This seems to be a common theme coming out from both egalitarian and complementarian camps. I was reminded of this from the recent Dalrock post on hierarchy equals abuse.
Service in Greek is diacon (diaconia/diaconos), which is also the word for Deacons. The Scripture has this to say on being a servant and how to serve:
Mark 9:33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
John 13:12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord; and [b]you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
However, serving is not the same as submission. Submission is being under the authority of another. The fact that a husband is called to serve his wife does not mean that he is to submit to his wife. Jesus serves the disciples by washing their feet, but in the same chapter gives them a command:
John 13:31 Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus *said, “Now [d]is the Son of Man glorified, and God [e]is glorified in Him; 32 [f]if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Service is to meet another’s need. Submission is to be obedient to authority.
Husbands are called to serve their wives to meet their needs. Eph 5 shows us that meeting a wives need is to “to sanctify them” (make holy by pointing out areas of sin and repentance), “love their wives as their own body” (do anything for her that you would also do for you) x3, and to “nourish and cherish” (provide for internal and external needs like food, clothing, sex, etc.). Wives are called to submit to their husbands and be obedient to their commands.
Also, it’s easy to get needs confused with wants. The Scripture defines the requirements of the marriage relationship. For example, for the wife the marital needs are leadership, provision (clothing, food), sex, and honor as a coheir in Christ from the husband. For the husband, submission, respect, chaste and respectful behavior, gentle and quiet spirit, and sex from the wife. Beyond that are solely wants. If you don’t get what you want, you shouldn’t be angry if you don’t get it. Yes, things like Bible studies and prayer together are good, but they are also wants. They aren’t requirements. It may be one way a husband can lead, but he may choose to do it a different way.
Yet there are so many ‘pastors’ who warp service into submission. Ostensibly because of deceptive thinking that if a husband is godly then a wife will be godly and if a husband is ungodly then the wife will be ungodly. This has been shown to be false.