Derek Prince - A Wife's Responsibility
All right, now let’s go to the wife’s responsibilities. First of all, why was a wife given to a man? Let’s turn to Genesis 2:18. Genesis 2:18: And the Lord God said: It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him. You could spend hours commenting on that Scripture because the language in Hebrew is very hard to render in English. But let’s not go into that. I will make him a helper. What was the primary purpose of God in giving a wife to Adam, it was to give him a helper. That’s right. Okay.
Now, a lot of people today think: If I’m a helper, I’m inferior. That’s absurd. No one is superior or inferior to anybody else in the Body of Christ. Each of us is given a place and a job. And what God requires of us is to be faithful in the particular place and job that He's assigned to us. I thank God that each of my wives has been to me a wonderful helper. I could never have achieved whatever I have achieved without each of my wives. The next requirement is something that sticks right in the throat of modern woman, but it is to submit. Let’s look in Ephesians again, 5:22: Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord.
Now, I know a lot of male preachers who know all about that Scripture. But a lot of them ignore the previous verse, which says: Submitting to one another in the fear of God... The primary submission in the Body of Christ is to one another. Every believer should be submitted to every other believer. Once we’ve established that, there’s no problem about dictatorship in the home. But in the home relationships, then the wife is to submit to her husband.
You might say Peter was a married man and he was just grinding his axe. But Paul, who was unmarried, said exactly the same. And both of them always begin with the wife’s responsibility. Do you know why? Because if the wife doesn’t fulfill her responsibility, it’s almost impossible for the husband to fulfill his. The wife has the key either to open the door or to close the door to the husband’s fulfillment of his role.
I’d like to say with regard to my first wife, who was known to some of you, she’s been here at least once or twice in ministry, she was a Dane, she was considerably older than I was. When I married her, she was already a very experienced and successful missionary, who’d accomplished something no one else had accomplished up to that time. She was a very intelligent person and a gifted speaker. Had she wished to dominate me, she would have had no trouble doing it. But to her credit, she backed off and allowed this inexperienced young man to come in and be head of the home. And she must have suffered agonies at some of the things I did.
Bear in mind I’ve never had any brothers or sisters, and suddenly I found myself head of a house of eight girls! If you don’t think there was some suffering on all our parts, you just aren’t realistic. But what I’m saying is Lydia backed off and let me take my place. I could never have taken it if she had held on to her place. I could never have been what I am today if it had not been for what Lydia did. So whatever I am, much of the credit goes to Lydia.
The third responsibility of a wife is, I say, to support or uphold. You know, God has so created the body that the head cannot hold itself up. Did you ever realize that? So if the man is the head, it’s the body that has to hold him up. The one who is mainly responsible is the wife. Women, I would like to say to you, men are pretty weak creatures in many ways. They need support! All right? They can put on a macho outside exterior and shout a bit and throw their weight about, but really, inside they’re mice. You’ve got to be kind to them. You’ve got to see their weaknesses and make allowance for it.
Then the next thing that I would like my wife to do, and she does it wonderfully, is to encourage. How many of you husbands would like your wives to encourage you? Just let’s see your hand. There’s nothing more painful than a wife who discourages her husband. He’s a preacher and he’s just preached a very poor sermon and had a very bad response. If he goes home and his wife says: That was a lousy sermon! I mean, there’s nothing more you can do, he’s a worm. But if she says: Well, that wasn’t one of your best sermons but I enjoyed it. Then he begins to feel: Well, maybe there's hope. Maybe I can make it after all.
And remember that the title of the Holy Spirit is encourager. That word that’s translated comforter is better translated encourager. So when you encourage your husband, you’re fulfilling the role of the Holy Spirit in that situation. And then lastly, I feel a wife’s responsibility is to intercede for her husband. Wives, don’t spend so much time worrying about your husband, criticizing your husbands, pointing out their faults. Get down on your knees, start thanking God for them and pray for them. You’ll be the one to reap the benefits.
Ruth and I have been associated with two couples over the years. And in each case there were real weaknesses and problems in the life of the husband. But those two wives agreed together that they would intercede every morning for their husbands. And they did it faithfully for a number of years. Today, each husband is a success. One is a success in the ministry, another is a success in the secular world. But they would never have become what they are without their wives persistent, faithful intercession.