A Modern Day Rib in Action!

A modern day “rib” (that is, a biblically submissive wife in a modern day world) protects her husband's:

  • Heart: his vigor
  • Lungs: the air he breathes in and the air he breathes out

A man's heart yearns for his wife, her acceptance of him, her respect and most of all, her unwavering love and devotion. The world could hate your husband, his boss and/or his job could be horrible, his co-workers could spend all day mocking him and telling him how inept and stupid he is. But if he has a wife at home that sees him in truth, warts and all, yet loves him unconditionally with God's agape love, it's amazing how the world’s opinions of him will have little to no lasting affect on his vigor.

On the other hand, if the world loves your husband and he is praised and respected at work and in social circles, yet does not have the unconditional agape love, respect and support of his wife, he may grow weary, and begin to fail in many areas of his life. He will lose his vigor and sometimes, look to find another "rib" to replace the one that seems to be missing—causing a hole in his body, making his heart vulnerable to attack so that his heart can no longer function properly. Note: this is not to say that all men who commit adultery do it because it’s entirely the wife’s fault. For a marriage to be healthy and God-honoring both the husband and wife must actively pursue holiness. It only takes one spouse to open the black hole of temptations, but God can restore and reconcile all things for those who humbly seek His face (Ps 37:23-37).

As women, we see our husbands as strong and not needing our acceptance or support. We feel like because we are the "weaker vessel" it is more important that we receive praise, acceptance and appreciation from our husbands without realizing that he needs ours too.

"While women who lose their husbands often speak of feeling abandoned or deserted, widowers tend to express the loss as one of "dismemberment," as if they had lost something that kept them organized and whole. The Harvard Bereavement Study, a landmark investigation of spousal loss that took place in the Boston area during the late 1960s, reported that widowers often equated the death of their wives with the loss of their primary source of protection, support, and comfort. This went to the very core of their overall sense of wellbeing.
~The Encyclopedia of Death and Dying
(my emphasis added)

One of the common habits we've grown accustomed to is nagging and quarreling with our husbands because we're sure we're right and they're wrong. While this may be true from time to time, nagging and quarreling is unbiblical and contributes to "sucking the life" out of your husband, while feminizing him, causing him to "cave in". And with no protection from the rib, it's expected that a man's heart would cave in from all the pressures he faces daily. This is viewed as such a horrid thing in the sight of God that He has King Solomon mention it twice! (Proverbs 21:9 and 25:24).

A man depends on his lungs to breathe in air to provide oxygen to his heart, as well as exhaling air to remove carbon dioxide.

As wives, we are to protect the air our husbands breathe in and protect the air he breathes out. That means we protect our husbands atmosphere by prayerfully, truthfully and lovingly making our homes a place of restoration, peace and comfort for our husbands. As biblically submissive wives, we ought to intentionally set out each day to bless our husbands with our words and acts of kindness.

We also need to actively protect the air our husbands breathe out. Just like us, our husbands are not perfect and will from time to time say something unkind, harsh or inappropriate to us, our children or to others. In the case that he speaks unkindly, harshly or inappropriately to you, privately, tell him he's hurt your feelings, but with gentleness and love and not with bitterness and defensiveness.

If he happens to offend you in public, simply say, "I'm sorry what I've done/said frustrated you. Please forgive me. What I can I do to help you?" (Prov 15:1, James 3:17-18). Then prayerfully consider when God will provide you the time to speak with him privately; if necessary.

If your husband did not speak to you inappropriately, but did hurt your feelings, consider if what he said was an actual sin, a personal offense, or godly reproof. If it was a personal offense, prayerfully consider overlooking the it (Prov 19:11) and interceding in prayer for him, rather than expecting your husband to always behave in a manner which is most pleasing to you (Rom 2:1-4, James 2:13)—as I'm sure this is a great burden none of us can bear...that's why we have Jesus. If it be the latter, then humble yourself and recognize your Father’s discipline spoken through your husband (Jn 10:27, 1 Jn 5:3-4). Then graciously and lovingly thank your husband for loving you as Christ loves His Bride—the Church (Eph 5:25-26).

Speaking privately to your husband after much prayer is always recommended over disrespecting him by publicly reproving him.

How do you handle situations when others have witnessed your husband treating you unkindly, harsh or with inappropriate language? How do you keep from the temptation to "stand up for yourself" because you've been told you "deserve better"? Well, you might say something like this to a friend/relative who approaches you:

"Thank you for showing me your love. I truly appreciate that you have my best interest at heart. Knowing you love me and want what’s best for me, let me share with you what would be most helpful and the greatest blessing to me. Rather than approach me about this, I’d prefer you intercede in prayer for both me and my husband. You see, I'm such a sinful woman, always ready to find fault in my husband and correct him that I really don't need any help sinning against God. So in the future, if you ever see my husband treat me inappropriately, please don't come to me about it or I may be tempted to sin. But show your love for me by praying for us. I want to love my husband, just like Christ loves me—I'm imperfect and at times ungrateful and wicked (Lk 6:35-36). Since God allowed you to witness this, perhaps we can pray together now?"

Of course, you don't have to use this exact verbiage, but please use the same concept of protecting your husband (not justifying his poor behavior), but covering him from additional injury with your love (Proverbs 10:12, 17:9, 1 Peter 4:8). What do I mean by additional injury? When our husbands are unkind to us, they are injuring themselves more than they are injuring us. Remember, the LORD holds your husband to a higher standard and will require it of him. Therefore when he disobeys God in his treatment of you, he causes serious injury to himself because he is hindering his own prayers from being heard by God (1 Pet 3:7).

So please sisters, as dearly beloved daughters of the Most High God, love your husbands enough to protect them from causing further injury to themselves; even if you are hurt by something they've said or done, abide in Christ's love, trusting that God will protect, lift and strengthen you (Proverbs 18:10, 1 Pet 3:6).

Now that the foundation has been laid and we are well aware of the purpose in which God intended for wives since the Garden, we'll begin the first lesson by discerning the difference between submission and obedience.

(Optional reading)

I've carried this so far as not even tolerating other men to coarsely joke about my husband to me, as men so often do. Men often put each other down as a way of relating to one another, which is fine as long as they keep it among themselves.

There was a time where the men who volunteered with my husband at our old church would say, "We always tell Jim how he married up! How in the world did a goofball like him get a wife like you?" I didn't answer very kindly, as I should have. Unfortunately, I was so angry and didn't enjoy having my husband demeaned in any way by any person, so in my flesh, I answered as an unbiblical and unkind woman and returned their demeaning words back on them. We ought to always answer just as we are taught by the Word of God (Eph 4:29) and not by our standards of right and wrong.

The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult...Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
~ Proverbs 12:16, Romans 12:16c - 18

So rather than handle the situation like I’ve done in the past; returning evil for evil, with an insult for an insult, return kindness to anyone who demeans your husband. Use this as an opportunity to show respect for your husband by praising him before the presence of anyone who undermines him.

A thought to ponder: There is no human being, or anything in all the earth God has created, besides a wife, that He gave the ability to provide the greatest blessing and strength to a husband or be the most injurious. How will you use the "power" God gave you, today?
"And the world is passing away along with its desires,
but whoever does the will of God abides forever."
~1 John 2:17, ESV