Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. Ephesians 5:22-28
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4
The institution of marriage was established and ordained by God (Genesis 2:24). Therefore “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27). He created “the woman for the man” (I Corinthians 11:9). Therefore, “marriage is honorable”. “Children are a heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” (Psalms 127:3). In order to provide for continuation of the species, God created within male and female the potential for bearing children. The first commandment given to Adam and Eve was to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Genesis 1:28). Marriage between male and female provide the structure for conceiving and raising children. Compliance with this command of God is a physical and biological impossibility in same-sex unions.
Regardless of how men define marriage, we must define it as God defines it. God’s standard always prevails over the whims of men.
1) Deut.12:8 “Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.”
2) Deut.13:18 “When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.”
3) Prov.21:2 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.”
4) Prov.16:25 “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
5) Prov.30:12 “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.”
6) Acts 5:29 “We must obey God rather than men.
When a man and a woman enter into the covenant of marriage, they are taking on one of the highest vocations that exist upon this earth. The offices of ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ bear more weight upon the success and failure of a person’s life than almost any other office they will hold. And although one may have understood this years ago, maybe even decades ago, one’s marriage never remains stagnant, but always presents itself with new challenges, blessings, and warnings.
Marriage is sexual – Marriage is a sexual union. We must be careful not to get our categories mixed up. Sex is a gift, and like any created gift, it can be enjoyed properly, or perverted, misused, and taken and used as a club upon another. And so, the writer makes two points back to back.
The Marriage Bed is Undefiled – Understood and handled rightly, sexual union for a husband and a wife is a glorious gift; and in that context, there is nothing to be ashamed about. There, in the protection of the covenant walls, the cultivation of physical love is a great protection (1 Cor 7:2-3) and a place of mutual pleasure (Song of Solomon 7:10ff).
Fornicators and Adulterers God Will Judge – Sexuality is an incredibly naked thing, and affects the entire person, not only his or her body. Therefore, violators of the covenant of marriage will receive the strongest rebuke from the Judge. Fornicators are those who engage in sexual activity absent a marriage covenant. Adulterers are those who engage in sexual activity contrary to an established marriage covenant. The bottom line is that there is no ‘wiggle-room’ for those who are trying to establish their own standards.
Marriage It is not used to legitimize fornication or adultery. Let’s define adultery.
1) Adultery is when a person who has an honorable marriage seeks and obtains sexual activity outside of that marriage.
2) Ezekiel 16:32 defines adultery. It says, “A wife that committeth adultery taketh strangers instead of her husband!” Same could be said of the husband.
3) Romans 7:3 “So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.”
The people of Jesus’ day were seeking to legitimize adultery through marriage. Jesus didn’t tolerate it.
1) Matthew 5:31, 32 “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
2) Luke 16:18 “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”
3) Matthew 19:9 “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”
Neither does the Bible recognize same sex marriages as anything but fornication.
1) Romans 1:26, 27 “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
2) We note that those who approve of such actions fall under God’s condemnation as well. Romans 1:23
a. KJV “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
b. ASV says “who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.”
c. ESV says, Romans 1:32 “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
D. Scott Meadows in his article THE DUTIES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES bring out some very important biblical key points:
A. The universal obligation of it. “Let each one of you,” no matter how good you are or how bad your spouse. All husbands are entitled to their wives’ respect, whether they are wise or foolish, intelligent or slow, skillful or clumsy. All wives are entitled to their husbands’ love, whether beautiful or ugly, rich or poor, submissive or rebellious.
B. The particular application of it. “In particular,” each and every husband and wife should apply this to their own particular case.
Summary of Duties.
A. Every husband’s duty. To love his wife. This is not the only duty but it includes all others. He should love her as himself. This is both how (the Golden Rule) and why he is to love her (because they are both really one, loving her will result in blessings to him).
B. Every wife’s duty. To fear (Greek) or reverence (KJV) or respect (NKJV) her husband, both for his person and his position. This necessarily includes love, because if she loves him, she will try to please him, and avoid offending him.
Remember this is your Creator’s counsel, clearly articulated in both the Old and New Testaments, and by both Paul the apostle to Gentiles (Eph. 5:23 ff.; Col. 3:18 ff.) and Peter the apostle to Jews (1 Pet. 3:1 ff.). These two duties (husband-love, wife-respect) are not exhaustive, but are mentioned particularly either because they are the most common failures of each or because they include all other duties. Another explanation is that respect is what husbands need most, and love, what wives need most, from their spouses (Doug Wilson). God counsels not only that we may have eternal life, but comfort here and now. A godly marriage is a bit of heaven on earth. Reviewing these duties should humble us for our past failures, and challenge us to future improvement.
THE DUTIES BELONGING TO BOTH ALIKE
1. Living with Each Other. He must “leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife” (Gen. 2:24), and she must “forget her own people also, and her father’s house” (Psa. 45:10). He must “dwell with his wife” (1 Pet. 3:7), and she must not “depart from her husband,” even if he is an unbeliever (1 Cor. 7:10). The other duties of marriage require living together, as regular sexual relations, which they both owe each other (1 Cor. 7:3-5). The OT prohibits husbands from going to war during their first year of marriage (Deut. 24:5). This shows the importance of living together.
2. Loving Each Other. This is both the husband’s (Col. 3:19) and the wife’s duty (Tit. 2:4). Love is the great reason and comfort of marriage. This love is not merely romance, but genuine and constant affection and care for each other “fervently with a pure heart” (1 Pet. 1:22). Marital love cannot be based on beauty or wealth, for these are passing, and not even on piety, for that may decay. It must be based upon God’s command which never changes. The marriage vow obliges “for better or for worse,” and married persons ought to consider their own spouses the best in the world for them. Marital love must be durable, lasting even after death has severed the bond (Prov. 31:12). This true-hearted love brings true content and comfort in its train. It guards against adultery and jealousy. It prevents or lessens family trouble. Without it, the marriage is like a bone out of joint. There is pain until it is restored.
3. Staying Faithful to Each Other. Every man should have (sexually) his own wife, and every wife her own husband (1 Cor. 7:2), and only their own. Imitate the first Adam who had but one wife and the second Adam who has but one church. The marriage covenant binds you to your own spouse as the dearest, sweetest, and best in the world. The slightest infidelity, even in the heart, may lead to full-blown adultery. Without repentance, adultery destroys both earthly happiness and reasonable expectation of heaven. It almost dissolves marriage, and in the OT was a capital crime (Deut. 22:22). Be careful to avoid temptations to this sin. The man who is not satisfied with one woman will never be satisfied with many, because this sin has no boundaries. Faithfulness also involves keeping each other’s secrets. These must not be disclosed unless there is a greater obligation. Telling your spouse’s secrets is bad when accidental, worse when the result of temper, and the worst when it is motivated by hate.
4. Helping Each Other. The wife should be a “helper comparable to her husband” (Gen. 2:18), implying they should both help each other. They should carry these things together:
A. Their work. If she works at home and he works outside, both their work shall be easier. For motivation, let him give attention to all of Proverbs, and her to the last chapter especially.
B. Their crosses. Though newlyweds expect only pleasure in marriage, trouble is bound to come (1 Cor. 7:28). You may face loss of worldly goods, harm to your children, afflictions from both friends and enemies. Spouses must be friends to each other through thick and thin.
C. Their commitment to Christ. Live “as being heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7). The highest end of marriage is to promote each other’s eternal happiness. Cooperation here is very important. His knowledge must aid her ignorance, and her zeal his discouragement. When the husband is home, he must instruct and pray with his family and sanctify the Sabbath, but in his absence, she must look to these things.
5. Being Patient with Each Other. This duty we owe to all, but especially to our spouse (Eph. 4:31-32). There are many temptations in marriage to become impatient! Hot tempers ignite civil wars indoors, and no good ever comes of them. Both need a meek and quiet spirit. Learn to hold your peace to keep the peace. Withdraw until the storm is over. You are not two angels married, but two sinful children of Adam. Wink at lesser faults, and be careful in confronting greater ones. Acknowledge your faults to one another and confess them all to God. Yield to one another rather than to the devil (Eph. 4:27).
6. Saving Each Other. 1 Corinthians 7:16 insinuates that our great duty is to promote the salvation of our spouse. What good is it to enjoy marriage now and then go to hell together? If you let your spouse be damned, where is your love? Both should inquire into each other’s spiritual state, and use the means appointed to improve it. Chrysostom said, “Let them both go to church and then discuss the sermon together.” If both are Christians already, then they should do what they can to help each other to become thorough saints. Speak often of God and spiritual things. Be fellow-pilgrims to the Celestial City.
7. Maintaining Regular but Moderate Marital Sex. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). Marital sex is designed to remedy impure affections, not excite them. You cannot follow every sexual folly you can imagine with your spouse, just because you are married. Owning wine gives you no permission to get drunk. Be moderate and sensible. For example, you might abstain for a time to give yourselves to prayer (1 Cor. 7:5). Even in marital relations we must show reverence to God and respect for each other. True love does not behave rudely.
8. Looking Out for Each Other’s Interests in All Things. Help each other’s health, and be sick together, at least in spirit. One should not be rich while the other suffers want. Advance each other’s good reputation. A husband naturally and rightly cares for things that are of the world, how he may please his wife, and the wife does the same (1 Cor. 7:33-34). This brings honor to their faith, comfort to their lives, and a blessing on all they have. They should be bosom friends, laughing and weeping together, with nothing but death separating their interests.
9. Praying for Each Other. Peter warns against “their prayers being hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7), which suggests they should pray for and with each other. “Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren” (Gen. 25:21). We should pray for everyone, but especially our spouse. The purest love is expressed by earnest prayer, and prayer will preserve love. Seek times for prayer together. Mr. Bolton prayed twice privately, twice with his wife, and twice with his family, each day. Prayer elevates Christian marriage above heathen marriages and the cohabitation of animals.
THE SPECIAL DUTY OF A HUSBAND: LOVE
Love is the foundation of all other duties toward her. Everything flows from this. Without love, every performance of duty toward her seems hard. Tenderness, honor, care, and kindness are merely the beams from the sun of love.
1. The Dimensions of a Godly Husband’s Love. The love of a husband to his wife is peculiar to this relation. It is distinct from parental love and from animal lust.
A. The ground of it. Your are married to her and God commands husbands to love their wives. This alone will last forever, since she may become less attractive in many ways.
B. The extent of it. You must love both her body and soul. Therefore you should choose a wife that is physically and personality/spiritually attractive to you, or you do her disservice.
C. The degree of it. Above his love for all others, including his parents and children, and certainly above any person outside the family. “Always be enraptured with her love” (Prov. 5:19).
D. The duration of it. “Always” (Prov. 5:19 quoted above), not only in public but in private, not for a week or month or year, but until death. Your love should daily increase through old age. You had her beauty and strength, so why not her wrinkles and illnesses? Inner loveliness usually increases as outer loveliness decreases. There are many biblical reasons for a husband’s perpetual love.
2. The Pattern of a Godly Husband’s Love.
A. Jesus Christ’s love for His church. “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church” (Eph. 5:25). “Nourish and cherish her, just as the Lord does the church” (5:29). While we cannot attain equality with Christ, yet the quality of our love should be the same as His. How, then, does Jesus Christ love His church?
1) Genuine, without hypocrisy. His love was so real and intense that He died for the church.
2) Free, without conditions before or expectations after. He gave Himself to cleanse His church, implying she was no beauty beforehand. The husband must draw love from her by his own love. True love is more about bettering the object loved than enriching the subject.
3) Holy, without impurity. Christ loved the church “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word” (5:26). This teaches the husband to labor diligently to further the sanctification of his wife.
4) Great, without comparison. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). This is what Christ did for His church (5:25).
5) Constant, without change. Even until He presents her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle” (Eph. 5:27). Many times has Christ been put off by them, and yet He continues to love them. Husbands should copy His example. No bad behavior on her part is grounds to stop loving her.
6) Active, without neglect. He “nourishes and cherishes her” (5:29). He must do his utmost to supply all her needs, whether for support, or constant friendship, or a nurse for her illness.
B. The husband’s love for himself “So husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies” (5:28). “Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself’ (5:33). Now although this pattern is less than Christ’s love for His church, yet it is easier to comprehend.
1) Tender. We handle our own sores and griefs more tenderly than anyone else. “No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (5:29). Wives are like crystal glasses, easily broken if not tenderly handled. Women are more liable to fears and passions and griefs.
2) Cheerful. No man is so ready to help a man as himself. Best friends sometimes fail you but you help yourself. So be ready to help your wife. If a cloud arises between you, dissipate it by your love. You will not stay angry with yourself very long. No mediator should be needed.
3. The Demonstration of a Godly Husband’s Love.
A. In word.
1) He teaches her. “Dwell with her with understanding” (1 Pet. 3:7). She should “ask her own husband at home” if she wants to learn something, and not speak in the church (1 Con 14:35). Woe to the husband that lacks either the will or the skill to teach his wife! He ought to acquire it in either case. Otherwise she will probably curse him forever in hell!
2) He reproves her. “Love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8), so he should overlook many faults. Just as a sword dulls with constant use, so does reproof. Yet true love sometimes requires rebuke, but it must be given with the greatest wisdom and tenderness imaginable, not before strangers, rarely before the family, mainly for sins, seldom for anything else. Give commendation first, and explanation afterward. Reproof should be short, like a very swift and slight slap (of course this is pure simile; a husband should never strike his wife). If the potion is too hot, it does more harm than good. Follow Job’s example, when he said merely, “You speak as one of the foolish women” (Job 2:10). Mild reproof is the most likely to induce her sincere repentance (Prov. 25:15).
3) He encourages her. Praise when she does well. This is important because it will help her to realize the sincerity of your love when you must reprove, and make reproofs more convicting.
4) He comforts her. Especially when she is hurting emotionally or physically. Elkanah’s tender reasoning with Hannah brought her to dinner (1 Sam. 1:8-9). A husband’s kind word is like medicine to his wife. Do not underestimate it.
B. In deed.
1) He provides for her. It is mainly the husband’s duty to provide for his wife (Exod. 21:10). She should help as she is able. The “honor” a husband must give to his wife as the weaker vessel may well refer to maintenance (1 Pet. 3:7; cf. Matt. 15:6; 1 Tim. 5:3). He should make provision for her not only while he is living, but also after he is gone, as Christ did for His church. If He can, he should also give her “some pittance in her own disposal” (exact quote) so she can exercise charity and encourage servants and children in their duties.
2) He shows great tenderness to her. This is especially shown in his protection of her from dangers, temptation, harm, reproach, contempt, and his sympathy with her in troubles.
3) He is a good example to her. Wives usually follow their husbands to hell or to heaven. His example is a greater influence than he may realize. Solomon calls him “the guide of her youth” (Prov. 2:17). Therefore set the pace in piety, seriousness, charity, wisdom, and goodness. She will learn to pray from your prayers. Your life will be a rule or law for hers.
4) He grants her reasonable requests. Remember David granting Bathsheba her request of the throne for her son (1 Kings 1:15-31), Isaac granting Rebekah her request of a godly wife for Jacob (Gen. 27:46; cf. 28:1), and Jesus Christ granting the reasonable petitions of His church. A husband should be anticipating her requests, and giving her before she asks. He should seek her advice, as Elkanah and Abraham did (1 Sam. 1:23; Gen. 21:12), and yield to her when she is right.
5) He trusts her in domestic affairs. “The heart of her husband safely trusts her” (Prov. 31:11), especially if she has enough sense to guide domestic affairs, as she ought to have. A husband has more important things to do than direct the household servants. She may occasionally consult him so that if things do not turn out well, she may escape blame. But generally he should move in his sphere outside the home, and she in hers, within the home. He should fetch honey, and she should work it in the hive.
6) He exercises authority toward her. The all-wise God invested the first husband with authority (Gen. 2:23), and this was not taken away in his fall (Gen. 3:16). The light of nature and the gospel requires this (Est. 1:22; 1 Cor. 11:3). Only proud and ignorant women dispute it. But a husband must use it:
a. wisely. He can only keep authority by a truly spiritual, serious, and manly behavior. It will be hard for her to reverence him if he does not reverence God. If he is light or effeminate, he will lose it.
b. mildly. Remember that though his position is superior, their souls are equal. She is your companion, therefore you cannot rule her as a king does his subjects, but as the head does its body. Eve was not taken from Adam’s head or foot, but from his side, near his heart. His attitude must be friendly, his language sweet, his commands sparing and respectful, and his reproofs gentle (Col. 3:16). Do not think the way to keep a wife under authority is by intimidation. If meekness of wisdom will not prevail with her, then you are undone in this world, and she in the world to come.
THE SPECIAL DUTY OF A WIFE: RESPECT
This is her special qualification. If she has all beauty and learning but no respect for her husband, she is not a good wife. Creation suggests it. She was made after the man (1 Tim. 2:13), from the man (1 Cor. 11:8), and for the man (1 Cor. 11:9). This order was not by man’s doing, but God’s. Even after the fall the divine order stands: “He shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). The New Testament confirms all this (Col. 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:16). Even if she is the sweetest thing and her husband the meanest, she still has a duty to respect him. First, she must fix in her heart that her position is inferior to his, and then she will be able to fulfill all [that] respect implies with ease and delight. It is not fitting to set the rib above, or even on the same level with, the head.
1. The Description of a Godly Wife’s Respect.
A. She highly esteems him. “All wives will honor their husbands, both great and small” (Est. 1:20). Ponder the excellence of his person, and value it properly. And if he is not accomplished, then she should consider the excellence of his place as “the image and glory of God” (1 Cor. 11:7). You esteemed him when you chose him as your husband, and you should continue to do so. Remember Michal’s disrespect to David and her punishment from God (2 Sam. 6:16, 23). Her family and neighbors will respect her about as much as she respects her husband, so in honoring him, she honors herself.
B. She dearly loves him. This respect is composed of love, which is also the wife’s duty (Tit. 2:4). Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel left parents, friends, and country entirely out of love for their husbands. A young woman named Clara’ Cerventa was married to Valdaura whose body was so riddled with disease that no one else would touch him, but she dressed his sores with all care, and sold her attire and jewelry to maintain him. Finally he died, and when comforters came to her, she told them she would buy him back again with the loss of her five children if she could. She can beget her husband’s love no better way than by her reverence toward him.
C. She diligently pleases him. The word “respect” in Ephesians 5:33 is literally “fear.” She should maintain “chaste conduct accompanied by fear” (1 Pet. 3:2), for one without the other is inadequate. This fear is not servile, but a sincere desire to please and refusal to offend him. “I will do my utmost to please him, though I do not fear his hand, but his frown. I would rather displease the whole world than my husband.”
2. The Pattern of a Godly Wife’s Respect.
A. The church’s respect for Christ. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). “Just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (5:24). Her submission is to be like the church’s ideal submission to Christ.
1) In everything. In things great and small, agreeable and disagreeable to her. Only when he requires what God forbids or forbids what God requires is she to refuse submission. She may reason with him in things inconvenient to her, but if he will not be persuaded, and there is no sin in the case, she must submit to him.
2) Free, willing, and cheerful. The service Christians do to the Lord is with goodwill (Eph. 6:7). So the wife should submit to her husband as if there were but one will in their two hearts. Leah and Rachel followed Jacob like his shadow (Gen. 31:16). Sarah’s reverence was sincere, as she called her husband “lord” (Gen. 18:12), and this is an example for Christian wives (1 Pet. 3:6). Therefore a grudging obedience is unacceptable, and usually springs from her unmortified pride and self-conceit. Even if he is severe, it is better for you to do your duty, and leave his judgment to God.
B. The body’s respect for the head. “For the husband is the head of the wife” (Eph. 5:23). All members of the body realize the head is useful for their good. The hand will accept a wound to protect the head. Whatever the head decides to do, the body gets up and follows as long as it can. This is the way the wife should honor her husband, second only to God. It is ludicrous for the head to go one way and the rib another, for a soldier to command his general, or for the moon to pretend superiority over the sun. Only if the husband is insane is this altered. “The man has authority in his house unless he is verbum anomalum; that is, a fool” (Luther).
3. The Demonstration of a Godly Wife’s Respect.
A. In word. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34). If she really respects him, it will show in what she says. “On her tongue is the law of kindness” (Prov. 31:26; cf. 15:4).
1) She speaks respectfully of him in his absence. No wife is too great or good to imitate Sarah’s godly example of giving her husband a title of respect like “lord” (1 Pet. 3:6). A wicked woman refers to her husband as “the man” (literal Hebrew in Prov. 7:19). Would that this was the worst thing wives call their husbands behind their backs!
2) She speaks respectfully to him in his presence. Beware of
a. interrupting him while he is speaking, or saying ten words to his one. Silence commends a woman’s wisdom more than speech. The wise woman uses words sparingly.
b. using disrespectful words or tone. Strive for “a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Pet. 3:4). Do not be afraid that this will make your husband worse, but trust in God’s wisdom (1 Pet. 3:1; Prov. 25:15). Remember God hears and will judge you for every idle word (Matt. 12:36). Ideally, both the husband and wife should be slow to passion, yet where one must yield, it is most reasonably expected of the wife. No woman gets honor by having the last word. Some women argue that their tongue is their only weapon, but the wise know that their tongue is set on fire by hell (Jas. 3:6). See how Rachel spoke rashly to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die” (Gen. 30:1), and as soon as she had two, she died (Gen. 35:18)! On the other hand, Abigail behaved prudently with a very bad husband, and was raised to honor. If respect will not prevail with him, anger never can. That is why the husband and wife ought to agree never to shout at one another.
B. In deed.
1) She obeys his directions and restraints. Sarah obeyed Abraham, and she is a worthy model (1 Pet. 3:6). He said, “Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes” (Gen. 18:6), and she did it promptly. The wife is bound in conscience to obey her husband in everything that is not contrary to the revealed will of God, and even in this case, she should refuse respectfully. For example, she cannot consent to omit Bible reading, or prayer, or sanctifying the Lord’s Day, although he command it ever so sternly. The house is her proper place; she is its beauty; there is her business and safety. Only urgent necessity should call her abroad. The prostitute’s feet did not abide at her house (Prov. 7:11). She must live where her husband judges best. Wives are to “love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers [“keepers at home,” KJV; Greek, oikouros, meaning caring for the house, working at home, keeping at home and taking care of household affairs, Strong’s Concordance], good, obedient to their own husbands” (Tit. 2:4).
2) She asks his counsel and hears his reproofs. Rebekah would not send Jacob to her brother Laban without consulting Isaac (Gen. 27:46). Sarah would not discard Hagar the servant without consulting Abraham (Gen. 21:10). The Shunnamite woman would not receive a prophet into the house without advising her husband (2 Kings 4:10). Her hardest task is in hearing a reproof lovingly and thankfully, especially if she has a proud and contentious spirit. But she should remember she has her faults, and no one can see them better than her husband. So to answer him harshly for reproof shows great ingratitude. If she really respects him, this will be a much easier pill to swallow.
3) She maintains a respectful and cheerful attitude at all times. She should not indulge irritability or gloom when he is happy, nor be giddy when he is sad. She should try her best to make him delight in her. Let her express contentedness in her goods and position, and a sweet disposition so he will enjoy being at home with her. Let her study how he likes his meals, his clothes, and his lodging, and conform to his pleasure, because even in these small things many sharp arguments may arise. She must never let her familiarity with him breed contempt. His love must not make her forget her duty, but rather increase her efforts. His fondness must not decrease her respect for him. It is better to obey a wise man than a fool. Most husbands are liable to reform if their wives respect them properly. Likewise, most wives can be won to respect by his wisdom and affection.
EXTRACT FROM Called To Inherit A Blessing