Should I Submit To My Boyfriend?

girl making a heart finger frame“Should I submit to my boyfriend?”

That’s the question that one of the smart readers of this blog submitted recently. To be honest, it’s a bit of a stumper. Since a boyfriend is not the same as a husband, isn’t submission in that relationship a bit misplaced? Part of me thinks yes! But since I see dating as preparation for marriage (as opposed to just having fun), is it reasonable to think a girl could disregard what the Bible teaches about submission while dating then suddenly flip a switch after saying “I do”? Hmmm … that’s a little trickier.

Those same questions may be swirling in your mind as you consider how to act in your own dating relationship (now or in the future). If so, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Your boyfriend is not your husband.

You may really, really like your boyfriend. He may have everything you are looking for in a future husband. The two of you may have even talked about getting married. But none of that is the same as actually being married.

The reality is that break-ups happen. They happen to couples who love each other very much. They happen to couples who were sure they would be together forever. Break-ups can even happen after a couple becomes engaged. (Here are two stories where that’s exactly what happened: “Lessons Learned From a Cancelled Wedding” and “Hope for Broken Hearts.”

As you consider your relationship with your boyfriend, it is critical to keep in mind that he is not your husband. There is no place in Scripture that places a boyfriend as an authority over a girlfriend—likely because there is no guarantee that this is a permanent relationship.

This doesn’t mean that you can disregard everything your boyfriend says or treat him with disrespect. Ephesians 5:21 urges all Christians to submit to each other because of our loyalty to Christ. (By the way, if your boyfriend is not a Christian, please take time to read this post. It is always a good idea to treat others with love, respect, and consideration. However, don’t fall for the temptation to “play house” with your boyfriend and pretend that you are already husband and wife. The guidelines the Bible offers for married couples are just that—for married couples.

God has given you arenas to learn submission.

How’s a girl supposed to learn submission if she doesn’t submit to her boyfriend? God’s Word has that answer covered.

Ephesians 6:2 says, “‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise).”

Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Another way to think of submission is to respect, defer to, or honor. Marriage is not the only relationship where we are called to submit. You are clearly called to honor and submit to your parents. In fact, this is really the classroom where God intends for you to learn biblical submission. He also calls you to honor and obey your spiritual authorities. This could include your pastor, youth pastor, or mentor.

Do you find it difficult to submit to your parents? Do you tend to disregard it when your youth pastor calls out your sin or challenges you to live more Christ-like? Don’t be fooled into thinking that submission will be easier when you’re married. It will not. Make a habit of respecting others and deferring to those whom God has placed in authority over you now instead of assuming it will come more naturally later.

Remember what submission is all about.

The Bible clearly calls wives to submit to their husbands in Ephesians 5:22–24:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

This passage gives us a hint about why submission really matters. Marriage is to be a picture of Christ and the church. Paul really hammers this point home a few verses later.

This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32).

Submission isn’t about power trips. It’s about putting the mystery of the gospel on display. When you submit to your husband someday in marriage, you’ll be showing the world what it means for the Church to willingly surrender to the Lordship of Christ. That’s big stuff!

But you don’t have to be married to determine to let your relationships put Jesus on display. Look for ways to honor and glorify God in all of your relationships, including your dating relationships. Speak with kindness. Forgive freely. Run away from sexual sin. These are ways you can showcase Christ without treating your boyfriend like a husband.

“Should I submit to my boyfriend” is a good question. Perhaps an even better question is, “How can I use my relationship with my boyfriend to most honor God?” I’ll let you answer that one. Leave us a comment, and tell us what you think.

About Author

Erin Davis

Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God’s Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she’s not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • cat

    ugh submission is bullshit period why dont husbands submit to women if it is soooooo great

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Submission, as God designed it, is beautiful. Jesus came
      to earth to die for you and me out of submission to God. It’s sin – our selfish, prideful, me-centered world that has so horribly distorted submission.

      Would you take a few minutes to listen to this broadcast, cat? You might be surprised to hear how Erin has
      struggle with the whole area of submission, as well
      (https://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/countering-lies-young-women-believe/?flavour=full).

      Grace and peace,

      Carrie

    • Julieq

      It’s very humbling

  • Julieq

    Well where does that put a fiance .???

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Engagement too is preparation for marriage, as Erin mentioned in her post. So treating your fiancé with respect, consideration, and love is a given.

      Submission occurs when two parties ultimately disagree about a given matter. If you and your fiancé reach a point of serious disagreement, it’s a great time for you to consider if you’re willing/ready to submit to his leadership as a married couple.

    • Sarai

      He’s still a “boyfriend” you don’t submit to him until after the I do anything before that is a boyfriend

  • nikki

    hard to hearbc i fear my bf is just a season we been together for ayr.. but this is so spot on

    • Groups Guy

      As a Christian girl, are you sleeping with him?

  • Timothy Twing

    Is this really even a question!? A boyfriend and husband they are no different! Marriage makes absolutely no difference! It’s a piece of paper. What realty matters is true love, marriage is just a bonus if you wanna call it such, but it has no affect in whether you are submissive. A girlfriend should not be any less submissive than a wife. You should suit to your lover as I do to my fiance, always have and always will, completely! Lovers should submit, but I feel the woman should submit more, cause I see for one. Most of the time 90% of the time, the husband does more for the wife than she does for him. I know some are going to bash this , and say. Oh no, i do more for my husband than he does for me. That’s just your relationship though. Take a look around and you will see the opposite! Also, so what,maybe you should more for him, than he’s doing for you. He might not notice it and who cares, don’t complain about it. Most guys do more for their lover anyway, so why don’t you women keep doing more for your lover because you love them. You should absolutely submit!

    • Groups Guy

      Your Christian fiance submit to your sexual desires? She give-into you & let you push deep into her?

      • Timothy Twing

        Yes she should! She should submit 100% to her superior man!! He should have his way with her anytime he wants and he should be able to do anything he wants to her.

        • Groups Guy

          It feel great pushing deep into her Christian innocence, she letting you — not the Christian man she may later marry — be the first to drill her “innocent” p*ssy?

  • Groups Guy

    Your man want you to submit to him sexually?
    He wanted you to give him your Christian innocence?
    He wanted to be the first to push into you & take your virginity?

  • Groups Guy

    Many Christian women try to juggle between pleasing God & trying to sexually please the nonChristian men they date.

    They know it’s wrong to sleep with their men, but as their men caress them
    & give them all these new sensations they desire, these women don’t think so much about the morality or faith.

    As he kisses her, she becomes entangled in all the emotional romantic feelings she gains by
    all the attention he gives her. She initially resists when he moves his hands to her breasts, but soon gives-into his desires. What would it hurt if he caresses me there?

    She doesn’t try to stop him when he moves his hand into her shirt & feels her up from outside her bra. As he squeezes her impressive breasts, she closes her eyes.
    She doesn’t stop him as he moves his hands to her back & unlocks her bra.

    She gives him a loving look as her breasts pop-out in front of his eyes when her bra falls off…
    She wraps her arms around him as he caresses her breasts and then starts to kiss & suck on them…

    She doesn’t think it will go any farther and isn’t planning to have sex with him.
    As he sucks on her beauties, he sneakily runs one of his hands down to her panties, which he caresses from outside her jeans.

    Unbuttoning her pants, she doesn’t resist as he moves his fingers to her panties.
    They kiss & she feels him slide his fingers into her wetness.

    She removes her pants to give him better access. They both pull-off her panties.

    He unbuttons his pants and she notices his penis pop-out. It’s bigger than she imagined.

    She caresses it. As she lays-back, she makes him “promise” to not put it in.

    He nominally agrees and he prepares to mount her.

    They engage in “simulated sex,” where he rubs his member up against her, but doesn’t penetrate her (yet).

    That first time of engaging in “everything…but,” he honors her request & doesn’t penetrate her. He gets his thrill & soon, she feels his warm cum shoot all over her tummy.

    After future dates, back at his place in bed, they engage in the manual sex & go father each time.

    As they kiss, he keeps moving his p*nis lower, in the danger zone. She keeps moving it back up, pointed over her tummy. As things get more passionate, he again slides down her body slightly and she could feel the head of his p*nis between her labia at the opening of
    her vagina again.

    She didn’t say anything and doesn’t try to stop him as he slowly slides it into her.

    WITH ONE PUSH INTO HER, HE ENDED HER CHRISTIAN INNOCENCE.

    She will remember that night, when she gave-into his carnal desires, the first time she slept with a man, for the rest of her life…