Monday, April 7, 2014

Crown of Glory? Or Wife of Shame?

                This morning I found myself praying for marriages. I prayed for us, as wives to have wisdom and to have open ears to hear what the Lord says to us about being wives. What I am about to say may ruffle a few feathers, but I say this because I too have a lot of work to do if I am to be the godly wife God has asked me to be. So many marriages are suffering today because, let’s be honest, us women can be pretty mouthy. We spew things out of our mouths without thinking, we say things in the heat of the battle that we can’t take back, and then we get depressed and wonder if we made the right choice by marrying this man. We read the blogs about being Proverbs 31 women, we read our Bibles, go to study with our sisters, attend conferences, go to church and do all the things godly women are supposed to do. But, if we are honest with ourselves, we are far from being the Proverbs 31 women God has called us to be.

                As I prayed for marriages, I found myself thinking of the various scriptures that talk to us women about being wives. Mainly, I thought about the scriptures we find in Proverbs. Not just the Proverbs 31 scriptures, but the other ones. The ones we like to skip over. The one that stuck out at me was Proverbs 12:4, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness to his bones.” I like the first part of this Proverb. I am a crown to the head of my husband. My husband is the head of our home, but I am the crown!  He’s the head, but I am the beauty! My mom used to say “he may wear the pants in the family, but I tell him which leg to put on first.” This saying, before I was a Christian, was something that I too would say. My husband may be the man, but I was the one doing the dirty work, the hard work, so I deserved to have some say too. Unfortunately, my sisters, this is not how the Lord sees it. He wears the pants in the family, that much is true, but God alone tells him which leg to put on first.
                If we are to be a “crown” to our husbands heads, than we must first learn to be excellent wives.
So many times I have caused shame, and caused my husband to feel the rottenness of my words, my actions, my cold shoulder, my disrespect and my lack of communication be what he feels, instead of seeing the beauty of the crown. Our words affect so many areas of our lives. What we say, once said, cannot be taken back. Even what I do not say has an effect on my husband. I have a habit of tuning people out. After a long day of writing, studying, walking my dogs, working on my business, and doing all the other things that are on my lists of to-do’s, I have a tendency to tune out my husband when he speaks to me. I have a tendency to ignore what he is saying. All these things are rottenness to his bones, and shame to his heart. This tuning him out is one of the ways that I allow my actions and my words (or lack thereof) to make him feel less of a man. An excellent wife will seek to lift up, to exalt, and to encourage. Proverbs 14:1 tells us that “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.”
                God, when He created Adam, said that He wanted to find him a help-meet. Someone to come alongside him to help him meet the high calling of God on his life, someone to help him through the day to day struggles of work, home, children, finances, etc; someone who would be his other half, the half of him that sometimes gets lost in the responsibilities of being the main provider for the home, someone who would be the crowning glory of his life. This job fell to the woman, Eve. This job falls to us, as wives of our Adam’s. How many of us can honestly say that we strive to be the crown? That we strive to pick up the slack and that we strive to be the half that our husbands can’t be?
One of the things that the Lord showed me many years ago was that my husband needed time each day to debrief. After a long day at work, dealing with the stresses of the world, he needed time to come home and just sit in his own little world. He needed a place that was free from my worries, my fears, and my stress of dealing with the kids, and the home, and all the other things on my plate. He just needed time to wash off all the filth so that he could refresh himself and become the man I needed him to be.
              We put so many expectations upon our husbands, we want them to be the main provider, we want them to spend time with us, we want their help around the house, with the children, with the finances, and then after all of this, we want them to make us feel like we are doing something right. We look to them for approval and acceptance, but we have a hard time giving it back to them. I see so many women tearing apart their homes with their very hands. They say things to hurt and to shame their husbands. They hurl words across the room in front of others; they disrespect their husband’s God-given leadership over the home. They forget that they are to strive to be a crown, and not put him to shame. It shames a man’s heart when he is brought low by our words. It shames a man’s heart when he is treated like one of your children. It shames a man’s heart and eventually causes his love for the woman he married to rot away inside him.
                A happy and a solid marriage begin with responsibility. It begins with each one accepting their faults, and taking responsibility for their actions. I have a long way to go to be the wife God desires me to be. But, after 20 years of marriage, I can honestly say that I have learned a lot about being a crown instead of being shame. I have learned to lift him up, even when my thoughts want to tear him down. I have learned to walk away instead of saying something I might regret and that may cause him pain. I have learned to say “I’m sorry” and learned to change that behavior. I have learned that my emotions are the main reason why he and I argue. I have learned to allow my husband the space and the respect he deserves, even if I don’t think he deserves it. I have learned to put my hope, and my desires upon the Lord and not in my husband. I have learned that to have a happy, solid, firm marriage, I must rely on Jesus and Jesus alone. I love my husband, I want my husband in my life, but the only one I need is Jesus.
                We put so many expectations upon our men. We want them to be all that God desires them to be, so we do everything we can to mold them, shape them, even if that means yelling it out of them. But what God says to us as wives today is to stop. Stop tearing down and start building. Stop looking to them for all your desires, and look to Him. If we cannot see what we are doing to the men in our lives, then we have become selfish women who have fallen away from the high calling of God upon our lives. We are to strive to be a crown, a crown which is worn with dignity, and given the respect of others. We want respect, but we are not willing to be the crowns our husbands deserve. I see us hurling accusations, demanding things from them that they were never designed to give us, and treating them as if they were the biggest mistake we ever made. We try to change the men in our lives, but are not willing to change ourselves.
                I pray today for marriages. That we, as women of God, would look to the Lord Jesus Christ, that we would see the high calling He has given us to be a crown, and to walk away from the shame, the hurt, and the pain that we have caused. I pray that we would begin to take responsibility for our own actions and our words. That we would work out our own salvation with fear and trembling and allow the Lord to work in our husbands, as only He can. Father, I pray for that wife that is reading these words today. Father, give us wisdom and guidance, and hearts of forgiveness for the men in our lives. May we strive to be the crowns and no longer allow ourselves to be the shame. In Jesus name I do pray, Amen and Amen.

                In my book, Winning Him Without A Word, I address many of the issues we wives face today. In my book, I lay out for each one of us the way the Lord has called us to walk before our husbands. I do not know where you are at in your marriage, but I do know that for the past 15 years I have learned what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman for my husband. It was not easy, it is not easy, and I have written this all down for women who may also be struggling in being the women God has called us to be, whether your husband is an unbeliever, or a believer, this book can help you become the crown your husband deserves. To purchase a copy of this book, click here May the Lord Jesus Christ bless your marriage, and may you be the crown your husband deserves. Amen.