In the Biblical plan of the home the wife holds the key position. Her role as a mother contributes to the survival of the family and to the benefit of society. Many mothers endure sacrifice for their family’s sake and deserve more credit than they get. The husband may be the overall supervisor but she is the manageress. Every woman is equipped to be a wife unless God has called her specifically not to get married. Womanhood, motherhood, is a calling from God, a vocation to which she responds under God, married and single women included. A woman’s role is daunting, she is a wife, mother, a manageress of the home, a cook, and to add to this she has to share her husband in so many ways. She is an efficiency expert, economist, bargain hunter, affectionate lover, a child guidance director, communications expert and many more things besides. She continually relieves her husband from many pressures and by her voluntary submission defuses or reroutes so many problems. If the husband fails in leadership the pressure falls on the wife. It must be understand from the outset that we are all unfinished works of God and will make mistakes. If a woman ‘runs’ the family she has none in between her and the children to relieve her from the pressures.
Unity in the marriage is promoted better when the wife’s role is seen to complete and complement the husband. Better harmony, understanding and fulfillment, stability and security fill the home when both partners understand their roles. She is co- equal with her husband, a joint partner and essential in making the marriage and home a happy one. As a wife she compliments and encourages the husband, she is the essential homemaker and gives the home that womanly touch making it bright and warm for her family. This is the highest calling a wife can have in life. Without her the home id an empty echo and becomes an empty shell.
Many marriages are not happy and end up on the rocks. You think, ’Our marriage is different, we have something special.’ Sooner or later your expectations give way to frustrations because they have been unreal. You come crashing to the ground, the stars in your eyes turn to sand, and the delight turns to disillusionment. Wives, remember you married a sinner, a wonderful yet fallen man, and a real person. What happened what went wrong, why so many marital problems today?
1. We have failed to live in God’s will and His plan and blueprint for our marriage.
2. God gives us perfect information and direction concerning marriage, we fail to follow the directions.
3. We have failed to continue to work at our marriage, failed to keep it fresh, to keep on forgiving and forgetting, failed in keeping the romance fire alive. We think it will just take care of itself but we are wrong, we must put effort into it.
4. We may have failed to remember that the wife has certain roles in the marriage as well as the husband. When we know, accept and fulfill these, they enhance and promote the one-ness in the marriage. Each one should know what to expect from the other and is not disillusioned if they do not fulfill a certain role or job, which was not agreed upon.
A HELP MATE
1. She is a helpmate to her man and he is incomplete without her. She is his soul mate.
2. A good helper is priceless, a good thing, an investment, adding to and complementing the husband. Prov 18:22 & 31:10-11
3. A good helpmate is indispensable and compliments her man. 1 Cor: 11:12
4. A good helpmate fulfills a man where he lacks or is inadequate. She ‘does him good’ and is a ‘fruitful vine.’ Prov 31:12, Ps 128:3
‘One flesh’ does not mean she should not do anything for her own benefit or to benefit others i.e. further training or education etc. This does not stop her from being involved in the activities of the church, other activities or ministries outside the home. It does mean she should never do anything that would be detrimental or harmful to undermine her relationship to her husband. She should not neglect him but give him first place in her life and marriage. Wives and husbands are equal but different in every respect save responsibility and authority.
HOW TO HELP HIM
Make the home a place he wants to come home to, a safe place, an encouraging place, a place of refuge, a loving place and a happy place. Do not use bad jokes about him or make cutting remarks to him, especially in public. You manage the home; he is to bind it together. Don’t constantly remind him of his faults and failures. Correct him only when absolutely necessary, and if possible, only in private. Do not continually nag him; he will end up despising and avoiding you. Do not make the home a showplace for others to see, but a home for him and your family to live in and not to be afraid of sitting down or spoiling ‘your furniture.’ Do not let it be a shambles but make it clean, livable and a comfortable place. It is your own home, enjoy it and you will always be happy to come home to it.
Be his best friend and assure him of your love and support.
Be trustworthy and dependable i.e. with money and shopping. This saves many arguments.
Show interest in problems and concerns. Offering suggestions and advice. Corrections must be given in a loving manner, watch your tones and your attitudes. He may be reactive instead of proactive.
Discuss things lovingly, openly and honestly with a desire to come to positive and beneficial conclusions.
Maintain a good attitude; remember this is your partner, your co-worker.
Be satisfied with possessions and jobs etc but also have a vision for more.
Be longsuffering, forgiving and forbearing.
Be industrious, frugal and diligent. Ambitious and creative. (A number of men are not and their wives have helped them in this area.)
Be beautiful, dress well, smell well, look well for him and for your own self-esteem – put the main emphasis on inner beauty. 1 Peter 3: 3-5
Be spiritual. 1 Peter 3:1-2, 7
Be co-operative in reassuring children. Eph 6:30, Tim 5:13-14
Build loyalty to him and in the children. The children quickly pick up the wife’s attitudes toward the husband. Respect and confidence in leadership is essential. The wife should support her husband and co-operate in child discipline. All difference of opinions must be settled outside of the child’s hearing and seeing.
Be grateful to your husband in a number of ways. Rom 13:7
Show confidence in his decisions. If you doubt his decisions, ask questions in an unthreatening way – ask in love.
Encourage him to lead the family.
Love him and let him know it. 1 Cor: 13
Appreciate him genuinely and remember what the widow said – “ Snoring is the sweetest sound in the world, ask any widow.”
WOMEN – EQUAL, BUT DIFFERENT
Women are not inferior to men but they do have a different role. Paul makes no distinction between men and women as far as abilities, intellect, maturity and spirituality. Some women may be superior in any of these areas. Women should be encouraged in all forms of ministry. A spiritual gift is different from an office in the church. Women held the office of deacon but never the office of Pastor/Elder in the church. Office is defined by gender, spiritual gifts or not, and God gives them all to believers. Women are just as essential as men in the body of Christ.
1. God gave gifts unto men. The Greek word is ‘anthropos’ mankind (Eph 4: 8-9), if had been given to the male only, it would have been ‘aner’ (male), or to the female it would have been ‘gune’ (female). Women have all the spiritual gifts a men have as God distributes them. The Bible teaches that each believer receives at least one spiritual gift at the moment of salvation. That enables the church to function smoothly. Rom 12: 3-14, 1 Cor 12: 4-30, Eph 4: 1-13
2. A woman can enter as deeply into communication with God that any man can.
3. A woman has all the same responsibilities as men.
4. A woman has the same access to Jesus that any man has.
5. Women were called ‘fellow workers’ with Paul; they were colleagues. Rom 16: 1-3
6. Women share in mission and evangelism with men in the New Testament.
7. Women could teach other women or children, but when a man was present, he had to do it. Ladies who have been missionaries have prepared the sermon and let one of the male natives teach it until they had a man who could do it. Titus 2: 3-4, 1 Tim 5: 16
8. Women could pray and prophesy in the New Testament. 1 Cor 11: 15, Acts 21: 9, Acts 1: 13-14
9. Women can proclaim the word of God except for when the church meets for corporate worship. Ps 62:1, Lk 1: 46-55, Lk 2: 36-38, Acts 18: 24-26
10. Women can be labourers on the mission field. Matt 9: 38
ORDER IN THE RELATIONSHIP 1 Cor 11: 3-12
Women are just as educated as men and sometimes even more; however, in spiritual matters men are to take the lead. Men and women are equal in spiritual status but the have different functions. We both have full spiritual privileges. There is neither male nor female spiritually but there are differences in functions humanly and in the church. (Gal 3: 28) The one-ness did not abolish the distinction between believing parents and believing children or obliterate the distinctions between Jew and Gentile. No longer are there any distinctions between those who are Christ’s. In spiritual matters there is no racial, social or sexual distinction. Paul was speaking of spiritual differences – differences in spiritual standing before the Lord, spiritual value, privilege or worthiness. Any prejudices in the body of Christ are wrong. It is not a question of the male being superior but of order. There should be a distinction between the sexes. Today, dress, fashion, jobs and cosmetically – society have blurred the distinctions. Women and men should dress distinctly and function in their distinct roles. Men should be masculine and women feminine.
Submission In Life Because of Order
VS 3: “The man is the head of the woman” (1Cor 11: 13) Subjection (hupotasso – to arrange, rank under.) a) We are to be in subjection to faithful ministers 1Cor 16:16.
b) We are to submit ourselves (for the Lord’s sake) to human law and order – Rom 13: 1-7, 1Peter 2:13.
c) We are to obey and to submit to our leaders in the church – Heb 13: 17.
d) We are to relinquish our rights to one another – these are human rights and not the God given principles of order – Eph 5: 21-22. Leaders in the government, in the church, in marriage, are not superior to you; it is a matter of order lest the structure falls apart. Submission is for the purpose of order and complementation, not because of the superiority of man.
The husband is the head (kephale – has authority over) of the wife – 1 Cor. 11:3. Everywhere in Greek literature and in the New Testament, it is always translated the same. A church may have some women who are better students, teachers, theologians and speakers than men, but are obedient to God’s design and submit to male leadership and do not usurp it. Christ submitted to the father, the church submits to Christ, a woman submits to the man: all this is done out of love and is not forced or from tyranny.
What Is Head Covering?
VS 4-6: Head covering. The Corinthian culture called for the woman to have her head covered. The phrase ‘something on his head’ means ‘down from the head.’ He was not to wear a veil. Some women in Corinth refused to cover their heads as a sign of protest and independence. If a Christian woman done this, she was showing the sign of a prostitute or an extreme feminist. If a culture does not require wearing a covering, a veil or hat, the Christian is not obligated to do so.
Follow God’s Order and Design
VS 7-10: There is nothing wrong with a woman wearing a head covering today, it was cultural, but there is something wrong with a woman who is insubordinate to men. The custom does not teach the principle of male headship, but following God’s order and design does. Women is ‘the glory of man’, the vice regent in the family. When he is not there, she assumes the role, especially if the man has died. Paul says ‘For indeed the man was not created for the woman’s sake but woman for the man’s sake.’
Both Roles are Complementary
VS 9: His leadership, his protection and care are complementary to her being ‘the weaker vessel’ – 1 Peter 3: 7. Paul mentions the angels because there is order and rank among them and he does not want them to witness rebellion in mankind. She is God’s supreme of creature subordination. Men must never abuse this authority and women must never usurp it, because it is God’s design.
VS 11-12: They function together as a team. Weak men are willing to let the women do all the work, the discipline, the provision and the leading – this can also be just laziness. Man’s authority is a delegated one given by God; he has no innate authority of his own but is carrying out a Biblical mandate. Paul says ‘neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.’ Men and women are complementary to each other in every way. Man is born from a woman and though she may not teach when he comes to church to worship, they are the most influential shapers of men – 1Tim 2: 15. From conception to adulthood his mother is to shape him in a unique and marvelous way. They shape and mould the future generation in a fantastic way. In marriage men are to be dependant upon their wives.
GOD’S PLAN FOR THE WIFE
1. Partnership, teamwork – both equally contributing to the relationship is how marriage is meant to be.
2. Submission to her husband. Eph 5: 22-24, Col 3: 18, Tit 2: 4-5
· This does not mean the woman is a slave; it makes her free to become all that God wants her to be. Submission is not a dictatorship. Prov 31: 10-31
· Submission is not just for women, but also for men – all believers. Eph 5: 21, Phil 2: 2-3, 1Pet 5: 5
· Submission does not mean that the woman does not open her mouth, have an opinion or never give advice. Prov 31: 26, Acts 18: 26, Jud 13: 21-23
· Submission does not mean that she is to stop functioning for God and just sit in the house all day. She has gifts and talents that the Lord has given her to use, a good husband will encourage her to function in the Lord’s work. Eph 4: 7-9, Prov 31
· Submission does not mean that the wife is inferior to the husband Lk 2: 51. Christ was subject to Mary and Joseph, but not inferior. Gen 1: 26-27, Gal 3: 28
It is a question of order, roles and structure in the home so that it flows in harmony. Men are not to be control freaks, tyrant bosses, authoritarian, suppressing their wives r asserting themselves – it is a partnership.
WHAT IS SUBMISSION?
The wife is to be willingly submissive and should never be physically, mentally, psychologically or emotionally forced to be so by her husband. It must come from her freedom and be her continuous lifestyle. God will honour her in this.
1. Submission is not optional. It is not based upon how her husband treats her but is a command from God – a spiritual matter. She wants to please God. To refuse to submit is rebellion against God; we must all obey God in all things. This should be done in the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Submission is positive. It emphasises what a wife should do, not what she must do. The wife submittal: her talents, resources and energy to her husband and vice versa. She is not his opponent but an equal partner in the team – a team mate to achieve the same goal.
3. Submission means that in the team she uses her opinions, desires, requests and insights to contribute to the final decisions and plans.
4. Submission involves the wife’s attitudes as well as her actions. The wife is to be cheerful and not grudging. Prov 31: 13
5. Submission is total. Eph 5: 24. However, only ‘as fitting in the Lord’ if a husband wants his wife to go against God’s commands, she must obey God first, this is her freedom. She must explain lovingly, calmly and scriptural why she did not commit wrong towards the Lord. Our Lord had a right attitude to submission and shows it, it is not robbery but an enhancement to service. He was willing to serve. Phil 2: 10-11
6. Submission does not mean that a woman should never express her opinions or fallings. Men make the mistake of using lordship for leadership, trying to run their homes like an army sergeant. They shout orders, make demands, and call for instant obedience, because of this meet mental, psychological and even physical opposition. This is not love – it is childishness. This is not partnership – it is dictatorship. It is wrong. 1Tim 3: 11, 1Pet 3: 7. Treat your wife with respect, reverse her and honour her. Physical and psychological abuse may be a case for church discipline and counselling. Matt 18: 15-17, James 5: 13-26
THE HUSBAND’S CONTRIBUTION
Kindness towards his wife, the weaker vessel, and to consider her and problems she may encounter is God’s stimulus to the husband to help him keep his wife attractive towards him. Men have a tendency to bludgeon on through life while women tend to have a more careful and considerate approach. The rule for the wife is not to have children; happiness or prosperity but is obedience to God’s word. He will add all the other things to you. The couple compliment each other in their souls and physically but both souls demand co-operation from each partner. If we submit to each other (Eph 5: 21) we will help each other fulfill our roles. Ladies, remember – God’s design for you in marriage is to be the vice president.
UNDERSTANDING HER PSYCHOLOGICALLY
Love is kind and considerate 1 Cor 13: 4-5. Most women experience despair, low self-esteem, discouragement, disinterest, loneliness, depression, temporary monthly change etc. She may have a ‘high’ experience and feel good, or a ‘low’ and feel down. These can be caused by the birth of a new baby, moving to a new house, after a busy holiday or a job promotion etc. Why does this happen? – It could be that all systems have been operating at an accelerated speed and now must slow down. It takes time and this applies to all of us. The chemistry of a woman, especially before her period, can cause havoc with her emotions. She may cry for no apparent reason, and may find it hard to explain to a man. A variety of reasons can cause misunderstandings from a man’s point of view.
There may be a feeling of uselessness, inadequacy or worthlessness. A woman may think she is no use as a wife or a friend and may feel she has failed as a mother. She may feel unloved and unlovable and may dislike everything about herself. Sleepless nights may haunt her, she ponders, “What is wrong with me?”
Why? – Women have become matters of disrespect, ridicule and the comedians joke. They have been lowered to the status of sex objects. Many have mocked their softness and femininity. The media of advertising can make her feel unbeautiful by using top models to sell their products. Some men try to make women feel less intelligent, however, if we take each sex in their individual abilities, there is no fundamental difference, Men want beauty more than brains in women. Low esteem can produce self-pity, inferiority, and lack of confidence, anger and self-doubt. Even an ugly childhood or acne in their teen years can affect the concept of themselves. A woman may feel not needed and no one can stand being not needed, something should be done. Christian husbands need to show their wives, in a variety of ways, that they are needed in order to compliment them and make them perfect. As husbands we must encourage wives personally and scriptural.
‘…The Spirit helps our weaknesses…’ Rom 8: 26
‘We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us…’ Rom 8: 37
‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ Phil 4: 13
HOW TO HELP HER
Don’t increase her guilt; this brings more mental pressure. Promote self-esteem and inadequacy – let her know she is needed.
Help her to accept her body and looks, if she can change them without pressure – encourage her.
Show respect, equality and worth towards her in her role.
Encourage her status and dignity.
Help her to be glad she is a woman. She needs romance, not just sex. Keep on courting her and dating her – Have fun!
Don’t magnify her failure to hide your own failures. Understand her, think like her and know her pressures.
Let all criticism be constructive – say it carefully and lovingly.
Prolonged depression needs medical attention.
Fatigue must be acknowledged and you must help to relieve it.
Be aware of her isolation, loneliness and boredom – take her from the daily routine now and again and put the sparkle back into her life.
Make sure she gets what she needs financially to make life a little easier and pleasant for her.
Love and care for her, this will enhance and bring fire back into your relationship.
FATIGUE AND LACK OF TIME
People live at breakneck speed and find it difficult to perform their duties. The wife says ‘I need more time for the children/for the new baby/to bake and cook/for housework/for Bible study/to look after sick parents/for meetings/to visit’ etc. This can lead to a wife thinking she is a failure as a wife and a mother or daughter. She may say ‘I am too exhausted to be of any use to anybody’ or ‘I am useless’ or ‘I am out of touch with the world and I feel it is passing me by’. Many ideas attack her. Overworking or over thinking can make her hell to live with. She ends up moaning, whining and complaining and so may you as a husband. Children between 2-5 years old are adept in unravelling the adult nervous system. They question so much and get in everything at this learning stage. It is inadvisable to take a job with pre-school children unless absolutely necessary.
PRACTICAL WAYS TO HELP HER
1. Give her loving support – especially when the children are pre-school age.
2. Let her know you are aware and that you understand her plight.
3. Understand her housework and caring for the children are continuous.
4. You and your wife need leisure time together. Make free time for this.
5. Take her out occasionally for a meal or a special treat.
LONELINESS, ISOLATION AND BOREDOM
Small children restrict women from going out. Women find it hard to accept other women, some fear because the home is not up to standard. Isolation produces feelings of inferiority and the fear of meeting others. Outside sports and activities, team or competitive games do not appeal to most of them and they find it harder to have an interest in them. Financial restrictions limit a wife’s activities. You should be willing to let her spend as much money on herself as you spend on yourself. A man derives his worth from his job or outside sources. A woman derives her worth from a man, share your worth with her, instil confidence with her and promote a sense of worth, well-being and fulfilment in her. Women yearn to be your special sweetheart, to be your best friend; they need your tenderness and compassion. A woman would gladly trade all her labour saving devices just to be loved. Men want to be respected. Women want to be loved.
‘The man is to cheer his wife, not oppress her.’ Deut 24: 5
‘The wife is to be treated with dignity and attention, just as we give to our own bodies.’ Eph 5: 28
WIVES; HOW YOU CAN MOVE HIM
1. Don’t plead with him and scold him.
2. Do choose a time to explain when he is responsive and pleasant.
3. Do choose the right place.
4. Do choose the right manner
5. Do not attack; explain your needs – just as you would talk to Christ.
WOMEN AND DRESS 1Tim 2: 9-10
Men must react the way they think Christ would. Ladies dress properly, discreetly and modestly. Dress to please your man and not other men.
1Tim 2: 9-10: ‘Adorn themselves with proper clothing.’ ‘Adorn’ is ‘kosmeo,’ it means ‘to arrange, put in order or make ready.’ It is where we get our English ‘cosmetics.’ Dress to be beautiful, wear nice perfume – beautiful, but not too expensive jewellery; do not be decked out. Do not dress in order to cause a commotion in church or to impress people in the church; do not dress to be an attention seeker. You are not to dress to flaunt your wealth and beauty, or to allure men sexually. Single Christian girls should dress modestly without shame and not provocatively – they should show self-control. The emphasis should be on your character – the inner woman. This is what should attract people to you. 1 Peter 3: 1-6
WOMEN AS TEACHERS 1Tim 2: 11-12
Women as well as men are to learn from gifted male teachers in the church. Sharing is a personal thing. God may do something in one’s life and they share with others. However, teaching is instruction from God’s word and authority. Some women at Ephesus were taking their new found freedom in Christ beyond the order of Christ’s word. They wanted to take the leading role and teach and lead the church. This may have been an over reaction to the suppression that held them under for so long. There is no New Testament record of a woman being pastor, elder or bishop. They were not to take the authorized role of pastor/teacher.
Women are permitted to speak at certain times and places but in the church, they were to line up under the pastor/teacher, just as other men would have to do also. We are not to make women keep quiet in church, but to learn ‘silently’ – referring to a meek and quiet spirit.
The word Paul uses for ‘allow’ is ‘permit,’ and is always used this way in the New Testament. ‘To teach’ means ‘to fill the office of teacher.’ It does not forbid her to teach in any circumstances in order of the church.
Authority over a man is also forbidden; this means that women are not to hold any authority over a man in the functions of the church. She can be a co-worker, a contributor; but should put herself under the headship of a man. It is not a question of being in charge of the women but that there is God’s order in any work in the church.
Paul also taught that a woman remains silent – this was God’s mandate for all the churches. 1Cor 14: 33-35. It does not mean that a woman be quiet in the church, but in the context ‘be quiet’ when it comes to teaching and speaking in tongues. Women can be highly gifted teachers and leaders, but those gifts are not to be exercised over men in the church. Such desire of self-expression had caused problems for the church at Corinth.
In conclusion, men need women – they compliment each other. They can build a home together founded on Biblical guidelines, which is essential for society. They can have a tremendous impact on society. The love between a man and a woman cannot be equaled, except for God’s love. Be encouraged to work as a team and to fulfill your God given roles.