Wives and husbands

The link below is to an ABC (Australian Broadcast Company) interview from 1961, where a female reporter interviewed two women about the importance of a married woman having an education – as in, whether it’s necessary at all for a married woman to bother getting an education beyond high school.

Woman's World: Education for married women

“Is education a waste of time for married women?” ABC's Woman's World, 1961 #RetroFocusJean Battersby hosted this discussion with Jean Inkster and Tony Tompson.

Posted by ABC News on Saturday, September 15, 2018

[In actuality, this was filmed in 2017 with a woman who voted for Trump and two who didn’t… and in truth, my wife had this very conversation with a woman the other day from her old church…]

The Bible talks about the proper roles of the husband and wife, but even in its most delineating moments, it never says that a woman shouldn’t get an education. Within the culture of its day (when women were just property throughout the Roman Empire), it advocates a revolutionary equality between spouses through an equal division of labor. The man is supposed to be the “breadwinner” of the household, as that was the expected role in society in the era, while the woman is supposed to run the household. Beyond the maintenance of the household, if there are no children yet present to care for, the wife may find a shortage of things to do. It is then that they might become involved with other activities (church, for example), and then that problems might pop up in the relationship.

But here’s the detail that most non-Believers either have never read or never grasped or (in a few malicious cases) choose to intentionally forget: Ephesians 5:22-32.

“22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…”

Notice two details, one an explanation of the other. Wives are asked to submit to their husbands, as the church submits to Christ. But why should they do that?Because their husbands are to not only LOVE their wives but give their very LIVES for them, as Christ did. If you were married to someone who loved you so much that they would give their very life for you, wouldn’t you be willing to trust their decision making?

It’s a two-way street, as anyone who has ever been married should tell you. Women must respect their husbands; men must love their wives. Women are to give their husband the final say in decision making, but men are to make every decision with their wife’s interests foremost in their mind.

(Maybe it’s the men who are discriminated against…)

Colossians 3:18 – 4:1 lays out the symbiotic relationship between not only husbands and wives but many combinations:

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 

That’s something that’s rarely talked about – Scripture actually warns parents not to squelch their children’s liveliness! It goes back to LOVE…

22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 1 Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Replace “bondservants and masters” with “employees and employers”.

Does that make more sense? Do your work as if you’re working for God. (Because you ARE.) Employers, never forget that YOU, too, are working for God as well. Some of the best advice I’ve ever heard is to treat everyone you know and meet as if they were God in disguise. That’s essentially what’s being advised here.

For that matter, that’s what all of these advocate – wives and husbands, treat each other as if your spouse carries the Holy Spirit within them (because they do). Parents and children, treat the other as if they carry the Lord within them (because they do). At the workplace, treat everyone you meet as if they are God incarnate (because… well, maybe not literally, in most cases, but since Jesus told us “Love your neighbor as yourself”, and everyone is our neighbor? It might as well be true.)

Scripture values all people the same – slaves are recommended to obey their masters but obtain their freedom whenever possible; women led entire churches in some cities; men were to make all family decisions with the wife’s interests FOREMOST in his decision making. I’ve never understood how anyone who’s actually READ the Bible and realizes the circumstances under which it was written can honestly say it doesn’t respect women’s rights and honors their abilities.

(And an aside here, wives: if your husband does NOT make family decisions with you foremost in mind, you are under no obligation to follow his direction. That’s Biblical.)

2 thoughts on “Wives and husbands”

  1. Why would any good “God” ever allow women to be “property”.

    Quit lying to people. Quit making harmless people groups “less than”

    1. Exactly! That’s why throughout the Bible, God gives men and women equal if distinct rights and responsibilities. It was the Roman society that treated women as property; the Hebrew culture under the Lord’s law gave women rights that aren’t that inferior to men. Throughout the Bible, women are leaders – Deborah (Judges 5) led Israel at one point; so did Jezebel. Lydia led the early church at Thyatira (Acts 16). And Martha and the three Marys were prominent in the apostles’ circle around Jesus, and were treated with the same respect as the men were. No women were ever “property” of a God-fearing man in either testament; the closest you get is the 700 wives and 300 concubines of Solomon, and that was his downfall with God!

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