By Linda Ellis

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"Behold the pattern….." Joshua 22:28, KJV. God has had a pattern since the beginning of time for his people. Among the patterns written in God’s word, we find patterns concerning the altar, the tabernacle, building of Noah’s ark, sacrifices, the church, how to be saved, and how to properly worship him. He has given us patterns to enable us to become the kind of people he wants us to be. One of the first patterns He gave to mankind was the pattern of marriage, Gen. 2:24. God created man and woman and He knows what we each need in order to be happy, loved, and fulfilled in this life. God wants you to have the kind of marriage that has these ingredients. So how can you and I, as wives, have these ingredients in our marriage? We only need to look to God for His pattern in His word, and then put God’s guidelines into practice in our daily living.

We find in Mark 10:6-9 NKJV, Jesus teaching and quoting scripture from Gen. 2:24, about God’s pattern from the beginning for marriage, …" ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." When a man and woman marry, a new body is formed.

The husband-wife union (Mark 10:8), and the church, (Eph. 4:4) are each designed by God to function as one body. In 1 Cor. 12:12-31 we find a parallel comparison of the church and the human body. The human body has many parts or members and each has a certain job to do. Each part is important and needs to work together to create a healthy body that can function properly and productively. For the church, the body of Christ, to be productive, each member needs to be faithful and true to Jesus, individually fulfilling their responsibilities to God, and using their talents given to them by God. These verses teach that each member should work together in a cooperative manner, showing honor, concern and care for each member, so that there will not be any division in the body of Christ. In doing this, the church will be healthy and be able to grow numerically and spiritually. In like manner, the husband-wife union, described as one flesh (or one body) in Mark 10:8, must cooperate with each other and show love and concern for each other. The wife and the husband each have their own duties and responsibilities in this relationship, according to the guidelines set forth in God’s word. For this relationship to be healthy and strong, both will need to obey God and fulfill their obligations to each other in the spirit of unity and manner in the areas designated by God.

Let us now concentrate on the wife’s responsibility in this relationship. She can do much to create the atmosphere where love can grow deep and strong, day by day. She can begin to do her part by adhering to the proper line of authority in a marriage. This line of authority is authorized by God in Eph. 5:22-33. These verses teach that God has placed the husband in the position as head of the wife. He is to be the leader and guide of this union. He was created first. Woman was created second to be his help meet (Gen. 2:18)In Eph. 5:22-33, the wife is commanded to submit herself to her own husband, and to give him the respect and honor he should receive as the head of the home. This does not mean women should feel inferior to men. Men and women have been created differently physically and emotionally and God has set forth different roles and responsibilities that fit each one’s capabilities. By nature, women are not as strong physically and emotionally to handle the difficulties in life as men are. Wise women will recognize this difference and learn to appreciate and function within the bounds of the roles we have been placed in. We need to learn how to accept our husband’s decisions in an humble way, even if we do not agree with him. We do not give honor and respect to him, if we insist on our way. If we want to please God, we will not refuse our husband’s leadership and decisions unless we are asked to do something that is contrary to God’s will. At all other times, we should obey our husband and submit to him because God has granted him this authority in the home. The manner in which we react to his decisions and guidance will either strengthen the relationship or weaken it.

Along with deciding to submit and give honor to our husband, we should allow God’s word to mold us and develop the kind of behavior Paul writes about in Titus 2:4-5, NKJV. Let us briefly look at these character traits women are commanded to exhibit in their lives which would bring honor to our husband and also strengthen the marriage bond.

BE REVERENT: Being reverent is having an attitude of deep respect and love. A wife’s behavior should be conducted in such a manner both privately and publicly, to show honor and respect for him. When we became a wife, we received a new name, the name of our husband. Displaying an unrespectful behavior that brings shame to his name as well as our own, is harmful to that relationship. However, a woman’s meek and quiet spirit, which is of great value in God’s sight, (1 Peter 3:4), will strengthen the bond and provide an atmosphere for love to grow.

NOT SLANDERERS: Our speech needs to be honest and truthful at all times. A husband should feel confident that his mate will not be involved in gossiping and spreading untruths to others. Col. 3:9 NKJV, says, "Do not lie to one another:" If we always speak the truth about others, our husband will also feel confident that we would not tell lies or even say unkind things about him to others. Knowing your speech will be truthful and uplifting to him and others will certainly build a stronger bond between the two of you.

TEACHERS OF GOOD THINGS: We should use the opportunities that come our way to teach others what is good, especially to our own children. Proverbs 22:6 KJV, says "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Amos 5:14 NIV says "Seek good, not evil, that you may live". Surely the best of the good things to know in life, is "the way", the pathway in life that leads to eternal life with God. Many other things that are good also need to be taught to our children. A few of those things are: to love God, to obey Christ, to love others, to respect authority, to share with the less fortunate, to be kind, to be polite, and to have good manners. In 1 Peter 3:10-11 NKJV we find, "He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and purse it." We can assist our husbands in training our children to love, seek, and appreciate the good things in life, and to follow God’s "way" that leads to heaven.

LOVE THEIR HUSBANDS AND CHILDREN: We can express love in so many ways. Some of the ways are the words we choose, the tones of our voices and our actions. It is good to do things often, for our husband and children, that make their life easier, which shows them you truly love and care for them. Express often to your mate the qualities you admire in him as a husband and father. Encourage him in his work, hobbies and other interests. Praise his efforts and compliment him from a sincere heart. He needs loving support from you, his wife. Knowing you support him whole-heartily gives your husband the confidence, courage, and freedom to accept challenges and opportunities for growth in the areas of his life that he excels in. Our children also need our love, encouragement and our support in their interests, so they can develop into well-balanced Christian adults. Love in the family setting is important for growth to take place individually and collectively. We should be patient, (1 Tim. 6:11), courteous, show compassion and understanding (1 Peter 3:8), and be kind and forgive one another, (Eph 4:31). Love doesn’t keep score on how many times we have been wronged. Love… "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things", 1 Cor. 13:7 NKJV. Continuing in verse 8, we find "Love never fails" and we can take great comfort in this verse knowing family life can be happy and rewarding, if we express true love to our husband and children.

TO BE DISCREET: Women should be discreet about what they know and say. If our husband tells us something in confidence, we should take care to remain quiet concerning that information. He has trusted us with that information and to reveal something we should not say, would be damaging to our relationship. We should be discreet and trustworthy with all he shares with us. "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…." Proverbs 31:11 KJV. Being discreet builds trust between you and your husband.

TO BE CHASTE: Women need to pay close attention to being chaste in their character and behavior. We should keep our total being pure, decent, and modest. Our bodies should be kept pure and reserved only for our husband. Our speech needs to be clean, not filled with cursing and other distasteful words, so commonly heard today by women. 1 Peter 3:1, 2 teaches that chaste conversation is so important in a wife, that without even saying a word concerning the gospel to him, she may be able to win her unbelieving husband to the Lord when he observes her chaste speech and submission to him. Modest clothes should be chosen, so that we will not cause any undue attention to ourselves, which would be an embarrassment to our husband. Being chaste, decent and modest are characteristics that a man desires in his wife.

HOMEMAKERS: God has given the responsibility of being a homemaker to the wife. He gave her natural abilities which enable her to do the work needed to keep the home running smoothly. A wise wife will cultivate the abilities and talents she has been blessed with. She will learn how to prepare healthy balanced meals for her family, and attend to their clothing and medical needs. She should use her time wisely completing her duties to keep the house clean, tidy and comfortable for the family. The day-to-day needs of the family can be met more easily when the house is kept in an well organized manner. A wife and mother should do all she can to keep the home in such a way that her husband and children enjoy being at home, where they can seek refuge and rest from the world and its daily demands. She should be hospitable to her husband’s and children’s friends, making them feel welcome, (Rom. 12:13 and 1 Peter 4:9).

GOOD: We are instructed to be "good", to have the right attitude and motive in everything we do for our husband and children. 1 Pet. 3:11-12 NKJV, says, "Let him turn from evil and do good". If we have developed "a good " character within ourselves, our actions will come from a heart that wants to please our husband because we truly love him, not out of necessity or duty. "Let love be without hypocrisy" Rom 12:9, NKJV. Kindness should be shown to our husband under all situations and also to those we come in contact with. Kindness and goodness will be a natural way of life, if we have built our character upon God’s teachings. Kindness in your life, will draw your husband closer to you, because he will enjoy being in your presence.

OBEDIENT TO THEIR HUSBANDS: As mentioned in the beginning, we should obey our husbands and respect his wishes. You may not always agree with him but after calmly and humbly expressing your opinion, allow him to make the final decision. If his decision is not in agreement with yours, accept his decision in a kind and obedient manner. Pray to God privately about the decision. In time, your husband may change his decision or attitude about the issue. Even if he does not, you will know you have obeyed God in the matter and that is the most important thing to remember to do. Worth noting again, is that a submissive attitude in a wife, may enable an unbelieving husband, to believe and obey the gospel, (1 Pet. 3:1), without her uttering a word to him about obeying the gospel. Our lives should be lived so that our prayers are not hindered, (1 Peter 3:7). Disobedience to your husband will only bring discord and unhappiness in a marriage. Obedience, on the other hand, will bring harmony, unity, and joy to a husband and wife.

When a woman develops these characteristics and attitudes in her life, she will help create an atmosphere of harmony and peace in the home. If the husband is treated in a loving manner, given the proper respect he is due, provided with the physical needs in his life, and allowed to live in a peaceful atmosphere, he will respond to your needs, and provide you with love, happiness and protection. When his position of authority is threatened, he will not be able to respond to you in the way you want to be treated. To a great degree, the amount of happiness, security and love we receive in our marriage depends on us and our own behavior towards our husband. Let us abide in the truths found in God’s word, letting His word change and mold our attitudes that we demonstrate each day. Following God’s pattern, we will be a blessing to our husband and the helper that God designed us to be for him. We would do well to remember 1 Peter 3:8-9, NKJV "All of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing." We can receive blessings of love, happiness and security in marriage NOW if we are the kind of women God wants us to be, and best of all, we will receive the greatest blessing of all at the end of life, a home in heaven.