In my work as a Mental Health Counselor, I was able to have the experience of mediating between two spouses concerning their marital issues. It was often the case that a married couple would come to me with complaints about one another, and either one or both of the spouses would openly criticize the other person in my presence. As a mediator, I would try to allow both parties to speak their minds without being interrupted or criticized by the other spouse. I have always felt it necessary that spouses show the utmost love and respect for one another both in private and in the public eye. Unfortunately, in my career as a counselor as well as my own personal observation of people around me, I have noticed that some spouses do not show respect and a caring attitude toward one another when in the presence of others. This makes me wonder how these married couples respond to each other in private. I am very thankful to have a wonderful husband who treats me with love and the utmost respect in every setting, and I also strive to do the same toward him. I think that it is imperative that those who are married treat each other with kindness and respect in any situation, in public and in private.
1. Wives should always respect their husbands’ authority both in private and public. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). I have seen wives disrespect their husbands’ authority in front of others in various ways, and these actions hurt the reputation of both spouses. For instance, I have seen wives give their husbands “orders” so to speak concerning something they want their husbands to do or not do. If a wife wishes her husband to perform a certain task or to not do a particular thing, it is best that she approach the situation the same way she would if she was asking a favor from an employer at a job site. Most people would not walk up to their employers and make demands of them instead of asking politely. Therefore, if a wife wants or needs her husband to do (or not do) something, she is best to let him know by being polite and courteous in both the private and public setting.
Another way that a wife should respect her husband’s authority is to not undermine his final decision. A husband should have the final decision in all aspects of the couple’s marriage, children, and the home. A loving leader, which all husbands should strive to be, will ask his wife’s input before making a final decision on a particular issue that affects their home. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” (Ephesians 5:25). Once that final decision is made by the husband, however, it is the wife’s godly duty to go along with his decision without contesting it, even if the decision did not match her original input. For instance, if a husband sees fit that he and his family should move to another house or if a husband thinks that his children should not be allowed to do something, as long as he is leading his family according to God’s Plan, then it would not be right for the wife to go against her husband. “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement” (I Peter 3:6). A wife who becomes upset over her husband’s decision that was made in accordance with God’s Will, is just as wrong in doing so if she got upset at something God Himself instructed her to do. This goes against the popular idea in today’s society that the wife has just as much decision-making power as the husband. The wife should have a say when the husband is trying to formulate a decision on an issue, but she certainly does not have the final say.
2. Wives should not speak negatively about their husbands in public or in private. Wives need to be sure to treat their husbands with the utmost respect in private settings and in front of others. We are all held accountable for every word that we say, and we must all be sure that we do not speak ill of anyone. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). We, as wives, must show our spouses that we love them and have the highest regard for them. We, wives, should also show the utmost love toward our husbands through how we speak about them to others. A wife who “back-bites” her husband behind his back to her friends is not being a godly wife. I know of some wives who confide in their friends and other family members about the negative feelings they have for their husbands at times. Some wives will even go so far as to make jokes that demean their husbands. I have seen this happen from time to time on social media as well as in the public setting. If a wife has an issue with her husband, then the two should work things out between themselves in private. If an issue cannot be resolved in this manner, then a husband and wife should seek outside help from a fellow Christian or fellow Christians together.
A husband who is trying to lead his family in the Way of the Lord deserves a wife who treats him well both in private and in front of others. Wives who do not do this will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment because they are allowing themselves to become a stumbling block and a negative influence to others, including their spouses and children. We are instructed by God through Paul in Romans 14:13 to judge that we put not a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in our brother’s way.
3. Wives should take their roles as keepers of the home seriously. A wife who takes her role as keeper of the home seriously is a great asset to her husband. “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10). In order to take her job as keeper of the home seriously, a wife must be sure to not let anything stand in the way of taking care of the spiritual and temporal needs of her husband and children. She needs to be at home whenever her children need her to be at home, and she needs to be there for her husband when he needs her as well. A wife who puts a job, friends, or anything else in front of being physically and emotionally available to her husband and children is not taking her God-given role seriously. She will be held accountable for how well she maintained the family home, and how well she helped her husband create a godly place for their children to be raised. “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18).
A wife will also be held accountable if she does not set a godly example for her family with her words and actions. A wife should be sure to attend every worship service of the family’s home congregation that she can, barring any sickness. Her children will look to her as an example of how they should worship God, and her husband will need her help with raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Wives should make sure that they do not allow jobs, or any other secular event to get in the way of assembling with the saints (Hebrews 10:24-25). We as Christians should be excited and happy to attend worship services, and those of us who are wives should make sure that we pass this love of worshipping God onto our families! “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Psalm 122:1).
These are just a few ways that a wife can be a better Christian for herself and her family. Of course, both wives and husbands will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment by how they conducted themselves here on the earth. Wives should always strive to be the best helpmeets to their husbands and the best examples to their children that they can be! “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Proverbs 31:28). May we all work to help others reach the goal of Heaven each day that we live!