So the second priority for a wife – after her relationship of love and obedience to God – is to be a helper to her husband. Let us now look at specific instructions the Bible gives to a wife about how to be a good and godly helper to her husband.
GOD’S ORDER OF AUTHORITY
One of the clearest sets of instructions for marriage is found in Ephesians 5:22-33. For the wife, there are two specific instructions in this passage. Let us look at the first one now.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is Head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Eph 5:22-24).
God originally created both man and woman to rule to get as partners and act as stewards of the earth that God had created. “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it, have dominion [rule] over it.’” (Gen 1:28)
But both man and woman chose to rebel against God’s word; as a result, sin entered the world (Gen 3:1-7). It was at this time that God set in motion plan for redeeming mankind from the curse of sin and established a new order (Gen 3:8-21).
As part of this new redemptive order, God established levels of authority on earth. Before sin’s entrance, God had all authority, and Adam and Eve obeyed Him willingly. There was no need for human authority to be established.
But mankind’s choice to sin led to increasingly selfish and wicked behavior, which in turn led to disorder and chaos. God eventually established governments and leaders in order to maintain a righteous “rule and order on the earth until the end of the age (1 Cor 15:24).
God’s order of authority began with the husband and wife. God put the husband in a position of authority over his wife (Gen 3:16). This does not mean the husband is somehow better or superior to his wife. God, in His wisdom, instructed the husband to fulfill the role of headship, to protect his wife and lead her in godliness.
The previous article on the biblical role of the husband (page 19) clearly explains how a husband is charged by God through the Scriptures to lead his wife and family in this way.
Among the things required for a man to lead in a biblical manner, he is to:
- Be the head of the wife (1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:23)
- Provide this headship with love (Eph 5:25; Col 3:19)
- Love his wife as Christ loves the Church (Eph 5:25), with a servant heart and in a manner that honors and pleases the Lord
- Honor his wife and lead with understanding (1 Pet 3:7)
- Love his wife without bitterness (Col 3:19)
- Care for his wife as he would his own body (Eph 5:28, 29).
To love and serve his wife in this manner is a husband’s greatest responsibility and highest privilege.
THE TRUE MEANING OF SUBMISSION
Just as the husband is charged to love his wife as Christ loves the Church, the wife is charged to come under the husband’s protective covering and receive his love and headship in the home. The wife is to receive – not resist – the headship role God has given her husband. She is to follow her husband’s leadership. That is what is meant by submission (Eph 5:22).