I’ve been thinking and praying on this question for a few weeks now. As a wife, my desire is to be a Biblical one, so that my husband can have confidence in me, and so that I can be an adequate partner to my husband. But how do I become that? What is it that makes a good wife?
I’ve gotten input from lots of women (single & married) and in that, have received many different answers and opinions on this subject. Here are some I came across:
- Being a Proverbs 31 wife; having a clean home; having a stress-free, welcoming home
- Honesty and faithfulness, love and forgiveness
- Respecting the husband as the leader of the family; staying considerate of the husbands needs
- Praying for the husband
- Making him sandwiches (of course that was my husband’s lovely input, lol)
- Knowing how to delegate chores throughout the family
- Cooperation and compromise; remembering that the wife’s way isn’t the only way; not sweating the small stuff, and sometimes even the big stuff
- Not being too controlling or nagging; trust the husband and let him have the personality and interests that he pursues; respect each other
I also came across this blog The Striving Wife (be sure to read parts 2 & 3 as well). These three articles she has written on What Makes A Good Wife are awesome and spot on. These attributes of a good wife are ones to look up to and strive for.
I’m a big observer. At times I’m kind of spacey because I’m busy looking at things around me. I like to watch people, to see how they interact with other people, to different situations, etc. In my people-watching, I’ve come across different types of marriages but two (types of wives) in particular have made the biggest impression, making me wonder which I am more like, and which I should be. One is a nagging, controlling and as I’ve heard it said, micromanaging wife. And the other a loving, respectful, submissive wife.
The first wife has made us laugh on TV shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, and we’ve identified with her time and time again. But she is nagging and controlling and is the opposite of what a Biblical wife looks like. Proverbs gives it to us straight, “Better to live on a corner of the roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife” (Prov 21:9); “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife” (Prov 21:19), and “A quarrelsome wife is like the dropping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm” (Prov 27:15). When her husband asks her to do something she does so (after arguing) with resentment and rolling her eyes, if done at all. She remembers all the things he doesn’t do for her, but forgets how hard he works for her. When hanging out with her friends she complains about her husband and makes fun of him. Her husband is stressed, frustrated, and comes home from a busy workday to a nagging wife that makes him feel like he’d rather live on a corner of their roof. This wife is the source of the “ball and chain” marriage jokes or the saying that marriage is a prison sentence.
But the second wife brings joy to her husband and reflects the love of Christ. The one I look up to the most, the one I see who has the most attributes of a good wife is my friend Heather. Watching her be a wife is inspiring and convicting. She is encouraging towards her husband and submissive. “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value” (Prov 31:11), “She watches over the affairs of her household… Her children arise and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her” (Prov 31:27-28). She has patience towards her children and husband, and thinks the best of him. She is selfless in doing things for her husband and children. She notices and thanks him when he does things for her, and she knows how hard he works for her and their family. Once when I was telling Heather how alike her daughter and husband were, she said, “If Meirah turns out just like Dave, that would be great! Dave is awesome.” When talking with others about her husband, she lifts him up and talks positively of him. She is the product of a Biblical wife and worthy of honor.
So which one am I? I’m thinking a little of both… I know there are several things I need to work on. Patience and arguing come to mind. I’m big on lists, so a good to-do list is always handy to me. In reading commentaries, watching other women, and talking with them, in addition to the previous attributes I listed, I think these general attributes are ones that wives should have at the top of their to-do list:
- Be attractive for your husband – Of course your husband probably already thinks you’re attractive, but seeing you make the effort to look nice for him is very encouraging. You wouldn’t want to see him in his boxers all day every day either, so getting dressed and looking good for your husband is nice too.
- Have a clean living environment – No one wants to live in a cluttered household. Your husband’s office or workspace is probably cluttered (and if you have a job, yours probably is too), so it’s nice to come home to a clutter-free home!
- Give your husband undivided attention each day – No distractions (computer, phone, TV, kids, etc.). This seems like a no-brainer, but unfortunately it is something that gets pushed aside with our busy schedules. Make time to sit and talk with each other.
- Pick your battles, try not to complain to your husband – Don’t expect to have your way all the time. Cooperation, compromise, and patience are the source to this one. If there is something big, obviously communicate and share your concerns, but like The Striving Wife said, “minor complaints are often best kept unsaid.”
- Encourage your husband – This is huge in the eyes of men. Husbands yearn for the admiration and approval of their wives. As often as you can, give him encouragement.
- Respect your husband and submit to his authority – Biblically, your husband is the leader of your household, be respectful of that. You and your husband will have disagreements and it is important to communicate your thoughts, but to do so with respect. His decision in the end, though should be submitted to. Your submissiveness should be done respectfully and without complaining. Just like you, he isn’t perfect so if he makes the wrong decision, stay a partnership and don’t say, “I told you so!”
- Pray for your husband – This is probably the most important thing you can do. Pray for his leadership, for his work, for his relationship with God, and for your marriage.
A woman I respect a lot sent me this message on being a good wife, I thought it was great and should be added to this post:
“It is my experience that it is important not to be too controlling… Trust the husband and let him have a personality and interests that he pursues. I know so many women who don’t like to “let” their husbands go play golf (or fish, or hunt, or play poker, or whatever their hobby is) because it takes away from their time together. But even though he is a husband, he is still a person, too and has interests. I believe that is why we hear so many joking about the “old ball and chain” or marriage is a “prison sentence”. Don’t let the husband feel that way, any more than you would want to feel that way. Now, I think it is appropriate for him to tell you or discuss with you when he is going to do something, particularly if it involves family finances or may interfere with another scheduled item – and the same goes for the wife. In other words, respect each other…”