A Trustworthy Wife
Marriage has many enemies. It is so foundational to God’s design that we should not be surprised when the world, the flesh, and the devil rage against it. Marriage is a means to new life and order, a place where we learn about servant leadership and humble submission. It is the picture God created to display covenant love and sacrifice, Christ and his church. The devil wants to kill it, the world wants to pervert it, and the flesh wants to consume it.
Our defense of the institution on a macro level will prove impotent if we do not start in our own homes and hearts. I often wonder how much farther good theological defenses would go if coupled with more positive examples to copy. A godly marriage looks like something. For instance, in Proverbs 31, we find first that the excellent wife is trustworthy: “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.” (Prov 31:11) So, what does a trustworthy wife look like in particular? A husband trusts a godly wife to:
1. Spend his provision wisely. Men don’t eat bank notes and kids don’t wear numbers in a computer system. A series of exchanges must occur to go from a husband’s labor, to money, to bread on the table, warm blankets on the beds, and books for the children. A trustworthy wife will make the connection from the things she buys all the way back to the labor that provided it. He trusts her not to spend his hard work on frivolities or anything that would work against him (Prov 31:12). He is encouraged by her thankfulness and recognition of the weight he bears to provide for his family (1 Tim 5:8).
2. Manage with self-control (Titus 2). Managing a home can come with a lot of freedom. When your accountability partners are knee high, can’t tell time, and would never complain about eating cookies for breakfast, you have an increased responsibility to self-govern. The Lord alone sees our extended time on Facebook, the gossipy conversation on the phone, or the lackadaisical discipline of the children. A husband is trusting his wife to discharge her duties as one under the watchful eye of her heavenly Father.
3. Keep him covered. One sure way to do your husband harm is to go around blabbing about his sin to others. One of the first acts of God’s grace to Adam and Eve was to make them clothes to cover their shame (Gen 3). The intimacy of marriage exposes each to the other’s nakedness physically and metaphorically. It is a position of great vulnerability and the trustworthy wife will keep her husband clothed. (note: I’m not talking about covering up sin that may need to go the police, or that there may not come a time when discretion would compel you to seek the wise counsel of an elder.)
4. Not enable him in his sin. By keeping him covered, she will not sweep him under the rug. Rather, by fearing the Lord more than her husband and by her own good works, it is her sweet duty and privilege to be the one to win him back to the path of Wisdom when he struggles along the way (1 Pt 3). A husband who trusts that his wife is committed to his growth in holiness more than the growth of his net worth is a man free to take risk and dominion in the Kingdom of God.
5. Share his vision. I often find the best place to start my study of being a Godly wife is to study the requirements to be an obedient husband. Far from feeling oppressed or jealous of his authority, I’m humbled by the weight of his responsibility. If you’ve ever led anything be it your kids, a bible study group, a team at work or school, you’ve likely learned that nothing is more frustrating than a vision usurper. A husband who can trust his wife, will not have to worry that she is marching off in her own direction, undermining the plan that he will be held accountable for (Num 30). More than that, he will trust her to be a woman rooted in the word that is able to help him shape and sharpen the vision with good questions and wise counsel.
When we live out our marriages by the power of the gospel in obedience to the Word, the world will start to see more than a nice sentiment with a few arbitrary rules; they’ll see purpose, gospel dependence, and hope.