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Volume 8, Issue 4: Husbandry

Treat Her Like A Lady

Douglas Wilson

As difficult as the concept is for males to understand, feminine weakness is not a weakness. No woman should ever be evaluated apart from her creation design, or divinely-given purpose. Neither should any man. God has made each of us for a particular calling, and has equipped us for that calling. As the calling varies, so does the equipping.

Because one of the male strengths is simple-mindedness, men tend to evaluate all things according to the sort of criterion (fixed in their minds sometime in junior high) best illustrated by arm-wrestling contests. Life is simple--stronger and faster is better. And because life is also a contest, everyone is measured by whether or not he or she is "winning." Unfortunately, more than a few foolish women have been sucked into this mindset. Ironically we call this attempt by some women to be more like men "feminism," which is like calling an attempt by cats to be like dogs felinism.
When such attempts don't work, which they haven't, we careen off in another direction. So our egalitarian age is currently insisting for some reason that we now learn to respect "diversity," but can give no coherent reason, given their premises, why we should do so. Without confidence in God's creation design, we have no reason to respect anything, much less diversity. The modern feminist whines that we should come to respect her distinctives after her decades-long attempts to obliterate them, her repeated attempts to compete with men on their own terms, as well as her losing badly in many such attempts. Our response should be that we will respect her distinctives when she does. We will bow when she learns to curtsey.
But such an attitude is appropriate only for those women who have abandoned home-orientation in exchange for the privilege of dumping the kids off at day care. But the biblically wise woman laughs at any such attempts to turn women inside out. A woman's station is honored and respected in Scripture, and should be honored by all Christians as well. The Fifth Commandment requires that children honor their parents. The father's responsibility is to see that this general commandment is honored in particular applications. One of the most important applications is that of honoring the mother of the home.
Children are of course to honor both father and mother. This is a commandment with a promise; parents who care about their children will insist that children learn to keep this command. This is done, not because the parents are power-tripping, but because they are seeking God's blessing for their offspring. An important part of teaching this lesson--particularly to sons--is the respect and honor which a husband demonstrates to his wife in the presence of the children. Children learn by example.
A husband should never speak to his wife as though she were one of the children. A condescending attitude is completely out of place. Neither should he undercut her decisions in front of the kids, or dispute with her, or demean her in any way. If discussion of a disagreement is absolutely necessary, it should take place away from the children. The father should insist that the parents constantly present a united front to the children. I am overstating the point for didactic purposes, but sometime around the age of sixteen, the children should realize that their parents are actually two people.
He should take the lead in gratitude. He should lead the family on complimenting her on her meals, on her appearance, and for the work she does in keeping the home running smoothly. He should be saying "Thank you" many times every day, and he should insist that his children learn to follow his example.
A man must insist that his children honor those whom he honors, and first on this list should be his wife and their mother. I still recall that when I was a child my father laid out three cardinal sins that we as children could commit--they were "lying, disobedience, and disrespecting your mother" respectively. Now honor means much more than the mere absence of disrespect, but some of the best teaching moments on the duty of honoring mother come at the points of discipline for disrespecting her.
A man should teach his children the loveliness of pregnancy. Our generation has a pathological hatred of the womb, as evidenced by our abortion imbecility. The alternative understanding should be set forth in Christian homes where a man honors his wife with child, her waiting breasts full of grace. When a woman has "gotten a child" the radiance of her complexion given to her by the Lord should be noticed and praised by her husband. Her husband must honor her fruitfulness.
When a man honors his wife in all these respects, and many others unmentioned, he is doing two things. He is teaching his children respect for their mother, and in addition, he is instilling in them a high respect for the other half of the commandment. They learn to respect him. He does this by giving--not demanding. He does this by serving--not grasping. A man who insists on respect and honor for his wife is clearly an honorable man himself. A man rarely stands taller than when he stands for a lady.

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