A wife’s role is something that I’ve struggled with over the years.
We are each a product of our upbringing and experiences, our families, and our histories. We are who we are today because of what we did or what may have happened to us yesterday, and the year before that, and decades before that. It’s the culmination of LIFE up to this point in time that makes us who we are TODAY. What we have sowed in our past, we will reap at some point in the future. We learn, adapt, grow, and change into the person we are today and yet who we are five years from now will be different as well. That’s five more years of growth and change.
I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before which seems to sum this up nicely:
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus
Bear with me. I’m leading up to my point with this whole blog post.
As a wife of 23 years, it’s taken me some time to understand my role, accept it, and flourish in it. I know. That sounds really weird, but give me just a minute to explain.
I was born in the 70s and grew up in the 80s, graduating high school in the early 90s. During that time there was a wide feminism movement, women’s equality in the workplace, equal pay, etc. Remember the whole “bring home the bacon” era? That may be before your time but I grew up listening to and memorizing this commercial as a young girl (I was 7 when this was on the air).
There are still many feminists out there. I was a fledgling feminist. What any man could do I could do just as well. Running? I’d race you in a heartbeat. Going up for a promotion? I’d be right in the midst of it. Don’t you dare hold a door for me. I can get it myself. I can take care of myself. I don’t need a man to do it for me. That’s what I thought back then and acted that way, too.
Fast forward to when Johnny and I were first married, I didn’t really see us as partners. It was more of the two of us together, pushing through life – each doing our own part. At times it was like we were going in different directions, pulling in opposite directions, trying to reach the same destination, but each going our own way to make it happen instead of working together. I worked. He worked. Yes – we had goals and we would work towards them, but looking back on it now I see that I should have been pulling more in his direction than mine.
In reading Genesis this morning, specifically chapters 1 and 2, I was struck with the simplicity and beauty of Eve’s beginning. On the sixth day of creation, God made all the land animals and the first man – Adam.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
By verse 18, God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
And in verse 20, “…But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.”
So, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and while he slept, God “took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.'”
Why did I start with Adam? Because that’s where we started ladies. Without Adam and without the foreknowledge and all knowing understanding of God (our true Creator), we would not be here.
God could see that Adam needed help – someone who could walk by his side and be there with him, not as a servant, but as a helper. God breathed life into Adam … a man made in His own image and from Adam – his flesh and bones, we were made. Just as God formed Eve to be Adam’s help meet, I am to be Johnny’s helper – in all things.
And because of their sin in the Garden of Eden, God gave specific instructions to Eve (and therefore all women) – that because of her naivety her desire will be for her husband who would rule over her. (Genesis 3:16)
In further reading through the Bible about the roles of husbands and wives, our role as wife is beautifully laid out.
As a husband, this is what Johnny’s role is (check out Ephesians 5:23-33, 1 Corinthians 7):
- head of the family (Ephesians 5:23)
- to love me as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:24)
- to love me as he does his own body – to feed and care for me (Ephesians 5:28)
- fulfill marital duties (1 Corinthians 7:3)
What does that mean for me as a wife to Johnny? What are my duties?
- to submit to Johnny in everything
- to respect him
- to fulfill my marital duties to him (1 Corinthians 7:3)
I need to be pulling in the same direction he is. I need to honor and obey him (yes, I say that word – OBEY). But, in the Biblical sense, He is my earthly protector. He is there to watch over me, keep me from danger, and help to guide me. No, he’s not my Lord. That alone is reserved for Jesus Christ. But, God has gifted Johnny, as my husband and father to our children, with wisdom and discernment for what we need to do and where we need to be.
That doesn’t mean that I blindly go. It means we have discussions. Johnny values me, my opinion, and the relationship that we have together. We have journeyed a long way from where we started 23 years ago and for that I am so grateful and thankful.
I fully accept and cherish my role as his wife and what that means Biblically. It really simplifies my life. All the big decisions we discuss together and plan together, but ultimately I leave the final decision to Johnny and trust that he’s doing the right thing for our family. That really lifts a huge burden from me. That’s a load I don’t need to carry and I’m forever thankful that Johnny’s shoulders bear that responsibility.
So, what does that mean for on a daily basis? Well, not only are we husband and wife, but we are partners in our real estate business. He leads the team and I provide support, helping his vision for this team come to fruition. He’s the big picture man and I’m the details woman. We make a great team and it shows when we work with our clients.
I am no longer a feminist. Not in the least. Sure, I believe everyone should receive equal pay for equal work, but I also realize that men and women are different for a reason. I now embrace my differences and realize them for what they are – gifts from God. And knowing how God designed a wife’s role for me in His Word, I am so much more at peace.