Wives, Do You Respect Your Husband? Part 2: Rule the Roast, Not the Roost!

A little ditty to get us started, for all you country music lovers:

“Do you want me to put the pasta in?” Mike says. He hears a little pot rumbling and assumes I’m not doing my job.

“It’s not a rolling boil yet!” I retort. I hate when Mike interferes with my cooking. The kitchen is my domain.

Imagine the horror when a wife infringes on her husband’s authority and leadership, his domain.

Think Jezebel.

George Swinnock states:

How infamous is that family where the wife, like Jezebel, rules the roast.

Did you know that the phrase ‘rules the roost’ evolved from the 15th century ‘rules the roast’? Here’s the history:

rules the roast

Nowadays, “rules the roost“; originated in the 15th century as rules the roast, which probably meant a person in charge of the roast, who thus ruled the kitchen; this became a metaphor for someone who ruled the home; in this sense, it meant that strong-willed Jezebel ruled the roast, i.e., her home and her weak, controlled husband.

Well, may I just rule the roast? I hope so. I do not want to rule the roost, however.

What does it mean to respect your husband?

First, we need to recognize his authority over us. Let him lead. We shouldn’t be controlling like Jezebel. In today’s culture, we see mostly witchy wives lording over wimpy husbands. Feminism has turned things upside down in marriage and family life.

We need to go beyond respect. Ephesians 5:33 actually says (in the KJV, not in the deceptive postmodern versions):

And the wife see that she reverence her husband. –Ephesians 5:33

According to Merriam-Webster:

Definition of reverence

1 : honor or respect felt or shown : deference; especially : profound adoring awed respect

Definition of Deference – respectful acknowledgement of and submission to another’s authority

profound adoring awed respect!

The Free Grace Broadcaster article written by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones is entitled Reverential Deference. How appropriate! Lloyd-Jones says this about a wife:

She must not compete with him, she must not strive with him; she must recognize that the essence of marriage is that she pays this deference to him.

Free Grace Broadcaster                               Issue 242                   Winter 2017

Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord – 1 Peter 3:5

Ezekiel Hopkins describes the respectful life of the wife and states:

…the man’s titles do imply superiority and authority over the wife. Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord (1Peter 3:5). He is likewise called the head and guide of his wife (1Co 11:3; Prov. 2:17).

[Note on superiority – When the Reformers, Puritans and later theological writers used the terms superior and inferior when referring to the relationship between men and women, they spoke in terms of rank, for example, a sergeant to a private, not in terms of human nature. God created both male and female in His image.]

Sara called Abraham ‘lord’. Lloyd- Jones tells us that in the 1800s, wives referred to their husbands as Mr. So and So. Oh, how far we’ve defected from deference!

Hopkins goes on to say that reverence consists in two things:


She needs to cherish a high esteem of him; if not for his gifts and graces, yet at least for that relation in which he stands to her, as her lord and her head, superior to her by God’s appointment and ordinance. Yea, she must look upon him as that person whom God, out of all the numerous millions of mankind, hath particularly chosen and selected for her: one whom He saw fittest and best to be her head and guide.


not a servile, slavish fear, for that is inconsistent with love; but an awful [profoundly respectful] and a loving fear, which will show itself in two things:

  1. in her care to please him
  2. in her joy in pleasing him and grief in offending him

George Swinnock says:

her fear must be like that of the church to Christ; an acknowledgement of His superiority over her, an unwillingness to displease Him in anything, and a dread lest she should offend Him.

Let’s not forget, wives, that marriage is a display of God’s love toward us. The relationship of husband and wife should be as Christ and the church. There is headship, there is order, there is love and wives, there is reverence!

Swinnock goes on to say that:

Sara called Abraham lord not out of flattery, but to acknowledge his authority; not as desirous to humor his pride, but as willing to know her own place. Jezebel and Zipporah are both stigmatized in holy writ for their saucy sinful language to their husbands. If a woman answers her husband, it must be with humility; if she would advise him, it must be with gentleness; speaks of him, it must be respectfully, if she speaks to him, it must be respectfully.

Oh my,  I stand convicted.

So when Mike, um…Mr. Eddy hears a gentle simmer and asks if he can add the pasta I will sweetly say,

“No, thank you, dear. It needs more time.”


Please click the link ‘Free Grace Broadcaster’ above to read the issue A Wife’s Respect online as a pdf, if you so desire.





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