I’ve heard a lot of differing opinions on a wife’s role in marriage. What is a wife’s job description? What are the duties and responsibilities involved?
Barbara: I entered marriage with a pretty good idea of what I thought it meant to be a wife. My ideas primarily came from watching my mother. No one had ever told me what my job was, but I had seen how my mother acted, what she did and didn’t do.
In addition, we had a little bit of premarital counseling. I knew that I was supposed to submit to Dennis and respect him, but in some situations I wasn’t sure how I could. My idealism told me that I was supposed to be perfect, and I thought that meant that I was supposed to agree unquestioningly with Dennis. But I couldn’t always do that.
Dennis: I think a lot of young wives feel insecure in their marriage role. When we were first married, an older woman in our church mentored Barbara, and that was a wonderful experience for her. I would try to encourage her, but she needed an older woman to come beside her and affirm what she was doing. Encouragement from a woman who had been in her shoes and could empathize meant more than anything that I could say.
Barbara: Now, after many years of marriage, I would say that a wife’s role in marriage can be summed up in three words: love, support, and respect.
In Titus 2:4, older women are instructed to train the younger women to “love their husbands.” Initially that’s an easy job, because most of us get married while we’re in love. After the feelings fade, though, we have to remember that love is a commitment.
Secondly, we are to support our husbands. Ephesians 5:22 says, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” To submit to your husband’s leadership is to support his leadership. It means being an encouraging, believing wife who allows her husband to be the leader in the family. It doesn’t mean being a doormat. You should share your opinions, your thoughts and feelings, and make decisions together. Ultimately, though, you support your husband’s decisions.
Finally, a wife should respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33 commands, “The wife must respect her husband.” There are times when that is a hard job; you may not feel that your husband is worthy of respect. However, you are still commanded to respect him. Even if there are many things that he has done wrong, you can find something to respect. Try to remember what you respected about him when you were dating. Does he work hard to financially support the family? Does he play ball with your child?
He may not be doing all that you wish he were doing, but you have to focus positively on the things that he is doing. Verbalize to him your appreciation. When you affirm him and let him know that you value his work, it will be easier for him to continue to lead lovingly.
Proverbs 14:1 says that a wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands. As a wife, you have power to create or destroy your relationship with your husband. In your attitude, remember that God is in control and you can trust Him. Also remember that you have to choose to obey God through honoring and obeying your husband. In these ways, you can build a strong house.
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