The Good Wife
What does it even mean to be a good a wife? Is it a sliding scale of subjectivity? Differing opinions will split hairs on every topic, so it should be no surprise that this phrase is debatable. The Bible, however, shows us some major truths that are not up for debate.
Could I focus instead on what a good husband is supposed to look like? Sure, but how does focusing on them help us grow into better wives? We are responsible for us – we can only take steps of obedience for ourselves. We must pray for them, though, whether they are leading well or they aren’t. Our prayers just change in requests. Focus on behavior correction remains inward for any change we can make.
Am I just full of my own opinions I’m going to word vomit on you now? Nope. I’d rather just define what the roles say in the Bible. When roles are given, we have an outline that we fill details in. We can hold up what we as women choose to be and do in relation to how we should be living.
This writing isn’t meant to tear anyone down, rather it’s to shine a light on what God defines the wife’s roles as so we can do some introspection on what we are doing and if it’s in or out of the guidelines.
The Bible couldn’t possibly lay out every single scenario that ever existed. We wouldn’t be able to carry a book that heavy! God is kind to define us and our roles a bit. Our relationship with Him helps us navigate those particulars that aren’t spelled out.
Let’s look at a few notes from Scripture now.
- The wife is good. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 18:22 ESV
We are the good here. Plain and simple. Just him having us – we are a sign of our husband’s favor from God. We are a gift bestowed. You, sitting all gorgeous and made in the image of God with that bling on your finger, are favor defined. Let that sink in.
- The good wife is one with her husband. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh.” Matthew 19:5-6 ESV
We have established we are a fabulous gift and favor by existence so we see here that we are also one with our man. That’s equality right there. He is no better; we are no less. Both created in the image of God, the following roles don’t devalue us, they define our roles within our crazy valued and equal standing to our spouse.
- The good wife can be excellent – or shameful. “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4 ESV
Now we have to be all excellent and stuff. What takes us from good to excellent is brought by what we bring to the table. Or we can be shameful. We can also move to the shame category and walk right out of good if we so choose. That’s our decision. We can blame our circumstances, our past, our trauma, our husband’s flaws for what we do. It will never justify us, though. We are responsible for us. And make no mistake – what we do or don’t do brings excellency or shame to our husbands and our families. It’s a true reflection of our character.
- The good wife is wise. “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” Proverbs 14:1
A wise wife builds her home. That’s an action. She builds her house. Clearly, they don’t mean a woman builds her house with bricks and takes a sledgehammer to them in stupidity. This means the wisest women work on what builds up the rest of her family. It’s a lot of the mundane that doesn’t seem to fulfill us much. The laundry, the cleaning, the food prepping, gathering and cooking. The finding what our kids need and would love, taking a load off our husbands who carry the other burdens we don’t have to. The building of our home is ours. This doesn’t mean that if your husband loves cooking after a full day out at work you aren’t a good wife. But are you making sure you carry something else for him to balance the work load? Our home is ours to either build or tear down. Yes, we need to both be doing things to care for the affairs of the home – but the attention brought to the affairs of the home are mainly our responsibility. A ton of us work outside the home but we still have to do the bulk of the home. Why? Because we were made to focus on it. We are never in neutral. No excuses. What are we working at – building our home up or tearing it down by excusing our slack behavior based on fill in the excuse ?
- The good wife doesn’t withhold sex. “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:5 ESV
Yeah, ladies. Don’t withhold this. You don’t get to hold it over them, hold it away from them or anything like it unless he’s physically harming you. If you are really ill, just had a baby, dealing with recent physical betrayal, revisiting old sexual trauma you’re trying to heal from – all good excuses to take a short break. I’m sure I’m missing a few legitimate reasons, but otherwise, this needs to be a healthy part of our marriage. Listen, I haven’t met a single wife who has never wanted to sleep in a different room from her man at some point for lengths of time that could last years. I. Get. It. Marriage is hard and lots of thing have negative effects on this part of our marriage. We have to get out of our head, out of our feelings, and sometimes – just do it anyway. We don’t have to have the most amazing time every time but we do need to connect with him or bad things can happen (us or him or both) and then we have a lot worse problems than we are currently facing. One nice way to help yourself if you’re in a rut – tell yourself you deserve this pleasure just as much as he needs it. You do deserve it, too. And pray like crazy over it and believe your help is on the way. Sometimes this is where you give yourself in a beautiful act of selflessness and obedient love. No excuses here except for very short times. God restores and He’s in the business of restoring man and wife if we walk in faith and obedience.
- The good wife submits. “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:21-22 ESV
Listen, no one likes the sound of the word submit. If our man is walking with Jesus and follows the Holy Spirit’s guiding, submitting and falling under guidance of him is not such a hard thing to do. It is much harder to do what he asks of us if he isn’t walking with God. He should have the final say on what goes on in our lives and what he needs to do. We should be loved well, but even if he isn’t doing this well – God still is loving us well. We get one – I mean one – exception. Acts 5:29 tells us we can go against authority when it directly contradicts obedience to God. That said, if our husbands ask us to do things that don’t line up with what the Holy Spirit has convicted us to do or is outlined in Scripture, we don’t have to submit. That’s the only exception and use this with caution. You really need to test everything if it’s the Holy Spirit convicting you or deceiving spirits confusing you. Hopefully this isn’t a major issue for anyone – God first, everyone else second.
Let’s talk about Jesus’s act of submissive obedience to the Father when God said no to letting the cup of suffering pass from Him (Matt. 26:39). Jesus was not less or unequal to God. He had a different role to play in the big picture. Jesus submitted to the order – His role was that of doing the will of God. We would be wise to do the same. Let your man really lead, ladies. Don’t take this role from him.
We need to allow our husbands to fulfill the roles he has been called to. I would encourage you to go through the Word to have this conversation. Just a brush up for you both, if he’ll do it with you. After all, he has a big list and big shoes to fill we don’t have to. We have to have grace for everyone and their journey. We are all on a different one. Listen, a lot of our men take a much longer time to start filling those properly. Again, I get it. It’s hard to have natural respect for them when they aren’t earning that version of respect. They still have respect we need to give them while we pray for them and have faith they will step up and into their roles. We have to be encouraging and longsuffering. Don’t make me break out the 1 Corinthians love list. It’ll rip your face off with all the self-sacrificing and longsuffering words. It’s easy to hear on your wedding day and a lot harder to put into practice when your marriage is struggling. Oh, you convinced me to bring it so here it is!
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers. Love never fails.” NIV
Love your man (like that list above). Respect your man. God first, husband and then others second, then us. Not bringing kids into this one, but we better make super sure they don’t go over the husband on the order of this list. We can’t be perfect but we can practice and practice some more. If his heart needs something from us, we need to do everything we can to help him. We are a helpmate (Genesis 2:18) for him, that’s why we can have so many open tabs going all the time, right?
- The good wife has a noble character, a husband who has full confidence in her, works with her hands, provides food for her household, takes care of the details of her home, gives to the needy, clothed with strength and dignity, speaks wisdom and has faithful instruction to give, doesn’t eat the bread of idleness, fears the LORD. “Proverbs 31:10-31
We have to work it, sisters. In and out of the home, we need to be handling it like a boss. It’s our role and we either fill that role to the best we can or we fill it with dishonor. We work the house and we have to work ourselves. To have strength and dignity, wisdom and faithful instruction to give we better be in tune with Jesus and fear God by knowing His Word and obeying.
If you haven’t surrounded yourself with God-fearing women to be held accountable with and to – get you some. Be vulnerable and stay in your armor so you can keep up the good fight.
Love. Love. Love. Then love some more.