The Bible teaches that within marriage men are the leaders as Christ is the leader of the church, and women are to submit to them as the church submits to Christ (Eph. 5:22-24).
Yes, this is understandably controversial. But here is a quick post as to why submission is not the vestige of unenlightened inequality as some claim.
The Bible is Clear that Men and Women are Equal in Value
1) Men and women are equally image bearers of God (Gen. 1:27).
2) Men and women are given co-dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:28).
3) In regards to salvation, there is no distinction between gender, age, or race (Gal. 3:28).
4) Spiritual gifts are given equally to both genders (1 Cor. 12:4-6).
Those who claim that the Bible teaches that men are superior to women need to be submitted to a million Bible page paper cuts. Yes, the Bible has been misused to subjugate women, but we cannot blame the car for the drunk driver.
Men and Women Form a Complementarian Relationship in the Home and Church
1) Adam is given the responsibility to name Eve, which signifies leadership (Gen. 2:23).
2) Leadership = responsibility. Even though Eve was the first to sin, Adam is blamed for it because it was under his leadership (Rom. 5:12).
3) Women were created to be helpers for their husbands (Gen. 2:18).
4) Women are restricted from teaching and exercising the highest authority in the church, which is required of elders (1 Tim. 2:12-14). However, women can serve as deacons.
One of the effects of the fall is the distortion of the male female relationship (Gen. 3:16). Sin disrupts the harmony of the complementarian marriage, causing the power struggles that characterize so many of them.
Bible commentator Matthew Henry sums up the complementarian relationship beautifully: “God did not take the woman from the man’s head to rule over him, nor from his feet that she should be under him, but from his side that she should walk with him and be his partner.”
Submission in the Trinity
Still think this is unfair? Submission is modeled within God himself. All three members of the Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - are equally God, yet we see that they occupy distinct roles.
1) Jesus obeys the will of the Father (John 4:34).
2) Jesus is subject to the Father (1 Cor. 15:28). The word "subject" is the same Greek word (hypotasso) used to describe submission in the husband/wife relationship in Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 3.
3) The Holy Spirit speaks under the authority of the Father (John 16:13).
4) The Holy Spirit's role is to glorify the Son (John 16:14).
What is Submission Not?
Based on Pastor Kyle Bateson's recent sermon, here are some helpful points about what submission is not:
1) Women are not required to submit to men in general. This means women can be bosses in the workplace, coaches, etc. Submission only applies within the church and home.
2) Submission is not involuntary - it is a daily decision. It takes strength and courage to submit.
3) Submission does not give you the right to nag. Women do not possess the spiritual gift of backseat driving.
4) Submission is not enabling sin. Women, if you are being abused or mistreated - you deserve better. Don't believe the lie that submission means silence when the man is sinning.
This is a vital point: Marriage equality is achieved when men fulfill their command to love their wives and lay down their lives for them (Eph. 5:25-28). Men do not get to "flex rank" but must be willing to sacrifice all of their comfort for the betterment of their wives.
Also, true biblical men and women can’t be defined by superficial affinities. Within the body of believers, there are some women who have to explain to their thin-wristed husbands what a curveball is, and some husbands who have to help their wives boil an egg. The Bible does not prescribe cooking, cleaning, and skinny jeans only to women and rodeo, scotch drinking, and pretending to know how to fix an engine only to men. True biblical manhood and womanhood is characterized by mutual submission to each other as God has designed it, not how culture has defined it.
What about Dating?
Dating, in its essence, is preparation for marriage. While there are no explicit instructions that women are to submit to their boyfriends and men are to lay down their lives for their girlfriends, submission and love are key things to look for when deciding if your "special friend" is marriage material. If there is a lack of respect while dating, there will be a lack of respect while married.