Dear Over Achiever,
I am a faithful reader of your blog. I am a Christian woman and I have been married for 10 years. As I seek to honor God in my marriage, I often feel like a failure. I don’t feel like I measure up, but I’m not really sure what standard I should be using to measure myself. What does a godly wife look like and how do I know if God is pleased with me as a wife?
Dear Over Achiever,
Thank you for your honest question! Personally, it is refreshing and encouraging. I also hope your question is one that all wives ask as they seek to honor God in their life. I appreciate that you are not wanting to measure up to the world’s standard of a “good wife,” but instead want to fully embrace God’s standard of “godly wife.” I love your heart, sweet sister! I hope my response helps.
What is God’s standard for wives? The Word of God speaks of wives many times in both the new and old testaments. I’m going to highlight four qualities and verses that resonate with me – they guide me as I strive to be a godly wife too! I’ll list others at the bottom of the letter so that you can mediate and pray over each one and allow the Holy Spirit to convict you or affirm your efforts.
First, I think we are required to be our husband’s FRIEND.
“A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike;
to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one's right hand.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:15-17).”
I have always hated that these verses were lumped together in the 27th chapter of Proverbs. Nevertheless, I do believe that this was done deliberately. I believe that God wants wives to see the contrast between being a “drippy faucet” in our husband’s universe and being a blade of iron that helps to sharpen him. One wife uses correction to belittle their spouse; the other uses the Word of God as a sword to help her spouse grow in his pursuit of holiness. The BIG difference between these two approaches is the condition of the wife’s heart. It almost always is, huh?
Ponder this question: Am I acting as someone who has been inconvenienced by my spouse, or as their best friend committed to a lifelong relationship and walking hand-in-hand toward an eternity with Jesus?
The answer may sting a little, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can handle the truth.
I have always appreciated this quote, “A true friend stabs you in the front.” Fake friends don’t bother, but true friends desire you to be the best you can be. This makes sense to me for my friendships with my fellow sisters in Christ and with my relationships with the ladies I disciple. And, it should make sense in my marriage too! I am a good friend to my husband when I speak to him truth that is wrapped in love. I am an enemy to my husband when I only nag, belittle and criticize him in order to gain control. So, my sister, speak to your husband only truth that is wrapped in love!
Now, this will require work and energy on your part. And if you are not currently “friends” with your spouse, this needs to become your priority. Men want a recreational component to their friendships, so you may have to take up golf, or pick up a fishing pole, but your investment will be worth it! After your time on the golf course or in the fishing boat, as the two of you laugh about the good time you shared, you become better friends. And perhaps more important, you become a confidant to your husband! Then you can become the one who can wield the iron to sharpen your husband, rather than being only noisy drips from a leaky roof.
Second, we are called to be LOVING.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).”
God is love, so being a godly wife is a loving pursuit! I could have included the entire 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, because it all applies, but I think the crux for wives is in verses 4 and 5. There are some parts of these verses that smack me in the face every time I read them. I am often envious. I want what God has blessed someone else with, and this can make my husband sad. It can imply that my husband is not enough, when the truth is a problem within my own heart. When God fills my heart, envy isn’t possible. The next thing that often convicts me is the record-keeping aspect of marriage. I have a very good memory. I can remember every little detail of everything. Sadly, the things my husband has done wrong in the past are “etch-a-sketched” into my brain. So, I have to rely on the Holy Spirit to help me fully forgive and forget each and every thing he has done so that I do not play the role of historian in our fights and remind him of his shortcomings. You are on the way to being a godly wife as you fill your heart with God’s love so that it will overflow to your hubby and your entire family!
Next, we must prove ourselves to be TRUSTWORTHY.
“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm, all the days of her life (Proverbs 31:11-12).”
A godly wife is trustworthy. She can be trusted. And, she trusts her husband’s heart. She has her man’s back, every day, even when she is aggravated at him. She never plans revenge, but forgives him, encourages him, prays for him, and loves him well. She speaks well of him to friends, family and people in the workplace. She lives a life dedicated to being her husband’s closest ally. These are easier written then done, because we are all married to sinners. Nevertheless, this doesn’t change God’s desire for us. God wants the love and honor we have for our husband to remind people around us about the love Jesus has for his church, and about the love the church has for Jesus! Our trustworthiness is less about our husband than it is about our own love for God!
Last but not least, we must always be KIND.
“To be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled (Titus 2:5).”
The two verses before this one sets the stage. Verses 3-4 have instructions for an older godly wife to teach younger wives how to be self-controlled, submissive and kind. God knew this would be a hard journey, so He included in His word an on-ramp for the task of being a Godly wife – an older sister to walk with you. I know this doesn’t happen in all churches and for reasons I can’t quite understand, but I believe that if you pray about it and seek God He will direct you to a willing sister who will show you how to treat your spouse with kindness and love. She will show you how to submit through a transparent life that honors your husband. She will encourage you to work hard at keeping your home afloat and how to enjoy doing even little things through the power of the Holy Spirit. A Godly older sister will always grab your hand and pray with you over each struggle. And, she knows that any success she has had herself is because of the Spirit of God living in her, and not because of her own skill or strength. And reader, if you are that older sister realize the great gift you are giving younger sisters and embrace this Biblical role! 😊
Thank you for writing, sweet reader! It was a pleasure to read your letter and ponder your question. I hope my response helps point you in the right direction. If you are human, you are a sinner like me and you probably don’t meet the standard every day. But God does not condemn those of us who believe in Him (Romans 8:1) and try to walk the difficult path of surrender. So give your self a pat on the back and go find that “older” sister; let her help you become the godly wife your husband desires!
Stay Washed in the Word, sweet sister!
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life (Psalms 143:8).”
More verses to meditate on your pursuit of being a Godly wife:
1 Timothy 3:5
1 Peter 3:1-6
1Corinthians 7: 3-5