Every woman has a great strength to bring to her marriage.
Unfortunately, few wives use this relationship-building tool. Some women discarded it long ago, mistaking it for an outdated hindrance. Others are afraid of being hurt by it. Many women simply do not realize the gift that they have.
What is this superpower?
It is femininity.
Although femininity has been forgotten in our culture today, it is still relevant and valuable. We would do well to start asking these questions: What is true femininity? How can it strengthen our marriages?
What is femininity?
By “femininity,” I do not mean pink, ruffles, or lace.
When God made people, He made them “male and female, in His image.” Although God is neither male nor female, certain glories of His divine nature are revealed through the masculinity of men and through the femininity of women. It is God’s noble calling upon a woman to minister in her marriage through her God-designed and God-revealing femininity.
Although being female is a matter of biology, being feminine is a matter of relationship. Femininity is the relationship-knitting response to masculinity.
It is God’s design for a man to carry the weight of responsibility for the well-being of his wife. As he takes action and as he makes personal sacrifices for the benefit of his beloved, the masculine husband reveals the proactive, self-sacrificing character of God. (Read my salute to masculinity HERE.)
It is God’s design for a woman to strengthen the lover in his responsibility and to receive him with welcoming and acceptance. Although Christian wives are often encouraged to support their husbands with respect, much less is said about the importance of welcoming and acceptance, which is the great strength of femininity.
How does femininity affect our marriages?
A feminine wife welcomes her husband with warmth. This is more than a physical welcoming; this is a welcoming in the woman’s spirit. Her husband knows that when he comes into his wife’s presence, she will receive him with gladness and honor.
How does this commitment to “welcoming” reflect God? Think of the story that Jesus told about a father and his prodigal son. Do you remember how the father welcomed his son when the son returned home? The father ran to his son, threw his arms around him, kissed him, and honored him. The father received his son with his arms flung wide-open and with a whole-hearted embrace. This was genuine, fervent welcoming! Not only did the father physically demonstrate his eagerness to receive his son, but the father also welcomed his son in spirit.
After painting this word-picture for us so that we understand how God receives us, the Scriptures urge us to extend this same welcome to others: “Welcome and receive [to your hearts] one another, then, even as Christ has welcomed and received you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:7, Amplified Bible).
Not only does a feminine woman welcome her husband, but she also accepts him. Of course, she does not accept what is evil, harmful, or abusive. But she deeply accepts her husband as God made him. She accepts him as a man made in the image of God, as a man created for strength and greatness. She recognizes that her husband is an immortal spirit, designed to reflect the glory of God. This woman looks past her husband’s faults to see that he himself is highly valuable. She knows that he is a sinner—as she is, too—but that he is also priceless. She accepts him as an amazing gift from God to treasure and to enjoy.
Women sometimes fear that responding to their husbands in this way will cause their husbands to become sloppy in both manners and morals. Women worry that their acceptance will enable poor behavior. But genuine acceptance of a man’s spirit actually encourages that man to succeed. Sincere acceptance often motivates a man to take responsible action. Rejection, however, never encourages and rarely motivates.
A feminine woman realizes that her husband’s heart is full of many things which she has not felt and many things of which she does not even know—hurts, disappointments, struggles, and deep inner woundings. She respects the mysteries of his heart which are known only to God. She is mindful that her husband is “fearfully and wonderfully made” with strengths and perspectives which she does not have but which she accepts and appreciates.
But doesn’t a woman also need to take responsibility and take action? Certainly! But she is wise to specialize in warm welcome and deep acceptance.
When a woman is uncertain at times about what to do in her marriage, she can “default” to the feminine specialties of warm welcome and deep acceptance. She can trust God that these are things which God will honor; she can trust that these are things which will minister well to her husband.
When a woman longs for her husband to be masculine (that is, responsible and active) in their relationship, it is usually not effective for her to take over his responsibilities or for her to take action to make him become more masculine. Instead, she can be confident that a powerful way to strengthen her husband’s masculinity is by encouraging him through her femininity. The best confirmation of a man’s masculinity is his wife’s femininity.
If we, as wives, want to strengthen our marriages through our femininity, here are some questions to ask ourselves:
What does my husband sense when he comes into my presence? Does he sense open arms or folded arms? Does he feel belittled? In my presence, does he sense disapproval, disappointment, rejection, irritation, or anger? Or does he sense warm welcome?
Does my husband gain strength because of my deep acceptance of him? Am I mindful of his high value? Do I accept his needs, his differences, and his unique design? Do I accept him as a man to know, to serve, and to delight in?
As we embrace godly femininity, we regain not only a forgotten strength but also a God-revealing glory.