Should a Wife Ever Disobey Her Husband?
A wife should not disobey God in order to obey her husband.Â Acts 5:29 is the pivotal verse for this:Â “We ought to obey God rather than men.”Â The chief responsibility for the wife is to obey God.
Obeying the husband and obeying God shouldn’t conflict, but we know that sometimes they will.Â In Matthew 10:36, Jesus said that “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”Â He doesn’t mention the husband-wife relationship, but the husband andÂ wife areÂ an obvious example of two people who live in the same household.Â Â The Lord brought a sword that separates family members and that conflict will come when a saved wife follows the truth in disobedience to her husband.Â We see the same type of affect on a marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:13-15:
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
The unbelieving husband might depart because of the wife’s sanctifying type of lifestyle, which would again be her obedience to the truth.Â The unsaved husband might not like it and decide to end things.Â If she was obedient to him in all matters of his opinion, that contradicted God’s Word, there would be no conflict between the saved wife and unsaved husband.
1 Peter 3:1-6 gives the example of a saved, obedient wife with either an unsaved husband or a disobedient, saved husband.Â In the 1 Peter context of a Christian’s suffering at the hands of the world, the unsaved husband is mainly in mind, but the text simply says he “obeys not in word.”Â How will the unsaved husband be won to salvation or the disobedient be won to obedience?Â Verse two says by her “chaste conversation.”Â What is a chaste lifestyle?Â It is an obedient-to-God lifestyle.Â She shouldn’t be attempting to win him by preaching the right thing to him, but by living the right thing before him.Â She’ll probably suffer for it, and that’s the assumption of the 1 Peter context, but the continuation of that chaste lifestyle has the best opportunity of his being won.
Later in verseÂ sixÂ of 1 Peter 3, we get the example of Sara obeying Abraham.Â It does use the Word “obey.”Â However, the command of 1 Peter 3:1 and 5 is “be in subjection,” a different word than “obey.”Â The responsibility of a wife to her husband is to be in subjection to him (cf. Eph. 5:24).Â Obeying her husband is a good way to respect him and honor his authority, even as Sara did with Abraham.Â However, she is commanded to place herself underneath her husband’s authority.Â This does not demand carte blanche obedience.
You might be thinking of Titus 2:5 where the young women are to be taught to be “obedient to their own husbands.”Â “Obedient” there is the same Greek word as “be in subjection” in Ephesians and 1 Peter.Â Â It is not the standard word for “obey” like we see with the child in Ephesians 6:1.Â Children obey their parents.Â Wives submit themselves to their husbands.Â Â She respects and places herself under his authority.Â The word “obey” is primarily an action reserved for God.Â Many times men are called upon to obey God.Â Women are called upon to be in subjection to their husbands.Â That will often require obedienceÂ from her.Â However, she isn’t required to obey him when that means disobeying God.
God’s Word is absolutely consistent.Â God will not deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).Â Â God’s nature is perfect in every way.Â Men will contradict their own positions, but God will not.Â A woman has a hierarchical relationship with her husband as it relates to the authority Divinely imparted to him.Â However, the man has an authority over him, Who is God.Â God is the higher authority, so when the husband and God contradict, the wife obeys God.
What will often occur when a wife obeys God instead of her husband?Â She will suffer for it.Â The husband often won’t likeÂ herÂ disobedienceÂ and will give his wife a difficult time.Â She should keep obeying God.
Of course, this doesn’t assume that she is right to disobey her husband in areas that are either Scriptural areas or even non-Scriptural ones.Â Her general pattern is obedience within the sphere of subjection.Â She does what her husband says.Â This pattern will hold true until he uses his authority to require disobedience to God.Â Â This saved woman will sanctify the home, implying her children, by being an example to them of obedience to God.Â This will allow them to see the difference between the obedient wife and the disobedient husband, whichÂ will bringÂ the sanctifying effect to their souls.
If a father desires for his daughter to obey God with her life, he shouldn’t give her to an unsaved man as a wife.Â He should decree in his heart and keep his virgin daughter (1 Corinthians 7:36, 37).Â InÂ this proper use of his authority,Â the father will have done well.Â Â However, for any woman who finds herself in the unseemly predicament of marriage to an unbeliever, she still should remain loyal to God in all things, even when her husband would have it another way.