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Should a wife submit to her husband if it violates her conscience?

Esther 1:12

Queen Vashti did the unthinkable. She refused a direct order from the king of Persia. Scripture gives no reason for Vashti’s refusal to heed the king’s summons. Most scholars speculate that she did not want to betray her dignity before the king’s drunken guests. A few have suggested a political motive for Vashti’s defiance. In any case, her disobedience posed a threat to the king’s authority (see Est 1:16–18).

A Christian marriage is much different from the relationship between a king and queen in ancient Persia. All believers are commanded to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21). In the family, wives are to submit to their husbands, and husbands are to love their wives. Husband and wife together are to submit to Christ, who instructs their conscience and guides their understanding.

In all things the husband and wife should seek to honor Christ. This applies in decision making, as couples work hard to avoid violating one another’s conscience and as they seek the good of the other person (see 1Co 10:23–33). Spouses should never entice one another to do wrong, but if that happens, each one’s first obligation is to obey Christ.

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