So much is said about the role of the husband in the family and the expectations God places on him to lead, guide, direct, and be a godly example to his family for the wife and children to follow. Sadly, it’s also been widely mentioned how many Christian homes have such weak and feeble fathers, who are of no support to a wife who strives to raise her children in a godly fashion. Churches are widely populated with such families. Yes, men in general, but Christian men specifically, have dropped the ball in being what God has called them to be when it comes to the leadership of the home.
Now, there are far less families comprised of the opposite situation. You will find few men bringing their children to church while the wife sits home and reads the paper. These families are far and few between, but there are some godly men taking their responsibilities seriously, despite the contentions and disinterest of their wives. It’s true that men are to be the leaders, but we are no more supposed to go it alone than wives are. Since men are reminded of their responsibilities much more often than the ladies in our churches, let’s take time to look at what a real godly wife would mean to her husband.
Let’s first remember that, as God finished creating everything, including man, the Bible records this interesting statement from God, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). Then, as we know, a few verses later, God creates Eve (Genesis 2:21-25). But before the creation of Eve, God spoke to Adam in verse 15-17, saying, “And the Lord God took THE man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded THE man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” So God placed moral expectations on Adam and then God says Adam lacks something adequate to help him. To help him with what? Gardening? Hunting? No, to me, what Adam needed help with, and God knew it, was staying on track living the life God expected him to lead. Therefore, God created Eve, because it was not good that man should be left to himself, accountable to no one.
I think this is borne out when you consider that Adam was told of God’s expectations in verse 16 when it clearly says that God commanded “the” man…singular. At this point, Eve has yet to be created. But God knew we (all of us) need help in carrying out our responsibilities. In the lives of the believer, God has given us absolute moral expectations, which He expects us to follow, and gave us the Holy Spirit to help bring about a likeness to Christ in our lives. Galatians 5:16 says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the desires of the flesh.” Perhaps one of the roles of Eve, and every other wife since, is to guide her husband to become more and more Christ-like by recognizing things that may be pleasing to him, but bad for their spiritual growth, and keeping him from them. That may be the reason God dealt harshly with Eve, for not living up to the expectations God had for her when He created her.
In Genesis 2:18, God describes His desire to create a helper for Adam. In John 14:16, the Holy Spirit is called a “Comforter” (Helper) and the Greek word “Comforter” is parakletos, meaning “called to one’s side…and suggests the capability or adaptability for giving aid (helping).” So God promised the Holy Spirit to His believers to help them as they strive to live more godly and effective lives for Christ. So it’s not a big stretch to see the role of Eve, and subsequent wives, to be a type of Holy Spirit for their husbands.
Romans 14:17 says, “For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and JOY in the Holy Ghost.” The Holy Spirit ensures joy in our lives. To say that a godly wife should create joy in the home and for her husband is probably best argued by stating what an ungodly wife creates otherwise. “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a CONTENTIOUS and an angry woman” (Proverbs 21:19). Here’s another, “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a CONTENTIOUS woman are alike” (Proverbs 27:15). Certainly a wife who takes her role as a type of Holy Spirit wouldn’t want to create a tiresome home life for her and her children, or her husband. The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:12 promises that “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Job’s wife was certainly contentious and really pushed Job to do evil (Job 2:9).
Also, if you look at First Peter 3:5, you notice that women in the Old Testament were gladly subject unto their husbands. They knew that their role in the home was vital, and that it was unlikely to have a godly husband or godly home without them. Therefore, being in subjection simply means to know your role. A wife has a different role than her husband. The husband is the head of the wife and the family (Ephesians 5:23). Likewise, the wife is a type of the Holy Spirit to her husband (as I’ve been explaining). The two are one flesh (Genesis 2:24). But each holds different roles. Therefore, each are both equal in the same sense that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are one, but each having distinct roles. For example, the Holy Spirit will bear witness to the Son (John 15:26) and the Son will be glorified by the Spirit (John 16:13-14).
Another role of godly wives is explained in First Timothy 2:13-15. It reads, “For the man was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” Although women do not hold a public place of authority in the church, especially with respects to teaching men and having authority over them (First Timothy 2:12), the ministry God has carved out for them is no less important. A woman has the fantastic responsibility of raising the children in the home. Men may have a public influence on the church, but women can have a major behind the scenes impact on the church by the raising of godly children.
Now consider that Christ had a major public ministry. Yet, today, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is a virtually private ministry occurring in the hearts of individuals. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to bear witness to the Son, as we already saw. He points the unsaved to Christ. He also convicts the Christian and leads and teaches them as they grow. So too, has God charged women with the opportunity to have a private ministry in the home that allows them the opportunity to point their children to Christ. As their children grow, they will need directions and guidance for continued spiritual growth. But, God does put conditions on the wife’s ministry in this regard. You must continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. You can’t live substandard lives and have a fruitful effective ministry.
Also, if you look at this private ministry of the home as it relates to the husband, consider Proverbs 31:10-12, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” And because the heart of her husband trusts in her, Proverbs 31:23 explains, “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.” Two things are at play here. A godly wife, more than likely, will give her husband a good reputation among the public world because she is doing well to raise godly children. Also, because of the public role that God has ordained men to have, whatever God has called the husband to do, he can put all his effort into his calling and not have to worry about the home while he’s not there, because he trusts her.
Is it a man’s world? Well, in some cases it may be so, but for the men in the world to do what God has asked them to do optimally, they need the influence and help of a godly wife behind the scenes. Wives need to pray for their husbands. Wives need to deal with their husbands when the husband isn’t doing what’s right in the sight of God. Wives need to be supportive of all the husband needs to do for the ministry God has called him to. She needs to take care of the home and take the lead in raising the children so he can devote all the time God would have him to devote to the ministry, without worries and concerns about the home.
It’s unfortunate that today’s society has done terrible things to this God-given ministry that wives have. The first problem is the materialistic nature we have developed that causes families to desire certain luxuries for which it becomes necessary that both husband and wife need to be out of the home. Generally, these luxuries not only rob us of money, but they also needlessly fill our time. The time that is wasted on working more or enjoying the luxury more also robs us of time we could be about more important things, like volunteering at the church, or getting involved in a ministry or two.
Second, society has demeaned the role of “housewife” and “stay-at-home-mom.” In the eyes of a society influenced greatly by the women’s liberation movement, women have become “empowered” to go out and become “equals” in the workforce with their male counterparts. But in the role God gave women in the home, both men and women were equal in the importance of their God-given ministries. Only now are we beginning to see the aftermath of the women’s liberation movement.
Now, I will concede that men have been a major disappointment to their wives, and I’m not going to make excuses for someone not being what they should be for God. But it’s true, that husbands are being let down by their wives just as much. Eve was deceived by Satan in the Garden of Eden, but Adam sinned willingly (First Timothy 2:14). Who knows what went on prior to that tragic incident? Did Adam fulfill his role of being the spiritual head of the household and teach Eve all she needed to know about the commands God had given to him in Genesis 2? Maybe he didn’t and therefore Eve fell victim. Perhaps Eve was to blame for not putting herself under the subject of his teaching about God’s commands. It’s obvious that something went awry with BOTH of them.