There are many things that a woman can do to become a loving wife.
A. A loving wife maintains her relationship with God.
A wife’s most important relationship is her relationship with God. To relate well to others, we must first relate well to our heavenly Father.
Bible reading and prayer are strong characteristics of a loving wife. She daily fills her life with God’s Word and presence. She builds her home on her knees, seeking invisible strength and wisdom. Thus she is a source of spiritual strength and light in her home. She has peace at all times for her secure foundation is God first and her husband. Her fervent prayers take her children through daily dangers and problems. When the family finances are limited, a loving wife prays to Jehovah Jireh, the Lord Our Provider. The husband and children of a praying wife are truly blessed.
The godly wife and mother serves as a wonderful example of how to be a follower of Jesus Christ. When a husband or a child looks at the wife and mother, her daily life points him or her to a closer relationship with God.
B. A loving wife submits to her husband.
Some err by thinking that submission means being inferior or less than another. But the Bible uses the word submit in relation to order and purpose, not value. To submit means “to be under.” Jesus submitted to the Father, but He is not inferior to the Father. As Philippians 2 says, Jesus is equal to the Father, though He submitted to Him (Phil. 2:6). In theology, we learn that the Father and Son are equal in every way. They have the same nature and power. For example, in the book of Revelation, we see that all worship the Father and the Lamb. Still, the Son submits to the Father for order and purpose.
Submission is necessary in many parts of society. Without submission, there can be no government, no schools, no armies, no businesses, and no families. Those who submit have a different role than those above them, but they are not inferior. Submission is an attitude of respect to one who leads.
Scripture gives at least two examples of how a woman should submit to her husband.
- First, a wife should submit to her husband as the Church submits to Christ. Because of how Jesus loves us, we as believers submit to Christ. We seek to honor, respect, please, obey, and follow Him as our leader. Likewise, a wife should submit to her husband. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything (Eph. 5:22-24).
- The second example of how a woman should submit to her husband is in 1 Peter. Earlier, Peter wrote that believers should submit to every authority. We should submit to kings and governors whether these leaders are godly or not (1 Pet. 2:13-17). Next, Peter wrote that a servant should submit even to an unbelieving master (1 Pet. 2:18-21). Then, Peter wrote that wives should submit to husbands, whether the husbands are believers or not. Jesus submitted Himself to harsh leaders, because He trusted in God above them. Peter wrote that a wife should submit to her husband and trust in God as Jesus did.
“He [Christ] committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives” (1 Pet. 2:22–3:1).
Some wives say, “He’s not a Christian, and he does not obey God or His Word. How can I submit to this man?” Peter spoke to wives in this setting (1 Pet. 3:1). God’s apostle knew that there is great power in the act of submitting. Without saying anything, a wife can win her unbelieving husband to Christ through her actions.
Another excuse to avoid submission is, “If I do that, I will lose my rights as a woman, and he will take advantage of me.” Peter spoke about this concern, using the example of Sarah and Abraham. The Scripture says, “For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master” (1 Pet. 3:5-6). Sarah was not afraid to submit because she trusted God. She knew that it was God’s plan for her to submit and that He would take care of the results. As a wife determines to obey God and fulfill her role in marriage, she can believe that God will honor her obedience. (All wives and husbands are to submit to God. There may be a few cases in which a husband or wife must choose between obeying man or God, as in Acts 4:19. All believers should honor their consciences and God’s Word. The priority of every believer is to obey God.
Headship and submission are set up in many ways. Couples often establish their pattern of relating during the first 18 months of marriage. They may continue this pattern or change it as they agree and mature.
C. A loving wife respects, honors, and admires her husband.
An important part of submission is showing respect. Just as a wife needs love, a husband needs respect. Think of how you would feel if your husband stopped loving you. That is how he feels when he thinks you do not respect him. Being respectful means several things:
- A wife shows respect by not strongly disagreeing with her husband in front of the children or others.
- She shows respect by not discussing her husband’s faults in public.
- She shows respect by doing things that please her husband.
- She shows respect by supporting her husband’s choices and decisions.
- When a wife respects her husband, it makes him stand tall like a man. It encourages him to be the husband and father God wants him to be. Respect inspires a man to be and do better and to be his very best.
D. A loving wife communicates with her husband.
A wise wife tells her husband how she feels. She does not expect her husband to know but she tells him about her concerns. If she is worried, tired, sad, lonely, angry, hurt, or happy, she looks for the right time to share her feelings with her husband.
E. A loving wife lets her husband be the head of the home.
When a wife takes over one of her husband’s responsibilities, he often surrenders other duties as well. Her action might not bring a problem at once, but it can cause long-term damage in his ability to lead. She needs to encourage him to lead and not take over if she thinks he is not leading well. Her encouragement, support, and faith in him will help him develop as a leader. The Bible tells us that “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Prov. 14:1). Building a house includes encouraging the husband to be the leader. When you disagree with his leadership, ask God to give you wisdom about how to wisely discuss his wrong decisions.
She recognizes him as the main provider. God intends for men to work and supply for the needs of their family. There are times when wives work for money. But the wife should care for the children when they are small, if possible. She should not feel pressured to earn money and be away from them.
Some wives take a job to earn money after the children enter school. Such a wife should be careful to emphasize that her husband is the main provider for the family. Likewise, she must be sure that her husband understands that he and the children are more important than her career.
She recognizes him as the spiritual leader of the family. God created the husband to be the spiritual leader in the home. If a wife respects another leader and depends on him for spiritual advice, her husband may be offended and jealous. So a wife must act wisely if her spiritual growth is greater than her husband’s. She cannot neglect the spiritual growth and education of her children. But she can help her husband not be jealous of other spiritual leaders. A wise wife says many good things about her husband and very few good things about any other man.
An unwise wife shows more respect to a family member, relative, friend, Bible teacher, or pastor than she shows to her husband. This causes the husband to feel disrespected. Paul wrote, “If they [wives] want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home” (1 Cor. 14:35). Christian men need to be sensitive to this as well and ask God to give them wisdom as they lead their homes spiritually. A wife can greatly encourage her husband by showing that he is the spiritual leader of the home.
F. A loving wife supports the decisions of her husband.
Encouragement, support, and respect build confidence. As a leader in the home, a husband needs to develop this confidence over the years. A wife can be a great strength to her husband. She can encourage her husband to meet his godly goals. She can help him put his failures behind him. When a wife believes in her husband, he feels like he can succeed. This gives him the emotional strength to try, to grow, and to work hard. Beside most successful men are wives who encouraged them and who built them up.
Complaining often or challenging a husband’s goals, dreams, and good plans discourages a man (Prov. 27:15). Bringing up his past failures or mistakes injures his self-worth. It will cause him to hesitate or stop being the leader God created him to be. Few things in life can encourage a husband more than a wife who sees this truth. Blessed is the man whose wife affirms, affirms, and affirms him! To be an excellent wife you must support your man! There is no question that every husband will sometimes make mistakes and be wrong. Still, a wife must learn how to wisely counsel, challenge, and appeal to her husband. Otherwise, he will feel defeated.
G. A loving wife cares about being attractive.
A wife knows that her beauty changes over the years from the beauty of a young girl to the beauty of a mature mother. The beauty of youth is fleeting. Still, a loving wife seeks to be healthy and as attractive to her husband as she can be and even as she grows older. She disciplines her eating and exercises. She uses lotion or oil to keep her skin soft. She wears clothes that enhance her beauty.
These things require money. But the love and affection a woman expresses when she feels beautiful make this expense worthwhile in the eyes of her happy, contented husband! The wife should not feel guilty about using some of the family’s money on herself.
Some men allow their wives to wear old, ragged clothes. Their weak justification for this neglect is that their dear Christian women do not complain about it! A man is blessed to have a wife that does not complain. But the lack of complaints does not mean that a woman does not want to be treated better in her home. Any man should know that no matter how spiritual, dedicated, or humble his wife may be, she still cares about her appearance.
It is true that a loving wife needs a constant supply of clothing and beauty products within the financial limits of the family. Yet she will avoid the senseless, worldly competition of fashion and beauty. It is important to look good, but keep this in its proper place. Peter reminds us that a woman’s greatest beauty is her gentle and quiet spirit (1 Pet. 3:4). This is basic, and we began this chapter emphasizing a woman’s inner beauty of the spirit. Still, she should care for the outer beauty of her body!