The Wife's Duty
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." Ephesians 5:22
The comfort of home very much depends on the wife, and the happiness of the husband is greatly in her power. The wife has often ruined the husband, or rendered the marriage-tie a subject of deep regret. An ungovernable temper, a proud spirit, a wish to conform to all the fashions of the present world — has rendered many a Christian's home really miserable!
Submission is difficult — where pride rules in the spirit! Yes, it is impossible! And yet, without submission on the part of the wife, happiness will never be the portion of the husband. Submission is the wife's duty: the Holy Spirit says, "As the church is subject unto Christ — so let the wives be unto their own husbands in everything." A submissive disposition, and a meek quiet spirit — are two of the most beautiful ornaments a wife can wear.
Every Christian woman should look upon her husband as the representative of Christ in the family, and submit to him as such. Her submission should extend to everything which does not run counter to the commands of God. The less a wife desires to have her own will — the better for her own comfort.
In consequence of sin, the Lord said, "Your desire shall be to your husband — and he shall rule over you." And this declaration of God stands in full force at the present day, "The husband is the head of the wife — even as Christ is the head of the church." In these different epistles, has the Holy Spirit spoken to wives, and commanded them to submit to their husbands; this may imply that the duty is difficult — but it testifies that the duty is imperative.
The wife should love her own husband — as the church loves Christ; and strive by every possible means to make him happy and honorable. She should strive to make his home the most comfortable, never meeting him at his return with a frown, or hailing him with a cross word; but her countenance should be lighted up with love, and on her lips should be the law of kindness. A woman's love, judiciously manifested — is almost invincible! But an evil temper indulged by a wife — is most repulsive! Nothing weakens a husband's love, or raises a husband's temper, like cross words or unpleasant looks from his wife. They never ought to be; but if they have been, they should be confessed with sorrow, and conquered with care.
The wife should bear in mind, that her husband is a Christian; that Jesus tenderly loves him; that He has made him His representative; that He requires her to submit to him in His name, and for His sake: and that He looks upon her disobedience — as directed against His authority; and her unkindness to her husband — as grieving His love.
My sister, it is your duty to learn subjection, for the Lord's sake, to imbibe and manifest a meek, lowly, and submissive spirit; a spirit that will yield everything for conscience' sake, unless in so doing you would sin against God.
Oh, if wives were willing to submit, if they only consulted the happiness of their husbands, if they made the precepts of the gospel their rule — what happy homes, what happy husbands they would have!
"Let the wife see that she respect her husband." But is this the case, even with godly wives? Can it be neglected, and the Spirit who commanded — not be grieved? Can the Spirit be daily grieved, by conduct the very opposite of His command — and the Christian be happy? It is impossible! See then one cause why so many wives are in such an unhappy and uncomfortable a state!
Chaste conversation should be coupled with fear — a fear to grieve, wound, or distress a husband's mind. Sarah, who obeyed and reverenced Abraham, should be the wife's daily pattern. No wife can be happy, no wife can be ornamental, no wife can have the testimony of a good conscience — unless she observes the precept, "Wives submit yourselves unto your husbands — as unto the Lord."