From “Woman” to “Wife”: The Good Thing God Intended
From “Woman” to “Wife”: The Good Thing God Intended
Click the link to see the sister post, The High Call to Husbandry: A Noble Aspiration
How do you go from woman to wife? I believe you’ll be surprised by what the LORD has revealed in His word.
I speak for myself when I say that I adore being a woman. There is something very special, even sacred – about being a female. And I think that many of us as women are aware of that sacredness, yet we don’t always know how to carry that mantle we inherit. In this post we’re going to discuss God’s design for the woman as well as the wife. You will joyously find that God did something extraordinary when He created woman that He had never done before. In so doing, wives also have an extraordinary purpose.
Flesh, Blood & Bone
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church, (Ephesians 5:29-32, KJV).
As I searched the scriptures about this topic God began to take me back to Adam’s rib. For years people have said the reason God chose the rib was because it was so close to Adam’s heart. There may be some truth to that, however God showed me something different. As an RN, I can tell you with a great measure of certainty that it was probably a floating rib which God chose. Floating ribs are completely detached from the rib cage, and they are not located at the front of the body, but rather at the back. They are small, literally “floating”, as they branch from the vertebrae at spine at the bottom of the rib cage. All other ribs are attached: both at the vertebrae (in the back) and at the sternum (in front), and even to each other, forming one one large single yet jointed unit that expands and contracts with every breath and bending movement. Of all the bones in Adam’s body which God could have chosen to create Woman, the rib is one Adam could afford to lose without incurring any bodily dysfunction whatsoever. He could easily spare it. You can’t say that about any other bone in our bodies. If you were to lose it – you would definitely be handicapped and suffer noticeable deficits. But with a floating rib that is not the case. Therefore, from a physiological perspective, it’s of sound reason that God would choose this specific bone. Truly, it was the only option. I doubt Adam missed his little floating rib. But wow, did he get an awesome exchange!
You may ask: Is it true that men have one less rib than women? Let me officially dispel that myth: No, that is NOT TRUE. We all have a total of twelve ribs. Seven are true ribs (meaning each one is individually attached to the sternum), five are false ribs (meaning they are not directly attached to the sternum, but rather joined to each other and link to the seventh rib), and two floating ribs (floating ribs are also considered false ribs in that they do not attach to the sternum). Male and female are anatomically identical in this area. Yet I find it amusing that women are now having their floating ribs removed surgically to improve their figures. Obviously, not something I recommend or endorse. However, case and point is this: of all the bones in your body, these are the only ones you can suffer to lose without deformity or dysfunction.
And what is it about bone? Why did God choose bone? Bone provides structure and support, and bone marrow is where the blood is formed. There is much to be said for bones in scripture. And the bible tells us life is in the blood. Yet even after death the bones remain. In Ezekiel 37:3 God showed Ezekiel a valley of dry bones and asked him if they could live. This particular passage reveals the rebirth of the nation of Israel (see Ezekiel 37:1-28). Everything God needed to create Woman was in that little rib. Bone, is therefore, very literally the foundation for what God was about to do in creating Woman.
God did something extraordinary in creating the woman that He had never done before.
The Wonder of Being a Woman
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; for for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man, (Genesis 2:15-23, KJV).
According to Thayer and Strong’s the word “make” in verse 18 is ´âsâh (pronounced aw-saw’) in Hebrew which means to fashion, accomplish, make; as to ordain, and to offer. It is a very broad term which has a wide application, which comes from the primitive root “to do”. In other words God would accomplish and perform that which He had already ordained.
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man, (Genesis 2:22, KJV).
The word “made” in verse 22 is different from the word “make” which we see in verse 18. Although the word “make” and “made” are different tenses of the same word in the English, they are entirely different words with different root meanings in the Hebrew. This word for “made” is bânâh (prounouced baw-naw‘), which according to Thayer and Strong’s means to build, rebuild, establish, and cause to continue. It is a verb from the primitive root: to build, both literally and figuratively. More importantly, this word conveys permanency and exponential growth. The word refers to building up with a reference to obtaining children, and making something permanent. This specific word use conforms to God’s command which He gave to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. Adam, being alone, could not have fulfilled that command. But with Eve that became possible.
Scripture says that Woman was “built” to be a help that was meet (appropriate, suitable, proper) for Adam.
The Creation Covenant
I’ve often wondered about those first moments Woman had with God after she was created. What did she see when she opened her eyes? What did she inherently know, if anything at all? Did she understand her purpose? Woman was not created merely for procreation. She was created for intimate companionship – the beautiful oneness that God ordained within the covenant of marriage. When God opened Adam’s side He instituted the marriage covenant. She was part of Adam, and that was a holy covenant bond of flesh, blood and bone which she could not undo. It was permanent. That same covenant bond and its permanency is something God intended for every marriage.
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh, (Genesis 2:23-24, KJV, emphasis mine).
The first blood covenant ever established by God was that of marriage.
The word “Woman” in verse 23, and the word “wife” in verse 24 are the very same word in the Hebrew. The word is ´ishshâh nâshîym (pronounced ish-shaw’). There isn’t far to go from “Woman” to “wife”. This word, according to Thayer and Strong’s is a feminine noun which means woman, wife, female. Woman, as in the opposite of man; wife, as in a woman married to a man; and female as of animals. So what does this reveal?
Let’s go back to Adam for a moment.
Let’s understand, Adam’s longing for a mate was not merely a desire. It was a legitimate need. This pattern was set before him repeatedly in all creatures. Yet God in His wisdom had to allow Adam to discover that void for himself. Although God had planned to make Woman, He very patiently delayed her creation until Adam had surveyed all the animals. God didn’t just create a Woman – He created a wife. Eve was the very last creature God presented to Adam for which he was to give a name. Therefore, we see that the initial absence of Adam’s mate was with divine purpose. I believe God wanted him to both see and feel that very sacred void on a deep level for a good reason. Adam had to understand the pain of being “alone” before he could appreciate the fulfillment of true intimacy and companionship with his mate as God intended.
Adam was looking for her long before she arrived. One by one, God presented each creature for him to name. However, only once Adam recognized the void did God bring Woman forth as planned. When she was finally presented to him, Adam understood in a profound way just how precious she was. She was unlike any other creature God had created. How intimate. How precious. To find yourself revealed in someone: that is a very special gift. No one needed to tell Adam what to do next. Fresh, tender, and warm; glowing with the presence of God. Woman was everything Adam had desired and needed. I truly cannot imagine how glorious she must have been.
God did not form her from the dust of the earth as He did Adam and all the other living creatures. God intimately built a mate from his very own flesh just for him. That had never been done before. The intricacy and intimacy with which woman was created is something we don’t see anywhere else in the creation account – bar none. And so we see that Woman was not an afterthought. We are not second-hand items on the checklist of God’s master plan. We are not less than Man. In fact, we are extraordinarily special. Not better – just special. As Women we have a unique creation story unlike any other creature God ever designed, planned, or purposed.
The Good Thing
A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones, (Proverbs 12:4, KJV).
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD, (Proverbs 18:22, KJV).
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life, (Proverbs 31:11-12, KJV).
God has declared us to be a good thing, ladies – from creation forward! So how do we become the wife God intends for us to be? To whom do we look? In keeping with the analogy of our sister post, husbands have God as their ultimate role model. So, who is our biblical role model? For years we have quoted Proverbs 31. And of course, there are many godly women in the bible who could offer us varying strengths to emulate such as Hannah, Abigail, Ruth, Esther, Mary, Anna, and Tabitha (among many more). Some may even expect a reference to the Song of Solomon. However, after praying God surprisingly took me back to Revelation, revealing a glorious and radiant bride who had fully prepared herself for her Husband. There are three things He highlighted, which I believe are key to becoming the wife God calls us to be – both in our earthly marriage and in our marriage to God, which I long to share with you. Each of these can be supported by other scriptures throughout the Word of God. I encourage you to investigate the passages.
#1. A Reverent and Sacrificial Love
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death, (Revelation 12:11, KJV).
Christ made it clear that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your brethren, which is precisely what He did for us as our Bridegroom. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. Christ urged every follower to consider the cost before following Him – because it could cost them their life. Every Christian is called to both live and die for the LORD. We are to take up our cross daily, following Him. That is a picture of death by crucifixion. We die to self so we may live for Him. When we walk in the Spirit we crucify the flesh. It’s not easy, and it’s very painful, but that is the path of sanctification Christ calls us to travel. He never promises us that life will be easy. No – He promises tribulation, and with that tribulation the promise of overcoming even as He overcame for us. And so you see that there is a reciprocated love between the Bridegroom and His beloved bride. It is one that is initiated by the Bridegroom, and returned by the Bride.
We love him, because he first loved us, (1 John 4:19, KJV).
The love Christ has shown His bride demands a reciprocation. And this pattern continues within marriage. God created a powerful love between a man and woman unlike any other (see Song of Songs 8:6-7). When you’re in love with someone, death is preferred to separation. And that is the premise upon which Revelation 12:11 is written. The great love Christ revealed to His bride (the church) is something every husband is called to demonstrate for his wife. In like manner, every wife is called to a reverent and sacrificial love for her husband, even as the church has demonstrated for Christ for centuries.
#2. A Submissive Obedient Servant
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb, (Revelation 14:4, KJV).
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, (Revelation 12:17, KJV).
This one is not popular with secular society, but it is indeed biblical. As a wife you bear your husband’s name, his word, and if you have children, his fruit. In like manner we bear Christ’s name, His Word, and His fruit. Your husband is someone you must be able to follow. With that comes a measure of responsibility and authority.
Women are not doormats. Your opinion matters and should be shared openly. A loving and supportive husband will want your opinion and greatly value it. But when it’s all said and done, your husband is the head of the home and should have the the final say. This may require a concession on your part which you must be ready to give. It is imperative that a godly husband be able to lead the home even as He follows Christ. Therefore, he must be someone you, as a wife and mother, can wholeheartedly trust and follow without reservation. The submission and obedience of the wife have only one contingency in scripture – we are called to do so in the LORD. No woman is called to disobey God in favor of obeying a disobedient husband. That is clearly out of order. If your husband is asking you to do something that is contrary to God’s word, or grieves your conscience before God, then you have an obligation to lovingly reprove him or decline him and follow Christ. You belong to Christ before any man, and are ultimately subject to Him.
Submission and obedience are hallmarks for the bride of Christ in the Christian life, even as they are for earthly wives within a godly marriage. The responsibility a husband bears before God for his wife and family is very great indeed.
#3. A Radiant Wife of Glory and Honor
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal…, (Revelation 21:9-11, KJV).
In the New Jerusalem we see the city of God built of twelve foundation stones, each one representing an apostle of the Lamb. There are twelve gates written with the names of the tribes of the children of Israel. There is unity within its walls. There is purity, light, and life. There is nothing that would defile. This is where God establishes His throne and where His glory is manifest. This is where the tree of life flourishes. The Bible tells us that we are the tabernacle of God. We are His house. He no longer lives in temples made with hands – He now lives in us.
In like manner, we are to radiate His glory, His power, and His dominion – on earth as it is in heaven. When we walk in sacrificial love and become the submissive servants He’s called us to be that glory will be realized. When we walk in His Spirit instead of the flesh, He is able to live through us. The Bride of Christ reflects the glory of God to others. God’s intention is that when people see us, they get a glimpse of His Son. They should see His character, His will, and His virtues demonstrated. We bear both His name and His Word to the world around us.
In like manner, as wives we reflect upon our husbands. A woman who is loved and adorned (both internally and externally) by her husband will blossom, radiating the glory and goodness he has bestowed upon her. She will bear his fruit. Even as Christ gives His elect bride robes of righteousness to wear, every man should also adorn and care for his wife.
Every man wants a woman who is worthy of him on his arm. No man wants a woman who cannot accurately reflect who he is in his family or home. When a man chooses a woman, he chooses someone in character and appearance who can accurately reflect who he is and uphold his reputation. This is where attraction begins. Her inner character and moral virtues, as well as her external appearance — all of these reflect upon him. In short, men are known by their women. God created us to reflect their glory. The bride of Christ reflects the glory of God, and every woman should reflect the glory of her husband. We do that through our speech, conduct, and lifestyle as well as our external appearances. As the bride of Christ, we must take responsibility for preparing ourselves for our husbands, even as our husbands must take responsibility in nourishing and caring for us as their own flesh.
When we bring our husbands the glory that is due them, we also bring them great honor. Glory and honor are always, therefore, inextricably linked.
As a woman, we have a very special creation account. We have a glorious purpose. We have been given a special honor in being able to honor our husbands. We are chosen and deeply loved. I pray with my whole heart that this post blesses you and gives you insight into who you are as a woman of God, and what His expectations are for you as a wife.
You are a good thing!
Cheers & Shalom,