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Submission Doesn't Mean Being a Doormat

By Leslie Vernick

As Christian women, we may feel trapped in relationships where our needs, desires, and even our safety are not being respected or valued. We may have been taught that submission to our husbands is our primary responsibility, even if it means sacrificing our own well-being and that of our children. But is this really what God intends for us?

Let’s start by acknowledging that marriage can be challenging even under the best of circumstances. It requires sacrifice, compromise, and hard work from both partners. However, when a marriage becomes destructive, it’s important to seek help and support. This can be especially difficult for Christian women who may feel ashamed or guilty for not being able to make their marriages work.

The Bible never says that submission is only a wife’s responsibility, nor does it give husbands the final say in all decisions. This has been misunderstood and misinterpreted, causing harm to men, women, and children, and thwarting God’s plan for loving family relationships. We must reject any teaching that condones abusive or controlling behavior, and instead seek God’s truth on the matter.

As wives, we are called to be our husband’s helpmate, but this goes beyond mere submission. Our role is to encourage and support our spouses to grow and mature in their relationship with God, and to love them as Christ loved the Church. This means you may have to confront sin, implement boundaries, and, yes, consequences…for his good. We must also learn to love ourselves and our children enough to protect them from harm.

Biblical headship is not about wielding power or demanding obedience. Jesus demonstrated headship through sacrificial servanthood, modeling humility, compassion, and love. Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the Church, giving themselves up for her. This means that husbands should initiate and model servanthood, showing the way and going first in putting the needs of their family above their own.

Likewise, biblical submission is not about being a doormat or allowing yourself to be mistreated. Submission cannot be forced or coerced, but must come from a heart that desires to please God and serve others.

If you find yourself in a destructive marriage, it may be difficult to imagine a way out. You may feel trapped and hopeless. But please know that God is with you, and He desires for you to be safe and whole. He sees your pain and your struggles, and He truly cares. God loves you and values your safety and sanity. Please know you are not alone and there are many resources available for you at www.leslievernick.com.

A lot of people, including pastors, misunderstand the idea of marital headship and submission. We won’t change everyone’s mind on the subject. But, as long as you are clear about what God expects – and what he doesn’t – you can be confident in how to be safe and sane, even if that means creating some boundaries for yourself.

Book Giveaway


Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ: Book 5 Brokenness & Suffering

by Rebecca Davis

The real Jesus wants to set you free.

Addressing some of the controversial Scriptures about brokenness, suffering, what it means to be a “victim,” and more, Rebecca Davis untwists Scriptures by looking at word meaning, context, and the heart of God for His people.

You can learn what God really thinks about brokenness and suffering, knowing that if you follow and love the Lord, He does not abuse you.

Along the way, you may develop a deeper appreciation for who our God is and what He has done for you.

Scriptures can be untwisted. You can rise up from spiritual abuse and walk in the freedom of Christ.

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter! (Giveaway only available to U.S. residents)

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of “How Not to Be an *SS: Essays on Becoming a Good & Safe Man” by Andrew J. Bauman are Megan B. and Joy W.

Enter For Your Chance to Win

He Refuses to Hear Me or Change. Now What?

By Leslie Vernick

Question: All the articles and blogs I read regarding divorce seem to frown upon it. Many talk about trying to work things out and repair the damage that has been done. However, I am married to an individual who does not think that there is anything wrong, who does not see the need for change or even communicating about our problems. He believes in a higher power but is not spiritual or religious. With that said, he does not think that we should see a counselor and gets bothered if I even mention it.

The last time I brought it up he asked me to give him the chance to change on his own. I disagreed but went ahead and gave him some time to see the changes. The changes he made were all superficial and nothing that would have an impact or show that he is going to change long-term.

I am tired of being the one always trying to make things happen. He shuts me out every single time I try to discuss anything. He is dismissive and everything I say he makes it seem like all I do is complain.

I don't know if divorce is the answer, but I know that our marriage is a destructive one according to the assessment I took on your website. Any advice? I know I need to start by strengthening my core and replying in a loving manner while setting boundaries and that's what I plan on doing for the time being until I can figure out if I can get out of this marriage.

Answer: You sound tired. I’m sorry you’re going around the same old circle of asking him to change with nothing happening. It is exhausting. I’m glad that you’ve decided to switch gears and work on strengthening your own self so that you get healthier and clear on your next right steps forward regarding your marriage. That is something you can change.

What People Are Saying About “Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ”

I’m grateful for the careful, direct and kind ways Rebecca explained brokenness and suffering throughout the book. I especially resonated with Chapter 9, Jesus and Boundaries.

When I read Rebecca Davis’ Untwisting Scriptures Book 5, the harmful teachings were difficult to read and triggering. Living with walls down in relationships with others? Yielding rights? Thinking the best of others? Having a dependent spirit? Not concerned with self at all? Brokenness brings increased fruitfulness? Oh, my! No wonder many, many people have suffered so. I didn’t know there was such a thing as boundaries until I was 60 years old and that has been a big reason for my suffering.


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States