This article is about the importance and position of the wife. The wife as helper and the submission of the wife is also discussed.

Source: New Horizons, 1992. 1 pages.

The Wife – a Submissive Partner-Helper

In Genesis 2:18 we read,

the LORD God said, It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.

In Ephesians 5:22-24 we read,

Wives, submit to your husband’s as to the Lord … As the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

In Proverbs 31 we learn that "her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value" (v. 11) and that "a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised" (v. 30). In 1 Peter 3:1, 2 we are told that unbelieving husbands may be won "without words by the behavior of their wives" when they see the "purity and reverence" of their lives.

Throughout these passages the chief instruction seems to be submission. This teaching is greatly misunderstood by secular feminists and is probably also misunderstood by many Christian wives.

Let us first look at what submission is not. Submission does not mean slavery. Rather, it means freedom to become what God intended a woman to be under divinely appointed authority. (Note the productive, creative activities of the woman in Proverbs 31:10-31.)

Nor does submission mean that the wife never offers an opinion or gives advice. Priscilla in Acts and Deborah in Judges offer examples.

Having looked at what submission is not, let us look at what it is. A wife's submission to her husband is a part of God's overall authority structure, like that of the church's submission to Christ and that of citizens to the government.

The wife is to make herself submissive. Her husband is not to force her submission, but she is to submit "in the Lord." In submission she is not required to disobey God.

Submission is positive. The wife is her husband's teammate, striving for the same goals. She should submit to him cheerfully, as Jesus delighted to do his Father's will (Psalm 40:7, 8). Jesus never viewed his submission to the Father as oppressive.

The wife is to respect her husband. In the Amplified Version, Ephesians 5:33 says that the wife is to "notice, regard, honor, prefer, esteem, praise, and admire her husband exceedingly."

The challenge of Scripture for the wife is to make her husband her primary ministry. She is to strive to be his indispensable, suitable helper. She is to supply that which he lacks. The home should be a place of mutual encouragement. All matters should be discussed openly, honestly, and lovingly. The wife should be satisfied, content, forgiving, forbearing, frugal, diligent, ambitious, cooperative, and creative.

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