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A Wife’s Heart Submission

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Is it possible for a wife to submit outwardly to her husband, and yet not have a submitted heart?

Family Counseling Ministries -

When a wife is unresponsive to her husband sexually, she wounds his spirit and she undermines her marriage relationship in a sixth way. Many women respond sexually to their husbands only when it is convenient for them, or when they feel the need for sexual intimacy themselves. They seldom go out of their way to meet their husbands’ needs.

When we become physically one in marriage our bodies are no longer our own.

God speaks pointedly to the sexual aspect of the marriage relationship in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5,

Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

When a wife meets her husband’s sexual needs as God intends, she helps to protect him from temptation.

The body of a marriage partner belongs to his or her spouse. Along with this truth is the balancing principle of God’s command to Believers to exercise self-control in all things. In a loving, committed relationship, each marriage partner should fully meet the needs of his or her partner. According to God’s Word, they should interrupt the regular practice of sex only by mutual consent and for a short time.


Men and women have very different sexual needs and responses. Husbands and wives need to understand these differences. Then they learn to appreciate one another’s uniqueness, rather than feeling offended and criticizing one other for not feeling the same way about sex as they do.


It is possible for a woman to outwardly submit to her husband, and yet not have a genuinely submitted heart.

The seventh way that a wife damages a marriage is to fail to submit biblically to her husband. The writer of Ephesians 5:24 exhorts women,

Wives ought to be subject to their husbands in everything.

A wife should attempt to accommodate her schedule to her husband’s God-given priorities. A husband can’t lead if a wife won’t follow. He is the one who must ultimately give an account to God for his wife and children.

We read these instructions to wives in 1 Peter 3:5,

This was the secret of the beauty of the women of ancient times who trusted in God and were submissive to their husbands.

A wife should seek to develop confidence in her husband’s decisions whether they are right or wrong. After she has given thoughtful and prayerful input into life’s situations as they arise, she should encourage her husband to assume the position of leadership in making final decisions.

The final way that a wife contributes to the downfall of a marriage is to maintain bitterness and unforgiveness in her heart toward her husband, for the offenses that he has committed against her. She must forgive her husband for all the ways that he has wronged her. She should also determine ahead of time, to forgive future wounds and offenses that he will commit.

A wife should not feel threatened when her husband fails. Instead, she should seek to encourage him and to trust God completely.


One of the greatest ways that a wife can minister to her husband is to encourage him in the midst of his failures. As she acknowledges God’s sovereign control in her husband’s life, she begins to understand that God uses her husband’s failures as teaching tools. She finds peace and comfort in the knowledge that when she walks in obedience to God, He causes all things to work together for good.


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