On Subordination….

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  lynnt 10 years, 2 months ago.

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    I am new to the forum but I was wondering what others thought about the following…
    Husbands are the head of the household. We are call to be subordinate to our husbands as the Church is subordinate to Christ. What happens if you feel strongly about something that you feel would be beneficial to your husband and most importantly your children (such as professional emotional help for a child, or schooling for yourself to help support the basic needs of your family) and your husband refuses to listen to what you feel is reason, and he disagrees, and tells you these things are not possible. What then? Do I push it? Do I accept it as God speaking through the head of the household? Is what he says, Gods will? I have told him I disagree and want things differently. What else can I do?




    I believe that in these situations we are called to be obedient to our husbands. We are to be obedient in all things except sin. This is really hard for me as I am very strong-willed. In fact my husband probably would be very surprised to hear me say this! But I believe this is what God expects nonetheless. I try to remind myself that God’s ways are not my ways and he might have something in mind that is even better than what I can imagine.

    Hope this helps,


    Thank you for the reply. I appreciate the advice. I have been leaning toward that myself and I think hearing it from someone neutral is what I was looking for. This I think comes from God. It is true I do not know what lies in store for us and perhaps this is God’s way of telling me, “relax, let me take care of it”. You have been a positive voice for me, and thank you again 😉



    Hmm…my take on this is just a little different. This reading was done in Mass on Sunday, and Father spoke about it in his homily, so it has also been on my mind.

    Our priest explained it this way…it doesn’t mean that the husband is always right…it doesn’t mean that the wife is an indentured servant to the husband. Part of the key is in the second part where the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. The husband is given a definite “job” as well. A husband who does not honor his wife, does not follow the teachings of the Church, cannot expect the blind return respect of his wife.

    Our priest said that our marriages need to be 50-50. I also think we need to realize that sometimes things are NOT 50-50. Being able to compromise with 80-20 or even 90-10 sometimes is necessary. It is part of having a healthy marriage.

    Give and take in making family decisions is healthy for the marriage and for the children. Our children see us discussing family issues and TOGETHER coming up with a solution. We are a united front. God has joined us together as one! 😀

    DH will be the first to tell you that he refuses to raise a daughter who simply does as told without question. We WANT her to question things. DH says he has never had patience for what he calls “weak” women. We want a daughter strong in her Catholic faith, who is willing to stand up for it. We don’t want her to be a follower, but a leader….confident in what she knows and ready to share it with others.

    (I have a SIL who is a missionary for a Catholic organization….we’re hoping DD grows up to be a strong, independent, faith-filled woman like her! She travels around the world performing good deeds and spreading the love of Christ!)

    HOWEVER….do I personally believe that my husband is the head of our household? Absolutely. But this is partly because DH and I are sort of old fashioned.
    (MIL said when we got married that she saw me as a 50’s housewife type with the mind of a 90’s woman! 😕 ) I felt this was a great compliment.

    Actually, I am a BIG fan of Proverbs 31. Read it if you get a chance. It describes a woman who cares for her household….but is not merely a meek, follow along sort of person. She invests her money wisely to benefit her family….she works with her two hands to help the family…she manages servants…she respects and cares for her husband.
    Because of the way she is….her husband is well respected and happy as well. He sits among the community leaders and they look up to him.
    THIS is the woman I strive to be.

    Just my take on things, as I’ve been thinking about this since Sunday! 😀




    Hold on a second…I never said anything about being weak, or serving blindly, or anything of the sort. When there is a decision to be made, I always make my opinion known. I do not just sit back and do whatever he tells me. We do discuss everything.

    But….after I have shared my thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc. the fact remains that he is the head of our household and the final decision is his. Most of the time we are in agreement anyway, but when we aren’t, I have to accept…he might agree to do things my way, or he might not. This is the way God designed families. I don’t have to like it, but I do have to accept it. I can always offer it up and shorten my time in purgatory. And usually, in the end, I realize that it was for the best anyway. God is happy to bless us in ways we can’t even imagine – if we let him. I would have missed out on a lot of his blessings if I had insisted on having my way.

    Incidently, in his homily on Sunday, our priest discussed this Gospel reading too. He emphasized that there was responsibilities for both husband and wife, and sacrifice for each as well. It is a sacrifice for the wife to serve her husband and family, and it is a sacrifice for the husband to love his family so completely that their welfare is always his primary concern, even to the point of laying down his life for his family. He said that if more people were willing to sacrifice and serve in marriage the way the Gospel states, that we wouldn’t have a 50% divorce rate in North America. We have to think about it….do we want to have it “our way”, or do we want to be happy and stay married?




    I see what you’re saying and I appreciate it. But, do you consider it a disrespect that the husband wouldn’t even consider what the wife was saying, or trying to understand her point of view?

    I feel very blessed that my husband would probably second guess himself (as would I second guess myself) if one of us disagreed with the other vehemently over a particular topic. It would open a dialogue over the issue so a joint decision could be made rather than simply stating, “I’m a man, I’m the boss, end of discussion” whenever there’s a difference of opinion. Quite often, in our home, one of us will say outright, “You’re absolutely right. I wasn’t looking at the entire issue.” BUT…..we need to have good reason for it.

    Keep in mind that we are ALWAYS very respectful, and our discussions over issues NEVER have an argumentative tone to them.

    My DH himself would be the first to tell you that our decisions are unanimous or no decision is made at all. Even the most prayerful man is not always right just because he is a man. (And DH is one of the most prayerful men I know!) Our priest on Sunday said it best when he said that not everything in the Bible is meant to be interpreted literally.

    If you ask him, DH would say his understanding of Catholic teachings comes from a Jesuit education (he says they’re known for being somewhat liberal? 😀 ) He’s one of those “Exploring faith at the height of Vatican II” Catholics. 😀 So…maybe he is a bit more liberal in this regard than other husbands. I couldn’t have married anyone any different though.

    BTW….I had a rather prominent, public career (in broadcasting) when we got married, DH and I discussed two issues: 1) Change of name or no change for me and 2) Do I work or raise the children. I chose to change my name (We are two becoming one! I wanted to show it!) I also chose to raise our children as I wanted to experience every moment of God’s greatest gift. DH felt as though he had no right to insist upon a name change, but wanted 50 % say in the child rearing issue. We happened to agree totally.

    Also wanted to mention….I have literally been pregnant for most of our entire marriage (We’ll have five children under seven – one just turned seven so it’s actually closer to five children under six!)
    I pretty much fit the old fashioned wife stereotype! 😆 It’s just that my DH doesn’t fit into his role neatly! 😆

    I enjoy this discussion. I’m curious to know your ages, as I wonder if this is a generational difference of opinion with regard to what we feel the Church asks of us as women? I know my MIL is very much of the same opinion as you. OK…I’ll go first….I just turned 36. DH is 40.




    I’m 28, Blair is 35.

    You’re right that it would be completely disrespectful if the husband completely disregarded the wife’s feelings/opinion….I believe that falls under the “love your wives” part of Sunday’s Gospel.

    When you say that if you are not in completely in agreement you make no decision at all…..making no decision is not always an option. Sometimes action must be taken. If you can’t agree and you have to do something, who decides?

    I am really not a “modern” person. I am not a feminist. The way I see it, families were a lot happier and less likely to split up when couples were content to fulfill the more “traditional” roles. I don’t need to have my way. I don’t have to be right. I just want to be happy and have and intact family, and if that means being “old-fashioned” so be it.



    I want to thank you both for your wisdom. I think what I need to do is to make sure my husband knows my position on things and why I feel the way I do. Sometimes though, with 5 children of my own, there is not a lot of together, alone discussion time. Perhaps this is where we go wrong. I understand what both of you are trying to say and I am proud to be a Catholic woman, wife and mother too. Both of you are very inspiring. Thank you again for the thoughts.
    BTW I am 40 and my husband is 41. I guess that makes us the oldies of the group 😉



    Proud to be an “oldie” with two such nice ladies 😀 Thanks for the chat! 😀


    Hi Ladies,

    I think when disagreements like this one between the husband and wife occur, what is necessary is discussion…and this may not be a one-time discussion.

    Husbands need to honor their wives and love their wives – and wives must tell them how! In this case, the wife feels that counseling is needed. The husband says no. For now, the answer is no. The wife submits, for now. But that doesn’t mean the discussion is over.

    I’m not recommending nagging. I just think that husbands need some time to mull things over. Wives do too! New ideas or changes in plans are difficult to embrace right away, even if all arguments are logical.

    So for now, I recommend that no counseling (or whatever the desired course of action is) be done…in other words, submit to his will. But gently, over time, bring the topic up for discussion. For example, if the husband thinks it’s too expensive, the wife can bring up a plan to pay for it. If the husband thinks it’s not necessary, the wife should point out how it could benefit the family. The wife should never take an “I told you so” attitude and if, during the discussion, the husband gets mad that it’s being discussed (again), the wife should drop the topic, happily, and submit. The husband will be more willing to discuss it, if he feels that the wife isn’t trying to be argumentative, but rather is trying to explain what she feels is best for the family.

    FYI, I am 35 and my husband is 38. I have a very aggressive personality, and my husband does not. I could easily “rule the roost” if I chose, but I have learned that this only makes my husband resentful. We have learned together, over the years, how to make sure that he is the one making the final decision. I have had to learn to temper my language so that he doesn’t feel that I am making the decisions (for example, I have to say things like, “Here is a suggestion for how to spend our vacation, but I really want your opinion on what you want to do because I’m not wedded to these ideas.”)

    As we’ve discussed things over the years, I’ve learned that patience in dealing with thorny topics is the best. I’ve also learned that sometimes, I am the one whose mind is changed! Yes, I’ve had to admit later that I’m really happy I didn’t get my way. And if it takes time to change my husband’s mind, I’ve learned that waiting until later has also worked out for the best. God works in mysterious ways!

    God bless and good luck in having a happy marriage.


    Thanks for the post! What a great tidbit of information. This helps 😉



    I just thought I might add a suggestion…

    Have you read the book called, “Good News about Sex & Marriage”?
    Christopher West mentions the submission topic in his book & although I’ve already heard and re-heard the explanation of submission, I still found West’s explanation to be a beautiful reminder of the awesome perspective the Church really has on wives and husbands.

    At any rate, I can assure you that the book is well worth the read. It’s an outstanding book.



    Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll certainly look into it :)



    @Josie wrote:

    I just thought I might add a suggestion…

    Have you read the book called, “Good News about Sex & Marriage”?
    Christopher West mentions the submission topic in his book & although I’ve already heard and re-heard the explanation of submission, I still found West’s explanation to be a beautiful reminder of the awesome perspective the Church really has on wives and husbands.

    At any rate, I can assure you that the book is well worth the read. It’s an outstanding book.


    ITA! A GREAT book!

    I run the household. Period. It’s out of necessity b/c he is home so little of the time. So I do all the housework, child rearing, and finances. It doesn’t mean that I don’t listen to my husband or respect him or “submit” to him as St. Paul says. It’s just reality right now. We do discuss things and no major decision is made by either of us without the other’s input AND consent. For example, we really needed a new car a few years ago. The one we had was falling apart, but we also didn’t really have the money. DH was in Iraq. I could have just gone and bought a car, knowing that we really didn’t have a choice, we really needed it, but that’s a major decision and I waited until I was able to talk to him about it. Had he said, “No, do not buy a car.” I would have “obeyed”. Another instance, he really wanted this $700 exercise thing. We could have gotten it, but it would have made things really tight around here. I told him I just didn’t think it was a good idea and that I didn’t think he should get it. So he didn’t. In my marriage, I would find it disrespectful if a major decision had to be made, we didn’t agree on it, and he just went and said “I’m doing it anyway.” I don’t think he’d appreciate it if I did that either! For others, that might work for them. But that’s not our dynamic, and I think you have to pray and really search your hearts when deciding what dynamic will work best for you and your family.

    Do I think I am “head of the household”? I guess it depends on what is meant by that. My husband is the one who earns the money to put the food I prepare on our table. It’s because of him that I can be a stay at home mom. That we live in a nice house, have all that we need and then some. So in that sense, I see HIM as the head of the house. On the other hand, he is not Catholic, so it is entirely up to me to do the spiritual upbringing in the home. In that sense, I’M the head of the household.

    I like what someone else said, that marriage doesn’t have to be 50-50. In fact, I think if you insist on it being 50-50 all the time, you set yourself up for failure–for resentment, anger, arguments and disappointment. There have been times when he has been home and taken over all the usual responsibilities that I would do, so that I could be somewhere else or even just catch some rest, whatever the reason. So while if you look at the burden of taking care of the house, my role is significantly more than 50% most of the time, it isn’t always that way. Everything balances out.

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