PTC_Proverbs 12 - "An Excellent Wife"

5/9/13 - PTC_Proverbs 12 - "An Excellent Wife"
Priority Time Challenge 2013
To view the instructions for our journey through the Proverbs and the daily schedule, click here.

Proverbs 12:4 (ESV)
"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones."

Head's up. After writing this blog, I realize it may be perceived as negative or too directed at women. I assure you I have NO agenda other than to submit to the Holy Spirit as I have my one Priority Time. Posting my Priority Time for all to read means you get to read, at times, unrefined processing of Scripture. Please take it for what it is and if the Holy Spirit convicts you, consider that as from HIM, not me.

Focused Thinking:
Who? "An excellent wife" In my reading this morning, this verse jumped off the page because I am truly blessed to have an excellent wife. These last few weeks have only highlighted the fact that Amanda is an incredible blessing to me and my children. There is no such thing as a perfect spouse, but there is a such thing as an excellent wife, as we read here. Men, if you have an excellent wife, you should tell her.

What? "The crown of her husband" This is an interesting phrase. We don't live in a society that thinks about crowns in that ancient royalty way but the imagery is still effective to explain what he means. How does a king wear a crown? When we see images of kings, it's the crown that gives away the power and authority of the king. The crown is a symbol of strength and power. This is what the writer is driving at, an excellent wife defines a man's strength, power and authority. Wives, you must realize that you carry great power with your husband. When he is confident in you, you become like a crown. He stands taller. He feels more able. He can conquer the world, or at least his world, because he senses your support. Because of this he proudly displays his wife as his secret weapon. Men who have an excellent wife will brag on her. They will say things like, "without her, I'd be lost." Likewise, when a man lacks confidence in his wife, he is slow to reference her. He creates distance between her and his world. He hides his crown.

Why? The contrast is explained in the second half of this passage. "she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones." Why is the phrase "rottenness to his bones" used? This makes me think of a sick man. Someone who's bones are brittle and therefore he is unable to perform even simple tasks because he lacks the strength. It breaks my heart that so many marriages, so many husbands, walk around as if they have rottenness in their bones. 

How? How does this happen? A man becomes disabled as a husband because his wife "brings shame." Hang on ladies, it's about to downright in-your-face convicting (I promise I'll give equal treatment to men when appropriate.). As I'm thinking about this, I'm scouring my mind to think about the hundreds of couples I've met with and counseled. I can think of three major ways a wife brings shame on her husband.
  • Shameful Speech. I can think of many examples of wives who speak critically of their husbands. This is one of the most disabling things a wife can do to her husband. I'm not saying to lie or make up good things but I am saying critical speech toward your husband is like rottenness to his bones. I wish all of you reading this, husbands AND wives would resolve to NEVER speak critically about your spouse in front of others. We often veil our criticism in humor, but the effect is still defeating. Along those same lines are wives who use dishonorable speech. Call me old fashioned, but wives who use a lot of profanity or cras talk bring shame on their husbands. Wives, make it your aim to be a crown that always speaks to your husband's strength and goodness. If your husband needs to grow or be challenged (which we all do) go about it respectfully in private with the commitment that you are bringing it up because you respect him and want others to see him at his best.
  • Shameful Behavior. I also see a lot of wives who give themselves permission to walk a line of immaturity that brings shame on their husbands. Even if your husband doesn't say anything or reveal evidence of being ashamed, he probably ought to be. Example of this are the pictures wives post to social media, perhaps drinking too much when you go out or simply avoiding the hard work and responsibilities that make your home thrive. It blows my mind how many people my age (both men and women) still act like they are in high school or college. It's time to grow up! Our behavior can so easily become shameful. Wives, would you consider adopting a mentality that says, "in all things I will consider how my behavior impacts my husband." If it is even close to shameful, the answer is NO. I also know many wives who display this kind of high character. This is nearly always proven by her husband's confidence in her. He knows that his teammate is mature, honorable and hard working. 
  • Bringing up her husband's shame. This often comes through bringing up sins and mistakes of the past. This destroys a man's confidence. If a past offense is still active in the mind of a wife, it is usually a forgiveness problem. Of course, the husband may be slack in his repentance, in which case repentance needs to be addressed. Another way this comes out is revealing your husband's private struggles or weaknesses. Every man has them and responsible, Christ following men are trying to grow through them. However, often times you hear wives revealing those struggles or highlighting weaknesses in a way that exploits his weakness vs. seeking to encourage. Examples could be sharing ways your husband is never on time or doesn't help around the house or is terrible with the finances or always forgets your anniversary. Why do we look for ways to highlight our spouse's weaknesses? This only makes him feel ashamed. 
I feel the tension as I write this to explain that I DO NOT subscribe to a view of the home where a wife is subservient to her husband. I DO however, subscribe to a view of mutual submission in marriage. I subscribe to an equality of honor, respect and responsibility. I am against ongoing acts of immaturity. I am FOR the ongoing growth and maturity of both husbands and wives throughout the years of marriage. When marriage is conducted in an honorable way, wives become a "crown" for their husbands. 

Personal Application:
Amanda is a crown for me. She is honorable, not perfect, but works hard to show me respect and create value across the board in my life and in our family. I need to do a better job telling her how thankful I am for her. She is an awesome mom. She is a wise teacher and counselor. If other husbands knew all she is and does they would be jealous!!

Interactive prayer:
Lord, I pray that this truth will bring much needed healing in marriages at Highpoint. Please cause a fresh burst of honor to emerge in our marriages. I pray that wives would strive to be honorable and respectful of their husbands and not wait for husbands to "get it together" first. God, from my own life I can see the way Amanda's respect and honor for me has caused me to be more mindful of my treatment of her and my role as a husband. I pray that would be true for every couple who reads this post. Lord, I pray for the singles of our church. Please work in them to invest in their character prior to marriage. I pray that You would convict singles that "selfishness is the enemy" long before they learn it in marriage. I pray for defeated husbands. God, restore their "crown." Give them a new confidence in their wives. 
God, continue to give me a voice for marriage out there. I pray for new opportunities to come my way to lead marriage retreats, conferences and events. I pray that You would make a way for me to equip couples to develop God-Honoring marriages. I pray for my summer series "Love Song" would make a huge impact on thousands of couples who are bored with a mediocre marriages.

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Posted by Andy Savage at 8:24 PM
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