5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
The theme of this entire passage, extending even through chapter 6 and verse 9 is relationships. Simply put it is: love God, love on another. The whole Bible can be understood as teaching on relationships. With God and with one another.
The subject of submission is not a popular one these days, with human pride and ego dominating current culture. Who “rules” is what is important to many. Being a strong man and a strong woman weighs more heavily in the values of most, too often even Christians, far more than being a loving, caring, kind, and humble person. Strength is good, but strength alone can be harmful and destructive.
In this passage submission to one another is the key element.
We are to be submissive to each other as fellow believers. That means we listen with respect and consideration to what other believers say to us. We give it careful consideration. You never know when it might be the Lord speaking through that person a message you need to hear.
It does not mean that you or I should automatically do what another believer tells us to do. There is the necessity of following the Lord. Consider what the believer says carefully, but before you follow the advice wait on the Lord for His confirmation.
There are many who would tell us what to do, indeed are eager to do so. But if a message is from the Lord, He will confirm it. The main need is not to be in a hurry, but to wait on the Lord
5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 5:26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 5:27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 5:29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 5:30 because we are members of His body. (NASB)
5:31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 5:32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 5:33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. (NASB)
Another area strongly unpopular today. Wives submitting to their husbands, and the husband submitting to his wife in the sense that he treats he with love and respect and care as if she were himself. And that means self-sacrificing care, putting his wife’s needs ahead of his own.
Submission does not mean blind obedience. It is all together possible for a Christian husband to be seduced into false teaching. The Christian wife is to follow the Lord too and not violate her own conscience, that is do something she is convinced is wrong. But with that exception noted, let me add that when a husband and wife cannot agree on a decision after respectful mutual consideration, then the wife should let her husband take the lead in the matter. But, on the other hand, a husband who does not listed carefully to his wife is being foolish.
The relationship of a husband and a wife is a model of Christ and His church, His bride. It is meant as a teaching device, just as Old Testament sacrifices were a dramatization of the way of salvation (fully clarified in the New Testament). I believe that is one reason God’s hates divorce. Certainly, divorce hurts those involved and this is vital to keep in mind (relationships again), but it also violates the witness of the family.
Everything we do and how we live is vitally important to God.