The Encourager – The Biblical Father (XI)

“When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken” (Deut.24:5 KJV).

Marriage has numerous subordinate purposes: the lawful extension of the race, mutual comfort, personal development of its members, the provision of cultural stability, social welfare functions (including education), sexual fulfillment, and capital accumulation. Nevertheless, the Genesis account gives us the central focus of marriage: the division of labour. Eve was provided as “an helpmeet” for Adam, meaning an assistant specially designed to complement his skills.[1]

A wife has a God-given calling to assist her husband in his calling. For her to be classified today as “just a housewife,” is a reflection of how the Biblical doctrine of the family, and of individual callings within the family, have been neglected. If she is to fulfil her calling, especially in the face of social indifference or hostility, she will need her husband’s assistance and encouragement.

The first place for a husband to turn for encouragement for his wife,  is to God’s Word. Scriptures such as Isa.35:3-4, 42:1-4; 62:5; 63:1; Eph.5:25-29 and I Pet.3:7 illustrate the role every husband can have, in encouraging his wife.

Firstly, she needs to be encouraged in her role of complementing. If she functioned independently of him she would not be doing God’s will, and would not be fulfilled. But with him, she is a vital part of the family’s leadership. The family “jig-saw” is incomplete without her.

Many women today think, “If I’m a helper, I’m inferior.” That is a mistake. In the Body of Christ no one is superior or inferior to anyone else. Each of us is given a place and function. What God requires of us is faithfulness in the particular place and function He has assigned us.

In John 14:16-17 Jesus speaks of the provision He will make for His disciples after He leaves them: “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper…the Spirit of Truth.” So Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as Helper, but does that mean the Holy Spirit is inferior? On the contrary, He is God! In the same way, a wife who fulfils her God-given role as helper, is in no way inferior on that account.[2]

Secondly, she needs to be encouraged that her husband trusts in her (Prov.31:11), that he depends on her, and that he knows that “she does him good” (Prov.31:12).

Thirdly, she needs to know that she is appreciated by him for the kind of quality person that she is, and for what she does. She needs to be reminded that “her gain is good” for her family (Prov.31:18), and that her husband thinks she is a particularly choice woman (Prov.31:29).

A wife will also be encouraged, if her husband will take the time and effort, to make her life and tasks easier. So, she will need (amongst other things), a good washing machine, vacuum cleaner, oven, suitable kitchen utensils, and other tools for her tasks. Her working areas, in particular the kitchen and laundry, need to be pleasing to her. She will appreciate having a car that she likes to drive, and whatever else makes her task of helping her husband to “rule and have dominion,” easy to complete.

She will also be encouraged if her husband and children, assist her in her tasks. This may mean assisting with shopping, unpacking groceries, doing dishes, cooking, vacuuming, cleaning windows, and other household and family tasks. Women, like men, don’t want to go through life, just doing “jobs, jobs, jobs.” It is important that a wife sees her husband relieving her from time to time, and the children being trained to do likewise.

Few people today, encourage wives in their God-given role: complementing their husband. A woman who knows she is loved and cherished, will respond to, and appreciate encouragement. It will make all the difference to her, and help her to fulfil her calling as a “husband-helper.”

As the leader and provider of the home, this is our task. Let me challenge you to rise to this challenge with joy, so that your wife shall be “like a fruitful vine within your house!” (Ps.128:3)

[1] North, G., “The Dominion Covenant,” 1987, p.91.

[2] Prince, D., “Husbands and Fathers,” 2000, p.35.

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