Each Has Individual Responsibilities. --The two who unite their interest in
life will have distinct characteristics and individual responsibilities. Each
one will have his or her work, but women are not to be valued by the amount of
work they can do as are beasts of burden. The wife is to grace the family circle
as a wife and companion to a wise husband. At every step she should inquire,
"Is this the standard of true womanhood?" and, "How shall I make
may influence Christlike in my home?" The husband should let his wife know
that he appreciates her work.
The wife is to respect her husband. The husband is to love and cherish his
wife; and as their marriage vow unites them as one, so their belief in Christ
should make them one in Him. What can be more pleasing to God than to see those
who enter into the marriage relation seek together to learn of Jesus and to
become more and more imbued with His Spirit?
You now have duties to perform that before your marriage you did not have.
"Put on therefore, . . . kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness,
longsuffering." "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us."
Give careful study to the following instruction: "Wives, submit yourselves
unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the
wife, even as Christ is the head of the church. . . . Therefore as the church is
subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave
Himself for it."
God's Instruction to Eve. --Eve was told of the sorrow and pain that must
henceforth be her portion. And the Lord said, "Thy desire shall be to thy
husband, and he shall rule over thee." In the creation, God had made her
the equal of Adam. Had they remained obedient to God--in harmony with His great
law of love--they would ever have been in harmony with each other; but sin had
brought discord, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved
only by submission on the part of the one or the other. Eve had been the first
in transgression; and she had fallen into temptation by separating from her
companion, contrary to the divine direction. It was by her solicitation that
Adam sinned, and she was now placed in subjection to her husband. Had the
principles enjoined in the law of God been cherished by the fallen race, this
sentence, though growing out of the results of sin, would have proved a blessing
to them; but man's abuse of the supremacy thus given him has too often rendered
the lot of woman very bitter, and made her life a burden.
Eve had been perfectly happy by her husband's side in her Eden home; but,
like restless modern Eves, she was flattered with the hope of entering a higher
sphere than that which God had assigned her. In attempting to rise above her
original position, she fell far below it. A similar result will be reached by
all who are unwilling to take up cheerfully their life duties in accordance with
Wives Submit; Husbands Love. --The question is often asked, "Shall a
wife have no will of her own?" The Bible plainly states that the husband is
the head of the family. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own
husbands." If this injunction ended here, we might say that the position of the wife is not an enviable one; it is a very hard and
trying position in very many cases, and it would be better were there fewer
marriages. Many husbands stop at the words, "Wives, submit
yourselves," but we will read the conclusion of the same injunction, which
is. "As it is fit in the Lord."
God requires that the wife shall keep the fear and glory of God ever before
her. Entire submission is to be made only to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has
purchased her as His own child by the infinite price of His life. God has given
her a conscience, which she cannot violate with impunity. Her individuality
cannot be merged into that of her husband, for she is the purchase of Christ. It
is a mistake to imagine that with blind devotion she is to do exactly as her
husband says in all things, when she knows that in so doing, injury would be
worked for her body and her spirit, which have been ransomed from the slavery of
Satan. There is One who stands higher than the husband to the wife; it is her
Redeemer, and her submission to her husband is to be rendered as God has
directed--"as it is fit in the Lord."
When husbands require the complete subjection of their wives, declaring that
women have no voice or will in the family, but must render entire submission,
they place their wives in a position contrary to the Scripture. In interpreting
the Scripture in this way, they do violence to the design of the marriage
institution. This interpretation is made simply that they may exercise arbitrary
rule, which is not their prerogative. But we read on, "Husbands, love your
wives, and be not bitter against them." Why should the husband be bitter
against his wife? If the husband has found her erring and full of faults,
bitterness of spirit will not remedy the evil.
Wives Subject Only As Husbands Are Subject to Christ. --The Lord Jesus has
not been correctly represented in His relation to the church by many husbands in
their relation to their wives, for they do not keep the way of the Lord. They
declare that their wives must be subject to them in everything. But it was not
the design of God that the husband should have control, as head of the house,
when he himself does not submit to Christ. He must be under the rule of Christ
that he may represent the relation of Christ to the church. If he is a coarse,
rough, boisterous, egotistical, harsh, and overbearing man, let him never utter
the word that the husband is the head of the wife, and that she must submit to
him in everything; for he is not the Lord, he is not the husband in the true
significance of the term. . . .
Husbands should study the pattern and seek to know what is meant by the
symbol presented in Ephesians, the relation Christ sustains to the church. The
husband is to be as a Saviour in his family. Will he stand in his noble,
God-given manhood, ever seeking to uplift his wife and children? Will he breathe
about him a pure, sweet atmosphere? Will he not as assiduously cultivate the
love of Jesus, making it an abiding principle in his home, as he will assert his
claims to authority?
Let every husband and father study to understand the words of Christ, not in
a one-sided manner, merely dwelling upon the subjection of the wife to her
husband, but in the light of the cross of Calvary, study as to his own position
in the family circle. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved
the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with
the washing of water by the word." Jesus gave Himself up to die upon the
cross in order that He might cleanse and keep us from all sin and pollution by the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Mutual Forbearance Is Needed. --We must have the Spirit of God, or we can
never have harmony in the home. The wife, if she has the spirit of Christ, will
be careful of her words; she will control her spirit, she will be submissive,
and yet will not feel that she is a bondslave, but a companion to her husband.
If the husband is a servant of God, he will not lord it over his wife; he will
not be arbitrary and exacting. We cannot cherish home affection with too much
care; for the home, if the Spirit of the Lord dwells there, is a type of heaven.
. . . If one errs, the other will exercise Christlike forbearance and not draw
Neither the husband nor the wife should attempt to exercise over the other an
arbitrary control. Do not try to compel each other to yield to your wishes. You
cannot do this and retain each other's love. Be kind, patient, and forbearing,
considerate, and courteous. By the grace of God you can succeed in making each
other happy, as in your marriage vow you promised to do.
Let Each Graciously Yield. --In the married life men and women sometimes act
like undisciplined, perverse children. The husband wants his way, and the wife
wants her way, and neither is willing to yield. Such a condition of things can
bring only the greatest unhappiness. Both husband and wife should be willing to
yield his or her way or opinion. There is no possibility of happiness while they
both persists in doing as they please.
Unless men and women have learned of Christ, His meekness and lowliness, they
will reveal the impulsive, unreasonable spirit so often revealed by children.
The strong, undisciplined will will seek to rule. Such ones need to study the words of Paul: "When I was a child, I spake as a
child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I
put away childish things."
Adjusting Family Difficulties. --It is a hard matter to adjust family
difficulties, even when husband and wife seek to make a fair and just settlement
in regard to their several duties, if they have failed to submit the heart to
God. How can husband and wife divide the interests of their home life and still
keep a loving, firm hold upon each other? They should have a united interest in
all that concerns their homemaking, and the wife, if a Christian, will have her
interest with her husband as his companion; for the husband is to stand as the
head of the household.
Counsel to Discordant Families. --Your spirit is wrong. When you take a
position, you do not weigh the matter well and consider what must be the effect
of your maintaining your views and in an independent manner weaving them into
your prayers and conversation, when you know that your wife does not hold the
same views that you do. Instead of respecting the feelings of your wife and
kindly avoiding, as a gentleman would, those subjects upon which you know you
differ, you have been forward to dwell upon objectionable points, and have
manifested a persistency in expressing your views regardless of any around you.
You have felt that others had no right to see matters differently from yourself.
These fruits do not grow upon the Christian tree.
My brother, my sister, open the door of the heart to receive Jesus. Invite
him into the soul-temple. Help each other to overcome the obstacles which enter
the married life of all. You will have a fierce conflict to overcome your adversary the devil, and if you expect God to help you in this battle,
you must both unite in deciding to overcome, to seal your lips against speaking
any words of wrong, even if you have to fall upon your knees and cry aloud,
"Lord, rebuke the adversary of my soul."
Christ in Each Heart Will Bring Unity. --If the will of God is fulfilled, the
husband and wife will respect each other and cultivate love and confidence.
Anything that would mar the peace and unity of the family should be firmly
repressed, and kindness and love should be cherished. He who manifests the
spirit of tenderness, forbearance, and love will find that the same spirit will
be reflected upon him. Where the Spirit of God reigns, there will be no talk of
unsuitability in the marriage relation. If Christ indeed is formed within, the
hope of glory, there will be union and love in the home. Christ abiding in the
heart of the wife will be at agreement with Christ abiding in the heart of the
husband. They will be striving together for the mansions Christ has gone to
prepare for those who love Him.