I think it’s important that you men understand the identity of your wife, as a woman. That is—who is she? If you don’t understand this, from the Word of God, you will not have a proper attitude toward and an affection for your wife.
Let me mention these things very quickly by way of introduction.
1. Your Wife Is Made In God’s ImageAccording to Genesis 1, where God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image.’ Genesis 1, I would remind you that this is what God says, ‘According to our likeness, and let them rule over all things.’ And so Genesis 1:27, ‘God created man, in his own image, in the image of God, He created them male and female, He created them.’
He is speaking first of all, generically of man as humanity, and man, as humanity created in the image of God is two persons, male and female. That reminds us then first of all, as to the identity of your wife, she is a human, made in the image of God, and as such has worth, dignity, and honour.
Now Paul tells us that the man is the image of God and the woman is the image and glory of the man in the derived sense as to the intermediate source. She has to reflect the glory of the man who reflects the glory of God but the foundation. First of all, her identity is that she is an individual person with an immortal soul, and a human nature created by God in His own image, and consequently, is endowed with worth, dignity, and honour.
2. Your Wife Is A Special Gift From GodShe is a special gift from God, and consequently of great value and of great worth. Proverbs 18 says, ‘He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord.’ And again in Proverbs 31, the well-known passage, ‘An excellent wife, who can find her worth far above jewels, the heart of her husband, trust in her and on account of her, he has no lack of gain.’
Your wife is made in the image of God and is given to you as a gift from God, and among humans is your most priceless blessing and your greatest relationship. She is such a person of great value and great worth.
3. Your Wife Is A Fellow Heir Of The Grace Of LifeAccording to Peter, she is a fellow heir of the grace of life. That is, she is equal to you in her standing with God. She is equally forgiven of all of her sins. She is made in the image of God. She’s a gift from God. She is adopted as a child of God. She is the daughter of the living God. She had been redeemed by Jesus Christ. She has been chosen by God the Father. She is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and she is equal with you in her standing with God. There is no inequality between the man and the woman in regard to their being made in the image of God, and being equal before God, in regard to their justification, adoption, sanctification, and ultimate glorification.
Now hear me, many times men think wives are not equal because it says that because she’s a woman, she’s a weaker vessel. Now that weakness has absolutely nothing to do with her being an inferior person. It has everything to do with the delicate nature that God has given to her. Now men were just made out of dirt scooped up from the earth and God breathed into them the breath of life, a very primitive definition. But the Bible says he took a rib from the man and he fashioned or he built, that is with a greater degree of detail a woman and he brought her to the man. Certainly, she is weaker physically. And oftentimes, she is more sensitive, and at times, we can say more tender emotionally.
You men remember I’ve often told you it’s a difference between a big old hard-cased drum and a very finely crafted violin. You can beat on a drum all day. It has a hard outer shell that has thick skin over it and it’s empty on the inside, a good description of many men. But a woman is like a finely-tuned, finely-crafted violin. And because of that, she must be treated entirely different and you must live with her in an understanding way and make a study of her and realise that she is someone that has her own relationship with God and she is given to you that you might care for her, understand her and lead her in the ways of God.
So that is the importance of your relationship with a woman, as a wife, the identity of your wife.
Let me say something now to you husbands and if there are any wives listening, you both must understand the ultimate purpose of a woman.
You must understand the difference between a woman’s ultimate purpose and her temporary role. A woman’s ultimate purpose is to know and to love and to serve and to glorify God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength as being chosen, redeemed, and regenerated by the Triune God. She’s a child of God. She’s a disciple of Christ, and she is an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
What we’re saying is that your wife’s ultimate purpose is not to be a wife and a mother. That is her temporary role for a period of time. Now in that role, she can glorify God as a wife and a mother, and a woman’s temporary role is to be a helper to a man. But ultimately, her purpose in life is to know love, serve and glorify God. So if any ladies are reading or any men that have a wrong idea concerning this so that you’re trying to get all women married as quickly as possible, you need to understand that unless a woman is cultivating and developing her own relationship with God, and understands that she is a child of God, and a disciple of Christ, then she will not be ready and prepared for marriage.
A woman’s ultimate purpose is to not find a man, A woman’s ultimate purpose is to be united to the God-man who is exalted in heaven. And as she’s growing in that relationship, God leads most women to the context of marriage as a wife and childbearing as a mother. But a woman, for the first 20 or 25 years of her life is single. And oftentimes for the last 5 to 10, or even 20 years of her life, she may be widowed. So her purpose and identity in life is not bound up in being a wife and a mother. If that was the case, she would have no purpose for the single years of her life. If that were the case then when her husband died and her children were gone her life’s purpose would be over. But we see that is not the case. So the larger purpose of the woman must be distinctive from and larger than her temporary role as a wife and a mother.
I’ve travelled to many places in the world. I’ve been in a lot of different contexts, in a lot of different relationships and a lot of different churches. I firmly believe as I study history, and I observe things with my own eyes, that the most neglected, abused, and mistreated group of people in the history of the world are women. I repeat: the most neglected, abused, and mistreated group of people in the world are women.
So, you need to understand that your relationship with your wife is to be in stark contrast to the way women are treated in the world. I would remind you, not to judge you, but your country has one of the largest and most severe rape cultures in the world. And women are often treated in different parts of the world like possessions to be used and abused and mistreated. Your marriage with your wife is to be a shining example in a dark world so that your wife is not mistreated, abused, or neglected in any way by you.
Now men, if your wife is your wife and married to you, she has a responsibility by and large to care for the home. By and large, she cooks the food. But hear me, your wife is not your cook. Your wife is your wife. She has the responsibility, by and large, to manage and oversee the children. But hear me: your wife is not a nanny. Your wife is your wife. Also, the woman has the responsibility, by and large, to order the home and keep it in good condition. But your wife is not a maid. Your wife is your wife. And your wife has the privilege and responsibility as you do to her to satisfy one another’s physical needs, but your wife is not your concubine. Your wife is your wife.
So it’s absolutely crucial that you understand these basic foundational things and the context in which you live. And I travelled to many places. When I start talking about men’s relationship with their wives, they turn me off or they shut me down or they don’t want to hear it or they think it’s not important or this is useless. “I’ve got bigger things to do. Don’t you know God has called me? God has given me a burden. God has given me a goal and nothing is going to stand in the way of reaching that goal.” And because of that, they care little for practical instructions concerning their relationship with their wife.
But I implore you and encourage you to understand the importance of your marriage in your relationship with God, your example to the church, and in your witness to the world.
This article is the transcript of the talk by Brother Andy H. in the meeting held in October 2021 entitled ‘The Pastor And His Marriage’.
Please click here to read Part 1 of the article on ‘Don’t Neglect Your Wife’ by Bro. Andy H.Please click here to read Part 3 of the article on ‘Cultivating Spiritual Unity In Your Marriage – Part 1’ by Bro. Andy H. Please click here to read Part 4 of the article on ‘Cultivating Spiritual Unity In Your Marriage – Part 2’ by Bro. Andy H. Please click here to read Part 5 of the article on ‘Cultivating Romantic Affection In Your Marriage’ by Bro. Andy H. Please click here to read Part 6 of the article on ‘Cultivating Physical Intimacy In Your Marriage – Part 1’ by Bro. Andy H. Please click here to read Part 7 of the article on ‘Cultivating Physical Intimacy In Your Marriage – Part 2’ by Bro. Andy H.