The Role of the Wife in Marriage

Just entering the season of weddings I thought this might be a nice time to address this topic. Experience has shown me that many classes and lessons on the topic of the role of the wife in marriage are so similar that women know them by heart. Most of them that I have listened to and even taught focus on the “do’s” of marriage and give women their marching orders on submission and bedroom performance to keep the husband happy and do their duty. I know this is how women are taught because when they come for counsel for their unhappy marriages this is what they recite to me! What I thought was missing from most of the things written for women was any focus on the heart of a wife, and on the reason we are to do what we do.

What is taught is obviously not working for everyone, and rather than give you another lesson on the same old stuff, I thought I would approach it from a different perspective (hopefully anyway) that focuses on the heart of the woman in marriage. Since we are all about the heart in our counseling ministry, I really believe it is the way to approach this topic.

When marriage is not “working” there is a problem at the heart level. When a woman dislikes her God-given role as a wife, there is a problem at the heart level. When a woman rebels against this role, there is a problem at the heart level.

Often women look at their marriage and lives through the eye of disappointment and failure. Their husband who was Prince Charming at the altar has become Hagar the Horrible at home. Their adorable babies have become Hells Angels and they believe they are powerless to parent them. Their homes are in disarray and chaos. Yelling and arguing and even fighting are a normal part of each day. Most days these women are grateful to flop into bed and pass out until the alarm rings only to see that certain glint in hubby’s eye… “Oh no” they think which is quickly followed by “I can’t turn him down again”

This is not what the life of a wife was intended to be. Not at all God’s ideal of the fulfilling and wonderful role He has given to many women. With these kind of attitudes and thoughts is it any wonder divorce is so high? Does it surprise you that women would rather just live with a man instead of marrying him? If this is what daughters grow up watching and observing as the life of their mother, it should not surprise anyone.

Usually this list is presented by the Preacher who has no idea what it is to be a wife or a woman. It is also presented by women in Bible studies and conferences who mean well and teach it well too. Inevitably, our hearts grate against this list. Our teeth get set on edge and we resign ourselves to yet another lesson on how to be a good wife.

It is true that We are to be a:

But that is just a list of “do’s”- how can we make these things a part of us, ingrain them in our hearts so they are not just a list of duties and obligations but instead offerings of love and service that are a joyful part of life? I really believe that when the attitudes of the heart are right, the responsibilities are not drudgery, they are a joy.

I found Prov 31 to be a heart level reflection of the role of the godly wife. Rather than looking at it as all we believe we will never attain, and the ideal woman we hate we can truly learn the heart attitudes of this kind of woman. With the same heart attitudes, we can become a Prov. 31 woman.


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