What does the Bible say about being a Christian wife?Question: "What does the Bible say about being a Christian wife?"
Answer: A Christian wife is a believer in Jesus Christ, a married woman who has her priorities straight. She has chosen godliness as the focus of her life, and she brings that focus into every relationship, including marriage. A godly wife has decided that pleasing and obeying God is more important to her than her temporary happiness or pleasure, and she is willing to make whatever sacrifices necessary to honor the Lord in her role as a wife.
The first step in becoming a Christian wife is surrendering to the lordship of Jesus. Only with the Holy Spirit empowering us can any of us live as godly people (Galatians 2:20; Titus 2:12). When we place our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord (John 3:3), it is similar to the wedding day. The entire direction of our lives has changed (2 Corinthians 5:17). We begin to see life from God’s perspective, rather than pursuing our own agendas. That means that a Christian woman will approach marriage with a different mindset than that of a worldly woman. She desires not only to be a good wife for her husband but also to be a godly woman for her Lord.
Being a Christian wife involves living out the principle found in Philippians 2:3–4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” If followed closely, this principle would eliminate the majority of marital arguments. Since we are by nature selfish, we must rely on the Lord to crucify that selfish urge and help us seek the best interest of our spouses. For a wife, this means remaining conscious that her husband is not a woman and does not think like a woman. His needs are different from her needs, and it is her responsibility to understand those needs and seek to meet them whenever possible.
Ephesians 5:22–24 addresses the issue of submission, which unfortunately has been mishandled by many . Wives are told to submit to their husbands as they do to the Lord. Many females cringe at the word submit because it has been used as an excuse to treat them like slaves. When these three verses are ripped from their context and applied to women only, they become a tool in the hand of Satan. Satan often twists Scripture to accomplish his evil purposes, and he has used this one to corrupt God’s plan for marriage. The command about submission actually begins in verse 18, which says that all Christians should submit themselves to one another. It then applies that to wives in marriage, but the bulk of the responsibility is placed upon the husband to love his wife in the way Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25–32). When a husband lives in obedience to God’s expectation for him, a Christian wife has little difficulty submitting to his leadership.
While there are Christian wives who do not have children, the majority of married women will become mothers at some point. During this transition, it is natural for her to give all her effort and attention to the children. It can take some time to adjust to the new family responsibilities, but a Christian wife remembers that her husband is her first priority. His needs still matter. She may feel at times that she has nothing left to give him at the end of a frustrating day, but she can run to the Lord and find the strength and energy to remain a wife first and a mother second (Proverbs 18:10; Psalm 18:2).
Communication is critical during the early child-rearing years, and a Christian wife will initiate non-judgmental conversations with her husband, explaining how he can help and what she needs from him in order to be more responsive to his needs. Couples who stay connected and set aside intentional times together grow stronger and build deeper bonds that will keep their marriage healthy. A Christian wife also realizes that taking time for herself is not selfish. She is open with her husband about her own emotional and psychological needs. Wives who neglect or fail to express their own needs for fear of appearing selfish are only setting themselves up for later resentment and burnout. Before a wife and mother can give her family what it needs, she must take care of herself.
Proverbs 31 applauds virtuous, intelligent, and industrious women—and it was written at a time when the contributions of wives and mothers went largely unnoticed. Godly women can take joy in this when their own choices reflect some of the qualities described there.
Wives often express that they want their husbands to be good leaders, and some bemoan that their husbands are not leading well. It is true that God expects husbands to bear the responsibility for the well-being of their families. But it is important to remember that good leaders must have good followers. As part of the curse God placed upon Eve for her sin (Genesis 3:16), women by nature have a tendency to desire to rule over their husbands. Many women see their husbands as unfinished projects they are meant to fix. A wife's attempts to “help him” can often shut her husband down, especially if he is not comfortable in a leadership role. That does not excuse his refusal to step into the role God designed for him. But a Christian wife recognizes her role and lets him lead. She may respectfully offer her advice and opinion, and a wise husband will seek it, but she recognizes that, once she does, her responsibility is over and the final decision rests with him. When he knows that she will not shoot him down when she disagrees, he is more likely to step forward and lead.
One danger that Christian women can encounter in marriage and motherhood is allowing their identities to be completely founded in their family roles. The divorce rate among middle-aged couples in some parts of the world bears testament to this destructive pattern. Many times it is the wife who leaves a good man for no reason other than she is not happy. Part of her disillusionment is due to the way marriage has been exalted as the ultimate goal for young girls. She has believed since childhood that, once she meets and marries the right man, she will be fulfilled. Much church teaching has been a party to this deification of marriage, so, for a Christian woman, the letdown can feel as though God has deceived her. While marriage is good and right and a vehicle for blessing, it should never be viewed as the source of a woman’s value and fulfillment. Only God can be that, and Christian wives are those who see their roles, not as ends in themselves, but as avenues through which they can better serve their Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31).
A woman who desires to be a godly, Christian wife can ask herself the following questions:
1. Am I keeping my spiritual life healthy and my top priority? (Matthew 6:33)
2. Have I willingly accepted my God-given role as a partner to my husband? (1 Corinthians 11:3)
3. Do I seek daily to humble myself and serve like Jesus did, rather than seeking to be served? (Mark 10:44–45)
4. Have I stripped my heart of idols, such as shopping, flirtations, hoarding, or addictions? (Exodus 20:3)
5. Does my free time indicate that I value my husband, my family, and my Savior? (Galatians 5:13)
6. Am I guarding the spirit of my home by what I allow in through media, magazines, and music? (Philippians 4:8)
7. Do I keep myself physically and emotionally pleasing to my husband? (Proverbs 27:15; 31:30)
8. Do my dress, makeup, and presentation indicate that I respect my body, my husband, and my Savior? (1 Peter 3:3–5)
9. Have I eliminated worldly vulgarities from my speech (swearing, gross talk, dirty jokes) so that my words are gracious? (Colossians 4:6)
10. Am I a wise and careful manager of household finances? (Proverbs 31:16)
11. Do I give my husband respect because of his position, or only when I think he deserves it? (Ephesians 5:33)
12. Do I take good care of the house and children? (Proverbs 31:27–28)
13. Do I guard my husband's heart by never revealing private discussions publicly or using his weaknesses against him? (Proverbs 31:11)
14. Am I continuing to develop the gifts and passions God has entrusted to me? (2 Timothy 1:6)
15. Am I relying on my own power or the power of the Holy Spirit to be a godly wife, mother, and disciple? (Galatians 5:25)
Because Jesus canceled our sin debt (Colossians 2:14), anyone who so desires can become a godly person. Godliness is not dependent upon intellect, education, or religion. It is also not off-limits to those with sinful pasts, divorce papers, or prison records. As followers of Christ, we should all seek to become more godly in whatever role we hold, because it is commanded (1 Peter 1:16) and because we want to be more like the One we love.
Recommended Resource: Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Christian Wife and Mother by Mahaney & DeMoss
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What does the Bible say about being a Christian wife?