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The Wife in the 21st Century Home

by

Jim Backhouse

Those of us who are, or have been married, should be able to remember the day of our marriage. The Bride in her wedding gown walking down the aisle to the man she was about to marry, all around her was love, from her parents, from relatives and friends who gathered to witness the ceremony.

As she stood next to the man she chose to be her husband to live with for the rest of their lives, the minister spoke. "Dearly beloved" he began the ceremony, then finally the words, "I now pronounce you Husband and Wife" Together they walked down the aisle towards a new life. They were now married. Before they were two, now, in God's sight they are one (Matthew 19: 6). God joins man and woman in marriage, and only God, not man can put them asunder. Marriage is a physical relationship between a man and a woman, but it is also a spiritual relationship between three spiritual beings: a man, a woman and God. If this relationship continues throughout the marriage, it will endure.

In our lesson on the wife in the 21st century home I want us to look at the word CHRISTIAN and see some of the qualities we can find using these letters for a wife in the 21st Century and indeed any Century. Many of these qualities may also apply to women who are not married, but it would be well for young women to learn these principles and apply them to their lives so that they may become the kind of wife God wants them to be, if and when they do marry. Of course a wife must never stop learning or trying to be a better wife.

In looking at Proverbs 31 we find God's ideal for what we might call the perfect wife. The first letter we want to look at is the letter C for CHARITABLE. Proverbs 31:20: "She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy."

This godly wife is a good example to all wives, she is unselfish, generous to those in need, and extends her services beyond her own family. Webster's Dictionary defines charitable as: Generous to those in need, kind and forgiving in judging others. Are you the kind of wife who is charitable? Are you a generous wife to those in need? Are you kind and forgiving to your husband and others? Can the world see by your actions that you are Christian?

Another word we will also look at is CHASTE. In I Peter 3: 1-6 we read: "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women, who trusted in God, adorned themselves being in subjection unto their own husbands".

The chaste wife will be modest in behaviour and dress. She dresses as if Christ is by her side, she loves the man she is married to and is as excited about being a wife, as she was when she became one. Ladies; keep this in mind, a good wife makes the best husband.

A godly wife will also be CHRIST LIKE. She reads his word, studies his life, and applies what she learns to her life. She prays regularly. Are you reading and studying God's word every day? Are you praying every day?

Our second letter in H For HELPMEET. In Genesis 2:18 we read: "And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an helpmeet for him." The definition for helpmeet: "suitable or fit helper in life, a helpful companion".

Some definitions for the word help, are, to make things easier or better for a person, to serve or wait on, to give assistance or be useful. She is given to her husband to help all his needs, Physically, socially, spiritually and emotionally suited for him.
God made woman from the rib of man: "and the rib which the Lord God had taken from man" (Genesis 2:22)We can see from this that the woman was not taken from man's head, that she should be above him, or from his feet that he should walk over her. She was taken from his side so that she should walk side by side with him, and be his companion, helper and wife for life. Woman was the final and finest of God's creation, everything else was made from raw material, but the woman, was made from a finished product, this makes her special.

Another word we will look at is HEALTHY: The wife in Proverbs 31:17 "She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms." The ideal wife takes care of her health. She will get the proper diet and exercise as well as plenty of rest for her body, so that she may meet the needs of her husband, and also work for the Lord. She may be the weaker vessel, but is made strong by wisdom and godliness.

A third word we will use is HOME MAKER. Women today are being brain washed, the world is saying it is degrading for a woman to stay in the home. As a wife and a mother women are being told they are unfulfilled. It has come to the point where some women are embarrassed to say, " I am a housewife." But God's plan for a wife is to be a home maker (Titus 2:4). A woman cannot display the kind of character and conduct that these verses describe if she follows the example of many modern wives, like spending much of their time running around or devoting her attention to clubs and other social gatherings.

She is to be a homemaker. This of course means work, there is no escape from it, but a loving wife will be cheerful and not full of self pity. Some wives work hard while constantly complaining of their responsibilities. But do you know: Gratitude determines Attitude. What wife will grumble about the work to be done, if she has the right attitude?

Be thankful that you have a home, be thankful for beds to make, be thankful for food to cook and dishes to wash. When a wife can say I am thankful for my health so that I am able to take care of my husband and family as God wants her to, she will be content to work in the home and make it clean and comfortable for them. When you look at a sink full of dirty dishes, what do you see? Some unknown writer expressed it this way:

Thank God for dirty dishes;
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry,
We are eating rather well;
With home, health and happiness;
I really shouldn't fuss.
By this stack of evidence,
God is very good to us.

Notice now Proverbs 14:1. Practical experience supports this proverbial truth. The "Wise Woman" gives her full attention to the building of a happy and secure household. She will be content to serve those God gave into her care. Her aim will be to develop the skills needed to accomplish this. She is in charge of provisions, she is a nurse, as well as educator of babies, and older children. She learns to budget her husband's income. This is only part of the meaningful work of a wife and mother, when she takes up the exalted and honourable position God has given her as homemaker. There are four essential things to building a home: People, loving, sharing and understanding.

Now we come to the letter R for Righteous. A Christian wife needs to be in right relationship with Jesus Christ, and have the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2: 2-3: The Epistle to the Philippians contains no rebuke or reproof, but it has the admonitions, exhortations and instructions intended to improve the Philippians' excellent state of spirituality. "Like-minded" means to be united in mind in their work for the Lord. "Strife" is an attempt to put oneself ahead of others. For a wife to be righteous she must put God first in her life, not second.

Matthew 10:37: God must come first in her life always. The aim of every faithful husband and wife should be to raise well balanced children, the wife may set the scene for this in preparation to grow spiritually, she must make plans with her husband to attend all the services of the church with their family together. It is of vital importance that the children learn that no other activity is to come before the assembling of themselves with the saints. She can also help her husband to plan home studies and devotionals to aid in their spiritual growth.

Titus 2:12: To live soberly is to do her duty to herself, to live righteously is her duty to others and to live godly is her duty to God.

Our next letter is I for INVALUABLE. A wife of noble character is worth far more than rubies (Proverbs 31:10). Virtuous is from a Hebrew word meaning, to be wise, able, and industrious. It is as if the writer of Proverbs is saying, "Whosoever finds or acquires an able and industrious wife has found something worth more than rubies."

Parts of chapter 31 of Proverbs are one of the most excellent passages of the Bible describing the kind of wife God intended a woman to be for her husband. Rubies are a hard stone, and they are flawlessly transparent, dazzling in colour and relatively rare. In today's society the odds are stacked against the Christian wife in a world that has become so corrupt.

The question arises: How can any woman be virtuous? We have a loving God who has given the answer in His word the Bible by having faith in His Son Jesus Christ, and By applying the principles found in His word

A good wife is a gift from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22). The need for God fearing wives who will encourage their husbands to extend themselves in the service of God is our greatest need. It will strengthen marriages, purify homes, save our children and add numerically and spiritually to the Lord's church were men to choose more carefully the wife of their youth.

By her continued encouragement, a husband of little talent may well become a powerful preacher of the gospel. By her daily comforting, a wife makes her husband a better man.

Another word we may look at is INDUSTRIOUS. It is the will of God that women not be idle. Women worked to make the tabernacle beautiful. Ruth did manual labour. Even Jezebel and Athaliah are known for their work, which was evil. Women are warned against idleness, lest they become busy bodies or slanderous (I Timothy 5:13).

Proverbs 31:13: The industrious wife is skilled in domestic duties; in the art of home making, she uses her time well and manages the affairs of the home efficiently.

Another word we want to look at is IMPART. She is to impart love: Woman was created for man, supplying him with the opportunity to love and be loved. Ephesians 5:21 teaches that husband and wife are to submit to one another in the fear of God. Verse 22 says "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord". She is to impart love towards her husband at all times, even when he is unlovable.

Now we come to the letter S for SPIRITUAL. Galatians 5:22: It is the duty of wives and indeed every Christian, to add these fruits of the spirit daily.

Matthew 12:34-35: From this we see that the mouth speaks the thing that are in the heart. The worthy wife of Proverbs has the law of kindness in her tongue (Proverbs 31:26). One who is spiritual will use the tongue properly, avoiding gossip and slander. Our attention is directed to the manner and content of the worthy wife's speech. She has learned to control her tongue and to put it to a righteous use. We now see the marked contrast between the ideal wife and the advocate of Women's Liberation. It is evident in several personal areas. These are:

HER SPEECH.

Whenever she speaks she say kind, helpful, constructive things. She has no malice or bitterness; no complaints; no self-pity; no envy; no hate; not a trace of the ugly attitudes so obvious when humanism, as expressed in Women's Liberation, controls the heart.

HER ACTIONS.

She is not found manning the barricades, nor creating confrontations, with authority in general, and men in particular. She is not only well content with the way God has made her but she rejoices in the very special gifts, skills and opportunities to serve that being a wife provides.

HER MOTIVATION.

"The law of kindness" motivates all she thinks, says and does. It is a peaceful incentive to achieve genuine fulfilment in all things and is superior to the law of selfishness dominating the victims of humanism.

HER ATTITUDE.

She is not domineering as are many "liberated women." She has learned to be kind by experiencing "kindness" and she learns to love by being loved. Her mother, the wife of her Father, was her first and best human teacher.

Now we come to the letter T for TRUSTWORTHY. Proverbs 31:11,12: This means to trust a person in making oneself vulnerable, by leaving the heart exposed to the whim trusted. Marriage is a commitment of "trust." The ideal wife does not squander the assets of her husband. She values all his possessions and he has no need to seek more spoil or to gain, to replace lost assets. The greatest treasure a man can find is a good wife, in whom he can put his entire trust. She is his greatest treasure because he knows, "she does him good and not evil all the days of her life."

The letter we have now is I for INFLUENTIAL. Eve is a prime example of a woman's influence over the man. Her enticement caused Adam to sin resulting in their separation from God. Jezebel influenced the king to build a house of Baal at Samaria. She stirred up King Ahab to work evil like none other before him.

The Godly wife uses her influence for good: she makes her husband the number one priority after God. If he is an unbeliever she wins him to Christ with her pure reverent life. She lets him see God's way is best.

Our second last letter is A for ADAPTABLE. It means to change oneself to meet particular circumstances. Sarah was adaptable to her husband, leaving her home for the life of a nomad. The adaptable wife will help her husband and adapt her life to the husband when it will help him, she will be a pleaser. Think of your courtship days - how much adjusting of your time and plans did you do for him? How many time did you change your schedule around him? Wives ; do you still adapt to your husband the same way today? Are you still concerned about dressing to please him? If you are not adapting, when did you stop and why?

Our last letter is N and we will use NEEDED. In Genesis 2:18 we read; "And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."

The following is a list of qualities for a wife to follow if she is to be pleasing in the sight of God and her husband:

Have a good conscience. I Peter 3:16

Add the Christian Graces II Peter 1:5-7

Bear each other's burdens Gal 6:2

Get wisdom from God's Word James 1:5

Rejoice in the Lord always Phil 4:4

Be joyful Prov 17:22

Follow after the fruits of the Spirit Gal 5:22-26

This is by no means a complete list of what a Christian wife can be in this century or in the future. I would like to leave you with this thought, which I read in a book.

I cannot do everything,
But I can do something;
What I can do,
I ought to do,
And what I ought to do,
By the grace of God, I will do.

If the Christian wife follows the principles found in God's word for her life, she will be able to say along with her husband, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

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