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Kevin DeYoung: Submission, Strength–and Stereotypes

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
June 28, 2022 2:00 am

Kevin DeYoung: Submission, Strength–and Stereotypes

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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June 28, 2022 2:00 am

Can being a “submissive” wife also mean “strong”? Professor and author Kevin DeYoung tackles tough questions about marital roles.

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Who are some of the godly women that first come to your mind in the Scriptures? Ruth, Esther, Mary. So, one of the things they most likely have in common is their godliness was expressed in helping men and helping their husbands. But their godliness is in a supportive, helping role. These are strong women. Esther, she's courageous. Ruth, they're not doormats, they're not wallflowers.

They have different personalities. So, there's all sorts of pictures of biblical femininity. And there are all sorts of pictures of these godly women who embrace their role in supporting a husband, in nurturing the care of children. And so, what many women need to hear is this message to gracefully, lovingly follow, support, respect your husband. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson.

And I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. So, after being married to me for 41 years... It has been awesome. It has, right? There's been a few tough years, but mostly...

There have been some real valleys, but good highs, too. But in that time, do you view our roles in our marriage differently than you did in year one? Well, yeah. I mean, in year one, I had no clue. Well, neither did I. I was 19. I mean, I didn't grow up in a Christian home.

Me neither. Grew up in a divorced home. Didn't really have a dad. Ann was pretty new in my faith, like 18 months to 24 months. So, I didn't know what leading spiritually looked like.

I didn't know what a husband looked like. I was, well, you remember, on our honeymoon, I broke down in tears, feeling overwhelmed with this new responsibility. After going to the weekend to remember, Family Life Weekend to Remember, that we now speak for. And if you haven't been to one, sign up right now.

Go to and go to one. It's a powerful weekend. But I walked away thinking, oh, my goodness, I have to be this man that I don't think I can be. And so, I felt my role was, I was ill-equipped to do it. And so, I was overwhelmed. So, now, 41 years later, I'm like, oh, I am exactly who God made me to be. And you tell me I'm awesome. You are awesome. Were you surprised at how strong I was?

Yes. I knew it going in, but man, oh, man, in many ways, you have stronger leadership gifts than I do. And that caused some real friction in our marriage. And we're going to talk about that today.

I'm glad we're going to talk about this. Because I think the roles of marriage and even the friction that can happen as we try to understand our roles are a cause of contention for a lot of couples. And I didn't know what that was supposed to look like either because I knew in life I was really strong. And I was a strong leader. And so, as I walked into my relationship with God, I was asking the question, what is my role as a wife? Do I just push down all those leadership tendencies? And do I bow at the feet of my husband? Oh, Dave, you're amazing. That would have been nice. And so, I really didn't know.

But I was willing to do whatever God wanted. I just didn't know. So, we have Kevin DeYoung back in the studio, back to Family Life Today. Welcome back. Great to be here. And you're going to answer all our questions, Kevin.

Hardly. You're going to solve this. He's like, this is the most messed up couple. He's like, am I your counselor right now?

He's sitting over there. But you've written a book called Men and Women in the Church. And it isn't just about men and women in the church, although much of it is.

It's also men and women, husbands and wives in marriage. And obviously, you're a pastor in Matthews, North Carolina. You've written many books, seminary prof, right?

Yep. So, you do all kinds of stuff. And you write and think a lot about what we're talking about right now. Well, the subtitle is A Short Biblical Practical Introduction.

Why that? Well, those are the sort of books that people read, at least I hope. So, that's what I do. I try to be short, biblical, and practical. So, this book, Men and Women in the Church, is trying to take a lot of good things that have been written and said over the last 10, 20 years about a lot of issues related to sex, gender, marriage, home, church, and try to put it in, what is this, 150 pages that somebody might actually read and hopefully would be.

The most important word there is biblical. Yes. And then it's practical and then it's short. Talk about your own marriage with Trish. You've got nine kids. Yeah. And I'm guessing you've had some adjustments. So, we just did something. Yes. You did something.

Yeah. We got married, had nine kids. I love my wife and feel like I have been immeasurably blessed. I have an easy wife. That's good. Dave doesn't, but I'm glad you do. Yeah.

Well, somebody has to. I don't know if she says she has an easy husband. So, we've been married for 20 years.

We both come from good Christian homes and that helps. And yeah, we had a kid and another kid and another kid and we said we'll be open to more kids. I don't know how open we want to be now, but we have nine and it is craziness.

That's not just something I say. It really is crazy, loud, chaotic all the time. People say one of my wife's gifts is she has a high threshold for chaos.

She has to. So, there's a lot going on and if you came to the DeYoung house, I hope you would feel like it's a happy house, but it's a very normal house. Those kids are never sitting down in a corner reading Calvin's Institutes or something. They're outside. They're fighting.

They're screaming. And in the midst of it, we're trying to love each other, Tricia and I are. Well, Kevin, talk to young Ann Wilson, married at 19, no church background, hadn't really studied the Bible at that point that much, was new in her relationship with Christ. Yesterday, we talked about men and their role. We looked at Ephesians 5. So, now let's talk about women. Well, yeah. I mean, even as you go back to Ephesians 5, this was one of our struggles as we got married is we're new believers.

Again, not brand new, but first couple of years. And we read passages in Ephesians 5 and we talked yesterday, you know, husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church, verse 25. And then before that, and I've always joked at our church, you know, most men know one verse in the entire Bible and it's Ephesians 5.22. And we don't know what it means, but here we are trying to understand what that looks like for Ann.

You know, I'll read it to you. It says, wives submit to your own husbands as to the Lord for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, his body and is himself its savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to everything to their husbands. And so we walk into marriage and Ann's trying to live that out. And she felt like what? You felt like I had to just... Let me just say two weeks before we got married, I went to the weekend to remember marriage getaway. You really aren't our counselor today.

Yeah, right now. And I sat there as we started talking about and breaking down this scripture, wives submit to your husbands. And I sat in the back with my arms crossed thinking I can't do that because I thought my mom was a doormat. She did everything. My dad ran her life.

He was a strong man and I felt like my mom had no voice. And so I think when we have those feelings, it's good to go back and think, hmm, what created that? That angst of thinking I'm not doing that.

Where did that come from? Yeah. And so then I'm trying to figure out what does it mean to submit to my husband? And so I think that's just a great discussion.

Yeah. And one of the things to know right off the bat is it's a command for the wives, not for the husbands, meaning the command is not husbands. See to it that your wives submit.

That's a good point. Submission is not something forcibly taken. It's something freely given on the wife's part. So it's her intelligent, gracious submission to her husband's authority and leadership. I just did this in my seminary class because we were talking about some of these issues and I said, who are some of the godly women that first come to your mind in the scriptures? So they started saying, Ruth, Esther, Mary. Deborah. Yeah, Deborah. And I said, one of the things they most likely have in common is their godliness was expressed in helping men and helping their husbands and sometimes helping Deborah, helping Barack, but their godliness is in a supportive helping role.

And the wicked women who comes to mind, you know, Jezebel or David's wife, they either led their husbands astray or did not follow their husband's leadership or supports. And so you see a pattern. It's not that they're all of these ironclad prescriptions. Here's what a submissive wife looks like. So we need to distinguish between prescriptions and patterns.

So the pattern is prescriptive, but the pattern doesn't give you here are 10 things that you must do and what it always looks like. But here's the other thing that I then said is when you look at those women in the Bible, these are strong women. I mean, Proverbs 31, we all, oh, the Proverbs 31 woman. Oh, we hate her.

You know, the wives do. She can never be, she's up in the middle of the night and on her distaff, whatever that is and she's selling things. She's working. She's working all the time. She has a career and she's a great mom.

Yeah, she's a great mom. And it maybe is an idealized personification of lady wisdom there in Proverbs 31. But these women, Esther, she's courageous. Ruth, they're not doormats. They're not wallflowers.

They have different personalities. So there's all sorts of pictures of biblical femininity and there are all sorts of pictures of these godly women who embrace their role in supporting a husband, in nurturing the care of children. And so when we come to Ephesians 5, we realize, as we said yesterday, Paul is addressing women at their area of fallenness.

The husband, Adam, abdicated his responsibility in the garden. Eve, she usurped that authority and the serpent went to her and then she took and her husband was standing right there passively and it was a reversal of their roles. And so what many women need to hear is this message to gracefully, lovingly follow, support, respect your husband. And there's a lot of different ways that that looks like and I'm sure, and you've just nailed it 100%.

As Dave can attest to, no. And I think even as some women hear you, Kevin, they're thinking, you don't know who I'm married to. He's not a believer. Maybe she's saying, I have a really hard time respecting him.

So how do I submit to that guy? Like you guys, you Kevin, you Dave, you're easy to follow. We're amazing, aren't we? You are. You guys are, but there are some men that aren't.

And so women, like they're feeling like an angst saying, I don't even know how I could do that. You're listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Kevin DeYoung on Family Life Today. We'll hear Kevin's response in just a second, but first at Family Life, we believe God's design for marriage and family isn't some silly old fashioned fun killing rule book, but that it's a good, true and beautiful design. And if you're passionate about more people catching that kind of vision for family, would you consider partnering with Family Life Today? All this week with your donation of any amount, we want to send you Kevin DeYoung's book, Men and Women in the Church. That's our thanks to you when you give this week at Or you can give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329.

That's 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. All right, now back to Dave and Ann's conversation with Kevin DeYoung and what a wife can do when her husband is hard to respect. We need to choose in our various situations of submission to respect and submit based upon the office, even if the person may not, we feel, be worthy of it. So we have to do this with the magistrate, Romans 13.

Honor the emperor and for the office they hold, whatever it is, senator, governor, president, whether you think the person him or herself is worthy of that respect for the office that they hold. And so it is a choice. Lots of people have said this, but when you get married, you think it's love that keeps the marriage together and you realize after years it's actually the institution of marriage that preserves the love. It's the commitment. It's the choice you make. And so it is a choice.

I sympathize hugely with women out there who are saying in my heart of hearts, he's a jerk and some men, they are, and they shouldn't be, and they are. Submission certainly doesn't mean you just take abuse. You never want to say that. It doesn't mean that you can't voice your opinion. It doesn't mean that you let him lead you into sin, heaven forbid, but it does mean that even if in your feelings it's not there, you state it as an act of the will, honey, I do love you.

I do respect you. That's not hypocrisy. That's a choice of godly maturity. And we need to put that forward sometimes as an act of the will and let that follow. And hopefully if the husband is under the work of the spirit, that God will use that gracious attitude of the wife to soften his heart. And that's what 1 Peter 3 is about and that's what Ephesians 5 is getting at. That's a way to win over your husband.

So it doesn't mean you never say anything, but being for any relationship, being a constant thorn in the flesh, being a nag is never the way. And it doesn't work. I've tried it. It doesn't work.

It does not work. And it also says, as to the Lord. Like we're submitting as to the Lord.

I've had women come up to me and say, so you want me to be a Hollywood actress? Like I'm supposed to act like I like him or love him or when I have nothing? And I said, this is as to the Lord. Like you are worshiping God through the way you're treating your husband and you have to go back and this is hard when your emotions are so tied into it. But think, I married this man because there's something in him that I saw. And so even to go back to those things and to compliment your husband, even when you don't feel like it. And I'm not saying if he's harming you in any way, like you need to remove yourself and to get help.

But I'm just saying if he's a regular guy and he's just failing. I think that sometimes we have that power. You know, when Kevin was talking about respecting your man, here's all I know. I mean, I'm married to one of the strongest women I've ever met.

She's very strong. And yet I sit here thinking she's been very respectful, very submissive. And one of the things we didn't understand- Submissive, really? Well, in year one, we thought submission meant I make every decision.

Remember that? And I lay down my life and have nothing. Yeah, like you have no authority at all.

I remember we were driving somewhere, first year of marriage, and we didn't know if we should get off this exit. And we get in this yelling fight in the car and she yells back, I'm not supposed to do anything. You're the leader. You make the decision. I just sit here. And so I did. And I got off at the wrong exit. And then she's just sitting there like- I think we missed our flight.

And I thought it was so ridiculous that that's what we thought submission looked like. You have no voice. You shouldn't say anything. You make every decision. And it's like, no, no, no. I've realized over years, it's like, wait, wait, you're wiser and so many things. So a good, loving, sacrificial leader that we talked about yesterday as a husband to love you and serve you and care for you, many times I've turned to you and gone, I don't know what to do.

What do you think? And you usually go, I have an idea. And a good leader goes, that's the right idea. Thank you.

Let's do it. And maybe in the past, I would have said, we should do this. And I don't do that anymore. I don't know, as you hear that, is that something that's- Yeah, that's absolutely right. One of the words that I use is the word posture. What is our posture toward one another?

We'd like at times for life to just give us a list of prescriptions, just do this, don't do that. But it's a posture. So you're sitting in a chair, you're sitting straight, are you slouching your posture, says something about what your attitude is. So the husband's posture is eager to lead and the wife's posture is eager to follow. But she's going to know more things than the husband about a bunch of things. Yeah, you're going to have some personalities where the wife is the extrovert, he's the introvert, the wife is very outgoing, she may be better at managing the finances, more organized, she may be the one to plan the trip. All of those things could be true, but that's why it's so good that God's word doesn't tell us have this personality.

It tells us things that we can control, things that we can do. And I love what you said earlier, Anne, and it's a good word for wives in particular. If you say, I can't think of anything honestly that I like or love about my husband right now. The question then is, is there anything you like or love about Jesus? And that's where you start. You don't have to start with, let's find the diamond in the rough here.

We'll get to that because you're probably overlooking some things. But let's start with Jesus because there's lots to love in Jesus and he loves us. And if we really love him and really worship him, then we'll want to follow his instructions and we'll want to do this unto the Lord. Even when the wife's husband doesn't look a whole lot like Jesus right now.

You can love and pray him into the sort of man that God wants him to be. You know, Kevin, talk about this from your perspective because we've talked about this a lot. We wrote about it in our vertical marriage book. The idea of when Anne or when a woman or wife respects her man, affirms him, believes in him, supports him, trust him.

Those are words that you use in your book. Nothing happens in us as men that brings life to us that wants to, because for years, we wrote about this. Anne Nagge critiqued, I said one time, I didn't want to marry my mom, why are you? But then she started cheering and believing and it changed my whole, it's like I became a better man because she said I was a better man and I wasn't. But I started thinking, you really think I'm good? She's like, yes. And I'm like, I want to be good.

And so it created a whole different dynamic in our marriage. That's the power I think of respect. Am I right?

Yeah. And it's a picture of the gospel because God first declares something about us and then says, go be who you are. You're in Christ, you're as lovely as Christ, you're as holy as Christ. Now go and live up this person that I've declared you to be.

Obviously it's different, but there's an analogy there. And I think so many of us and maybe men in particular, we are living our lives inside out. Meaning if you think about your life and so you've got your relationship with God in the middle and then you have your marriage and kids and maybe your church and work and then you got this thing called the internet. There are people who are living their lives for the people on Twitter or Facebook or the approval of those people and neglecting what's on the inside. And I always say to people, I can deal with a whole bunch of people hate me.

The Kevin DeYoung fan club does not have universal membership, I can assure you. But if the closer it gets to the center, it's healthy and it's good, then I can deal with some stuff at church is bad or outside there. And so outside of that relationship with the Lord, the most important thing is with my wife. And then I just have to praise my wife because yeah, we have fights and chilly days like everybody does, but I've always felt like I want to be the sort of person that she makes me feel like I am and respects me and I've always known that yeah, we'll have disagreements and we've had to make big decisions. Certainly I asked her, I want her opinion and I don't want to lead us in a place that makes her miserable, but I always know at the end of the day or end of some hard thing, her posture is, I believe in you, I trust you, I'll follow you and I'll be okay and the Lord will be with us. That is a gift when a wife can speak that and more than speak it, live that out because I really think men, we're not as tough as we like to think that we are and we can seem so tough at work and we can seem so tough when it comes to our sports teams. But if we come home and we feel like we have a wife who doesn't really look up to us and doesn't really respect us or like us, then we start looking for that in other ways which are bound to be unhealthy.

I'm just thinking of so many women that are feeling this tug of their heart like, I've just lost all my feelings and respect for my husband. I don't even know where to start and what I would say is to start on your knees before God and when you get there, just give him your life because I know as one person who has tried to find my life through my marriage and through Dave, he's not enough, he's just a man. But there is a God that loves you, sees you, hears you, knows the pain that you have felt and has seen every tear that's come from your eye and he wants to walk with you and he will because he's done this with me. He has given me eyes for Dave, that I see such greatness in him and then he gave me the power because he has already filled me up that then I can overflow and tell Dave like, this is the greatness that I see in you and it all starts on our knees before a father who loves us. You've been listening to Dave and Anne's Conversation with Kevin DeYoung on Family Life Today.

His book is called Men and Women in the Church and we'll send you a copy when you give any amount today at If you know anyone who needs to hear conversations just like the one you heard today, be sure to share it from wherever you get your podcasts and while you're there, it'd really help us out if you'd rate and review us. Now tomorrow, Dave and Anne Wilson will continue their conversation with Kevin DeYoung as they talk about explaining God's design for young men and young women. That's coming up tomorrow. On behalf of Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-11 20:42:17 / 2023-01-11 20:52:48 / 11

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