At its core, femininity is about being receptive, gentle, soft, delicate, beautiful, graceful, peaceful, nurturing, priceless, worthy of being adored and cherished physically, emotionally and spiritually. God designed wives to represent the kind of devotion, love, reverence, adoration and willingness to submit that God desires His people to have for Christ.
A Counter-Intuitive Brand of Power and Influence
God gave women a more subtle kind of power than He gave men. But our power in marriage is almost unimaginable to attract and draw our husbands towards us if we can tap into our abilities to use our immense verbal skills to build up our men, to praise them for everything we see that we appreciate and admire, and if we are willing to step down from the leadership role and become cheerful, joyful, prayerful, willing followers of our husbands.
We have been taught that to be powerful, we must be masculine (as the world defines masculinity) and force, demand and manipulate our way in marriage. And when our husbands turn on us in anger or withdraw from us and stonewall, we just turn up the volume and the pressure – not even realizing that we are destroying our marriages and our men and becoming the women we never wanted to be.
Our power is in our gentle, peaceful femininity that is full of trust and not consumed by fear and worry!
Our power in marriage is in our ability to be delighted whenever our husband does something kind, generous, loving or thoughtful.
Our smiles, our joy, our praise, our admiration, our respect, our willingness to trust our men – this is where our God-given strength and influence is in marriage!
There is power in our feminine appearance. There is power and beauty in our long hair (which the Bible says is our glory – I Corinthians 11) and delicate features. There is power in looking and acting like a God-fearing, self-respecting, men-respecting lady.
Dressing femininely (and modestly in public) reminds our husbands of our softness and that we are so very different from them. The greater the contrast in femininity/masculinity in marriage (in appearance, mind and spirit) – the greater the attraction. Our husbands are attracted to our beauty – but they are also attracted to our feminine spirit.
God gave us beautiful bodies and beautiful, soft, receptive hearts and souls that are precious, valuable and meant to be prized and cherished by our husbands.
We are generally more delicate physically/emotionally/spiritually than our men are
We are more easily unbalanced, upset, wounded, destroyed and broken if we are treated harshly or handled roughly. God gave us our big, strong husbands to protect us and keep us safe – not just from physical threats but also from emotional and spiritual threats.
We have a cyclical hormonal cycle that profoundly affects our emotions and bodies – we are anything but stable sometimes! I believe God did that purposely. We as wives represent the church and our husbands represent Christ. Our husbands tend to be more emotionally stable and we are much more easily thrown by all the changes in our bodies – it is at those times we can most depend on and trust in our husbands to be a rock for us.
He gave us our masculine, steady-as-a-rock husbands to give us an anchor when we are being tossed by waves of emotion and hormones and we can’t see what way to go and we need a loving, selfless leader to help us find the right way.
God made us the givers of life!
He designed our bodies to bear children and nurse babies and gave us very complex brains that can handle many tasks and intricate details all at the same time so that we can care for our children, homes, cooking, husbands and all the details of all the responsibilities that are ours efficiently.
He designed us to focus on relationships, love and details – that we might be the perfect helpmeets for our husbands.
The Gift of Our Strong Emotions
God gave us powerful emotions to be a barometer of how things are going in our marriages and relationships so that we could detect problems and address them before they get out of control. But sometimes we must lean on God’s Word and our husband’s word and not listen to our emotions when they are undependable – just like God admonishes us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” in Proverbs.
I believe that a wife’s emotions are very important for her to share with her husband. But she can share them in a way that doesn’t blame him. I share my full range of emotions with my husband very simply (as Laura Doyle suggests in The Surrendered Wife) – I feel happy! I am so excited! I love being with you! I am sad. I feel nervous. I feel scared. I feel upset.
My husband needs that information – and then he can decide how best to handle the situation. He is able to make the wisest decisions when he understands my feelings, my perspective and my desires. I believe it is a wife’s duty to share these things with her husband respectfully.
A Unique Perspective
God designed women to NEED love. We are made to need WORDS of love and ACTS of love from our men. I believe that our needs are very purposeful so that we demonstrate how God’s people, His church, needs His Word and needs to see His acts of provision and love to be able to trust in Him and worship Him properly.
We actually get a big rush of oxytocin (the bonding hormone) when we read our husbands’ love letters to us. We feel so connected to them by words – written and spoken. Isn’t that amazing how we represent the church with Christ and how the church can’t see Jesus, but we have His Word to meditate on and to delight in? I love that parallel!
The greater connections between the halves of a woman’s brain and the huge connection between emotion and memories makes it very easy for women to bring up past hurts and makes it much harder for us to forgive generally than it is for men. I don’t think that is by accident, either!
The many facets of our thinking, our emotions, our spiritual needs for security, the way our bodies are designed – it is all to work in complement to our husbands to demonstrate the mystery of Christ and the church.
God says that our greatest beauty comes from a “gentle and peaceful (quiet) spirit that does not give way to fear” (I Peter 3:4). There is also incredible beauty in us when we are willing to do things God’s way and show respect to our men and be willing to follow them and honor their position as leader in our marriages.
When I show genuine admiration and respect for my husband, and I demonstrate that I am trusting his leadership and allowing him to carry the weight of decisions, trusting that he will do what is best for me and my family – my respect and submission to his leadership make him want to cherish and adore me (unless he is VERY far from God or involved in extremely serious sin). He wants to please me and make me happy. He wants to do the best possible job and not disappoint me when he sees all my faith is in him. Following him doesn’t make him want to abuse and hurt me, it makes him want to serve, protect and provide for me. (If you are being physically abused or have serious problems in your marriage, please find a qualified, godly, Christian counselor or pastor and get help ASAP!)
I pray that we might hold both genders and the design of God for manhood, womanhood and marriage in awe. I pray we might embrace our men being masculine and not try to make them be like us. I pray that we might be willing to give up our attempts to be masculine that drain us of life and energy and embrace our femininity and discover the power that God has given us as women to build up our homes, our men and our children. Such a burden is lifted off of our shoulders when we aren’t trying to be something we aren’t!! Embracing God’s design for me brings me fulfillment, peace, joy, power and freedom! I pray we might boldly show the world that we cherish the gift of femininity that God has given us and that we might set godly examples for our children so that the gender lines won’t be blurred, but that God might be richly glorified in our marriages and homes.
Feminine Appeal – by Carolyn Mahaney (GREAT book about godly femininity and being a godly wife!)
John Piper “Manhood and Womanhood”