The Wife of Noble Character (Prov 31:10-31)
Portions Taken from “Training Up a Child” by Gwendolyn M. Webb
Outline and supplemental material by Pedro Gelabert
As we have been studying from the word of god, we know our Lord is a God of order (1Co 14:33a), and where that order begins in a godly society is in the home:
1Co 11:3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
For a married couple it is imperative they hold fast to this conviction in order to bring glory to God in the role God has given each of them in the home.
GOD à Christ à Husband à Wife à Children
1Co 11:7-9 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. (8) For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. (9) Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
There are 4 major responsibilities a wife should bear in order to maintain proper organization in the home:
1- Be a helpmeet
2- Be in submission
3- Be a keeper at home
4- Be the guide of the house
I - Be a Helpmeet
Gen 2:18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."
That phrase, “helper fit for him”, which in the King James reads, “help meet for him”, is really translated out of two Hebrew words: “ezer neged”.
Ezer: aid or help
Neged: a front, that is, part opposite; specifically a counterpart, or mate.
Now this is a very interesting definition! The etymology of the words will give us insight into what God intends for the man in the design of the woman. I will not go into the etymology due to time limitations, but as we define each of the biblical responsibilities, they will reflect upon the meaning of these Hebrew words.
Let’s suffice to say at this moment that “help meet” also means “helpmate”; meet (neged) meaning suitable mate, amongst the other definitions above. Therefore the wife is to be a suitable helper; a counter-part to her man.
How is this to be done? The Bible is very specific: Be a 3A woman. Your job, for which you were designed to do in the most exquisite and loving way, is to HELP MEET these 3A desires in the manner most pleasing to your husband. See the 3A Woman Power Point Slides by Claribel Rodriguez (my wife). (Best viewed ni Internet Explorer)
1 - ATTRACT
Step 1 to being a suitable wife is never to cease being attractive for your husband. Before marriage a man’s first attraction to a woman is 99.9 percent physical. As in the days of courtship, clean and style your clothes, hair and face in a way that is pleasing to him. Don’t forget to keep your figure trim for him as well. All this keeps your husband’s desires afire for you and not for someone else.
There are right ways and wrong ways to draw attention to yourself.
God’s desire is that all women be chaste and discreet:
Tit 2:5 to be self-controlled (discreet, sober, temperate), pure (chaste), working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
This encompasses purity and decency in character, conduct and physical apparel. To keep order in the family and for the preservation of morals and the well being of society God wants the women to keep their womanly gifts properly concealed. Only before your husband may these gifts be revealed to keep the marriage bed undefiled:
Heb 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
2 - ADAPT
(8) For man was not made from woman, but woman from man.
(9) Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
Adapting means to make fit or suitable, to adjust, modify or alter for complimentary use. Women must complement the man. That’s what counterpart means, or front (neged).
When you go work for someone, whether a company or a person, they expect you to adapt to them, not the other way around. Imagine how your boss would respond if you expected them to adapt to your ways! You would be fired and replaced quickly.
The same principle of adapting applies in the marital relationship. The woman was made for man and in order for you to be a suitable helper you must adapt and mold yourself to your man, not the other way around. A woman that wants or expects her husband to adapt to her is not fulfilling the role God created for her and thus will suffer in her marriage and be unfulfilled. This is perhaps the most challenging part for a new couple. Couples that master this, or should I say, wives that understand and accept their role are the ones that reap the best benefits in their marriage.
So, how do you learn to adapt to your husband and effectively cope with the changes in married life?
Three simple steps to ADAPT:
1- Verbally Ask – Get into the habit of asking questions.
a. Anytime your husband is doing something that offends or disturbs you, verbally communicate your feelings to him.
b. Your approach needs to be well planned and thought out. If you come across like a nag, agitating the situation it will get worse.
c. This is where you need to learn to make “I Statements” and follow them up with polite questions that would gently curb the behavior that offends you.
d. Always remember that our husband will never change by your being an agitator and a nag. Say something once, never more than twice, unless you are asked. God set forth this principle in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. It is crucial we follow it with one another and with our children to teach them obedience.
2- Mentally Accept – Accept the situation and develop a pleasant state of mind.
a. Whether your husband accepts your input but occasionally slips or simply disregards you and continues the unwanted behavior you need to continue onto this step. Here’s where most marriages either fail or excel. This is the turning point that can make or break a marriage, and it all falls on whether the woman can fulfill her role as a suitable helper subject to her husband.
b. A wife’s refusal to mentally accept her husband’s way of life is what makes her fussy and naggy.
c. Developing a pleasant state of mine is necessary for the success of your husband and even your own salvation! Isn’t this what we do for Jesus as we submit and adapt to Him?
3- Physically Adjust – adjust your activities to fit around his life.
a. You may have to fight feelings that you are being unduly imposed upon and terribly mistreated, but this is a test of your submissiveness and it will pay back richly in your married life and better yet, in your spiritual relationship with the Lord.
b. Don’t forget the influence you can have – Parable of the Wind and the Sun.
c. Keep in mind 1 Peter 3:1-6 which summarizes the first two A’s:
(1) Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives--
(2) when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
(3) Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing--
(4) but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.
(5) For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands,
(6) as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
Also remember men are not as affected by speech as women are. Women are very responsive to speech, while men are more responsive to action. Constant nagging and speaking bores a man to death and makes him even less responsive.
If you realize that all this time you’ve been a nag you need to tell your husband this and start over. Confess your sin and be an adapter. You can start over!
Step 2 to being a suitable wife is to adapt by verbally asking, mentally accepting and physically adjusting to your husband’s life.
3 - APPEASE
After the woman stays attractive for her husband and adapts to his life then she is ready to become an appeaser. An appeaser is one who satisfies an appetite or desire.
Although you may think that the man is completely independent of woman, you are about to learn how dependant on you your husband is. Of course, you won’t see it until you begin to practice godliness as a wife.
1- A woman seeking to establish an autocratic home, be obedient to God and be a helpmeet for her husband will properly provide nourishment for him.
2- A woman can use these nourishments as weapons of war or presents of peace
3- If a wife has the desire, she possesses a strong power to resurrect a dead marriage
a. By priming the Pump – Start the giving
b. As your husband’s confidence and strength are restored he will be able to give you what you need
c. You must be selfless in this process of giving of yourself, since it was you who built a wall between you and your husband.
d. If your husband simply is disobedient this process is the only one biblically guaranteeing any results (1Pe 3:1-6)
4- Be his lover – let your desires for him be pure, loyal and fulfill them as his suitable mate: Cook for him; make love to him; be with him wherever he goes and tell him daily how he is the greatest man in the world.
5- Step 3 to being a suitable wife is to appease and satisfy your husband’s desires for food, sex, companionship and admiration.
II - Be in Submission
There is no misunderstanding in God’s Word about the woman’s position they ought to maintain in the marriage relationship and even in the church: Ephesians 5:22-24; Col 3:18; 1Tim 2:12; Titus 2:5 and 1Peter 3:1-5.
1- Being a submissive wife means yielding to the power and authority of your husband.
a. When differences of opinion or judgment arise a wife is to step aside and abide by her husband’s’ decision
b. She may express her views but there is to be no shouting, pouting or bouting
c. Apply steps 1, 2 and 3 to adapting and HELP MEET his final decision
2- An obedient and submissive wife is one who willingly carries out the wishes, requests and decisions of her husband.
3- The woman must submit because God commands it.
a. It is the only way to maintain harmony in a home
b. The entire world follows the pattern of submission to maintain law and order
c. A home is confused, defective and self-destructive if it is not properly ordered.
d. Any time a woman consistently overrides her husband’s final decisions, there will eventually be sure destruction.
e. The results of a mother dominated home are devastating
i. Drug addicted teens
ii. Homosexual sons and daughters
iii. Emotionally unbalanced children
4- Consider your position as a blessing and a gift
a. You will appreciate it and treasure it
b. It is a state of mind – where true submission begins
c. There is no shame in being under the authority and power of your husband
d. The more submissive you become the more likely your husband will be open-minded to your suggestions and ideas
e. It is not dishonorable to be a woman, it is God’s order of blessing
5- Mother is a measuring rod of obedience
a. A mother’s obedience (or submission) is a living example of the obedience and subjection she can expect of the children
b. If she obeys grudgingly and with a defiant attitude, the children will follow suit with a bad attitude
6- WHAT IF??
a. There are no excuses for not following the order God has laid out and for not fulfilling the responsibilities God has assigned you as a woman, a wife and a mother.
b. Two questions for anyone who gives excuses:
i. Why did you marry the man?
ii. Have you truly been a HELPMEET for him?
iii. If you haven’t been a 3A woman his conduct may simply be a repercussion of your shortcomings or ignorance as a wife.
c. You’ve got three alternatives if you find yourself in a difficult, or what may seem impossible situation in your marriage relationship:
1. If you’ve failed to be a HELPMEET start over!
2. Your soul is in danger if you don’t follow God’s pattern of the home
3. Confess your shortcomings to your husband
4. Immediately start being a suitable wife for him
ii. Be patient and receive God’s promised blessing
1. Remember 1Peter 2:13 & 1Peter 3:1. These speak about submission unto the governing authorities and comparatively speaking, submission unto your husband (likewise…). The context here is that it doesn’t matter whether the entity we are going to submit to is good or bad, we ought to submit – it is God’s design for order.
2. The wife ought to endure, without resentment, any suffering wrongfully administered by a harsh, cruel, tough, or perverse husband.
3. God says this is acceptable and gracious (1Peter 2:20) in His sight when you suffer for doing good and you take it patiently.
iii. Withdraw from your husband’s leadership
1. 1Co 7:10-11 explains what can be done
a. You have to be on your own
b. You cannot remarry
2. After some time she can return to her husband to be reconciled
3. If no settlement is made she can separate permanently
a. You cannot marry another (Romans 7:2-3)
b. You need to stay on your own
4. There is only one justifiable cause for divorce and remarriage – adultery committed by your husband (Matthew 19:9)
a. You should not opt for this unless you are sure you have not failed to be a HELPMEET
Don’t leave the MISSION out of SUBMISSION
We’ve examined the sub in submission since it is truly important and primary to understand that the wife is to be under the husband’s oversight and willing to give in and follow his final decisions. But what about the mission in submission? What is the message it holds for a wife?
Now that we have discussed the mission of being a wife we will proceed on the last two goals which deal with your mission of motherhood and homemaking.
III - Be a Keeper at Home
(3) Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,
(4) and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,
(5) to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
1Ti 5:14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.
Working at home (oikouros: keeper of the home; housekeeper; domestically inclined; taking care of household affairs) – the mission of guarding and keeping watch for the welfare of the family members. Keeper is one who watches or guards.
Manage their household (oikodespoteo: guide the house; manage family affairs; rule the household; director of the household) – the mission of guiding and directing the affairs of the dwelling and caring for the family’s material possessions. Guide means to show the way, direct or manage.
Both of these directives have to do with the physical dwelling (oikos: dwelling, family, home, house, temple). Therefore the woman is the director of the affairs of the house, whilst her husband is the head of her and the household as well.
Both of these indicate the importance of a mother to STAY AT HOME, especially if she is taking care of the children. In order to watch and guard the children she must stay at home. Children require constant supervision and the Lord God has made it for the mother to assume this responsibility, not a babysitter or a nanny nor a day care center.
The day both parents decide to get a job; the baby sitter, school board, drug pushers, criminal elements, Police Department and the juvenile authorities adopt our children.
A mother who leaves the home and goes to work in the world of corporations:
1- Is being disobedient to God
a. God assigns the responsibility of caring for the home, which includes children, to the mother (Titus 2:3-5).
b. Disobedience weakens her spiritual influence over the children
c. They will live her inconsistency with God’s Word
2- Reduces herself to being less than 50% of a mother
a. Preparing to go to work, commuting and her time at the job will reduce her effectiveness and influence of a mother.
b. She will be competing with the influences of those who will care for the child
c. She will be emotionally, physically and spiritually deficient in her wifely and motherly duties
3- Divides her interests
a. The demands of her job will strain the attention she needs to give her husband and children, not to mention the home as a whole
b. The husband, children and the home will get her left-over time which is sub par
c. You will be a worn-out wife and mother, not a godly one
4- Doesn’t meet her child’s best interests
a. The sweet disposition and undivided attention the children, husband and home needs will be exchanged most likely for a sour disposition and a short temper, since your job will demand the best from you.
b. You won’t have patience for your children and you won’t be able to train them or discipline them effectively
c. You won’t be there for your husband’s needs either
d. God will be displeased
Why Mothers work Away from Home:
a. Understandable: sometimes we need the extra money!
b. Woman of Proverbs 31
i. Was enterprising
ii. Had her own business
iii. Didn’t abandon her duties as a mother and wife
c. There’s nothing wrong with earning extra income for the family. What matters is HOW it is done.
d. OK to earn money from within the framework of being the Keeper of the Home and the Guide of the House
e. Make sure your godly duties are fulfilled first
f. Don’t give your children, home and family your leftovers
g. If your children are grown and out of the house and you find yourself able to mange your household (your husband included) after being out at work this is fine.
h. The command to stay at home is more for the raising up of the children who need your constant attention. Again, this responsibility is given to the mother, not the day care center or teachers or baby sitters or nannies.
a. Unreasonable: There is no excuse for this!
b. Getting bored of the wifely duties of keeping and managing the home, raising, clothing and feeding your children and taking care of your husbands needs is inexcusable and unacceptable!
c. This is why Titus 2:4 commands the older women to teach the younger ones to LOVE their husbands and their children.
d. Being a good wife and a mother are not inherent skills inborn in most women. They are learned, which is why God commands the older, more experienced women to teach the younger women how to do this. This should occupy the bulk of your mentorship meetings if you mentor married women.
e. Just like disciples are made, they don’t just happen; a good wife and mother is made through instruction and obedience to God’s Word.
IV - Be the Guide of the House
1Ti 5:14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.
R 1. Are your windows shining inside and out?
R 2. Are all of your walls free of fingerprints and marks?
R 3. Have you shampooed your carpets and furniture within the last six months?
R 4. Do you make your cakes from scratch, not using box cake mixes?
R 5. Do you fix three well-balanced meals a day?
R 6. Are you caught up with all your correspondence?
R 7. Did you plant a garden last spring?
R 8. Do you can or freeze your food in the summertime?
R 9. Did you make your children’s school clothes?
R 10. Did you bake and decorate the birthday cakes for the family this past year?
R 11. Is your house garnished on the outside with beautiful flower beds?
R 12. Do you bake all of your bread?
R 13. Did you make your Christmas gifts last year?
R 14. Are all of your drawers and closets cleaned and well organized?
R 15. Is your oven clean?
R 16. Have you re-arranged your furniture in the last three months?
R 17. Are all of your recipes copied and organized in a recipe box or book?
R 18. Are your kitchen cabinets cleared and clean before you go to bed each night?
R 19. Have you shined all of your sterling pieces within the last six months?
R 20. Do you have some of your own handwork being used for wall or room decor?
R 21. Could your husband say he has not had to ask, “Where is a clean shirt, underwear, or pants?” in the last month?
R 22. Have you considered it a waste to buy disposable diapers and instead have chosen to wash cloth diapers?
R 23. Are you too interested in other things to get involved in the daytime soap operas?
R 24. Are your floors waxed and shining?
R 25. Have you washed the light fixtures throughout the house and replaced burned out bulbs in the past year?
R 26. Are all of your family snapshots well organized in albums?
R 27. Is your mending basket empty - - no holes in socks, buttons off clothes, or too-short dresses to be re-hemmed?
R 28. Is the children’s school work - - report cards, pictures, papers, and art work - - being preserved in scrap books?
R 29. Have you taken a dish of food to one who was sick or lonely in the past two months?
R 30. Are you caring for foster or adopted children in your home?