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Submission and the unsaved husband – in some ways, I think submission is even more critical here. Women in an unequally yoked marriage, where one person knows Jesus as their Savior and the other doesn’t, have a chance to influence their husbands where it counts most. Ladies, your husband will see Jesus through your actions and attitude, which will either draw them to Jesus himself, or turn them away.
So does a woman have to submit to an unsaved husband? A resounding yes is found in I Peter 3:1-6:
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
Isn’t it wonderful how God, through his inspired word, shows us how to relate to our husbands? How he encourages us as wives? I want to break this passage down into three parts: behavior, beauty, and encouragement.
God is clear on submission to an unsaved husband. You should not lead the family on the grounds that you are saved, and he is not. You are called to submit. His salvation is irrelevant when it comes to your obedience. Why is this so critical? So he may be won, brought to saving grace, without a word.
Your behavior should model Jesus to him. He ought to be drawn by the Spirit within you. No nagging. No pleading. No playing the role of Holy Spirit. Your chaste and respectful behavior will pave the way as the Holy Spirit tugs at his heart.
I Peter 3:3 says, “Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;”. Another word for merely is only. Take the time to look nice for your husbands. Fix your hair, put a little jewelry on, and wear something your husband would like. It can be simple, yet attractive to him. Your husband really should get your best, not everyone else. It’s okay to have off days, but if you only make an effort when you leave the house, you are sending the wrong message to him.
I Peter 3:4 says, “but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” God shows us how to balance outward beauty with inward beauty. Not only should you look in the mirror, but you should look in your heart. Have you adopted a gentle and quiet spirit? Or are you contentious?
It is better to live in a corner of a roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. Proverbs 21:9
It is better to live in a desert land Than with a contentious and vexing woman. Proverbs 21:19
A constant dripping on a day of steady rain And a contentious woman are alike; Proverbs 27:15
This is not the way to draw our husbands to us, and ultimately to the Lord. Learn to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit; a spirit precious in the sight of God. Identify where you are weak in this area, pray for God to bring about a change, and then work it out with his help. It might be a daily battle for a little while, and that’s okay. God is all about the process.
An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-12
A righteous woman is beautiful. A confident woman after God’s own heart is beautiful. A woman submitting to her husband is beautiful.
Isn’t it wonderful to learn from women who have gone before? We have an example in Sarah, and many others. God brings women across our paths today to learn from. How amazing that he cares about such things, and doesn’t leave us floundering about when we seek him.
I find it interesting that God mentions fear here. Why here? Could it be we become frightened by what ifs? Frightened by our husband’s choices? Frightened for our husband’s soul? I believe God would have us choose what is right, follow his direction, and trust him to work all things out for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). Rest in the One who loves you, and keeps you.
Call to Action:
If you haven’t read the other posts in this series, I’d encourage you to do so. You will find more encouragement, action steps, and solid scripture to help you in submitting even when you husband isn’t saved.
Pray for your husband’s heart to soften towards the Holy Spirit. He needs God’s saving grace to cover him. Lift him daily before the throne, so your marriage can be built on a solid foundation of unity in Christ.
Still to Come: Abuse and Submission and Submission When Unmarried? Again, if anyone has any questions on what I’ve written in the series so far, or about anything related, please feel free to ask! I’ll do my best to answer.
All wedding photographs on this post were taken and are copyrighted by Markle Memories Photography.