Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her … Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife, loves himself… (Ephesians 5:25-33)
In the village the pastor’s wife had a difficult pregnancy and suffered with morning sickness, dizziness, and weakness. She was supposed to rest.
Certain household chores were designated to wives, while men performed other tasks. Roles in the African bush were so specific, it was considered a taboo to altar them.Trying to change these jobs could bring about severe judgment and even punishment by the elders.
Late one afternoon I went to visit the pastor’s wife to check on her condition. Hearing the heavy wooden pestle beat the hollowed-out mortar I assumed the wife was feeling well enough to crush the boiled yams into a thick paste for the evening meal.
Turning the corner I found the pastor beating the boiled yams while his wife rested under the shade. I’d never seen a man pummeling yams in a giant mortar.
“It’s my wife’s job to pound the yams.” The pastor grinned at me. “But I wanted to help her do her work because she is fragile.”
I admired the pastor. It takes a lot of courage to do what’s pleasing to the Lord when all the neighbors believe it’s wrong. In certain cultures obeying the Lord and following his commands became bigger challenges. The pastor had gone against the traditions in the culture to care for his wife and demonstrate love for her.
In our country, all the time, husbands clean the house, cook, and care for the children. There are no longer precise duties exclusively for each of the spouses.
But there are many Christian husbands in other parts of the world, who must go against rigidly held beliefs in order to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. Thank God we have it a bit easier in our country.
“Likewise husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as unto a weaker vessel. And as being heirs together of the grace of life that your prayers be not hindered.” (I Peter 3:7)