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Honoring the Christian Wife and Mother


“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them [your wives] with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker
vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of  life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
(1 Peter 3:7)

Mother’s Day is a big and special day across America. If you’re thinking of having Sunday brunch on Mother’s Day, be prepared for a long wait to get a table. Cards will fly out of the local card shops, and mothers across America will all be told that they are the very best mother of all. Then Monday comes and everything goes back to normal. Mothers will once again be taken for granted, or worse, verbally abused by spouse and children who can’t find the car keys, the homework, or the article of clothing that is needed right at the moment. We hope this doesn’t describe Christian homes, homes that are blessed with the loving presence of the Lord Jesus!

The passage above is addressed to Christian husbands, but it is also very suitable as an encouraging word for Mother’s Day. As Christ is the head of the Church, so the husband is to be the head not only of his wife, but also of the Christian home. As a Christian husband comprehends the love of Christ in his heart, he will model that love of Christ in his home—first to his wife and then also to his children. The husband’s attitude toward his wife and children can be a huge factor in establishing a truly Christian atmosphere in the home.

So what does Peter, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, encourage? The Christian husband will honor his wife. This will begin with love and thoughtfulness toward her. He will strive to provide her with his assistance and consideration. He will remember that as his Christian marriage has been blessed by the Lord’s enduring presence, so his wife is his partner not only in temporal matters of running a household, but also in spiritual matters as well. She brings a very special quality of Christian faith and love into the home and into their marriage. They are joint heirs of the grace of life. That is not focusing merely on this material life, but on the gift of spiritual and eternal life we have been given in Christ Jesus. Even “as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma,” (Ephesians 5:2) so the husband will imitate that attitude in his love for his wife. It will be a sacrificial love that honors her for all she brings to home and marriage.

The world may view as inconsequential, or merely cute, the spiritual touches brought into the home by the Christian mother, but in reality they are invaluable blessings. She teaches the children their bedtime prayers. She sings of Jesus’ love for them. She encourages the completion of Sunday school lessons. She is present both to chide the erring children, and then to embrace them, not only with her love but also with the Savior’s love.

There is great cause to honor the Christian wife and mother on this Mother’s Day. Let us begin by thanking and praising the Lord for His gift of devout Christian wives and mothers. Let’s make this Mother’s Day a special day for them; but may we also take that honor into the following Monday, the following week, and the rest of the year, giving honor to whom the Lord has clearly told us honor is due.

Theodore Barthels is pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Austin, Minnesota.