10 Verses that Describe a Wife’s Role

Here are ten verses that describe a wife’s role in the Bible. When I studied this and applied it, it began to transform my marriage.


In my early years of marriage, I had no idea what my role as a wife entailed. The Bible has verses that describe a wife’s role, of course, but the thought of digging in to discover that wisdom never crossed my mind.

Oh, I had the physical jobs down fairly well. I knew I wanted to make food, keep the house organized, and do the laundry, but I didn’t visualize God wanted much more of me other than praying for my husband. Love him, yes. But the revelation of that hadn’t materialized yet.

See what clouded my view of that revelation was a certain “Honey-Do List.”

My Plan to Work Change in My Husband

One day, I made a list of a half dozen changes I wanted my husband to make, and “found” some verses to go along with my judgments of him. The changes I desired weren’t necessarily bad, but I went about it wrong.

Have you ever made a mental list of changes you wanted your husband to make (or anyone for that matter) and in your heart demanded he make the changes right away? Most would stop there or share with gentle, open communication.

I gave him the list and pretty much demanded he make the changes—soon. Wow, I’m cringing remembering that. Yeah, I’m not proud of that moment.

I took over the role of the Holy Spirit; I prayed over him every day, going down my list. With my Bible verses attached. Most of it was a blind attempt to manipulate God into changing my unhappiness.

What’s the Answer?

Then a couple years later, I was still unhappy about some things and wrote him a letter. He always responded how he wanted to make me happy. Hopeful, yet unsatisfied, my eyes were peeled for any missteps on my list. It seemed like we never went past square one.

One night when he was out of town on a trip for work, I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. My heart wounds sat festering. Desperate pleas to God and two boxes of tissues later, I realized I wanted to threaten him with an ultimatum. Yet I knew that wasn’t right.

But I sincerely wanted the answer. What on earth do I do to change these problems? To change him?

I looked toward the bookshelf to my left. A sliver of hope lit my tear-stained eyes when I saw a book He seemed to illuminate. It wasn’t a book on marriage exactly, but it seemed to be about living as one with your spouse.

I began to drink in the words with full expectation that the secrets of my husband’s transformation were now at my fingertips. Each day I decided to read a new chapter, but as I absorbed the words on the page my pace slowed. Through the author’s words, the Holy Spirit sliced away at my perceived righteous actions.

The “submission” word surfaced. I tried to keep the magnifying glass away that God had pointed toward me, but the Spirit was relentless. He answered my call for help through dealing with me. I succumbed to His examination. Was my heart turned to my husband in submission the way God designed?

Wait God, I thought I already told you I was working on what I needed to change. Isn’t this about how HE needs to change?

But God wanted to open my eyes to how He designed a wife’s role to her husband to be. The book I was reading didn’t delve into that. God led me to seek out the verses on my own—and then begin to apply them.

Verses that Describe a Wife’s Role

What are Bible verses that describe a wife’s role to her husband? God has given the wife some directions and wisdom concerning this delicate relationship.

When He led me to find the wife’s role according to His Word, He showed me that even though love is on the list, I could preface each with the choice to love. Doing this transformed my marriage.

  • Ephesians 5:33…respect him
  • Colossians 3:18…be submissive
  • Titus 2:5…obey him
  • 1 Peter 3:1-5…have a gentle and quiet spirit
  • Genesis 2:18…be his helper
  • Titus 2:4…love him
  • 1 Corinthians 7:34…please him
  • Proverbs 31:12…do him good
  • 1 Corinthians 7:2-5…keep the bedroom hot
  • Exodus 20:14…be faithful

Addendum: Do Not Abuse the Truth

In case you are tempted to take some of these words (obey, please) to an extreme and abuse the truth of the Bible, let me clarify from a deeper study of the Greek word given. 

  • To please one’s husband, (G700 from The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, Zodhiates), means “to make one inclined to, to be content with, soften one’s heart towards another.” → That is coming from a beautiful sweetness. That doesn’t mean that you’re his slave.
  • To obey one’s husband, (G5293, section II, from The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, Zodhiates), means “to subject oneself, place oneself in submission…Although there is an ontological spiritual equality between men and women, there remain physical, positional and functional differences. There are designated functions for a husband and wife which man cannot change because God has ordained them…God has made one woman to become a wife to one man, and she is so constituted by God Himself. But this is not due to her being inferior to her husband, for they are both equal before God. It is a willing personal subjection demonstrated in Ephesians 5:21, ‘submitting yourselves to one another and the fear of God.’” → In other words, this yielding is coming from a sweetness of spirit. But again, this does not mean you’re his maid.

Look a the list of verses that describe wife’s role again. Study them out and let them sink in, consistently making them a part of you with God’s help.

Look at each of these as if they were ingredients to your favorite dessert. If you were missing some or even one of the ingredients then your special treat might not taste as delicious!

When marital problems arise, I must not try to be my husband’s Holy Spirit. It isn’t my job.

When marital problems arise, I must not try to be my husband’s Holy Spirit. It isn’t my job. #LiveYielded #ThrivingInMarriage Click to Tweet When loving comes hard, I make the decision to love in spite of difficulty. #LiveYielded #ThrivingInMarriage Click to Tweet

My responsibility is to love him. And when loving comes hard, I make the decision to love in spite of difficulty. Then focus on fulfilling the verses that describe wife’s role. After almost 20 years of marriage, I’m still growing in it!

Are there any on the list I missed? 

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33 Comments

  1. Yes, indeed…”But God wanted to open my eyes…” He is so faithful! Great post that I’m sharing with friends!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Yes, God is good! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. What a good list you’ve made here, Kelly. I appreciate this. Pinning it now. And yes, I’ve had to give up the mission of changing Jose into a Betsy clone. (Change him, Lord, to make him more like me, see things like I do.) So much better to respect, submit, love.

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      It’s not easy, but God’s way brings blessing. Thanks for pinning, Betsy. May God bring you and your husband closer to Him!

  3. That point you made about missing an ingredient for a dessert makes so much sense! I’ve never really thought about it like that, but if I’m not loving in all those ways, am I really loving to the best that I can? Thanks for this great perspective!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      That analogy helped me connect the big picture, too. So glad you stopped by, Emily!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Yes, lists are great! lol

  4. This is so good! Love the 10 Descriptions pin img lady! I’ve learned this as well… God often changes me even when I am pryaing for hubby

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Aww thank you, thank you! Great to see you here, Tiffany!

  5. Kelly, I think we all have those times in early marriage that make us want to cringe to remember. So thankful God can restore what we goof up. ๐Ÿ™‚ Good thoughts, friend. Thank you for sharing. xoxo

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Yes, praise Him for THAT! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hope the rest of your week is fabulous. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I was thinking about each of us trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit to change our husbands. It is so important to let the Holy Spirit work in us and change us first. The moment I allowed that change ,all the things that bothered me about my husband were gone.

    I had pinned this image as well:)

  7. Kelly, I can well remember praying for God to change my husband. I cringe at the mere thought of those prayers. God answered … it was me He changed! Nearly 39 years later and I am grateful for the way God answered my prayers ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Amen! We were never called to be the Holy Spirit to our husbands. Better to be listening to His voice of correction and comfort in our own walk!

  9. Kelly, Thanks for sharing these great reminders from Scripture of how to show Christ to our husbands.

    This is the second time you and I have been on the same leading in our writing. ๐Ÿ™‚ I wrote a similar post on relationships and shared a quote by Ruth Graham who told her daughter Anne that “it is her job to make her husband happy and the Holy Spirit’s job to make him good.”

    Blessings,

  10. Kelly, such great wisdom here! Your ten verses are spot on. I think the biggest thing I had to learn is that respect wears different appearances for different men. What I thought he wanted and what my husband actually considered me showing respect were sometimes very different. I won’t analyze it, but learning what respect looks like to my husband is one of the biggest things that transformed our marriage.

  11. Such a helpful list, Kelly, and just the reminder I need as well. Thanks for this. Praying for us as we continue to grow as wives and bring glory to God.

  12. Great list here, Kelly! I think many times God changes us instead of our husbands!

  13. Convicting and encouraging! This is a good list, one I need to keep around.

  14. Love this post! I started trying to change my husband like this too then grew pointed out the logs in my eyes. So instead of aiming for perfection, we are going for God-pleasing which will hopefully mean we please each other too. I’ve got some of those verses still to work through like having a quiet spirit!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Yes, pleasing God over perfection! Thanks for sharing, Vicky!

  15. Oh, I’ve certainly been there, Kelly, and done that! You are not alone at all on trying to change our men! But I’m so grateful that you let the Lord turn the mirror that you were pointing to your husband back to you. Isn’t that just how God is? He’s able to convict in the most gentle and compelling of ways! Thanks for this reminder and the wonderful graphic too! I’m pinning and sharing, my friend!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Yes, it’s definitely a work of grace! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for sharing, friend!

  16. Kelly, I LOVED everything you wrote here! Mostly because I see glimpses of myself woven throughout your words. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I can resonate with your approach to “changing” your husband. So very grateful for grace, and a teachable spirit. Lol
    Thank you for linking up on #DestinationInspiration this week. I plan to feature your post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Wow, thank you so much, Rachel! I am honored. Yes, very thankful for grace and being teachable! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. And what is the role of the husband?

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Please forgive me; I’m a little behind in answering blog comments. That’s a good question, and one that we can only find the answer to in the Word of God. Have you studied it out? I have briefly because I want my focus to be on doing my part. I think if I looked to heartily at what my husband should be doing I might be tempted to point the finger if he’s not doing it. You know what I mean? At any rate, Ephesians 5 reveals that he is to be our head (more on that in this post: https://kellyrbaker.com/decide-leader-christian-marriage/ ) and reiterates three times that he is to love her. Hope this helps!

  18. Ooohhh… Such a convicting post filled with truth! We can’t have a masterpiece marriage if aren’t will to follow the Master’s plan! Thanks for sharing both truth and transparency! Blessings!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      God has everything covered for us, huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for reading, friend! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. So true!
    Best advice ever given to me – as a wife, you and God work on you and let God and your husband work on him. Our nature to correct and to “help” can overstep. Seeing we have plenty to work on just working on our own issues helps us see we don’t have TIME to be looking at hubby’s list. After all – Matthew 7:12 teaches us to treat others the way we want to be treated. If we want to be loved, warts and all, we should start by loving him, warts and all, first. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for sharing this!

  20. I love this list and I will definitely try to follow it. Iโ€™m lost in one step, I believe. Heโ€™s wonderful, like all of us not perfect but the biggest problem why I can see myself not respecting him like I wish I could, itโ€™s because Iโ€™m the bread maker. Yes, he works hard but makes very little and. Just donโ€™t see him trying to find something better and it frustrates me! I was diagnosed with breast cancer and battled for a year, still am I with all that comes after it and it worries me that God forebodes it something happens what would happen to them.
    His mom helps him with money ..so I pay like 65% of our expenses including all my medical expenses… and this is why I think I canโ€™t respect like like I wish. I hope Iโ€™m not coming as ungrateful. I love God, him and my kids that I know.

    1. Hi Grace, first I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis. That’s hard. You must be a strong woman with all you are doing and going through. I am praying for you both right now. As much as it is frustrating, choosing to respect him because that is God’s plan will bring about blessing in your marriage. The lack of respect can infiltrate so many other things. You may need to start with forgiving. That is a choice as well, and when we choose to do the Word, our feelings fall in line with it.

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