Submission in the “Theology of the Body”

The following is an excerpt from a summary Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” found in pdf form here:

“[Eph 5:22-24] is often viewed with suspicion by
women since it tells wives to be submissive to their
husbands. But the first line of the passage, which tells both
spouses to “be subject to one another out of reverence for
Christ” is often overlooked. The following lines are
devoted to explaining how that mutual submission is lived
in marriage. John Paul II makes it very clear that the wife’s
“being subject” to the husband does not mean that she is
dominated by him. It might even be argued that the
husband’s task is harder. He is the one who is commanded
to die for his wife as Christ died for the Church.
“The mutual relations of husband and wife should flow
from their common relationship with Christ.” (TOB Aug. 11,
1982) p. 309
“Love excludes every kind of subjection whereby the wife
might become a servant or a slave of the husband, an object
of unilateral domination. Love makes the husband
simultaneously subject to the wife, thereby subject to the
Lord himself, just as the wife to the husband… It is certain
that when the husband and wife are subject to one another
‘out of re v e rence for Christ’, a just balance will be
established, such as to correspond to their Christian
vocation in the mystery of Christ.” (TOB August 11, 1982) p. 310
“Christ manifests the love with which he has loved her [the
Church] by giving himself for her. That love is an image
and above all a model of the love which the husband
should show to his wife in marriage, when the two are
subject to each other ‘out of reverence for Christ.’” (TOB Aug.
25, 1982) p. 316
“The husband is above all, he who loves and the wife, on the
other hand is she who is loved. One could even hazard the
idea that the wife’s submission to her husband, understood
in the context of the entire passage of Ephesians, signifies
above all the “experiencing of love.” This is all the more so
since this submission is related to the image of the
submission of the Church to Christ, which certainly consists
in experiencing his love.” ( TOB Sept. 1, 1982) p. 320”

Nathanael Szobody

Husband, father, and working for Christ's kingdom in Chad.