We previously discussed how a marriage in God’s eyes is between one man and one woman as they become one flesh.
We also looked at several verses detailing how a husband is to LOVE (which is more difficult for men), CLEAVE (hold on to), PROVIDE (be a breadwinner, but also provide emotional/spiritual security), HONOR (respect), render due BENEVOLENCE (not a slave), and DEFRAUD NOT (keep physical intimacy).
We looked at a husband’s duty to his wife before, now I want to look at the wife’s duty to her husband.
I am a feminist, in that I believe that a woman’s femininity is a gift from God to all mankind. A virtuous woman is worth far more than rubies (Proverbs 31:10), and “whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing (Proverbs 18:22).”
THE WIFE’S DUTY TO HER HUSBAND
To be a HELP MEET (Genesis 2:18-20).This is the very reason why woman was created, so it must be a very important role. If man simply being “alone” was the problem, God could have created another man to be his friend. Clearly, God had other plans.
This verse is often quoted, but “help meet” is rarely defined, and this passage is the first and only time “help meet” is used in scripture. To help is to assist or work together – not lead, but it is more important and involved than that.
“Helping” saves lives in battle/danger. As the Amorites approached, Joshua was asked to “come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us” (Joshua 10:9). According to 2 Samuel 2:10, “And he [Joab] said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee.”
The Bible also talks about helping with important and difficult situations. 1 Chronicles 22:17-19 – David ordered help from the princes of Israel to assist Solomon with building the temple. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Helping is also used for bolstering strength. Isaiah 41:13 reads, “For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Furthermore, Psalm 46:1 tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
As with “help,” there are multiple applications for “meet” as well. The most common usage is to join or gather with others. Two is the Biblical number of unity or union. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Meet can also mean suitable or proper. The Israelites were “meet for war” in Deuteronomy 3:18 and Jesus called out the Pharisees whose “fruits” (works) were “meet for repentance” in Matthew 3:8.
With these definitions in mind, a “help meet” is a suitable helper who works together in unity. The opposite would be a contentious woman (Proverbs 21:19).
Men are the heads of the family, but this responsibility leads to higher suicide rates (3.88 times higher than women) and more stress related diseases (especially high blood pressure and heart attacks) because men tend to seek emotional, mental, and spiritual help much less often than women.
The role of a “help meet” is not a position to take lightly. A godly wife can literally save their husbands’ lives by helping with stress relief and providing additional strength during difficult situations.
To LOVE Their Husbands (Titus 2:4). Love is taught by “aged women,” according to verse 3. This concept is important, because men need to feel loved too (even if we do not act like it).
To SUBMIT to husband’s leadership (Ephesians 5:22). Again, this is not slavery, but willing submission, which has nothing to do with superiority, but order. A Godly wife should trust in husband’s faith in God, especially with major decision making. The Bride of Christ is a type of the married wife. The Church submits to Christ (which is obviously a bit different in that Jesus Christ IS superior), and women should strive be like the Bride (Proverbs 31 is the ideal).
To REVERENCE (Ephesians 5:33). To reverence means to respect, especially in public. Public spats are not only scarring for those involved, but they can ruin a testimony. Shaming a man in front of family, friends, and especially children turns the entire household order upside down. Private shaming is no better and comes with a different set of problems. Disrespect promotes animosity, distrust, and resentment. One way to keep out of these situations is to avoid bringing up past mistakes, because it is easy to reopen wounds.
To GUIDE the home (1 Timothy 5:14). Guiding is a form of leadership, but still must submit to the head of the household. The wife is to guide the children and guide the maintenance of the home.
To DEFRAUD NOT (1 Corinthians 7:4-5). As we discussed in the previous lesson, sex is NOT a “bargaining chip” with which to weaponize intimacy. A “fast” from intimacy should be a mutual decision.
As you can see, the wife is an invaluable member of the family. The wisdom of the Bible in these matters cannot be understated. If a wife, or really any woman, applies these principles (when possible), they will live much more satisfactory lives than the current American culture would lead them to believe.
Now that we have covered marriage and the appropriate roles of husbands and wives, our next lesson will be on parenting.