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Responsibilities of Wives

What is the biblical responsibilities of wives?

This is a great question but it is a bit hard to examine without also looking at the duties of husbands to their wives as these duties are interdependent. Please forgive me if I also lay some responsibilities on husbands. Here we have the origin of the 'wife'.

Genesis 2:18-AV And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Genesis 2:21-AV And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

Genesis 2:22-AV And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

Genesis 2:23-AV And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Genesis 2:24-AV Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.


By this it is not meant that a man shall forget his parents but that he should branch out and make a home for himself and his wife. This makes a lot of sense too, ever try living with your wife in your parents house? We did once for about 12 months because of a personal housing crisis, we would not repeat it. I believe the becoming one flesh has three aspects. Firstly, the union of marriage as ordained by God provides for a union in a spiritual sense as well as a physical one. Secondly, the physical union produces children which are half mother and half father, truly one flesh. Thirdly, we grow together with our partners until we even think alike. A couple with a good marriage, which was intended, progressively become more and more alike as the years go by. Even facial expressions and mannerisms become similar so that because the same muscles are being exercised by both partners, they often develop a similarity in appearance.

Women were to be 'in subjection to their husbands'. This can easily buy one an argument these days but if you don't like what God has said in His word, go and argue it with Him, and when you have gotten Him to change His mind, come and tell me. Husbands were to love and cherish their wives in the same way God loved and cherished the church, even so much as to willingly give their lives for them as God in the form of Jesus did for the church.

Genesis 3:16-AV Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

I understand the meaning of this verse to be that prior to this Eve did not conceive often and childbirth was painless. We know why it hurts, it is the involuntary contraction of the muscles. All attempts by man to alleviate this suffering so far have had bad consequences, e.g. Thalidomide. Her desire was to be to her husband. That is she would find it difficult to resist him sexually. And he would rule over her.

1Corinthians 11:3-AV But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.

1Corinthians 14:34-AV Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

Ephesians 5:22-AV Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

1Timothy 2:11-AV Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

1Peter 3:1-AV Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

1Peter 3:2-AV While they behold your chaste conversation [coupled] with fear.

1Peter 3:5-AV For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

1Peter 3:6-AV Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.


A whole book of the bible has been devoted to showing an example of how husbands should behave towards their wives as God behaves towards the church. Read the book of Hosea sometime. Hosea was required by God to marry a prostitute. Every time she was unfaithful he had to go to her and win her back. Hosea is a symbol of God and his wife is a symbol of the church which goes from one deed of unfaithfulness to the next.
Another aspect of a wife is sexual.

Proverbs 5:18-AV Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

Proverbs 5:19-AV [Let her be as] the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

Hebrews 13:4-AV Marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

1Corinthians 7:4-AV The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

1Corinthians 7:5-AV Defraud ye not one the other, except [it be] with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Here we have God's approval to 'go for it' within marriage. It is also pointed out by Paul that husbands and wives have the right to expect sexual fulfilment of each other whenever desired. (Please, not in public) They are not to defraud one another. Women should not suddenly develop a headache or offer some other excuse unless it is genuine. Men who love and cherish their wives would not force themselves on them if they were ill. We need cooperation and mutual respect here.

We are provided with a list of things one can expect from a 'good woman'. I doubt that any woman who ever lived had all these attributes, because none were perfect. But it is not a bad target.

Proverbs 31:10-AV Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies.

Proverbs 31:11-AV The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

Proverbs 31:12-AV She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Proverbs 31:13-AV She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

Proverbs 31:14-AV She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

Proverbs 31:15-AV She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

Proverbs 31:16-AV She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Proverbs 31:17-AV She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

Proverbs 31:18-AV She perceiveth that her merchandise [is] good: her candle goeth not out by night.

Proverbs 31:19-AV She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

Proverbs 31:20-AV She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

Proverbs 31:21-AV She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet.

Proverbs 31:22-AV She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple.

Proverbs 31:23-AV Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

Proverbs 31:24-AV She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

Proverbs 31:25-AV Strength and honour [are] her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

Proverbs 31:26-AV She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness.

Proverbs 31:27-AV She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:28-AV Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her.

Proverbs 31:29-AV Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

Proverbs 31:30-AV Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

Proverbs 31:31-AV Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

What we have examined in this study is the ideal. It can only be achieved in a household where the law of God is held in respect by both partners. This is frequently not the case. Also it is likely in today's society that even 'though a woman may want to follow the traditional lifestyle she may not be able to because of financial difficulties, invalid husbands, lazy husbands, no husbands, or no belief in God within the family. Also those men who were called 'lord' by their wives in biblical times were MEN, not wimps. That women would one day take the lead in society has been predicted.

Isaiah 3:12-AV [As for] my people, children [are] their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause [thee] to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.


Because of what is happening in today's society, many believe this verse to be prophetic. Even Gill mentioned it as an option and he wrote in the 16th century when women were still 'in their place'. See the last phrase of this section of his commentary.

and women rule over them, or "over him" {o}; either over the people of Israel, as Alexandra before Hyrcanus, and Helena queen of the Adiabenes; or over the child their governor, as women had great influence over their husbands, the governors of Judea, in those times, as Herodias, Bernice, and Drusilla; or it may be understood of men, weak, effeminate, and given to pleasure:

In order for a woman to fulfill her biblical obligations, she needs a husband willing and able to fulfill his. If this is not the case then 'women ruling over them', meaning men, will be the natural result. A man who cannot earn the respect of his wife for reasons within his own control, is not likely to have God's support in the matter. As for speaking in church or ordination of women, that is another topic on the list which will be dealt with in due course. Stay tuned etc...

May God bless all readers with increased understanding of His word.