I quickly confessed my lack of mastery regarding husbandry in the previous post. When it comes to the wife side of the house I do consider myself a proven expert. That is sarcasm, by the way. My sarcasm often gets me in trouble, and here with the written word I have to be very careful.
I have often thought if a marriage is pursuing biblical obedience, the wife has the most difficult role. From the beginning of time we see the picture of a marital power struggle. Let’s think about this for a moment… God created harmony in marriage to be found when the husband is pursuing Christ, then leading and encouraging his wife to journey with him. But the great sin of husbandry since the first husband, Adam, is the sin of leadership abdication. So, where the leadership of the husband is absent the wife is left in a significant dilemma.
I have often said that submission is a joyful pursuit in a marriage where the husband is leading biblically. In these circumstances, the growing relationship with Jesus and continued conviction of the Holy Spirit creates a trajectory of maturity and intimacy (both spiritually and physically). These marriages will still experience difficulty, but they possess all of the tools (and weapons) to persevere those difficulties in a healthy way.
Unfortunately, there are many homes where the husband’s leadership is absent. These are the stories of heartbreak for me. Even as the design of marriage is grossly damaged, the biblical call to the wife is to submit to her husband (1 Peter 3:1). There are some obvious boundaries to this such as not following a wayward husband into blatant sin. This is such a difficult idea because the Bible doesn’t give wives the loophole to only submit when her husband is doing everything correctly. Even in his unfaithfulness to the Lord and his abdication of leadership, the call is to submit.
This is where we have to rest and hope in Jesus. If we believe, truly believe, in a sovereign God who works as his Word says that he works, then we must believe that He is working through the painstaking faithful-obedience of the wife. Peter describes a manner of God’s work in the marriage which indicates that He works to change the heart of the husband through the submission of the wife. Oh my… what a difficult path of faithfulness. Regardless of male or female, when we see a lack of leadership we often want to supply the missing element to restore harmony.
In the eyes of our Creator, harmony is only found in the obedience of his word. So although it seems antithetical, the call is to continue in obedience and let God work in ways that only he can. Wives, pursue Jesus with your husbands. Pray for his leadership and encourage him in the ways that lead your home. As times become difficult, fight the urge to lead in his absence and cling to the promises and faithfulness of your God. He is faithful and will work in ways greater than you could even imagine.
Wives, I would love for you to share how you feel God has stretched and grown you in this area… Are there areas where this biblical picture of marriage has come easy or difficult?