Christian Author Experiments with Biblical Submission in Modern Marriage

Sep 12, 2013

Sara Horn

The idea of being a submissive wife, in the Biblical sense of that term, may sound old-fashioned.

But Sara Horn, a devout Baptist, wanted to find out if submitting to her husband could work in their modern marriage.

Horn, a military wife and mom from Zachary and the author of several books, has a new book out about her experience, "My-So Called Life as Submissive Wife."

The experiment was not a no-brainer for her husband, Cliff.


Based on the description in her book, Sara Horn's husband Cliff is a really good guy. But how can you be submissive if your husband's a jerk? Sara Horn answers that question on her blog at



HORN: When I went to my husband and asked him what he thought about it, me taking on this Biblical submission experience for a year, his first reaction was, "No."
Like a lot of people he thought, you know, that's not us. I mean, we are equal; we help each other out; we support each other; it's not one person telling the other person what to do.

JEFFRIES: And that 50/50 is really what, I think, in mainstream culture now is the ideal to aspire to.

HORN: Yes. That's what everybody looks at I think.

My thing is, when you look at marriage today, there's a 50/50 chance it's going to end in divorce.

JEFFRIES: Your own parents got divorced.

HORN: Yeah, my own parents were divorced. And so, you know, I guess what I'm trying to say is, the 50/50 approach is the popular way to do it, but it isn't exactly working.

JEFFRIES: You set out to spend a year trying to be a submissive wife.

HORN: Yes.

JEFFRIES: You had been married to your husband, Cliff, for what? 13 years?

HORN: 15 years now.

JEFFRIES: And I imagine you already had your dynamic going.

HORN: Right. My husband is much more laid back, I'm much more assertive, so it was usually typical for him to say, "whatever you want, dear," you know, "whatever you decide."

And I had to learn, during this, learn to step back a little bit. And what I realized throughout the year, though, was as I stepped back a little, it gave my husband more space and more room to step forward. And I saw him develop leadership skills in our home that I hadn't necessarily seen before.

JEFFRIES: How granular did it get? You describe in the book needing to ask your husband before you applied for a job, and initially forgetting to do so. But what about deciding on the menu for dinner? What about deciding where you were going to go on a Saturday afternoon to spend time with your son?

HORN: I learned to ask a lot more questions, but I did not fall into a situation where I didn't breath unless he told me to, you know. And I think that's probably one of the stereotypes when it comes to Biblical submission, I sort of check my brain at the door and I become this robot and I'm waiting for orders. And I don't believe that's what the Bible has in mind.

There is something that the husband's called to do too. You know, the wife is called to "submit to her husband as to the Lord",  and then the husband is also called to "love his wife as Christ loved his church."

JEFFRIES: You say early on in your book that you don't want to go back to the days when women had no voice. But it seems like you also found yourself wondering if the "be all you can you can be mantra" that came out of the women's movement of the '60s and '70s maybe led you astray.

Do you feel now that your career ambitions are at odds with being a submissive wife?

HORN: I don't think so.

I think for me, I would say I have had a change in priorities over the years. When we were first married I was very career-driven, very ambitious, wanted to make a big difference for God and a difference in the lives of people, and I believe I've done that with the military ministry I have for military wives, my husband's a Navy reservist and currently deployed, you know, so I believe I've done that. But I also believe that I was missing looking at the importance that I have as a wife and as a mom.

I think that women have been told over and over again that we can do it all, we can be it all, and I think we can to a point, but not necessarily at the same time.  

JEFFRIES:  Sara Horn, member of First Baptist Church in Zachary, founder of Wives of Faith, author of "My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife", thanks so much for sharing your story with me.

HORN: Thank you.