereby limiting your argument to those with a similar view.

  44. sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm |

    I am not disagreeing with your sentiment of headship in the epistle. And the epistle is broken up an annotated by numeral by men. It should be read in totality, as any letter would be. Get it. Got it. Good. But is has no bearing on military marriage where men…are all but totally absent. We have a historical example of military marriage adaptation in Sparta. In Spartan culture women had more power than in any other of the day, precisely because…the men were absent. This is my point. We are united in marriage under God and to one another as Christians…but male headship in military households…especially for the last twelve years, is an oxymoron.

  45. Of course we think we know what is best. You do the same. If not, you wouldn't be posting. Why bother sharing your opinion on anything, if you really don't think you know what you are talking about?
    The pertinent question is not whether we think we are right, but whether we are right. And to answer that, you have to listen to the content, not your emotional response to the messenger. "I'm not listening because you are so annoyingly sure of yourself" is no way to learn anything.

  46. sabrinacking | April 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm |

    I am going to echo this and point out…from the cheap farmer seats…every species I have ever raised has both dominant males and females..and guess what? In most herds, packs, flocks…it's the dominant female leading the outfit…the dominant male is usually aloof and on the outskirts of the group. The dominant female leads the entire group to feeding areas, sets territory boundaries etc. Horses, goats, pigs, cows, chickens, sheep anything which grazes acts in this manner. Moreover any species where one dominant male services multiple females, again the dominant female truly leads the group: rabbits, deer, wild mustangs et all. This is fact, not Biblical metaphor. In military culture, especially with an OPTEMPO as we have had…anyone stating anyone but the stay behind spouse/parent is leading the family…regardless of that person's gender is truly blinded by antiquated logic which does not play out in military reality.

  47. I disagree that it is only the wife who is forced to "submit, adapt, and put up with everything," as BOTH husband and wife are required to "submit, adapt, and put up with everything" that the military throws at them. But from just a wife's perspective, it's not about submitting; it's about adapting (as you say), and also being flexible. I'm a Marine wife, and our motto is Semper Gumby. If you're not flexible, you won't survive the military lifestyle.

    I would also disagree with your notion that the breadwinner holds all the power, for a couple reasons: 1- a REAL marriage isn't about power and control; it's about teamwork, mutual respect and love. In a household where only the husband has a paying job, the wife also has an EQUALLY important job- managing the home and family. Without BOTH, the home and family falls apart. 2-Many wives also have paying jobs, rendering the power argument irrelevant.

  48. sabrinacking | April 17, 2013 at 1:02 pm |

    I actually agree with you. It's why I encourage women to work, have their own money and their own lives. No one, military or not, should ever be hostage to a marriage because of finances. This is difficult being married to a soldier, but it's not impossible. I think we just had twelve years of reality…our husbands have a profession the has extreme risk. Women should be able to provide for their families should the unthinkable happen, or should the soldier be burnt out or just not wanting to have a second career after military service.

  49. You are assuming the person bringing the money to the table is the servicemember. Sometimes it isn't. In fact, increasingly milspouses are well-educated and have career when they get married, which is causing many JOs to leave the service and follow their civilian spouse's more lucrative career.

  50. Sure the wife has an important job, but is not reimbursed. And we all know that for all the lip service the military pays to the wife, she is not really that important, all things considered. The mission is. I am not saying that what she does is not important, it totally is. But when it comes to having power, the one who makes the money has the power. And again, I saw this power struggle a lot, when I volunteered. Most of the servicemembers got their way, and did what they wanted because they are the ones who made the money. And all these wives had nowhere to go. Strict gender roles keep the situation as is because it benefits the status quo. And yes, I know that many military wives work (I was one of them), but many of these positions are lower-paying jobs, even for the educated spouses.

  51. "I'm right because a book says so" is not necessarily open discussion either.

  52. How about Christians stop using humanitarian values and pretend those were theirs to start with? Marriage was around before Christianity, just as moral codes were around (Hammurabi, anyone?) So it's not going "off on a tangent", it's just a fact of life – and history.

  53. Sabrina,

    Three years is quite long enough to understand, and to get to know a person, wouldn't you say? I don't even know you, but from twenty minutes of reading your posts it's painfully (almost embarrassingly) obvious you are full of SH!T!

  54. sabrinacking | April 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm |

    Uh, no. A three year marriage…at minimum a second marriage at that…does not the marriage guru make.

  55. and when was the last time your deity talked to you. This sanctimonious preaching that only YOU know best… God's definition??? really? when did you take THAT phone call?

  56. Oh give it a break already Joe T. Tired of your tirade, gives me a headache just reading all your posts.

  57. Wow! Joe T. talk about shoving your opinion down my throat. You've heard what they say about opinions, right Joe?

    I am not in any shape or form religious, I cannot say that a believe a word you say.

    Are you a pastor or a chaplain prehaps? Therefore you are inclined to "preach" what you think is right to others.

    Everything is all in perception, you know.

    I don't believe that GOD created anything. I take a more of a scientific view.

  58. This morning.

  59. And many are high-paying careers. Among my circle of milspouse friends are a VP of a major financial institution, a District Attorney, a paralegal, a dentist, two veterinarians, a Sales VP, six nurses (RNs), a professional photographer, a teacher, a Project Manager, an Investment Analyst, a pharmacist, and a radiologist.

    And I completely disagree that the ones who work in the home are any less important. Yes, the service member's mission is critical, but without a stable home life (thanks to the spouse), the service member's mission is jeopardized.

  60. Saying you're a Christian and being a Christian are two different things. Have you ever heard of the saying "actions speak louder than words"? The 50% of failed marriages I would almost 100% contribute to not being Christian marriages. The people may have been Christians but not had a Christian marriage (and yes this is coming from a Christian child of divorce – my parents are Christians but their marriage was not a Christian marriage).

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