By Bobby Witherington
There are many forces at work in our society which seek to destroy the very fabric out of which a strong society is built, namely the home. Not the least of these forces is the so-called “Women’s Liberation Movement” which persists in ridiculing the role of a God-fearing, submissive-to-husband wife. Her work in the home is depicted as severe drudgery in the slavish performance of never-ending jobs, and even the mentality of those wives whose lives are built around husband and children is questioned.
However, notwithstanding the repetitious harangue of today’s carping critics, no role is more important and meaningful than that of a loving, faithful wife and mother. And when all priorities are properly placed and pursued, no role brings greater joy – nor does any role bring greater misery when such are ignored or have been twisted out of focus.
The Importance of A Good Wife And Mother
Solomon said, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord” (Prov. 18:22). Of course, whether or not one “findeth a good thing” when he “findeth a wife” depends upon what kind of a wife he finds! But he who finds a wife whose character and conduct is like unto that of the “virtuous woman” described in Proverbs 31 has, indeed, found a good thing.
Perhaps the importance of a good wife is best illustrated by observing man’s state before woman was created. Regarding the first man Adam, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). Because of this statement, someone has observed that “the only thing God ever made that was not good was a bachelor!” Of course, this is not intended as a slur on the character of any God-fearing male who has chosen to remain unmarried. In fact, there are times and circumstances which could make it unwise for one to marry (cf. Matt. 19:10-12; 1 Cor. 7:1, 26). However, the very fact that Eve was created to be “an help meet” for Adam implies that Adam, while alone, lacked that which was necessary to find complete fulfillment. Naturally, apart from “an help meet,” Adam could not “multiply and replenish the earth” (Gen. 1:28). But Eve was not merely a sex object whose sole role was to complete what was lacking in the procreation realm. There was the need for companionship -the kind which could only be provided by a person of the opposite sex. Man needs a counterpart, who possesses definite, but controlled, emotions and refinement, as well as an awareness of the spiritual and the eternal. Even if the infinite wisdom of God had conceived of a way whereby the human species could have been perpetuated without the aid of woman, what kind of a world would this be if the human “family” consisted strictly of the masculine gender? In brief, how many men would care to live in a society composed strictly of men?
Such reasoning as the above is not intended to imply that a man is inherently more important than a woman, or that woman’s principle mission in life is to serve man. In Christ, all racial, social, and sexual distinctions are broken down, thereby enabling all to be “one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28, 29). Of course, there are still distinctions as to function, but not as to equality. “Male chauvinism” is as contrary to the divine will as “women’s liberation.” Whether some like it or not, women are a part of “mankind,” and both genders of the human species must first recognize their responsibility to serve God, as well as their mutual dependance upon and need for one another.
However, lest verbosity has camouflaged the subject, we state again that we are discussing the importance of a good wife and mother. Perhaps at this point we should mentally underline the word “mother.” Merely the ability to bear children does not make a female a mother. I heard of one aid to dependent children recipient who filled out the necessary government forms. She brazenly answered the “occupation” blank with one word – “breeder!” Yes, she had borne children, but who in his right mind would call her a mother? A sleazy, slothful, beverage-sipping slouch, who co-habits with whatever human misfit that happens to be around so she can collect more government money so that she can perpetuate her immoral existence, is not a mother. She is nothing short of a leach, a parasite, and a disgrace to the human species. And few, if any, are more to be pitied than her offspring. The same tragedy is usually repeated in the next generation. Of course, these statements are not intended to cast reflections upon any God-fearing lady who, because of a combination of unfortunate events, must reluctantly accept government aid. There is a vast difference between a morally upright victim of circumstances, and a lazy, amoral slob who believes the world owes her (or him) a living.
But who can place a price tag on the value of a good wife and mother? “Her price is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10). Before there was a Samuel, there was a Hannah who prayed for a child and vowed to “give him unto the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:10). Before there was a Moses, there was a Jochebed whose courage and maternal love was sufficient to cause her to defy Pharaoh’s evil decree (Ex. 2:1-3; 6:20). Before there was a Timothy, there was a Lois and an Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5). And what greater tribute could be paid woman than was paid when God chose a virgin named Mary as the one through whom would come the long-awaited Messiah (Matt. 1:20-23)?
Someone has observed that behind every successful man, there is a good woman. Frequently there are two good women – one a mother, and the other a wife. The man, who can truthfully say that “the two women whom I admire most are my mother and the mother of my children,” is one who is indeed fortunate.
But What Constitutes A Good Wife and Mother?
The answer is partially given in Titus 2:4, 5 wherein the apostle Paul admonished the aged women to “teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
“To be sober” is to be wise and temperate. It is to have one’s desires and passions under control; it is a quality which helps enable one to comply with the other character and duty requirements.
“To love their husbands. ” Paul did not say to “love someone else’s husband.” Where there is love, a marriage can survive sickness, in-law interference, a rigid schedule, and financial adversity. But it does not take much to destroy a marriage in which love has grown cold.
“To love their children. ” It seems strange that some must be taught to “love their children!” It comes easy and natural for God-fearing people. But when people cease “to retain God in their knowledge,” it is but a few steps until they are also “without natural affection” (Rom. 1:28, 31). In an age such as this, when so many “feminists” (?) are demeaning the role of a mother who is “tied at home because of her children,” it is more needful than ever to teach women to “love their children.”
“To be discreet.” “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion” (Prov. 11:22). The picture of a hog wearing a jewel of gold in his snout would be laughable – were it not for what it illustrates.
“Chaste. ” This is from a word which means pure in heart and life. This quality will be evidenced in speech, conduct, and dress. Someone has observed that “women should be chaste, not chased!” If they are chaste in their dress, they are not as likely to be chased by the ungodly element of the opposite sex.
“Keepers at home. ” Women should be attentive to domestic concerns. This expression is not parallel to the expression “stayers at home.” Of course, this writer is not encouraging women to unnecessarily leave the home and join the public work force. But let it be understood that these expressions are not identical in meaning. Some who stay at home also stay glued to their daily soap operas (whose sole plot is centered around somebody being untrue to his or her mate). Some stay on the telephone, and about the only thing they “keep” is their nose in other people’s business! But “keepers at home,” who truly live up to what the expression implies, are the unsung heroines of today’s world.
“Good. ” What better character quality to possess! One who is morally upright, whose ambition centers more in pleasing God than pursuing a career. People “do good” (Gal. 6:10) because they are good. It takes a “good tree” to produce “good fruit” (Matt. 7:17), and it also takes a good woman to make a good wife and mother. To marry an immoral person, expecting her to make a good wife and mother, is as non-sensible as using rotten wood to build a good house. Young man, if you want a good home you should at least start out with the right building material!
“Obedient to their own husbands. ” I did not say that. Paul did. And he wrote “the commandments of God” (1 Cor. 14:37). This, of course, does not give the husband permission to be an unfeeling brute, or a domineering tyrant. But obedience to God includes obedience to those whom God has placed over us. I do not know which is worse, a hen-pecked husband or a hen-pecking wife! Perhaps it is a tie. But no young lady should marry the kind of person she cannot submit to. Nor should any young man marry a young lady who either does not know, or else does not respect, God’s instructions regarding spiritual and domestic headship (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-25).
“That the word of God be not blasphemed.” To blaspheme is to show contempt for, to speak evil of. The idea is that even the word of God is evil spoken of when those who profess to believe it disregard its domestic instructions.
Time and space would fail me to describe the blessings and joys that good wives and mothers have brought to this world. Where would we be, and what would we be, without them? The wise man “hit the nail on the head” when he said “her price is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10).
In fact, it would be appropriate to conclude by referring our readers to Proverbs 31:10-31 wherein such a woman is vividly described. The woman of this chapter is virtuous, trustworthy, beneficent, thrifty, energetic, prudent, well-dressed, unselfish, kind, an early riser, and does not have a lazy bone in her body. No wonder “her children arise up and call her blessed.” And no wonder “her husband . . . praiseth her” (v. 28). And we do, too!
Guardian of Truth XXV: 17, pp. 267-268
April 23, 1981