Wifely Submission—Is It Even Worth It?

Wifely submission is God’s plan.

However, for many of us who are confident, strong-willed, and independent-minded women, submission is almost viewed as an ugly word.

For the first ten years of our marriage, my husband and I butted heads.  A lot.

My husband had his way of doing things.  I had mine.  And, of course, mine was the right way! 

The Lord had to do a lot in my heart to get my attention in the area of submission.  And I praise Him that He did!

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Reading about Moses’ wife, Zipporah, this past week made me take a closer look at the high cost of being an unsubmitted wife.  Zipporah paid a high price for her rebellion to God and her husband.

I shudder thinking of what my own life and my family’s lives would be like today, had the Lord not gotten hold of my heart when He did!  (And lest you get the wrong impression, I still am by no means perfect in this area…but I do try.) 

The High Price Of Zipporah’s Rebellion

Zipporah had no way of knowing the price she would pay by not supporting Moses in the keeping of God’s command to circumcise their son.

And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him [Moses], and sought to kill him.  Exodus 4:24

As Moses set out with his family toward Egypt to obey God’s will for him to lead the Israelites out of bondage, the Lord actually meets him and seeks to kill him!  Why?!

I believe the answer is found in the very next verse.

Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.  Exodus 4:25

Notice that Zipporah knew exactly what to do to save her husband’s life.  Moses had listened to his wife’s objections and didn’t circumcise his son.  And God was not pleased.

Zipporah could have lost her husband because of her rebellion!

But even though Zipporah finally obeys God’s command concerning the circumcision, and her husband’s life was spared, her heart was not in submission to God.  As evidenced afterward by her angry words to Moses.

Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.  Exodus 4:25

And because Zipporah chose to cling to her pride and self-will, she pays a high price.

Zipporah and her sons are left behind!

Moses sends them back to her father Jethro’s house to wait for him.  They must live at her father’s house until Moses leads the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Then Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he [Moses] had sent her back,

And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, came with his [Moses’] sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:  Exodus 18:2, 5

Think of all that Zipporah missed out on while she waited in her father’s house!  She missed seeing for herself the power of God Almighty demonstrated in each of the ten plagues.  She missed witnessing and participating in the massive and exciting exodus from Egypt, all the celebration and joy.

She missed God’s deliverance at the Red Sea.  That is one miracle, if I were Zipporah, that I would really regret having missed!

Moses and Zipporah would never share all those memories and the closeness of shared experiences.

And besides what she missed, Moses was left without his wife to support and comfort him all the times the people rose up against him.

Oh, the regret of missed opportunities that will never come again!

Zipporah had no way of knowing the high price of her lack of submission.  Now she knows…and can do nothing to change the past.

Do you have regrets where your marriage is concerned?  Opportunities to submit to and support your husband that you let slip by?

Me, too.

Everyday I have opportunities to love and support and encourage and submit to my husband that will never come again.

Because time goes forward.  Once the day is gone, it’s gone!

Zipporah had no way of knowing what she would lose out on by her stubborn willfulness toward God and her husband.  And neither do we. 


Consider the Cost

Is God telling you to submit to your husband in an area that has you holding back?  What might the results be if you don’t?

Are you really willing to risk it?  To say “No.” to your husband…to God?

It is God’s command that we submit ourselves to our husbands.  That is the role He has given to husbands and wives.  That is His good plan.  The plan He blesses.

If you are living with a husband who is difficult, who is not the man you thought you were marrying, who may even be lost, then the price of your continued lack of submission could very well mean the ultimate cost for your husband.  For God promises—

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation [behavior] of the wives;  1 Peter 3:1

Consider the cost.  Your husband’s salvation, your husband’s spiritual well-being is way too high a price.

Thinking about submission in this light should make it much easier for each of us to humble ourselves before God.

For more help growing in your walk with God, you’ll want to be sure to check out all these Practical Ways to Get Closer to God Today!

And to do marriage the way God prescribed…submit our hearts to God first, and then to our husbands.  To follow our husband’s lead in spiritual matters and the leading of our homes.

Let’s learn from Zipporah’s negative example.  And do the opposite.

Where she was critical, angry, stubborn, disobedient, and questioning her husband’s authority, may we be supportive, content, compliant, obedient, and accepting of our husband’s leadership. 

Helpful Hint

If you are struggling in this area (as we all do), here’s what has helped me most.  I’ve learned that…

When I don’t want to submit, if I first submit to God, and His perfect way for marriage, then I can submit to my husband in whatever area we are in disagreement.

Sometimes, I’ve had to say in my heart, “OK, God, I’m doing this for You.”  And as I continued to think this way, the Lord has been able to actually change my heart, bring me peace about the situation, and take away any resentment.

God first.  Then your husband.

And no, I’m not saying that whatever your husband decides on any issue is the wisest choice.  But I am saying that our job is to pray for, support, and follow our husband’s leading.

With that heart attitude, I’ve prayed on many occasions when I’ve disagreed with my husband and been able to watch God change my husband’s mind!

We wives are not alone.  Neither are we helpless!  We have the power of prayer! for our marriages…if we do marriage God’s way.

Wifely submission truly is worth it when we consider the blessings that come with obedience…and the high cost of disobedience! 

Drawing nigh to Him,


This post is part of our Exodus Bible Study.

Study Journal available >> HERE!


Do you struggle with wifely submission?  Share with us any helpful hints you have learned in your journey. 

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