Submission & Abuse in Marriage (with Pst. Nima Wilson)
We have Pastor Nima Wilson from Malaysia with us on this week’s episode of Marriage Talk.
Pastor Nima Wilson is from India, settled in Malaysia for 25 years and has been pastoring a church there for 7 years. She started as a prayer coordinator with Revive Nations and now she travels with the team and supports them. Pastor Nima and her husband also coordinate meetings in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Pastor Priji: You recently celebrated 25 years of marriage.. Tell us about your journey.
Pastor Nima Wilson: I got married at the age of 20, right after completing my degree. I moved to Malaysia after marriage because my husband was there. At that time, I did not know anyone in Malaysia but I told God I’m trusting Him and walking into this nation. God has been faithful all these years.
Pastor Priji: What are some lessons you can teach young couples so that they can avoid potential pitfalls?
Pastor Nima Wilson: I would say it’s best not to argue about anything. If there is any disagreement in my marriage, I don’t argue about it. I let my husband make the decision. The Bible says wives have to submit to their husbands. Submission does not mean agreeing with everything your husband does. Submit in the right away. In my experience, if you submit, over time you will take control of everything.
Pastor Priji: How do we explain submission in our context today where everybody talks about equal rights? Sometimes husbands take advantage of the verse on submission. To what extent should one submit? How can a wife still respect and love God and be able to submit to her husband?
Pastor Nima Wilson: There will be times when you will not agree with your husband. In my experience, if I don’t agree on some point with my husband, I don’t argue. Instead, I go to the Lord immediately and tell Him that I cannot agree on this point. Many times, when I go in prayer, the Lord changes my heart and I am at peace with the point I disagreed on earlier. By submitting it is easy for life to go on. In our 25 years of marriage, in the beginning I would submit to everything my husband says. But now it is not like that and life is wonderful.
Pastor Priji: So submission doesn’t necessarily mean agreement. Submitting to my spouse, doesn’t mean I agree with every decision but it means that I trust that God has placed this person over my life. Does this rule apply even if the spouse is an unbeliever? We have instances where the husband does not believe in God and does not want to promote a Godly atmosphere in the house. Is the wife expected to submit even under those circumstances?
Pastor Nima Wilson: We have many couples like this in our church where one is a believer and the other isn’t. My advice is to listen to the Bible and submit to your husband. You can submit as long as it does not go to the extent of abuse.
Pastor Priji: How do we help people who have to submit at the risk of compromising their spiritual growth? What if the husband does not let the wife go to church or read the Bible at home?
Pastor Nima Wilson: Your spouse is not with you 24/7. Find alternate times to spend time with God but don’t make it an issue which leads to fights. If your husband does not want you to attend church on Sunday, listen to online messages on Sunday and try to attend prayer meetings on other days.
Pastor Priji: So we’re not saying don’t invest into your relationship with God, rather find alternate times and ways to do so. If you’re not married, look for a believer to get married to. If you are married and your spouse is not a believer, especially if you are the wife, learn to remain in submission for the Bible says your husband may be won over by your Godly character.
You mentioned the only place where you put your foot down is when there is abuse. How do we define abuse? Sometimes people go through abuse but don’t recognize it as abuse.
Pastor Nima Wilson: Abuse can be physical or verbal but verbal abuse is more common. When someone comes to me with a case of abuse, I advice them to be away for awhile. I’m not encouraging divorce – I mean be separated for awhile, be in prayer and let God bring u back together.
Pastor Priji: Can a fight or conflict be looked at as abuse? Sometimes if there is a quarrel or an outburst of anger, people categorize it as abuse.
Pastor Nima Wilson: Every family will have quarrels and hurtful words at times. That is not abuse. If it occurs continuously and you are constantly hurting emotionally and physically, you should realize that’s the limit you can go through.
Pastor Priji: Yes, especially if it’s affecting children. Of course in no instance is domestic violence acceptable. How has submission been for you? At home your husband is the head of the house and you are supposed to submit to him but in the church, you are the pastor and your husband is one of the members of the church. How does this work in such a situation where you have to lead the church and be the wife at home?
Pastor Nima Wilson: It’s very easy for me because my husband completely supports me in ministry. At home I do all my responsibilities as a wife. Family is my first priority. In church we haven’t had any conflicts so far. He agrees with what I say as a pastor.
Pastor Priji: This can be a major point of contention. I have experienced the same where Rashmi and I would bring our ministry disagreements into our family and vice versa. How do you keep the two separate and not let it overflow into each other?
Pastor Nima Wilson: I keep the two separate. Initially my husband would tell me not to get involved in the family issues of people but I knew in my heart that as a pastor, I have to help people who come to me for help. I did not argue about this at home but continued to do what I’m supposed to do as a pastor. Now he understands that it is my duty as a pastor. I don’t bring church issues into the family. If we let the two overlap, there won’t be peace in both places.
Pastor Priji: Many people in ministry face this because ministry is not always something you can switch off when you are back home. What you mentioned is important – to keep it separate. Do you have any other advice for our young couples and people looking for a partner?
Pastor Nima Wilson: For marriage to go peacefully and in a good, way, we said that wives must submit to the husband. At the same time, husbands must love their wife. Both go together and one cannot happen without the other. When the husband loves the way he is supposed to love, submission becomes easy for the wife. If you’re looking for a partner, look for someone who loves the Lord above everything else. If you can find such a person, your life will be easy and you will be able to handle all issues that come up.
I pray that the Lord’s presence will fill your marriage and that He will restore peace and love in every area that is lacking.
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