Godly women, wife, mother, friend series
Whether you are single or married, there are ways to be preparing or working on being a godly wife. As a single woman, gaining wisdom and putting it into practice before marriage (if you desire to be married) is key to attracting godly men. As a married woman, our husband is the first place to practice the wisdom God and others give us.
“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:10-12
Wow, just reading this verse can make us feel overwhelmed. We either quickly think of all the ways we have failed as a wife, or our pride makes us defensive recalling a list of how well we’ve done. We might even be afraid of figuring out how to become this “some day.” The fact that an excellent wife is hard to find (in Bible times and currently) is a sad reality. Yet if one is found, she is rare and valuable.
What is your favorite jewel? Proverbs gives us the picture of an excellent wife being MORE precious than jewels. They were a beautiful and extremely valuable commodity in the Old Testament, used for personal adornment, a show of nobility or wealth, and an important trade for craftsman.
How does being an excellent wife relate to this? Just as a gem is shining and radiant, so is an excellent wife as she reflects godliness toward her husband by doing him good. 1 Peter 3 defines this as a gentle, quiet spirit that is an imperishable, precious jewel in God’s sight.
Gentle and Quiet, seriously?!
If I have a “loud personality” what does it mean to have a gentle and quiet spirit? Do I ever get to say anything? Do I have to give up being fun? I refuse to be a doormat! I have to protect myself! If this is your thought process, then I would encourage you to pause and ask God to reveal the root cause because it isn’t true freedom. A gentle spirit means you are praying and listening to what the Holy Spirit wants you to say before you say anything. It means if and when you do speak, you have a respectful tone rather than accusing or wanting to control your husband. A sinfully loud wife can push her husband to the “corner of the roof” (Prov. 21:9) or be “like rottenness in his bones.” (Prov. 12:4). Remember it is part of the Fall of Eve that we will want to rule over our husbands (Gen. 3:16), and sadly some weak or foolish husbands like Adam will stand by and watch us make decisions that harm us. God gave equal value to the man and woman when He created us in His own image, so neither of us needs to domineer over the other.
For example, one woman told me that her sin of constant disrespect caused a part of her husband to die and she made him afraid to lead her. He even avoids talking to her because she just argues and he doesn’t trust that she loves him anymore. She thought if she took control he would respect her, but instead she is “doing him harm” and dividing her marriage.
Gentle and Quiet, no problem?
If I have a “quiet personality” am I already an excellent wife? Do I get to stay silent and just trust God to do everything? If I say anything my husband will disagree anyway, so can I just stay quiet? A gentle spirit doesn’t give you freedom to sin by never speaking into your husband’s life. When you speak, you will need to pray against any fears (rejection, disagreement, shame) first and trust God to give you words and the right time to speak. 1 Peter 3 instructs us to do what is right and not give way to fear. A sinfully quiet wife can be an enabler that makes her husband an idol, rather than respecting and loving him toward Godliness.
I grew up thinking that the “silent treatment” was the healthy way to deal with conflict, on the other hand, Mark grew up thinking that regularly (and sometimes not kindly) expressing your honest opinion was best. As you can imagine this didn’t go well in marriage until we learned the balance of love and respect toward each other. I began with silent disrespect in my marriage, then moved to fighting back verbally, and now God continually teaches me ways to work toward being a godly wife. When I am respectful and Mark is loving, there is nothing better than the oneness and friendship it creates in our marriage. While this has taken work and pain, it has been worth it.
Another woman’s example is that she falsely complimented her husband thinking it would make him be nicer to her. She didn’t want to upset him so she outwardly submitted her actions, while growing bitter and resentful in her heart toward him.
Both types of women, and everything in between, should desire that “the heart of her husband trusts in her,” which is built over time with repentance and being slow to speak and quick to listen. As wives, we need to be reading the Bible, praying with and for our husbands, serving them in ways they need (not just what we like to do), and encouraging them. If you have a difficult marriage (which we all do at times), I’m sorry and know this can seem impossible. In our most challenging years I had to remember that I can’t change my husband, and I am responsible for my responses, whether or not he changes. God sees our hearts and actions, and gives us the strength and wisdom we need to work toward being an excellent wife.
Submission to God first
Our ability to gain our husband’s trust and to respect him in our journey toward godliness begins with our submission to God first! We literally can’t be an excellent wife without the power of the Holy Spirit giving us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and the hugely important self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Our goal can’t be to fix our husbands or make him respectable before we show respect. God is working on ALL of us, and when we seek how God wants our hearts and motives to change first it will result in trusting God through our actions. We can wear jewels and have outward beauty, but God cares about what is going on in our hearts. We can’t fool Him by wearing “fake jewelry”, He knows the difference!
Tell your husband you want to be a crown, you want his heart to trust you, you want to do him good not harm. Then ask him to kindly tell you ways you’ve done that well and things you can work on. Don’t argue or defend. Take notes, repent, and be willing to ask God to redeem those habits that keep you from being a REAL wife. And next time you put your jewels on, let it remind you of how precious you are to God and to reflect that back to your husband.
“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4
NOTE: If you are in a marriage that is physically abusive, please seek help and counseling because it is most important that you are safe. He is not loving you as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25). Then if your spouse is genuinely willing to change and protect you, a pastor or counselor can help determine what that looks like to rebuild trust and your marriage. If he is not willing to change, please don’t put yourself back in harms way. The description of quiet and gentle spirited woman is not condoning any abuse. Your local women’s shelters are prepared to help you walk this road toward healing.