Ephesians 5:21 "Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ"
Many husbands love to quote Ephesians 5:22 to their wives, which says "Wives, be subject to your husbands." Unfortunately probably most of those demanding husbands who quote that verse aren't also familiar with the verse before it (v21) - which says to "be subject to one another."
What does that practically mean to 'be subject to one another'? One way I've seen it in specifically in my home, in my own marriage, is that my wife and I must RESPECT EACH OTHER'S HESITATIONS. I believe that's one of the greatest lessons I've learned about real practical married Christian life. The reason why this is so important is because God guides us for decisions in our home through unity in marriage, and so if my wife has a hesitation in her spirit about some decision we have to take which affects our family, I see it as guidance coming directly from God through her.
'Be subject to one another' implies God's desire is for unity in Christ - it's like we're tied together by unseen bonds and the Lord is saying, 'Do not run off in one direction without your other half'. If I was physically attached to someone with chains and handcuffs, for example, I would not run off in a direction on my own because first of all, we'd go very slowly as I forcefully had to drag them along, and second of all, they would get hurt as they were dragged! It's best to make sure first that we are both clear on the direction we are going, and both ready to run that way.
So this means that as a husband, I should not just desire for my wife to let me have my own way all the time. If she has a hesitation about some decision I want to make that will affect our family, I should respect that, and be 'subject' to it. At the least, it should cause me to pause and consider, and seek the Lord for His will and for unity - she should agree with the direction that decision will take us. And if the freedom is not there, it should stop me altogether. There should not be any urgent 'rush' to jump into anything - I believe the devil many times tries to rush people into making decisions in order to force them outside of God's will. If something is so urgent that it can't wait, it's probably not of God! "He who hurries his footsteps errs" (Prov 19:2).
And from the other side, it also means, if I'm having hesitations, I should express them and we should wait on God until both of us are united, feeling freedom in our spirit - our goal is not only to be united with each other, but united with God (our wills both conformed to whatever His will ultimately is). And when the 3 are united (two spouses, and the Lord), then that will produce a rock-solid decision for our family - producing a strong cord that can't be broken by the devil (Eccl 4:12).
So God speaks through unity, and if one of us is not 'all in' regarding a decision for the family, we should see that as a boundary the Lord has put there for us (Acts 17:26). God closes doors, and puts boundaries in our lives to keep us in His will, for our good and our protections. See what the Bible says may happen if we assert our strong will to force our way through a boundary He has set:
Eccl 10:8 "...a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall" (we can take 'wall' to mean a hedge/boundary).
PERMISSION VS UNITY
Imagine I as a husband wanted to buy some car that was quite expensive, but felt the freedom to get it because we could purchase it without getting into debt (so there is no blatant sin there). But let's say my wife has a hesitation on my desired purchase even though we could afford it, and I say "Ok, I'll wait then" at first, but I'm not respecting her hesitation, so I continue on after that pestering her until she eventually says yes. I may be happy I got my way, but I would have missed God‘s best will because we didn’t have unity! I wouldn't have been obeying the word in Eph 5:21 to be 'subject to one another in the fear of Christ'. I wouldn't have been respecting her hesitations, I'd be dragging her along with me as I went forward with my own decision. There may not be sin committed, but we'll have missed God's best for our family - His highest good. The highest good in all areas of our life - family life, and even our walk with God - is not simply to get permission, it's to be united (with God first, and then with other disciples in Christ - the 3 stranded-cord).
Many times we seek simple permission and freedom so we can get what we want, because that's our primary burden. Our primary burden is selfish - it's to get what we want. "Can I do this? Ok great, thanks." Can you imagine our life with God like that? "Lord can I please spend all day playing video games? Are video games a sin? They're not? Ok great, thanks, I'll talk to you later in maybe 12 hours after I'm done playing all day." PERMISSION is not the highest good, UNITY is - where we are ONE in our desires and our highest goals. A real disciple will not walk according to permission, what they can 'get away with', but according to love and unity. "What is the best thing I can do for another?", not, "What is the best thing I can do for myself?"
John 17:22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one
If you find that you are pushing a desire of yours on your spouse, or the Lord, and you're finding resistance - stop and consider whether it may be best to simply die to that desire and let it go. This is the cross carrying life by which we can be fully connected (united) with the Lord and with other disciples. This is the path of discipleship.