Maybe getting married for the first time at age 48 has something to do with it, but I’ve felt uncomfortable about using this blog to teach women how to be godly wives. Writing articles on false teachers and theological matters seemed more up my alley. And there’s a place for women teaching other women such things.
Scripture also says, however, that older women should instruct younger women particularly on domestic issues. Look with me at the passage in Titus 2:
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. ~~Titus 2:3-5 (NASB95)
I liked focusing on the phrase “teaching what is good,” taking it to include teaching sound doctrine, I still believe that’s a legitimate application of this phrase, and I think women sorely need such teaching because of all the false teachers that prey on women who aren’t well-grounded in the Word. But I tended to ignore the bulk of what older women should teach younger women because I felt inadequate.
Having been unable to have children or keep house due to physical disability, I’m still reluctant to offer counsel on those two areas. I certainly encourage younger women to embrace motherhood, and I strongly advocate staying at home and homeschooling children whenever possible (I’m aware that single moms don’t have those options since my mom was widowed when we were 7 and 10). So I don’t anticipate writing a great deal about motherhood.
On the other hand, my feelings of inadequacy concerning the other categories Paul lists in this passage seem rather silly, given the fact that in August John and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. If God hasn’t taught me to be a godly wife by now, shame on me!
Thankfully, verse 5 expands on the principles of loving one’s husband and children. It begins by saying that older women should teach younger women to be sensible. That term alone could fill multiple blog posts. How does being sensible help us love our husbands and children? For that matter, how does being sensible apply to single women? We are conditioned these days to let emotions dictate our actions, so we need Biblical counsel on bringing those emotions under control.
It follows, therefore, that older women must teach younger women the art of self-control. We teach this art by example, though our example should be accompanied by explanation and instruction. To set the example, we need to go back to verse 3, which describes appropriate conduct that older women should walk in.
Self-control covers a large spectrum of attitudes and behaviors, ranging from managing our thought lives to maintaining healthy diets to thinking twice before posting that snarky comment on social media. I’d definitely like to write some posts discussing ways we can control ourselves. Our culture obviously doesn’t encourage self-control these days, making it more important than ever to model it and teach younger women why it matters.
Similar to self-control, we must teach purity. This purity can refer to sexual purity, which should be a given. Sadly, it’s not. Just a few weeks ago, for example, there was a major firestorm on Twitter because some professing Christian women considered it outrageous for anyone to ask them to dress modestly. Throughout the years, I’ve seen women come to church in inappropriate attire. John has helped me rid my wardrobe of questionable clothes. Sexual purity extends way beyond activities with men we aren’t married to, and young ladies desperately need guidance in this area.
Purity might also extend to purity in the Christian faith, or doctrinal purity. If indeed it does extend to doctrinal purity (as I believe it does), the work of women’s discipleship falls under that umbrella. So I won’t abandon blogging about doctrine and discernment. Pure devotion to Christ absolutely must be our ultimate priory!
Older women must also teach younger women to be kind. In a self-indulgent environment like Crete, people often used anger to accomplish their goals. Kindness, therefore, would stand out as a different way of life. And, boy howdy, it stands out in the 21st Century, doesn’t it? Like Crete in the time of Titus, our present society brims with hostility. Women are encouraged to assert ourselves, and we tend to do so through anger and bullying.
Lastly, older women should teach our younger counterparts to submit to their own husbands. That’s never a very popular idea, and it definitely needs to be carefully and consistently taught. Yet submission in family structure, as Paul demonstrated in Ephesians 5:22-33, models how the church relates to Jesus Christ. It serves as a testimony to a rebellious culture.
A recent conversation showed me that even some women in the Reformed camp have rejected the command to submit to their husbands. One accused my husband of coercive behavior because he made a decision that I didn’t completely agree with (interestingly, it was a decision I really wanted him to make). Her assessment of my submission revealed her rebellion against God’s roles for men and women in marriage.
As a result of that conversation, I see the need to start blogging more about submission to husbands. About being a godly wife in all the areas Paul lists in his letter to Titus. If The Outspoken TULIP is about discipling women, shouldn’t I disciple as Scripture directs older women to disciple?
At age 68 and approaching my 20th wedding anniversary, I finally believe I’ve been adequately equipped to blog about godly marriage. I’m still a very imperfect wife, and I have to confess daily that I fail. Nevertheless, the Lord is working repentance into me. Seeing Him change my attitudes and behaviors towards John assures me that I’m ready to write about marriage.