By Contributing Writer, Marcia Wilwerding
Before a woman can truly be a blessing to her husband, there are certain heart issues and attitudes which must be in place. Otherwise, there will always be form without substance, performance without passion, and obedience without relationship — none of which is an accurate picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride (Ephesians 5:22-33). Thus, as believers in Christian marriages, it is imperative we strive for that example which will bring glory to our Lord and Savior.
A Right Relationship With God
To be a blessing to husbands, we need to have a right relationship with our Creator-Redeemer. I am afraid too many women today, especially in conservative churches, are seeking to conform to an ideal definition of “wife” without the power of God to do so. As a dear minister of ours once said, “The Flesh gets so tired of doing Spiritual things.”
Are you weary of striving to be an “excellent wife?” Perhaps there is something important you are leaving out of the equation. A study of Romans Chapter 8 is a good place to start. Along with the rest of this meaty book of the Bible, you will find the secret to happiness in the Christian life. It is the Spirit-empowered life. If you are truly sincere about being in a right relationship with God and with your spouse, I invite you to begin here.
A Right View of Husbands
Husbands are people too. Sometimes it is easy to forget that. Women see husbands as leaders, protectors, providers; and they are to be all those things. But unless you keep in mind he is a fellow human being with feelings, emotions, desires, weaknesses, and even failings, he will always be outside the ideal. He will never measure up in your eyes.
The expectations of a wife well versed in all the books written for men can be crushing. It seems many modern, conservative books and resources, which promote the ideal husband, unwittingly leave out this key factor. The husband is expected to be like an actor in a play. It is as though the wife has piped, and he has not danced; she has mourned, but he has not wept (Luke 7:32). He just isn’t playing the game.
Please remember your husband is human, not Super Hu-Man. Give him some space to grow in grace.
A Right Place Under the Husband
There is so much misunderstanding about what Elisabeth Elliot refers to as “the discipline of place,”1 I hardly know where to begin. But the Bible clearly instructs the wife in Ephesians 5:33 to “see that she reverence her husband.”
In Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, he explains the word “see” as being added by the translators in order to clarify “that it was the special duty of the wife to show respect for her husband as the head of the family, and as set over her in the Lord…” [emphasis mine]2
The word duty is a sister word of due as in rendering that which is owed. Our friend Elisabeth Elliot sheds some light on this definition: ”Duty…means simply ‘what is due (as in customs duties which must be paid), any action necessary in or appropriate to one’s occupation or position, a sense of obligation.’”3
Unfortunately, women too often give more respect to their bosses at work than they do their husbands in the home. I once suggested to a young wife that she ask her husband, who was complaining about her lack of homemaking skills, what one thing he would have her accomplish first each day. The wolves on a rabid feminist website got hold of it, and one woman retorted, “If I asked my husband what he wanted me to do ‘first’ every day, hilarity would ensue. It’s my husband, not my employer.”
The implication here is that employers are due respect and obedience, but husbands are not. I pity this woman’s poor husband. For regardless of how our society strives to beat the man down, it is still a husband’s heart desire that his wife honor him in the place God has put him in as the head of the home.
I must agree again with Elisabeth Elliot when she states how confusion today over respect for those in authority, most assuredly including husbands, is
…the current notion that everyone deserves tit-for-tat equality. This is one of the excesses of democracy, which ought not to be confused with Christianity.4
She makes a valid point. In fact, too many wives view their husbands as they would a school chum. Sadly, he has no more authority over her, in her own eyes, than the boy who threw spit balls at her in third grade. These things ought not to be.
Therefore, if you truly desire to be a blessing to your husband, you must make it a priority to place yourself under his authority with all due respect, honor, and obedience as unto Christ, viewing it as your solemn duty and obligation before God. With the enabling grace of the Spirit, while allowing your husband some room to grow in grace as well, you will be on your way to becoming an exceeding great blessing to him.
1. Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender, (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1982), p. 80.
2 Biblos.com. Ephesians 5:33. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible. Accessed October 25, 2012. http://bible.cc/ephesians/5-33.htm.
3. Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender, 83-84.
4. Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender, 83, 85.