Woman in the Marriage

Answer to the question about the role of a woman in the family draws different types of images for people of different generations. What would a 60-70 years old woman say about this? For her, a woman is a head of everything, she is responsible for all issues concerning family life, works in the garden, she makes all important decisions by herself, often maintains a husband (in case if she has one), lives for children and grandchildren, complains of ingratitude of people around her and hard work. How would a 40-50 years old woman's image look like? In Ukraine, in general, her duties coincide with former variant, but very often she is working abroad or is separated with her husband, who is unable to undertake at least some part of her duties or to satisfy her expectations. A 20-30 years old person often runs into different extremes: helpless week creation, sly manipulant, authoritative despot or stubborn feminist, for whom marriage, giving birth to children and related issues are something burdensome and irritable. It's interesting to take a look at different anecdotes and life stories, which describe a modern wife, to analize folklore and modern songs. Obviously, it's not about all women, but the abovestated generally characterizes the society notion about a woman.

But is she happy? Does she and people, who surround her, feel convenient in such a role, and, what's the most important: what does her husband think and feel about this?

We suggest to take a look at what the Bible says about the role of a woman and compare it to what is happening around us. In the New Testament there are verses, where Peter (a married man) and Paul (a single man) give instructions regarding life in a marriage. It's interesting that they first of all consider the role of a woman, and then switch to man etc. The Holy Scripture says: "Man is a head of a woman". Together they compound one body, but a head may not function well in case if neck's work and assignment are distorted. Thus, a life of the whole family depends on the fact if a woman functions right; only if her position is correct, the correct role and success of a man may be expected.

A fonderfull description of such a woman, who knows very well and accomplishes her mission, may be found in the Book of Proverbs 31:10-31
10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all."
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.

What does a «perfect» wife do? From every verse we can make a conclusion:
• 10 : such a woman is the most precious for a man, such are hard to find.
• 11 : the heart of her husband safely trusts her, and it relates not only to marital faithfullness. He knows that even if his friends will abandon him, if he will be fired, deceived or deluded, even if he will go bunkrupt or lose everything - she will always be faithful, she will always be on his side, she'll always be near.
• 12 : Not only for good, but for every evil she responds to her husband with good: she forgives everything, she continues to trust, love and respect, even in cases when he deserves it the least.
• 13 : She does housework not mechanically or because of duty, but she does it with pleasure, willingness and inspiration, she does everything in order to create true home atmosphere for her husband.
• 14 : Field of her interest is not limited by the house only; she communicates and acts in the society, where people know whose wife she is.
• 15 : She is a good manager and organizer, and doesn't burden her husband with the things she is able to do by herself.
• 16 : She is able to make important decisions, she is well oriented at the market of vital goods and services, a husband may entrust her money for serious purchase.
• 17 : She correctly understands the purpose of her physical and mental health as a necessary condition for family's good and giving birth to children.
• 18 : Not only she understands that she does right things, but for others it's also obvious and understandable.
• 19 : She manages a certain business activity.
• 20 : She is engaged in charity, her heart is open to other people purposes.
• 21 : She is able to analize and think beforehand about possible difficulties and consequences of events, to think few steps ahead, especially when it comes to her family members.
• 23 : Everybody know and understand that actually she is his wife, because without her support he wouldn't be able to get common respect and serious status. Thanks to his complete trust in her, that he doesn't have to worry about common stuff (because she created all necessary conditions for this), a husband makes his business at the level of state authorities and deals with serious public issues.
• 24 : She may make a certain type of family business, find application to those things and abilities which she has.
• 25 : She knows well God's Law and Word, gives wise advice and doesn't allow herself to say empty words, slander or unnecessary talks, regarding first of all her husband, she is his wise and trusted advisor, even in spiritual issues.
• 26 : She decorates herself not with clothes, make up or something outer, but, first of all, with rich inner world and wisdom.
• 27 : Not housekeeper or baby-sitter manages household without wife's part, but a woman herself keeps everything under control; inactivity is absolutely unacceptable for her.
• 28 : A reward which she deserves is praise; it sounds not only from her husband, but from her children as well; they tell everyone around them about success and happiness of their family, and everyone around have a role model.

It's important that description of such a woman at the beginning, in the middle and in the end focuses on a husband. The thing is that he is a reflection of her as a woman, his good is the purpose of her life, he is a mirror in which one may see how good she understands the meaning of the marriage as a sacramental love, and how does she manage to put this into practice. A husband may not reach above his wife's expectations, he can not take the responsibility without her complete devotion to him, he may not change without her prayer and strong faith in him.

And here we arrive at an interesting question: where is a source of her power, wisdom and patience, without which all abovestated may not be gained? The answer to this question is given in the verse 30: she fears the Lord! In Biblical language this expresion means that for such a woman God is an absolute authority, His law - a rule of life, His Word - a source of knowledge and answers, only in Him she looks for support and advice, and unconditionally performs His divine will. Then God pours unto her his mercy and grace, enabling her to accomplish all those things and to become true half of her husband, his glory and joy, presenting love and happiness. She lives a life of complete devotion to God and husband, and only such way of life brings her constant and true happiness. And if you establish relations first of all with God, put Him on the first place in you life, then He will definitely show ways how to deal with any family crisis or problem, He will restore everyone in a marriage, give strength and wisdom to become a truly happy family.

©Milites Christi Imperatoris