If you are a wife, then God has called you to a wonderful position. But at times, being a wife can be difficult and sometimes even overwhelming. The struggles of life choke out our desire and occasionally even our ability to live out our Godly calling as wives. We look to the world to see how to fix our marriages and how to be wives, and our marriages end in divorce or we live in strife.
We need to look to the Bible and what God has to say on the subject in order to define what a Biblical wife is. While there are many things that God has called us to, I have identified just 5 of the many qualities of a Biblical wife.
1) A Worker at Home
It is clear that God has given the home to women as their domain. Man are called to lead and provide for their family and we are called to care for our home and our family. Women struggle with many different areas, but being lazy in your home and also being too busy and out of the home often can lead to a wife who isn’t fulfilling her role in this area. This is not to say that women should only be in the home, nor is it to say that they should never work outside of the home. As my husband always says, don’t hear what I’m not saying. What I am saying is this: a wife’s primary responsibility is their home.
We see that God calls women to be workers at home many times in Scripture (Titus 2:3-5, 1 Timothy 5:14-15) and we have an excellent example from the Proverbs 31 women and can learn a valuable lesson from her. She was always busy working within and for her home.
“She looks for wool and flax, and works with her hands in delight…She rises also while it is still night, and gives food to her household, and portions to her maidens…She considers a field and buys it, from her earnings she plants a vineyard…her lamp does not go out at night… She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle… all her household are clothed with scarlet…She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple…She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen…She looks well to the ways of her house, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:13, 15-16, 18-19, 21-22, 24, 27
Instead of feeling discouraged at how much the Proverbs 31 wife does, we should feel encouraged by her example and strive to emulate her. God gives the home to us as our domain and we should strive to be hard workers at home.
All Christians are called to generally love, but wives are specifically called to love their family. Older women are instructed to train the younger women in how to live a Godly life:
“And so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2: 4-5
The kind of love that God calls wives to isn’t conditional and based upon feelings. This kind of love isn’t the kind that you can “fall out” of. It isn’t an optional love, it’s a commandment. Martha Peace shares in The Excellent Wife:
“Godly love is not primarily a feeling, it is a choice. It will help you show love if you will think objectively (Biblically), not subjectively (based on feelings)” Page 84.
3) Respect for your husband
Most modern TV shows and movies portray husbands as goofballs and not responsible enough to do anything but sit around and watch football. But as Christians, we know that this isn’t what a Godly husband should look like. And yet, Christian women often treat their husbands like the wives on those TV shows. They scold their husbands and treat them like they are children. But this isn’t how God instructs Godly women to act.
“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
Often, when a husband loves their wives the way they should, it is easy for a wife to respect her husband. Likewise, when a wife shows respects to her husband, it is easier for them to show love the way they should. While this is usually a nice trade off, it doesn’t always work. Even if a wife doesn’t feel loved by her husband, this isn’t an excuse to not show respect to her husband. Why? Because God commands it.
4) Intimacy (response to husband)
Of course this is the big one, intimacy. So many wives struggle with this in their marriage and many husbands and wives feel less than satisfied in their sex life. Peace shares, “The sexual bond between husband and wife is a gift from God for the enjoyment of physical intimacy and the procreation of life. All that God created is good, and physical intimacy is no exception” Pg 119.
God created sex within marriage, and He created it as gift for us. But some wives can struggle to see this as a gift and only as an obligation instead. There is a lot more to be said on this subject, but the bottom line is that God does intend for each couple to have a sex life that is fulfilling for both husband and wife.
“Let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer” 1 Corinthians 7:2-5.
Submission is such a touchy subject today, but it is clear what Scripture teaches on the subject. Those who find excuses in order to ignore it are doing just that, making excuses and not looking to Scripture as their final authority. In a Biblical marriage, where both spouses are striving to live their God-given roles, the husband would ideally lead his wive lovingly and she would graciously submit.
This leading and submitting would be mutually beneficial and ultimately glorifying to God. However, a husband doesn’t always lovingly lead and the wife doesn’t always graciously and loving submit. But this doesn’t excuse either side from their roles. Submission is a much bigger topic than can be addressed in these few paragraphs, so to explore more on submission I highly recommend these resources:
- The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, specifically chapters 12 & 13
- Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes, specifically chapters 3 & 12
- The Willful Submission of a Christian wife – Sermon on Ephesians 5:22-24 by John MacArthur
- Wives, Marriage, and Submission (And Part 2) – Article by John MacArthur on Ephesians 5
- A Wise Woman Submits to Her Husband
While this list could go on about the marks of a Biblical wife, and each point could be discussed in great detail, this is at least a starting point. I know in my life I need constant reminders about what God calls us to instead of listening to worldly callings! I pray that this list will motivate you, and that you will pick up the Bible and read for yourself what it means to be a Biblical Wife or Husband. Stay tuned on Friday for the 5 Marks of a Biblical Marriage!
It should be clear that the list below is in no way exhaustive. There are many characteristics of Biblical wives that are not listed below. Neither is this list comprehensive. It is simply a high level overview of 5 key marks to get you started.
An excellent resource that I highly recommend to all wives is The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. It’s a comprehensive guide to all things having to do with our role as Biblical wives. Peace comes at you straight with scripture and then with the wisdom of an experienced wife and mother, and shares bit by bit and experience by experience what it looks like lived out in a practical manner. She is so humble and quick to share her own failure, you will quickly be convicted by the truth found in this book!