The Marriage Knot 

knotDuties Of Wives To Husbandsknot

"God created man in His own image In the image of God created He him,
make and female, created He them. God blessed them,
and God said unto them, 'Be fruitful and multiply
and replenish the earth and subdue it.'
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother
and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh."
Genesis 1:27,28

bride and groom

In the Bible, the small book of Ruth records (chapter 1, verse 9) a verse I choose for the wives. It is so cool. "The Lord grant you that you may find rest, each of you, in the house of her husband." Again, Lord, grant that each of these readers find rest in the house of their husband.

In chapter 1 we noted how married people can be happy. In chapter 4 we noticed duties of husbands to wives. Now, obviously we turn to the counterpart, duties of wives to husbands. What are the scriptural duties? The scripture in the paragraph above came from the context of prayer of a mother for the two young women who were the widows of her sons. She was expressing the hope that her daughters would be married.

Now, some women choose to be not married - they choose to be single. No reflection could be cast upon a woman who chooses that state for herself. Some have called it the "state of single blessedness". Again, no condemnation for that woman, young or old, who is not married - for a number of reasons. There are justifiable exceptions to the rule that God intended for a woman to fulfill the place of being a wife and a mother.

There are examples in the Bible when a man, on his own choosing, does not become married. The same for a woman. One example of an unmarried woman in the Old Testament who remained unmarried throughout her entire life was Miriam, the sister of Moses. She represents an admirable picture of the unmarried woman. She gave her life to unselfish service helping her brother in the work that they were doing. There were also Mary and Martha who were single.

The outstanding example of a man remaining single would be the Apostle Paul. (Though some would take issue with that statement.) He felt that it was better for him not to marry. Jesus even taught that there were some who, for the sake of the Kingdom had chosen to remain single.

Then there was Anna. She is represented in the book of Luke (2:36ff) as a prophetess who had lived single after the death of her husband. The words are: "She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was 84."

For the wife, there are some fundamental principles that are laid down in the Scriptures. They are not suggestions, nor just good ideas, but they are God given instructions. And, all of God's instructions are good, right? For your husband, or husband to be, comes home we want him to express the thought in his mind, "Hey, this is like coming home to Heaven." Come on, is that really possible. Well, the answer is yes, but the making that possible approach is one that takes work. How so, well let me explain.

First of all - well, perhaps not really first, but at least on this paper.

1. A WIFE MUST NOT LEAVE HER HUSBAND

The full scripture: (1 Corinthians 7:10) "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband."

In other words, "Let her not prove faithless to her marriage vows. Let her not on any pretense desert her husband, though she is a Christian and he is not. Yet let her not seek on that account to be separated from him."

Wives, keep your husband. Train him, if necessary. Make the marriage a career as you want it to be. For some - "Is it easy". "Not always". On the light side there was once the picture of some wives going to a "Husband Sale" and they had tucked under their arms a replica of their husbands. They were going to exchange husbands because the sign said that one might come for the Husband Sale. On the next page the picture was of the same group of women returning home. Each one of them had under her arm the same husband. When she had looked over them all, she decided that she could not do much better. So they kept theirs.

If a marriage is not going well in so many words it is easy to "leave" or even in this day "exchange" but it is not the way it has to be, certainly not the way God intended it to be.

The marriage vows are taken and it is for a career. Most even include, "For better or worse…until death parts us." This is why it is so important for young people realize what they are doing when they want to get married.

Husbands are to be kept and the influence of the wife upon the husband is beyond description. Many a man has actually been molded into that more perfect one by his wife. I have learned much from my wife.

Someone wrote: "When you have made your selection, let it remain sealed forever. Give your entire thoughts to preparation for domestic use. But some wives keep their husbands in a pickle. Others keep them in hot water. Even poor varieties of husbands may be made sweet and tender and good by garnishing with patience, well-sweetened with smiles and given with many kisses, wrapped in a mantle of love. Keep warm with a steady fire of domestic devotion, serve often with peaches and cream, and when thus prepared, husbands will last and keep forever.

Are there "extra-Biblical" reasons? As a Christian counselor I would say yes, but quickly referrer the individuals to their pastor.

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2. Submission to Husbands

Now, this is "biggie" and it is one that is the most miss-understood. God (through His Word) states it like this: It is found in Ephesians 5:22-24, "You wives must submit to your husbands. You wives must willingly obey your husbands in every thing, just as the Church obeys Christ."

The idea follows in Colossians 3:18, "You wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, for this is what the Lord has planned for you." Wives should submit to the husbands' leadership in the same way that the Church submits to Jesus.

How many marriages have gotten in trouble about fussing over this issue. I know all the responses. "Well, if you only knew my husband. No way would I submit to his _____ ways, etc." Or, "He is not a leader and someone has to take the lead." Such comments go on and on. OK, true!. What then is the role? Well, same as Scripture says. There is a godly way a woman can meet these challenges and there is a selfish and destructive way.

To begin with let's just take it like it is….or was, in this case. Man by the fact that he was created first and that the women was taken from his rib is better to be the head. (That's the Bible's phrase.) He is to be the head of the house. Head of that little community called the family.

Now, in many other things the woman may be his equal. But in loveliness and grace and beauty and tenderness and gentleness she is far, far his superior. But notice, dear reader, these attributes of gentleness and loveliness and grace, etc. etc, are not attributes of government.

In every family situation there has to be a head. There has to be - let's call it a "king" and a "queen". There has to be a ruler and others are subordinate. God has given that rule or prerogative to man.

Now, I know that if the man does not take his rightful place, the woman has to "step in". There are godly principles to follow, which we will note later. But for now, let's continue the leadership role as outlined.

According to 1 Corinthians 11:3 the husband is the head. It reads like this: "Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." The family can't prosper when this arrangement is violated.

The wife has been admonished not to leave and now, in this writing, to obey. Even if he is not a Christian? In the words of another:

"Whenever a husband makes opposition to the course which the wife wishes to pursue in religious duties, it should lead her to re-examine the matter, to pray over it, and to see whether she could not, with good conscience, comply with his wishes.."

The article went on: "If she is convinced that she is right, she should still endeavor to see whether or not it is possible to win him over to her views and to persuade him. If she is constrained, however, to differ with him, it should be with mildness and gentleness. There should be no reproach; there should be no contention. She should simply state her reasons and then leave the event to God. She should be, after this, a better wife and put more effort to make her husband her family happy. She should show that the effect of her religion has been to love her children more, to make her more attentive to domestic duties and more and more kind in affection."

I have seen it happen that a wife by love and example has changed the way a husband looks at things and even responds. Yes, a husband has the right to say the way things should be, but at the same time he must be careful that it is reasonable and proper. A husband has no right to "command" a wife to do something that is wrong or contrary to the will of God. There should be mutual love and confidence regarding the wishes.

One just can't beat the words in 1 Peter 3. "In the same way, you wives must submit yourselves to your husbands so that if some of them do not believe God's Word, they may be won over to believe by your conduct."

It will not be necessary for you to say a word, for they will see how pure and reverent your conduct is. Ladies, your beauty should consist of true inner self - the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great value in God's sight. True it was among God's people in days gone by the women who fixed their hopes in Him adorned themselves by submission to their husbands.

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3. Respect the Husband

God has more to say about the duties of a wife to a husband in Ephesians 5:33. "The wife must see to it that she deeply respects her husband, obeying, praising and honoring him." I think that the word "respect" encases all of the above words.

In some versions of the Bible the word "see" is in italics. This means that that particular word is not in the original manuscript. It was placed there for smooth reading of the sentence. In other words, "The wife must SEE to it..."

Praising and honoring - wow - powerful words for any to say or receive. I have seen it many times that a wife alienates the affections of her partner in life because she is irritable, she is fault finding and none of his ways please her. Some, I have observed, takes not interest in his job, his plans, his likes or dislikes.

A couple came in my office and said, "Our love has died." I wanted to say - and knowing me, I probably did, Their love did not die, they actually KILLED it. They murdered it. People have got to keep in love. The amount of love that brought them together in the first place (which was perhaps inexpressible in words) has to grow. The love has to be built upon. A lot had to do with disrespect. I suppose the bottom line is that respect is a key to sustaining love.

There is not age or limit or degree to giving praise. Think about that for yourself for a minute.

Duties of wives to husbands? Many in the Scripture, many in practical examples which we will look at later, but it is important to note:

4. Regarding the Children

As we spoke to the men regarding children, let me slant words to the wives in regarding children. The admonition is in 1 Samuel 1:27: "For this child I prayed and God has given me the petition that I asked of Him."

In a list of duties of wives to husbands we can't over look the primary duty of children. It was given to Mr. and Mrs. Adams that they have children. That is the greatest privilege that a man can have is to be a father and likewise what a privilege of a woman to become a mother.

I know it is a personal call. I also know that it is fitting by nature to have children and that God meant such to be the recipient of love and affection. Some say it is said when some give their complete love to an animal - that is the love God meant to be given to a child. I think that it is extreme to judge and say that it is wrong for one well fitted to become a mother not to do so. "They" say that because God said, "Husband and wife, have children."

Rochelle & Ernie from David McAbee on Vimeo.

To the mother I say - you are a jewel. You are a gift indeed. I know there are sides to all beliefs, but in my opinion it is the mother's job and responsibility to raise, care for, train and watch over those gifts/children, not a nanny, baby-sitter or anyone else. So, strictly speaking the wife's place is in the home when motherhood is involved.

The Bible clearly states that one is to "Train up a child when he is young". I know and I understand the dilemma and issue that is involved in this picture. One has to follow their heart in this matter.

But this we can't' deny: Into each mother, God has placed a part of Himself. Now, it is not theologically correct, but someone has said that "God can't be everywhere at once, so He gave us mothers. For the child it is the mother in which the child first realizes the love of God.

Men have said, "Oh, for a virtuous wife." Do you fall in these category of virtues? When a number of college students were asked to rate the outstanding virtues of a wife in order. Here were the results.

  1. Loyalty
  2. Faith
  3. Love of the home
  4. Sympathy
  5. Purity
  6. Sharing of hardships
  7. Cheerfulness
  8. Courage
  9. Kindness
  10. Trustfulness

Honestly, I would re-arrange the order, BUT all of worth the striving.

One lingering quote: (This is placed on both the husband and wife's page so both can see.) This, of course would vary as to whom one asks. I include it because it can be a kick-start for some.

Needs Are Different

Dr. Willard Harley, a Massachusetts psychologist, surveyed the basic needs of men and women in marriage and found (this is amazing) that the needs are completely different. According to Dr. Harley's survey, The top five basic needs of the female in marriage are:

  1. Affection
  2. Communication
  3. Openness/Honesty
  4. Financial Support
  5. Family Commitment

The male's top five basic needs are:

  1. Sexual Fulfillment
  2. Recreational Companionship
  3. An Attractive Wife
  4. Domestic Support
  5. Admiration

Looking at both lists, it becomes obvious that if we give our spouses what we need, hoping to receive the same in return, we will miss the mark every time. Therefore, instead of giving what we need, we must affair-proof our marriages by striving to give what our partners need.

In the mean time - this prayer:

Bless, Lord Jesus, the wives who read these lines.
I pray that you would give to them a new sense,
a fresh desire to become that real special "perfect" wife.
I am grateful for the wives who have found in
their husbands their love and I pray that they would find
rest in the home of their lover.
May their home be that special home
on their block and on the block of your book….
in the name of Jesus,
Amen.

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A Scorecard for Wives

Rules for scoring:
At the end of each of the following ten questions you will find a set
of five scoring figures, 0 1 2 3 4.
Check the figure, which represents your answer to each Question on this basis:

0 means "never", "not at all"
1 means "somewhat", "rarely", "a little"
2 means "about as soften as not", "an average amount."
3. means "usually", "a good deal", "frequently"
4. means "regularly", practically always", "entirely"

Commands for Wives

  1. Submit to husband as to Jesus - Eph. 5:22
  2. Recognize the headship of your husband - Eph. 5:23; 1 Tim. 2:12-14
  3. Be subject to husband - Eph. 5:24; 1 Tim. 2:11
  4. Reverence your husband - Eph. 5:33
  5. Check your manner of dress - 1 Tim. 2:9-10

Additional scriptures from God's Word to ponder:

Ephesians 5:22-24
Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. 24 So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands. Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master.

Colossians 3:18
Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master.

Titus 2:3-5
Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don't want anyone looking down on God's Message because of their behavior.

1 Tim. 5:2-16
Reverently honor an older woman as you would your mother, and the younger women as sisters. Take care of widows who are destitute. If a widow has family members to take care of her, let them learn that religion begins at their own doorstep and that they should pay back with gratitude some of what they have received. This pleases God immensely.

You can tell a legitimate widow by the way she has put all her hope in God, praying to him constantly for the needs of others as well as her own. But a widow who exploits people's emotions and pocketbooks--well, there's nothing to her. Tell these things to the people so that they will do the right thing in their extended family. Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That's worse than refusing to believe in the first place.

ign some widows up for the special ministry of offering assistance. They will in turn receive support from the church. They must be over sixty, married only once, and have a reputation for helping out with children, strangers, tired Christians, the hurt and troubled. 11 Don't put young widows on this list. No sooner will they get on than they' want to get off, obsessed with wanting to get a husband rather than serving Christ in this way. 12 By breaking their word, they're liable to go from bad to worse, frittering away their days on empty talk, gossip, and trivialities.

No, I'd rather the young widows go ahead and get married in the first place, have children, manage their homes, and not give critics any foothold for finding fault. Some of them have already left and gone after Satan. Any Christian woman who has widows in her family is responsible for them. They shouldn't be dumped on the church. The church has its hands full already with widows who need help.

1 Peter 3:1-6
The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance--the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes-- but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as "my dear husband." You'll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, un-anxious and un-intimidated.

Four Commands for wives of deacons: Found in 1 Tim. 3:11. No exceptions are to be made for women--same qualifications: serious, dependable, not sharp-tongued, not over fond of wine.

Home Commands for Younger Women

Titus 2:4,5
"These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God."

  1. Be sober
  2. Love their husband
  3. Love the children
  4. Be discrete ("self controlled")
  5. Be chase ("pure")
  6. Be home lovers, not "gad abouts" but a home maker
  7. Be good ("kind")
  8. Be obedient to husband - Eph. 5:22,23; Col. 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1-6

In Biblical days women had their own quarters. Seldom did they leave the home. They did not sit at meals and only the husband would see her. She never attended public meetings. She was seldom seen in the streets and if so, then veiled.

Some of that was changed and that due to "Christianity". Today there is no greater task than that of "making home". There is no greater career. The men who have set their mark on the world in any degree have done so because someone was at home and someone was caring for him.

The world can do without its committee meetings, but not its home.

Commands for Older Women

Titus 2:3
"Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord. They must not go around speaking evil of others, and must not be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good."

  1. Live holy (reverent in the way one lives)
  2. Not slanderous
  3. Not given to much wine
  4. Teachers of good things
  5. Teachers of young women

Older women play important role in our city and society. These ladies are older in age and many are grandmothers.

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