You know, so often we look at men and there’s something about their physical size and brute strength, their ability to go out and crash through problems. It’s easy to make the mistake and think that it’s the man who’s the strongest force in marriage and in a family. Well maybe that’s true. But you know something, there’s another ‘tour de force’ in the home. It may not be quite as obvious but it’s there. And it’s to be found in the wife and the mother.
So many of the women I know, and I’m sure you’re the same, they work so tirelessly to bring up children and to nurture them, to keep the family together. And it’s their strength that’s so easily missed. The fact that it is missed, that women so often, are undervalued in the family I think is one of the reasons that so many women decide to call it quits and pull up stakes from their marriages in their middle years.
The reality is that most divorces are initiated these days by women rather than men because there’s a sense that they lose their own identities in their families. They feel under-valued and misunderstood and eventually something has to give. It’s sad but true.
I want to have a chat today about turning this negative into a positive; about valuing the role of the wife and the mother in a way that brings great blessing to our families because wives/mothers, you have an amazing role to play in building a Godly family.
Today it’s time to talk about the wife, the mother and the incredible asset she can be to being the glue that binds the family into a working unit; the one who makes the home a nurturing environment.
In a sense the natural call of a man is to go out and bring money and food into the home. And the natural call of the woman is to use that to provide the home; to make the home a home.
Now it’s not quite as neatly polarised as that anymore these days. Wives and mothers also go out to work in many cultures. But in terms of the call on our hearts, it is very true that the man’s focus is on the hunting and gathering thing, if you like, and the woman’s focus is on building the home.
The problem is and this is what I was alluding to at the beginning of the program that so often the woman feels used and abused. And on top of that, these days in many places and cultures, as I said, she’s expected to go out and earn an income as well. Little wonder she feels used and abused.
I mean, in Australia many women work but they also do the lion’s share of the housework rather than their men. As though that’s any surprise to us.
So often the Christian or the Biblical view of male/female relationships can seem kind of old fashioned. We are, after all, living in the 21st century, are we not? How can we be talking about wives obeying their husbands and women being the weaker sex? What an outdated view of things!
And yet, you know, the more I delve into what the Bible has to say about men and women – male/female relationships; husbands and wives – the more I realise that, whilst maybe we wouldn’t use quite the same language if we were writing it today, what God has to say about families and husbands and wives – when you dig beneath the language that offends our 21st century sensibilities and go to the heart of what’s being said – it’s as true today as it was way back when it was written.
Have a listen to this. It comes from the New Testament, 1 Peter chapter 3 verse 7:
“Husbands, in the same way show consideration for your wives in your life together. Paying honour to the woman as the weaker sex since they too are also heirs to the gracious gift of life, so that nothing may hinder your prayers.”
The ‘weaker sex’ thing makes me smile. Women after all are the ones who have the babies. And the very thought of having a baby is enough to send me into a cold sweat. I mean I go weak at the knees at the thought of what it must be like for a woman to give birth. And then the Bible calls them the weaker sex. Isn’t it a bit chauvinistic do you think? Hmm, well actually what the original Greek language that sits behind our English translation says is that they are the ‘weaker vessel’.
This is how I picture it. You know those great big metal aluminium cans that they have when they milk cows. Have you ever seen them on television? Or maybe you live in a rural setting. That’s what the man’s like, this big, strong, knockabout strength, kind of robustness about him. And on the other side, you have a beautiful, exquisite vase, infinitely more beautiful, small and delicate and valuable, sitting on the mantelpiece.
See men, they play football and all those sorts of games that crunch their bones together. It’s not really a girl thing is it? Women, on the other hand, are delicate. They’re much more emotional creatures, for the most part, than we men are.
And what Peter’s writing here, to the blokes, is this. ‘Just because you appear stronger on the outside; just because you’ve got it in your heads that you’re bigger, better, stronger; (and this was particularly relevant in the male dominated, patriarchal society that he was writing in) just because you’ve got this macho picture in your head, don’t you, for one minute, even begin to think that you are somehow better or more valuable in God’s sight. In fact, you had better honour her.’
You know what that means? Firstly and foremostly, to value her and then to pay deference and reverence to her. This is very strong language and there’s a sting in the end of this sage bit of advice to us men. Have another listen. 1 Peter Chapter 3 verse 7:
“Husbands, in the same way show consideration for your wives in your life together. Paying honour to the woman as the weaker sex since they too are also heirs of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing may hinder your prayers.”
Look at that last bit, the sting in the tail. Look at how seriously God takes this. ‘You’d better do this’, says God, ‘so that nothing may hinder your prayers’.
People, women play such an amazing role in building a Godly family and bringing about peace in the home. But to those of you who are women, I want you to hear how seriously God takes you. How much He cares for you. How much He doesn’t mince His words when He is standing up for you.
It is time for some women in this world, the sort that when they’re asked what they do they say, ‘Oh, I’m only a housewife’. It is time for you to stand up and to realise how precious you are in God’s sight. It is time for you to know how seriously He takes you and it is time for you to realise how incredibly, incredibly important your gentleness and your commitment to your children and your commitment to your husband and your home really is in building a godly home.
See, in my heart, I think of my wife, Jacqui, as the pillar of our family. She’s the one that binds us all together. While I’m out there being the hunter and gatherer, she is binding the family together so that when I come home, there is in fact a family to provide for and to protect and to be with.
The wife and the mother, you are so much a part of God’s plan for building godly homes. Please. Please, please, please do us all a favour. Don’t ever forget that even when the rest of us maybe don’t say thankyou quite often enough.
This article was originally posted at christianityworks.com