An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, Proverbs 12:4
In the face of being crushed by your husband’s sin, have you ever focused on any of these thoughts – or perhaps all of them?
- I’ll crown him when he acts like he deserves it.
- Why should I pretend his behavior is kingly?
- His attitude toward our marriage (or me) is hurtful.
- I’m not going to pretend that he’s something he’s not.
I believed I was entitled to have these thoughts because of Darrell’s behaviour – he was a harsh unbeliever. I believed that my marriage was:
- The hardest of all marriages.
- The one with the most disturbing problems.
- The one with the ugliest fights.
But what I really meant was:
- HE was the hardest husband.
- HE was the one with all the disturbing problems.
- HE was the one who fought dirty and unfair.
I believed I was an Excellent Wife but my husband didn’t see it and that wasn’t my fault. So God would have to excuse me of Proverbs 12:4. This is having a double mind: I believed I was an Excellent Wife while at the same time believing God would allow me a free pass because my husband’s behaviour wouldn’t allow me to be Excellent. All our problems were because of my husband, not me.
I couldn’t have been further off base.
Sadly, I don’t think I’m alone in this. While looking for a picture to go with this post I googled the images for Proverbs 12:4 and I found some striking results. Lots and lots of beautiful serene women with their husbands, or looking wistfully off into the clouds.
As encouraging as all these images are and the strong message they are meant to convey, there is an absence that is telling – there was only ONE image of the other kind of wife. Who makes all these images? Probably married women. I can’t imagine men making an image like this. Not that some wouldn’t, but for the most part I’m guessing its women – who believe they’re Excellent Wives.
See, that’s the striking thing about the images. I think we believe that because we are married and because we are Christians we somehow automatically morph into an Excellent Wife by the process of a wedding.
So how does that happen? How can I think I’m an Excellent Wife and have those horrible thoughts listed above? And believe that I’m wise and doing him good.
WHAT, NOT WHO
We add exclusions to God’s Word that depend on the behaviour of another person. Exclusions come from making excuses so we don’t have to do what God says … when it gets too hard. If all is well in our marriage and there are no conflicts or struggles, it’s easy to be the Excellent Wife. However, the real litmus test of the Excellent Wife is during trials – trials with her husband.
God doesn’t say, “You decide if your husband is worthy of an Excellent Wife, and if he’s not, then you are free to be a destructive force in him.” Proverbs 12:4 isn’t really about who HE is; but rather a verse for the analysis of SELF: Wife, look at yourself and see. What kind of wife are YOU?
I hated to see this within myself, I was not an Excellent Wife – I was the other kind of wife … But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. –Proverbs 12:4
THE MENTAL GYMNASTICS
When we don’t take the time to honestly ask the question provoked from Proverbs 12, we subconsciously hover between the two wives! It’s like sitting on the fence facing the direction of the Excellent Wife with our back towards the other wife: It blinds us to what we are.
Instead of asking God to show me my own faults and what I needed to change, I allowed my flesh to be fed by focusing on Darrell’s weaknesses, and Satan was/is only too happy to assist. It is so much easier to see yourself as an Excellent Wife when you only see your husband’s negatives. With every flaw, slight and offence of Darrell’s, I was easily deluded into thinking I was an Excellent Wife.
And let’s face it, change is hard and it hurts, unless we choose to make the effort, humans will always choose the easier way: See the faults of another rather than our own. And a husband right in the home is an easy target, isn’t he?
Let’s strip it back to bare bones and courageously ask God: Am I an Excellent Wife, or do I just think I am? In Proverbs 31 we can find His answer:
“ … and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying], Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.”
My pride said, I know I am an Excellent Wife. But according to this verse it wasn’t the Excellent Wife who said she was Excellent. Neither was it her friends, prayer group, ladies group or her co-workers.
It was her husband.
You’ll know you are an Excellent Wife because you will hear him bragging about you to others and you’ll receive his compliments directly.
I think the world has led us to believe there is something deeply wrong with us to want this validation from our husbands, or that it is somehow beneath us to seek this kind of validation from them. And yet, there are a ton of books on how to be an Excellent Wife. I think most wives really do want to be excellent, but we are seeking validation from the wrong people.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying your husband gets to decide about your soul, that’s between you and God – your soul is about eternity. Being an Excellent Wife is about the here and now – earthly.
If accolades from her husband were good enough for the Excellent Wife in Proverbs 31, and God chose to have it written in His Word – there must be something to it.