“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” (Colossians 3:18)
This instruction has created an undue amount of “interpretation” over the past century. The terminology is not unclear, but the culture (particularly in the Western world) has resisted the idea that God has specifically designed the structure of the family—beginning with the role of the wife and mother in the home.
She is to “submit” to her husband. The Greek word is hupotasso, a compound term that simply describes an “orderly arrangement.” Obviously, the instructions assume obedience to the design for human procreation “from the beginning of the creation” (Mark 10:6-7) and an understanding of the judgment handed down to humanity in Genesis 3.
That sentence on women (through Eve) is placed on all women, since “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:14). Also included in the description in Genesis 3:16 is that the woman will “long” (Hebrew teshuqateh) for her husband, and her husband will “have power” (Hebrew mashal) over her.
The arrangement, therefore, is designed to prevent further debility and to protect the woman through the man’s willing obedience to love her sacrificially and unconditionally, as “Christ loved the church.”
Ultimately, of course, all obedience is voluntary. Wives are to “arrange” themselves under their husband’s authority, knowing that the instructions are given by an omnipotent and omniscient heavenly Father whose care for each of us is greater than we can imagine.
This basic family structure is “fit in the Lord,” promising us that our obedience will ensure His care and blessing within the most intimate of all human relationships. HMM III
From Days of Praise