The Family (4): Responsibilities of a Wife

The first sin recorded in Scripture was caused by Eve who did not submit to the word of God. The Lord God had stated that she would be “an help meet” for the man; but instead, she disobeyed His word (Gen 3:17). When the adversary tempted her to sin she ought to have refused his words and brought the matter to Adam. The effects of this tragedy are still seen and will be, even in the hearts of some of those who will be born during the Millennium, until the new heaven and the new earth come into being. As for today, and as part of the delusion which the devil promotes, it is commonly stated that the place given in Scriptures to women is demeaning and makes her “second class” behind the man, as his servant, with few, if any, “rights” of her own.

This is completely contrary to God’s stated order. Christian women today have an opportunity of showing the world the beauty, loveliness, and glory of God’s will in practice. Christian wives have the privilege of letting others see, by their example, God’s will in practice in a marriage. Godly women can show in their lives that which the world has never read of in the Scriptures.

Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands (Eph 5:22; Col 3:18)

Wives are instructed to submit to their husbands, but submission is not servitude. It does not teach man’s superiority and woman’s inferiority. Any enterprise will fail without orderly responsibility and control. God has placed that needed order and responsibility in His creation. He has the right do this and we have no right to challenge it.

In Ephesians, Paul follows the verse above by stating that “the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church.” Quite clearly, the relationship between husband and wife is not simply a domestic arrangement. It goes far beyond that. When practiced, it is submission to the divinely given order in creation.

If there lingers in the mind the thought that headship must mean inequality of some kind, consider this: the truth of headship is taught in 1 Corinthians 11 where the statement is made that “the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (v3). The last statement, “the head of Christ is God,” makes it impossible that headship involves inequality. The authority over woman is man and the authority over man is Christ. Here is a great privilege. The woman has part in the relationship in God’s order which includes the Lord Jesus Christ. How can that be anything but a great honor to be worked out with dignity!

In the Colossian epistle we learn that this relationship is “fit in the Lord” (3:18); that it is fitting, proper, and suitable. It is sad to see a wife who demands that her wishes take precedence over those of her husband. A spiritual wife may not agree with every decision made by her husband. She will express her view, and perhaps never change it, but she will acknowledge that he has the right to make the final decision, and must bear the responsibility for the consequences. The husband, as head, will take into account the views of his wife, because he loves her and will respect her as a spiritual woman. Having considered an issue, he may decide that her views would be the better to follow.

I will, therefore, that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house (1Tim 5:14)

A wife has to “guide the house.” The expression used by Paul indicates that she is the “house manager,” a role which involves mature responsibility. Her husband can rely on her to control the running of the home and, should children be born, children that the Lord has given, they are committed into her care.

Today, in many quarters, being a “housewife” is regarded as a low-grade role which prevents a wife from realizing her “potential” and condemns her to a boring life. The accepted practice is that when children are born, they are given into the hands of baby-minders or grandparents so that the mother’s career is not interrupted. It sounds very appealing but may lead to the mother constantly dealing with torn feelings toward the children or the career. Other factors may influence her. Financial pressures can build. She may feel that if she is employed there will be more money for the family and that she will be regarded with greater esteem as she would be able to contribute to the home. It must be kept in mind, however, that this prevents a Christian mother from acting according to Scripture.

It may be that pressures build up that make it necessary for a wife to work outside the home. If this is due to a lifestyle that demands a large income, it is better to seek to reduce the financial demands of that lifestyle. If this is not so, after children go to school, there may be opportunity for a wife to earn something should it be really necessary, provided that this does not prevent her from fulfilling her role in the home.

Above all these considerations, a Christian husband and wife have a resource of which the world knows nothing. They can pray and leave their need with the Lord. He honors those who seek to fulfill His Word. Prayer is not the last resort to which we turn; it ought to be the first. This is the better way!

She shall be saved in childbearing (1Tim 2:15)

Before penning these words, Paul had been dealing with Eve who had moved out of her role. Now he encourages a wife to remain within the role given to her; by doing so she will enjoy spiritual preservation and fulfillment in her husband and family.

“By means of begetting children and so fulfilling the design appointed to her through acceptance of motherhood in the bonds of holy wedlock as God’s ordinance, she would be saved from becoming a prey to the social evils of the time and would take her part in the maintenance of the testimony of the local church.”

What a testimony this will be in the locality and what a basis for a good Christian witness. In this godless era, let others looking on see the Word of God in practice.