Successful wives make use of unique opportunities to deepen the joy in their marriages. Here is how they accomplish it.
MANY A MAN would try to "climb the highest mountain, cross every ocean and ford every stream" to find the right wife and the right mother for his children. A joyous, stable marriage is a precious thing. It does not happen accidentally. It takes the caring, the sharing and the dedicated work of two people who deeply want a happy home. The accompanying article discusses the husband's responsibilities in marriage. Here we will describe the opportunities and challenges in marriage that are unique to the wife.
Perhaps the most outstanding characteristic of a truly feminine woman is that of being warm and responsive. The first man, according to Scripture, was alone. He was lonesome. He had no one to talk to. He was. incomplete. Woman was created to share man's life and love, to respond to him, and encourage him. If a woman will lovingly and consistently do this, any right-minded man should lavish love and appreciation upon her in return. For this is the kind of person most men truly want to marry and with whom they want to share their lives. "There are people," said French essayist, Raoul de Roussey de Sales, "who transmit to others their particular emotional atmosphere; who show you how to love, to suffer, to be happy, to laugh at the humorous things in life." This describes the truly feminine woman. Her mind and heart are enthusiastically sharing in the ideas and hopes of the man she loves. She is constantly aware of him and is in the middle of his hopes and dreams — not merely an onlooker. For her husband — and for all people for that matter — she cares; things not only happen to her, she happens to them. But in all of this, she is responding to others and especially to her husband. She is sharing and furthering their hopes, interests and joys. Such a feminine woman instinctively adapts her mood to that of her husband whenever possible. She rejoices in his triumphs, she weeps with him in his sorrow. Yet, constantly she bolsters him, balances him and helps him in every possible way. Both in her family and in the larger society, she is not only responding but serving. She is constantly attempting to make her home a cleaner, more beautiful, happier place. As part of her husband and family, she is attempting to do the same thing in the lives of those around her.
Woman Created to SHARE
When women overlook the place in life God designed for them and begin to compete with males, with other women and even with themselves, they are losing their reason for being! Noting this, one leading psychiatrist asked many older career women, "What was the most gratifying moment in your life?" Almost instinctively, they would reply, "When I held my first baby in my arms." Or, "When my husband first proposed to me." They never said, "The day I got my first job." Never, "The first time I swung a big business deal." Yet, by the thousands, women have come to believe it is beneath their intellectual station to be a homemaker and mother. A young secretary today often considers it more important to scribble on a shorthand pad than to maintain a home, help and inspire her husband, and rear her children to grow up to be the leaders of tomorrow! But, if we are willing, the ANSWER to the whole problem is found in the simple, yet beautiful account of woman's creation. It is found in Genesis 2:18 in your Bible. You may be surprised what it does NOT say, as well as what it does say. God said: "It is not good that the man should be alone." Man was NOT the great, all — conquering hero, self-sufficient and in need of no help! Rather, man NEEDED help — and needed it badly. Man was NOT complete. Rather, each man is INcomplete and in need of the help, inspiration, warmth and balance imparted by the right woman as his wife! In a way that no animal creature could, woman was created to SHARE with man his life, his plans, hopes and dreams. She was created specifically to help the man. Without this help, which only the woman can give, man would NEVER achieve the full, abundant, peaceful and balanced life that God intended. Without giving this help, woman becomes edgy, frustrated, resentful, headed up a "blind alley" — for she is failing to fulfill the very PURPOSE for which she was created!
Goals Women Should Bear in Mind
To be truly happy, a woman should bear in mind the purpose for which she was created — and set herself definite GOALS to fulfill in the accomplishment of that purpose. First of all, woman was called to help and supplement her husband. She should realize that her husband's success is her success — and fully SHARE and delight in the triumphs and achievements of her husband, because they are partly her own. Also, she should equally share in his sorrow and disappointments — trying always to give the right kind of balanced and positive sympathy and encouragement so that he will rebound to other successes in the future. A second area in which a woman should cultivate success is that of bearing and training her children. Young mothers exert a powerful influence on the leaders of tomorrow. And women should realize the overwhelming importance of zealously and joyously dedicating themselves to this as their highest physical calling. Far more important it is than that of any office worker or secretary on any level. God instructs older women: "That they may 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" (Titus 2:4-5). Here, the great God who created women tells wives to spend more time in their own homes, to be good housekeepers, to be domestically inclined. Women who objectively and enthusiastically give themselves to their calling are adding immeasurably to their own happiness and well-being, first of all, and to that of their family — now and perhaps for generations to come. But it goes deeper than that. They are adding to the entire society in which they live.
How a Woman Can Best Serve Society
This leads us to another area of woman's rightful accomplishment: that of serving — through her husband and family — the society and the world as a whole. Women can REALLY accomplish far more in the end to help this entire world by being the kind of wives and mothers that God Almighty intended. Take this example. In his book My Darling Clementine, the Story of Lady Churchill, author Jack Fishman vividly portrays the fact that Sir Winston Churchill's wife aided and supported him in a manner that added immeasurably to his tremendous accomplishments. Sir Winston — the "man of the century" — would NEVER have been the kind of man he was, or had the stability he had, the fortitude he displayed and the ability to rebound even from shattering defeat or discouragement — if it had not been for the unusual help, inspiration and support of his dedicated wife. Putting it another way, perhaps our en tire Western civilization might not even BE HERE if it had not been for the steadfastness, wisdom and courage of this man — inspired and greatly magnified by this highly intelligent and cultured woman. She was willing to dedicate herself to being his wife and helper 100 percent of the time! And what American is not familiar with the example of patient teaching, religious instruction, guidance, encouragement and inspiration that Abraham Lincoln's mother gave to him? At the height of his accomplishments, this most revered of all American Presidents stated: "All that I am or ever hope to be l owe to my... mother."
An Outside Job?
Should women have outside jobs? This is a basic question — but one that needs to be answered here. The true answer depends upon whether — in taking such a job — she is responding to her husband's true wishes and serving her family's true needs as well as those of the larger society. There are certainly many situations in which a young, unmarried woman needs to be working in some other position. For the young married woman, these situations are distinctly fewer. Yet they do exist. Especially in the first few years of marriage, a young woman may need to take at least a part-time job before the children come. But the true interests of most marriages are NOT furthered by having the wife work throughout marriage. A woman needs to be very careful about a working career. With prayer, with timely suggestion and advice, she should do her full part to see that she is not pushed into taking an outside job that will ultimately defeat the very purpose for which it was intended. A noticeable amount of the added income provided by the wife's job is taken up with taxes, her travel expenses to and from work, outside meals, extra clothes and baby-sitters or day-care fees to take care of children. Looking at it economically alone — a family at times gains very little by having the wife work outside the home. Balance this small advantage with the DAMAGE done to the attitudes of both husband and wife in such a situation and to the very characters of their young children growing up without the full-time care and guidance of a mother. Married women should be very cautious and sparing about ever taking outside jobs — even in supposed "emergencies" — and practically NEVER let this develop into a lifetime situation. The ultimate "price" of such a job is often entirely too high!
The Ultimate Wife
Few have taken seriously the most complete single passage in all the Bible on womanhood. This passage is found in Proverbs 31:10-31. It has been preserved for nearly 3,000 years in the canon of Scripture. It was inspired of God to help the woman of any age, including today, to grasp and understand the type of life she should live. All, both men and women, should study it regularly. It calls attention to the tremendous value of the "virtuous woman" (verse 10). It shows how she buoys up and encourages her husband. It describes how she works on behalf of her family in the home. Surprising to some, perhaps, it shows that a wife should exercise initiative. For she "bringeth her food from afar." If the family budget permits, she should be able to order things from distant places and overseas! "She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard" (verse 16). This kind of wife obviously has initiative. Her initiative may be exercised, occasionally, in purchasing additional plots of land and adding to the income of the household by her supervision of this land. It takes initiative, drive and vision. "She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant" (verse 24). Here again, this woman is going above and beyond keeping the home and rearing the children. She is actually in the clothing industry — yet at home! "She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple" (verse 22). She may save her husband and family a good deal of money — when necessary — by doing sewing at home and in every way making sure that her children and family are well dressed and well taken care of in every way possible. She assists her husband in providing quality products for her home and family by making some of them herself. "Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness" (verses 25-26). This inspired passage certainly describes a wife of diligence, vision and accomplishment! She is a wife of "honour." She does have wisdom, but she is alert to her place in assisting and encouraging her husband and remembers to be tender and kind in what she says, thinks and does. With this attitude, she is NOT COMPETING — not becoming unfeminine, not becoming hard, raucous and argumentative. Her children grow up and praise her. Her husband praises her and loves her till death does them part. She is the kind of wife who is fulfilling the role for which she was created! Beyond all doubt, she will be blessed, appreciated and everlastingly loved for joyously fulfilling this high calling!