As a wife, you are uniquely qualified to fully meet your husband’s needs and cause him to “rejoice in the wife of his youth” (Proverbs 5:18). In His Word, God clearly establishes the responsibilities of a husband and a wife. (See Genesis 3:16, Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-19, and I Peter 3:1-7.) It is the wife’s responsibility to honor and reverence her husband.
1. A man needs a wife who is loyal and supportive.
Helping her husband fulfill his goals and dreams is a wife’s main responsibility. Remember that you are to support his vision—he establishes the goals and priorities for your family. A foolish wife will crush her husband’s spirit by resisting his decisions, and God will hold her accountable for disobedience to His instructions. (See Ephesians 5:22-24.) If your husband’s goals are not in harmony with Scripture, you should make a wise appeal.
Realize that your husband’s perspective is different than yours.
A man’s goals often involve long-range achievement. Therefore, a man is willing to sacrifice short-term convenience in order to meet an important long-term goal. However, a wife’s perspective usually centers on short-term goals associated with her responsibilities in the family and home. During times of pressure, a wife should keep the “big picture” in mind. Accept difficult situations from God without giving Him a deadline to remove them.
Encourage your husband.
Encourage your husband not to give up on God-given goals. Urge him to verbalize his dreams and hopes, and give him your wholehearted support. Ask him how you can help him reach his goals. If your husband fails to set goals or give direction to you and your family, pray for him and trust God to work in his life. (See Proverbs 3:5-7.)
Be enthusiastic about your husband’s achievements. Sharing his excitement is more important than sharing his work. Your husband needs and wants your faithful, loyal, and enthusiastic support.
Believe in your husband—no matter what.
Loyalty can be demonstrated only in adversity. A husband needs to know that his wife is committed to him no matter what and that she will look first to him for counsel and direction. Use difficult times to reflect the depth of your commitment to your husband, and do not ask others for counsel without his permission.
A wife is never supposed to “take over.”
In response to pressures within the family or within a marital relationship, a foolish wife will take matters into her own hands. When you intrude into one area of responsibility, even with the “good” motive of meeting urgent needs, your husband will most likely surrender other responsibilities as well. Initially, it may appear that you succeed in fulfilling responsibilities that should be carried out by your husband. However, in the long run, the decision to usurp or ignore your husband’s responsibility to meet those needs will do much more harm than good. (See Proverbs 14:1.)
It’s God’s job to convict your husband—not yours.
Purpose not to become your husband’s conscience. Wisely appeal wrong decisions, and then give him room to fail. Be loyal, faithful, and enduring. Trust in God to work everything together for good. (See Romans 8:28.)
Seek your husband’s advice first.
A wife should demonstrate loyalty to her husband’s wishes, goals, and standards. Therefore, when a need arises, you should seek your husband’s guidance and counsel first, especially in regard to family issues, rather than seeking advice from other family members and friends.
If you have questions about spiritual matters, you should first take them to your husband. If the two of you are unable to find the answers, then request help from wiser, more mature believers, such as your pastor, parents, or other mentors. (See I Corinthians 14:35.)
Enjoy the privilege of physical intimacy.
God grants spouses full access to each other’s bodies for sexual gratification. “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other . . .” (I Corinthians 7:3-5; see also Ephesians 5:24 and Colossians 3:17-19). Resistance or indifference to your husband’s need for physical intimacy is the unspoken crushing of his spirit.
2. A man needs a wife who honors his leadership.
Scripture instructs a wife to reverence her husband. (See Ephesians 5:33.) What does that mean? To reverence a husband means “to respect, defer to, revere him; to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy him.”
Honor your husband’s God-given authority.
When a wife observes her husband’s weaknesses, it can be difficult to reverence him, but God requires every wife to reverence her husband because of his God-given position of authority as her husband. The Lord will direct your life through your husband’s leadership and protection. As you reverence your husband—voluntarily and sincerely adore and be devoted to him—God will bless you. That is the plan, and it works. Trust God. Reverence your husband. (See I Peter 3:1-6.)
Express appreciation and admiration for your husband’s Godliness.
Spiritual leadership encompasses more than praying, reading the Bible, and witnessing. It involves inward strength of character that is demonstrated by standing for what is right. Whenever a man refuses to compromise Scriptural convictions, he deserves the highest praise and admiration from his wife. Let your husband hear you praise him to others.
Express your confidence in your husband.
God works through a husband’s decisions, whether they are good decisions or bad decisions. Bad decisions reveal a man’s needs and give his wife the opportunity to appeal and to grow in Godly character such as faith, patience, and forgiveness. (See Colossians 3:12-18, I Thessalonians 5:15, and Ephesians 4:31-32.) Reassure your husband of your confidence in him and in the Lord. Pray for him; tell your husband how God is working in your life through his leadership. (See I Thessalonians 5:12-13.)
Help your husband understand your needs.
Often, a wife assumes that her husband knows what protection she needs. However, most men need direction on how to protect a wife. It is important for you to tell your husband about your hidden fears, pressures, and weaknesses and to suggest things that he can do to provide protection for you physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Ask him to pray for you and with you, especially when you are going through times of temptation, discouragement, or pressure.
Submission to your husband is a reflection of your faith in God.
The Bible speaks of holy women of old whose subjection to a husband’s leadership was a demonstration of their faith in God. (See I Peter 3:5.)
For example, Abraham failed to protect his wife Sarah (see Genesis 12:10-20 and Genesis 20), yet she still “obeyed Abraham, calling him lord” (I Peter 3:6a). Sarah trusted God to meet her needs through her authority (Abraham), and God worked supernaturally on Sarah’s behalf to protect her from harm. That verse goes on to exhort all wives to follow her example: “. . . Whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well [“be a well-doer . . . as a duty”], and are not afraid with any amazement” (I Peter 3:6b).
Don’t undermine your husband’s leadership.
Proverbs 14:1 says, “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” A foolish wife can—either unknowingly or deliberately—crush her husband’s spirit by making foolish choices. For example, if you seek to be financially independent, your self-sufficiency can crush your husband’s spirit. God gave your husband the responsibility to provide for his family. A wise wife will trust God to provide for her family’s needs through her husband’s leadership.
3. A man needs a wife who develops inward and outward beauty.
Every woman wants to be the wife of her husband’s dreams. The inward qualities of a meek spirit and quiet spirit are the keys to genuine attractiveness. “Let it [your adorning] be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek [mild, humble] and quiet [undisturbed and undisturbing] spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (I Peter 3:4).
Learn to have a meek and quiet spirit.
A wife demonstrates a meek and quiet spirit when she yields all her personal rights and expectations to God and is sincerely thankful for things that are done for her. A wife must be confident that “all things work together for good to them that love God . . .” (Romans 8:28). As you put your trust in the Lord, you can walk in peace, without worry or fear.
To develop a meek and quiet spirit you should:
- Understand the difference between your rights (what you expect or deserve from others) and your responsibilities (what you need to do).
- Yield your rights and expectations to God.
- Fulfill your responsibilities faithfully and diligently, regardless of what others are doing or failing to do. (See Proverbs 31:10-31.)
- Grow in Godly character by properly responding to disappointments. (See Colossians 3:12-18.)
- Practice contentment and gratefulness. (See Philippians 4:11-13 and I Timothy 6:6-12.)
Be conscious of your potential influence in your family.
The home is a symbol of the husband’s wisdom, provision, and protection, but the wife’s spirit sets the mood of the home. It is essential for a wife to promote an atmosphere of peace in the home. (See Psalm 34:14, II Corinthians 13:11, and Colossians 3:15.) Work toward that goal by keeping your home free of clutter, training the children to be orderly, and requesting needed home repairs promptly.
As you carefully evaluate the needs, schedules, and resources available to your family, you will become an efficient helpmate. By coordinating family activities and responsibilities, you will eliminate tension and help establish a calm household.
Stay beautiful for your husband.
In addition to nurturing a meek and quiet spirit inwardly, a wife should strive to maintain her outward beauty as well. A wife should dress to please her husband. She should have a joyful countenance and select clothing that draws attention to it. A wife should always be well groomed.
Practice self-control, especially in the area of diet.
God is concerned about the bondage of overeating and gluttony, and many wives struggle with the issue of self-control, especially after giving birth to children. Weight control requires consistent conformity to God’s principles of living.
Let God and your husband know you care about your weight. Ask your husband to help you identify and remove hindrances to weight control, such as unhealthy foods, poor meal schedules, medical problems, or bitterness. Work together to accomplish specific goals. Your efforts to stay healthy and physically fit will bless your husband.
4. A man needs a wife who will make appeals, not demands.
If a wife discerns that her husband is going to cause damage to the Lord’s reputation, to their family, to others, or to himself, she should appeal to him, following proper guidelines:
- Be in right standing with God and your husband. (See Matthew 7:21 and Romans 10:9-11.)
- Use the right basis for the appeal: your husband’s reputation, goals, or authority. (See Matthew 6:9-13.)
- Discern the right timing. (See Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7.)
- Thoroughly present accurate facts. (See James 4:3.)
- Have right attitudes. (See Matthew 6:15 and Psalm 51:10.)
- Choose the right wording. (See Psalm 19:14, Ephesians 4:29, and Ecclesiastes 5:2.)
- Respond with grace to your husband’s decision.
Your husband’s success should be the motivation for your appeal.
Concern for your husband’s reputation, goals, or authority should be the motivation for your appeal. You should explain your needs and concerns without condemning him, wait for the right timing to present the appeal, and then respond to his final decision with a meek and quiet spirit.
Serve your husband well.
If you fail to demonstrate loyalty, genuine love, and a servant’s heart, your appeal will probably not be accepted. (See I Peter 3:1-6.) However, when a wife does demonstrate those attitudes, she will have tremendous influence with her husband.
Guard your heart and your mouth.
Ask your husband to tell you when he senses that you have a resistant spirit, and then repent and ask for his forgiveness. Gain insights from the examples of Godly women in Scripture who made appeals, such as Esther. (See Esther 3-9.)
Do not discredit your husband, like Abigail discredited her husband when she appealed to King David (see I Samuel 25:25), because in the future those who react to your husband can easily distort and misuse your words to bring dishonor to him.
5. A man needs a wife who understands his need for time alone with God.
A man needs time to be alone with the Lord. If you react and feel rejected when your husband takes time to be alone with the Lord, you will frustrate him. The richer a man’s fellowship with God is, the sweeter a man’s fellowship with his wife and family will be.
Recognize the benefits of his time alone.
Every man should have a private meeting place where he can fellowship with God without interruptions or distractions. A man’s desire to be alone with God does not indicate rejection of his wife but rather provides him with an opportunity to gain a broader perspective on life and to be refreshed spiritually.
Encourage your husband to establish a quiet place where he can study, pray, read, and think. Increase your prayers for your husband when he is seeking the Lord. Encourage your husband to share with the family that which God is teaching him. Offer to share burdens that affect his spirit over long periods of time. (See Galatians 6:2.)
6. A man needs a grateful wife.
Expectations destroy gratefulness. Gratefulness is the basis of joyfulness, and a joyful wife is a crown to her husband. (See Proverbs 12:4.) An unhappy wife is a public rebuke to him. A husband feels like a prisoner of his wife’s expectations if she does not release them to the Lord. (See Psalm 62:5.)
Frequently express sincere gratitude.
A wife should continually be expressing sincere gratitude for the loving provision of her husband rather than continually reminding him of his shortcomings and failures. To develop a grateful spirit, you should expect nothing and learn to be appreciative of each little expression of your husband’s love.
Thank your husband for the things he is currently doing for you. Point out your husband’s strengths and encourage him to further develop them, for the glory of God. Praise your husband for wisely avoiding worldly traps and for making righteous decisions.
Become a virtuous woman.
Memorize the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23, and then visualize how the struggles and joys of your marriage can help you develop Godly qualities. Trust God to work all things together for your good, your husband’s good, and your family’s good. (See Romans 8:28.)
7. A man needs a wife who will be praised by others.
When a woman is praised for her character and for her good works, she brings honor to her husband and to the Lord. “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:30-31).
Several passages of Scripture describe the traits of a Godly woman, especially Proverbs 31:10-31, Titus 2:3-5, and I Timothy 5:9-10, 14. You would be wise to carefully study these passages and make it your goal to adhere to the standards they set forth so “that the Word of God be not blasphemed [i.e., vilified, defamed]”(Titus 2:5) and you will not “give occasion to the adversary [Satan] to speak reproachfully” (I Timothy 5:14). As a Godly wife, you will be given strength and honor, and you “shall rejoice in time to come” (Proverbs 31:25).
You can become a Godly wife.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her . . . . She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:10-12).
You can become a virtuous wife, doing your husband good and not evil all the days of his life. As you meet your husband’s needs, you will bring glory to God, and the heart of your husband will trust in you. Your husband will “rejoice in the wife of his youth!”