How to Make Wife Submissive


The title is a search engine query used to find one of my outlines (The Example of a Submissive Christian Wife) over at The Preacher’s Files.

I have some thoughts on this subject that I’d like to pass on.

I realize that there are some looking for some psychological edge or program of obedience like a dog trainer…, I’ve even seen a recent article teaching women how to train their husbands using tactics from dog trainers. I’m sure many women tried the tactics without realizing they’d just been trained having read the article. I really have no idea what the querist wanted. Maybe it was:

“How to Make My Wife Submissive Without Going to Jail”


“How to Make My Wife Submissive Without Being a Bully”


“How to Make My Wife Submissive Without Her Being Miserable”

Yet, if you’ve read the Bible you know that wives are to submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22). So, how does a husband make his wife submissive? It’s a fair question.

Sorry, men. You can’t.

I can hear the men in my mind:

  • “Then how will we ever agree on anything?” (You might not ever.)
  • “How will I ever have a happy home?” (Might not happen.)

Sorry, let me say it again. YOU CAN’T MAKE YOUR WIFE SUBMISSIVE.

She has to volunteer, of her own free will.

There are no instructions in the Bible for a man to make his wife do anything. Your wife has to decide to follow you. That has to happen by the instruction of a loving God who wants what’s best for her, helped along by a loving, patient husband, a husband who doesn’t keep score, who understands that submission is a spiritual matter and that wives sometimes must grow spiritually. The instruction for a wife to be submissive is from God, not the husband. He must give and she must heed the warnings about disobedience.

I know this is not what the querist wanted to hear. it’s not what I wanted to hear when I was a young husband. But that’s the way it is.

23 Responses to “How to Make Wife Submissive”

  1. […] at A Conquering Faith had good things to say about How to Make Wife Submissive. Share and […]

  2. Link From “A Conquering Faith” says:

    […] “DM” at A Conquering Faith had good things to say about How to Make Wife Submissive. […]

  3. Roger Marcos says:

    Husband must love the wife.
    – He must Encourage his wife’s for spiritual growth
    – He must love his wife as he love himself.
    God set the standard for a good marriage.
    – a loving husband
    – a submissive wives.
    If Jesus is the center of marriage then submission is easily why because that’s God standard. Man love your wife.

  4. Peter Cornstalk says:

    It helps to find a good Christian woman from the Philippines… except immigration is expensive. :)

  5. Joe Rhodes says:

    A submissive wife is looked upon as a weakness in the 21st Century society. I’m not against a woman being strong,passionate,successful, or anything that she sets her mind to do. However, being the father of three and the husband of an incredible woman, I know that a woman’s faith in God through Jesus Christ has not a lot, but EVERYTHING to do with being the kind of wife the scriptures describe. It also goes without saying the husbands faith among other spiritual attributes makes the marriage a success according to the Word of God. Marriage is God designed.

  6. TL says:

    It seems you are equating submission with obedience. I’d like to see a studious study that shows the differences between these two Greek words. It should be noted that women can be submissive to an ill mannered husband without being obedient to his every whim. And that such is good for the husband although difficult for the wife.

  7. I think that one can obey without submitting but no one can submit without obeying. Obedience is always qualified by rightness (according to God’s standard). Being married to an ill-mannered husband is just hard, no matter how the wife responds. That wife should concern herself most with pleasing God.

  8. TL says:

    I’ve heard people say that before, but I don’t see the reasoning. Obedience in Greek is about listening and heeding. Submission in Greek is about arranging oneself under another. Anyone can arrange themselves into a supportive relationship with another without needing to comply with what is said to them.

    • There’s a touch of bait and switch in your answer. You present the Greek as “arranging oneself under another” and then show that anyone can “arrange themselves into a supportive relationship WITH (not under) without needing to comply.”

      You can’t arrange yourself “under” another without needing to comply. Just doesn’t work that way.

  9. TL says:

    My understanding of supportive actions and attitudes is getting underneath in a sense of humility and in not putting oneself first. This is still arranging oneself under. And it is not about compliance at all. Plus, being in the passive in Greek further emphasizes that it is not about compliance.

    Obedience is always about compliance because it is directly related to a response to another’s request. Submission is not only involved with responding to another. Christian’s can and do arrange themselves in submission to one another without being requested to do anything.

  10. TL says:

    “There are no instructions in the Bible for a man to make his wife do anything. Your wife has to decide to follow you.”

    This is the key. It’s not really about what the wife does. It’s about what the husband does. And what the husband is to do is to be Christlike. Men have a natural strength that they can use to harm or to bless. They can use their natural strengths to benefit themselves or benefit others; to get for themselves or to give to others.

    There are no Scriptures about the husband leading the wife or having the final say or any such. Instead the husband is admonished to sacrificially give of himself the way Christ did. Christ put our needs first. Husbands are to nurture, care for, provide and protect their wives with the same concern that they do for themselves. If husbands would concentrate on that without adding to it, they wouldn’t be caring so much whether she did what they think she should. They’d be too busy trying to benefit her life, which is what husbands are supposed to use their natural strengths for.

    • amy says:

      Christ is the head of the church as the husband is the head of the wife. (Ephesians 5:23)
      Now do we or do we not have to comply with Christ?
      let me answer that yes we do have to obey and submit to God’s will.
      why should it be any different for the wife?

    • SM says:

      I agree with you. There is far too much emphasis on a wife submitting to her husband. It is so blatantly obvious why so called Christian men focus only on this verse and no other scripture in the entire Bible. They are the main reason for many of the divorces. Oneness can’t be achieved with a focus on a hierarchical relationship, which is no relationship at all. Love should be at the center of every marriage. I’d want my husband to use his natural strength to protect me, not against me. Now that is what I as a wife would naturally respond to.

    • SM says:

      I agree with you TL. There is far too much emphasis on a wife submitting to her husband. It is so blatantly obvious why so called Christian men focus only on this verse and no other scripture in the entire Bible. They are the main reason for many of the divorces. Oneness can’t be achieved with a focus on a hierarchical relationship, which is no relationship at all. Love should be at the center of every marriage. I’d want my husband to use his natural strength to protect me, not against me. Now that is what I as a wife would naturally respond to.

  11. pamela says:

    hello……… really gud to submite ladies you know why……
    because you feel secure. when eve have sin,God came and calling
    Adam, its not easy sometime its dificult but the fruit of submission wife is sweet. your husband love you man is different
    what he nis doing he is doing for God and for his family
    lve you all women of God…………
    thank Gog for G.E. Watkins

  12. pamela says:

    if your wife feel your love is present she will submite volonteer

  13. amy says:

    Christ is the head of the church as the husband is the head of the wife. (Ephesians 5:23)

    Now do we or do we not have to comply with Christ?
    let me answer that yes we do have to obey and submit to God’s will.
    why should it be any different for the wife?

  14. God Fearing says:

    The rest of that piece of scripture – the command for men to love their wives as Christ loved the church and to be willing to lay down their lives for her is not quoted or preached near often enough.

    Women are not dogs. Some men want women to submit to kinky stuff. Some men are like ‘Nabal’ in the book of Samuel and the wife then needs to be like Abigail.

  15. Link says:

    There are things you can do to encourage your wife to be submissive. You can do the same thing Paul did, teach and persuade so that his listeners would obey from the heart. It is the same with wives. We teach our wives the word of God. If she isn’t being submissive point it out, or point it out later if she isn’t in a mood to recieve.

    If you ignore the whole submission issue, it causes trouble down the line. If your wife is bossy or yells at you when she is having hormonal issues, that causes trouble in the home. You have to instruct her about this after she calms down. She can tell you if she has a problem with something you have done, but in a respectful well. Tell her how you would like her to tell these things and practice it with her. “Honey, I didn’t like it when you said….” instead of her yelling at you or whatever.

    Having a submissive wife doesn’t mean you should be some kind of dictator or oppressor. It means you have to be the leader.

    Having a submissive wife is also important if you want to be in ministry. An overseer is to rule his house well. One passage specifies your children obeying you with the proper respect. But isn’t having a submissive wife part of ruling your family well? If your wife doesn’t submit to you, treating you with a degree of deference and respect, won’t that provide a poor example to the children. Won’t that make it hard to train them to obey?

    Does the wife have to want to submit? Generally, I would agree. I suppose some men try means to ‘force’ submission–not something I would recommend. But even under opressive circumstances, one could still be rebellious. Even if a wife has a desire to obey scripture and be submissive, that doesn’t mean a husband can do nothing. He can hold her accountable when she fails to be submisive. Part of what enables a wife to be submisive is being able to accept the fact that her husband is a human being and can make mistakes, and husbands also have to be aware that wives can make mistakes and even sin when it comes to submissiveness. We need to be forgiving. Christ was forgiving and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church.

    In regard to eldership ministry, I notice in the Old Testament that the husband of the noble woman takes his seat among the elders. Having a godly wife can help strengthen a man and enable him to grow to a point where he can minister in eldership. Teaching and training the family to be godly, including the wife, are important tasks for a man to gain skill at so that he may some day be qualified to minister as an elder in the church.

  16. Steve says:

    Naturally submissive wives are wonderful – I have one and very happy with her and she is a living fantasy in the sack. She wants to be submissive and it ties in very closely to her sexuality. Things became more complicated when we had children. She is also a teacher and is excellent at managing our children in a loving way but she cannot be submissive to them. When she’s with them all day, she is in a different mode but when I get home, she has to adjust to me or we have a problem. I have 5 siblings and have noticed that over time, their wives begin to “manage” them nearly as they would the children and that seem to have devastated their relationships and sex lives. Most of them are basically room mates after 10+ years of that dynamic.

  17. Curt says:

    I am just now reading this and the comments below. I do have a question that I am sure will be recieving many different answers. If a wife is truly submissive and the husband who is the head causes her to sin. This being done by her following the word of God and being submissive. Who is responsible for the sin? Is the husband to take responsibility because he is the head of the wife and made the decision? Or does the wife take responsibility because she chose to follow the husband?

    • TMCJ says:

      God’s law always trumps anything the husband request. If he ask her to sin, she obeys God laws first and foremost. You need to understand the purpose of submission, it is not so the husband can have his way. I can see where understanding it that way can lead to your erroneous assumption. The way it is taught at most churches leaves the impression that a wife must just do whatever her husband says. Indulge his whims and desires because your function woman is to submit and be a helper to your husband. It is why you were made. Do your job. Give in and give him what he wants! Oh by the way men, buy her flowers every now and then and tell her she looks nice. Oh, don’t forget to tell her you appreciate all the things she does for you. So, there you have the job of a husband. Be the boss, buy her flowers and throw out the occasional compliment about how she has made your life better. Remember ladies, he’s not your helper. It is not his job to help you. You were made for him. So do your job now!!!
      I am a 50 year old woman and I think one of the biggest tragedies in the church is the way we teach about marriage, submission, wife, etc. Unless those who are leaders, husbands, elders, stop teaching it this way divorce rates and feminism will continue to rise. The way we teach about marriage makes a christian husband sound more like a curse to christian women. I would suggest until we begin to look at the spirit of God’s word christian ladies would be better off staying single most of the time. Yes, I know I presented it very sarcastically but I think you can see where I am coming from. It may not be said exactly as I said it but that is definitely the gist of what christian women are taught.

      How we love to hammer on the topic of the wife’s submission. How nice it is to be fortunate enough to be born the superior male. I wish I had $5 for every lesson that I have heard where these type of patronizing comments were made, “now ladies it doesn’t make you inferior to have to submit to your husband after all he has to submit to Christ.” Really, you think that is a good comparison? Christ is perfect, He never makes selfish, self serving demands. Everything He did was for the benefit of others. Also, a Christian wife must also submit to Christ. So I really don’t see how that is even good way to represent things.

      Why don’t we hammer on the husbands like we do the wives? Is loving as Christ loved the church really accurately represented when we say buy her flowers and a box of candy, tell her you love her, and give her compliments? Oh, and if the occasion should arise be willing to die for her. To which I think the average husband envisions a situation where he might have to rush in and save her life. How many will ever really experience a situation like that?

      How many husbands understand what it means to bestow honor on their wife? How many have put serious thought into it? It is a biblical command. How many have ever thought about what it means to love as Christ did? How did He love? Why did He come and take on the form of a lowly human? Why didn’t he have a bed to lay on? Who was His every action to benefit? Did He only die to self on the cross? What does it mean to live with your wife in an understanding way? Do you have to study her and to know what is important to her to be able to do this? What does don’t be harsh with her mean? Can you raise your voice to her when she annoys or displeases you? Remember, don’t be harsh is a command not a suggestion. How do you love her as you love your own body? What does that really mean?
      A husband is to nurture and cherish his wife? What does that mean? Again it is a biblical command. He is to nurture and cherish his wife as he does his own body.
      A great definition of love exist in 1 Corinthians 13. How many husbands think about this verse in relation to the command to love his wife?
      We always hear that we love Christ because he first loved us. The evidence is overwhelming. We never hear Christ lecturing constantly and complaining about how to make his followers submit to Him. Why, because He is busy living for them, loving them, teaching them, encouraging them, etc. Do we ever hear Him rebuke His disciples? Yes, when they are quarreling about who is the greatest. When they wanted to call down fire to destroy the Samaritans He rebuked them. He rebuked Martha for fretting and worrying about things that were unimportant. He rebuked those who did not let the children come to Him. He also rebuked those who were offended that Mary anointed Him with oil. Never did Jesus use His headship to degrade, be served, boss others around, or for any kind of selfish gain. Remember, husbands are to love their wife as Christ did. This is actually a massive command. Why do we spend so little time on this subject? Wives are basically told to submit to and respect their husbands. That’s it. It is intended to be a response to a husband who is following God’s commands. It is not meant to be a response to a demanding selfish husband who likes having things his way. Of course she may have to submit to a husband like this but it should never be the case with any man claiming to be a follower of Christ!!! Also, I have heard numerous lessons telling wives that God wants their husbands to be good, kind and loving but He does not guarantee you will get a husband like this? Well, were are the lessons stating that a husband is to love, nurture, cherish, honor, dwell with according to knowledge, etc. whether she is Godly, submissive or kind. Where are the lessons telling men your wife may be an absolute witch but God’s commands stand just the same. When will the church stop teaching marriage in a unilateral manner? Perhaps they won’t change until feminism becomes so monstrous they have no choice. I once heard that women were built by God to be res ponders. The person went to say well men, feminism is a response to the way we have been treating women. Perhaps God is using this evil to get through to us. Something to think about.

  18. TMCJ says:

    Add on to my previous comments in case anyone wonders. Yes, I am married and will celebrate 30 years with my wonderful husband in a few months. He is a jewel and he hates the way marriage lessons are taught in the church. He feels there will be many men held accountable for the way they viewed being a husband as some special privilege and rights to be demanded. He feels it is a position of responsibility and should never be used for personal gain or demanding and getting your own way(final say or as he says the selfish way). A real leader knows how to work towards consensus. Never had a final say moment in our almost 30 years of marriage. Being a leader isn’t about getting your way it is about leading the way. That includes being the leader in sacrifice, work, love, etc. How many men can honestly say they die to self while worrying about whether their wife submits. If you are what you should be, it will happen most of the time naturally as a response. What women won’t submit to being loved like Christ did the church, honored, cherished,and nurtured? Some won’t but I daresay most will. The problem is too many are worrying about how to rule, how to get her to submit how to control their wives. Interesting to note that a husband is not commanded to do any of these things. Husbands should worry about what God commanded of them. Doing so will leave little time for worrying about whether she submits. By the way ask yourself this. What is it you want her to submit to? Getting your way? I hope not.

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