Whenever I think of my “role” as a wife, I try to remember the passage below from Ephesians 5: 21-33. It may be lengthy and written many, many years ago but it’s chock-full of wisdom, even for us “modern-day” wives (and our husbands, for that matter):
Wives and Husbands.
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.
Now, some people might consider the passage above too “deep” and maybe even old-fashioned or downright chauvinistic. (“Wives should be subordinate to their husbands…,” in particular, is often termed “offensive” by so-called feminists.) But if we look at it properly, we can see that the passage is really about supporting and affirming each other as husband and wife.
So how does a modern-day wife actually show support to one’s husband anyway? Here are just some tips, based on my experience as an imperfect-yet-inspired-to-improve-myself-daily wife to my husband of almost 12 years:
1. Pray for him constantly.
As a Catholic, I believe that we wives need to help our husbands be the “priests” of our homes, which are our “domestic churches.” And one of the best things we can do for our spouses is to intercede for them – to pray for them and ask God to lead them so that they, in turn, can lead us (and our kids, if we have them) to heaven!
If you have children, you should also teach your kids to pray for their dad. This is one of the best “gifts” they could ever give him!
2. Cheer him on in his career.
Our husbands are also called to be “providers,” so as their partners we are called to support them in this aspect. Did he have a long day at work? Offer him a listening ear and lots of hugs. Is he struggling with challenges related to his career and/or business? Tell him how much you believe in him and – related to number 1 above – pray for his concerns.
The aforementioned applies no matter what your husband’s line of work is. Whether he is a businessman or butcher, office-based or home-based – whatever it may be, be his number one cheerleader!
3. Establish his authority as a parent.
Our husbands are our best partners in raising our kids. However, we know that due to differences in how we were raised by our own parents, plus the lack of knowledge of parenting styles and tricks, parenting can be trying at times.
There may even be times when you and your husband may not see eye to eye when it comes to teaching and disciplining your children. Don’t let this hinder you though. Instead, take time to communicate with each other about how you want to raise your kids, preferably outside of any conflicts (and not in front of the children, of course!).
As the wife, you also need to show your children that your husband is not just your partner in raising them – he is actually the leader of the family. So, do your best not to question his authority in front of them. For example, in our family, when my husband says “no” to one of the kid’s requests, I back him up, even if part of me actually wants to say “yes” to it. We then do our best to explain why we are saying “no.”
4. Respond to his love.
God created men to be “pursuers.” Our husbands are meant to pursue us, their spouses and helpmates. We are the “reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother,” as it says in the Bible passage quoted earlier on.
The reality is that many times we may not feel “pursued” by our husbands. However, this does not mean that they have stopped loving us. We need to see and appreciate the little things they do for us and our families. We need to respond to their displays of affection and love, no matter how simple they may be.
5. Respect his interests.
Men are created differently from women, and sometimes they have interests that are quite different from ours. For example, my husband is a relatively big fan of Philippine basketball, and he enjoys watching basketball games. I, on the other hand, could not care less about the sport.
Now, let’s say there is a very important basketball game being shown on TV – something my husband really wants to see. Do I tell him not to watch it, especially when I’d prefer to watch a family movie with the kids instead? No, I don’t. Because I know it is important to him. So we try to make it a family thing instead, and even involve the kids!
Doing simple yet intentional things like this is one way to show our husbands that we respect their interests, even if we do not find them interesting at all. When we do this, we show them how much we appreciate them.
As previously mentioned, these are just some ways we can support our spouses. Can you think of more? Ask God to help you out!