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Monday, January 25, 2010

The Wife of a Husband of One Wife

I've been teaching on the list of elder qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:2-7 the past few weeks at Faith Church, and even though it's a long four-part series, I'm still having difficulty fitting in everything I want to say! One matter I hoped to address but just didn't have time is this: "What kind of woman helps her husband to be a one-woman man?" That is the basic meaning of the second qualification in that passage, as I understand speaks of marital faithfulness and sexual purity. (It can't only mean you have one wife, because many men with only one wife are not being faithful and pure.)

The primary responsibility in this regard lies with the men, of course, because regardless of how our wives look or behave or treat us, we can still choose to do what is right by the power of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that we will never be tempted above what we are able to bear. But it occurred to me that although wives cannot make their husbands into one-woman men, they can make a big difference by helping them to be more godly in this area of their lives.

First, a wife can help her husband by loving and respecting him, and even admiring and adoring him for his good qualities. Many wives may think this is impossible because of all their husband's weaknesses, but just as faithfulness is a responsibility and choice that husbands can make by the power of the Spirit, so a wife can choose to have this kind of good attitude toward her husband. And if she does it will go a long way toward helping him to be "exhilarated always with her love" (Prov. 5:19), because he will be less likely to look elsewhere for the appreciation he desires.

Also a wife can work hard to be attractive to her husband, and to satisfy him at all times (Prov. 5:19 again). As I've already mentioned, a man must bear full responsibility for any impurity in mind and body, but it also seems to me that many wives have to bear their own responsibility also for not helping their husbands as they should in this regard. Some wives act as if they deserve faithfulness from their husbands, when clearly they do not, because they have contributed to the problem by neglect and done so little to solve it. Some advice for wives at this point: Find a godly woman (or more than one) whose husband is in love with her, and find out from her what she does to be a "helper suitable to him" in this area (Gen. 2:18). Be open to biblical counseling from such a woman, or even from a godly pastor (together with your husband, of course), because you may need help to be a helper if you have never had good discipleship in this area of life and/or you have developed bad habits and patterns over time.

A final thought (though I'm sure there are many more) is that a wife can help her husband to be a one-woman man by protecting him from temptation. She should understand what activities can cause him problems, respectfully encourage him to stay away from them, and make sure to never cause him to stumble in any way. An example would be some of the TV shows and movies that couples may watch together, which include female characters that are depicted in a way designed to appeal to the desires and pleasures of the males who watch them. A wife may not even think about the effect that might have on her husband, and may make a mistake by enjoying the good things about the show without considering the possible dangers. She may not ask her husband direct and thorough questions about those possible dangers, perhaps because it is just not on her "radar" as a woman. But men are different from women, and a woman who understands the difference can help her husband more.

1 comment:

  1. There's a comment about this article under the next one (about submission). I'm not sure how it got there instead of here, but check it out.