21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).22 Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.23 For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body.24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.
V21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subject to their husbands as a service to the Lord. God’s design was to have the husband lead. When the husband is a Godly man, this works perfectly. The wife will have no issue following a Godly leader. The issue comes into play when the husband is not a follower of God, and is not living an unselfish life.
The closer I become to God, the less trouble my wife and kids will have in following my lead. This does mean that I must be a man of character. I must be the same man alone as when there are people all around. God cannot overlook hidden sin as it breaks the relationship between Him and the sinner. Therefore, He must withdraw when sin is present, and this breaks the intimate flow of the relationship. When God is not present in a man’s life, it will be quite apparent.
These verses sound somewhat burdensome to the reader, but Paul is establishing a Godly organizational chart for marriage. This puts tremendous responsibility to any husband, not really to the wife. A wife will not desire to follow and be submissive to an ungodly husband, and there will be great pressure.
On the other hand, it will be natural for a wife to follow a Godly man. It isn’t that the man is without mistakes, but the mistakes are not who he is. He is a man of substance, and retains his priorities because he has God first.