One of the common denominators across a wide spectrum including feminists, egalitarians, complementarians, “Christian” dating and marital advice, “Christian” counseling and even the federal headship crew is female hypo-agency.
Full metal Patriarch did a good job at pointing this out with If your husband is a godly man, submission will be easy! in the Christian dating/marital advice crowd.
This almost always follows the variations of “If a man does, then women…”
Feminists use this in terms of their call against victim blaming. Well, if men would only stop raping, while excusing women for their poor choices such as getting blackout drunk. Men shouldn’t rape, but I highly doubt that the men who rape actually care about their moral state or not doing harm to women.
Feminists and egalitarians use this to argue against Biblical headship, but twist it to push women in authority. “If only men wouldn’t abuse their authority…” which turns into men shouldn’t have authority at all.
This is common in complementarian denial of actual headship in practice though displaying lip service to it. The Christian husband can’t be trusted to wield authority in a right way, thus they concede that the husband has a tiebreak vote if he and his wife disagree. “If only we could trust the husband to use authority in a right way… then the wife could submit to him.”
Federal headship is the weird but common case where basically Christians of varying feminist and patriarchal backgrounds claim that the wife is a reflection of the husband. If the wife doesn’t want to have sex with her husband then her husband is doing something wrong. If a wife doesn’t want to obey her husband then the husband is doing something wrong. “If only the man would obey God in everything, then the wife would want to submit to him.”
All of this stems from the underlying assumption of “men bad, women good” where women end up in a faultless or moral compass situation.
This is also why any Christian woman’s Bible study on submission almost inevitably ends up as 90-100% talking about what the men should be doing.
Ephesians 5:22 Wives, subject yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
The importance of Ephesians 5 cannot be overstated. Wives have their own role, separate and independent of what the husband is doing, to be accountable to God for and to carry out with all of her ability.
Likewise, husbands have the duty to love their wife for the purpose of sanctification (and not her feelings). This means to point out areas of sin where she should repent and do right instead. This follows the example of Christ, the second Adam, to lead His Church to be reconciled to God rather than the first Adam who followed his wife instead of God.
Conversations on these topics must always be vigilant that they don’t trend toward female hypoagency. Both men and women are responsible for their own roles to play in relationships, even if the other person is doing right or doing wrong.