Part 4 – Diagnosing the Disease, cont.
In Part 3, we examined the first five ways we can make our husbands ashamed. How are you doing so far? As we look at the final two ways, I encourage you to do so with a humble and sincere heart.
6. She reacts without prudence. She is unwise.
I remember my mom telling me many years ago that while I may not be accountable for the actions of others, but I am always accountable for my reactions to them. Through the years I have learned how right she is.
Many times, I fail in my marriage and other areas of my life, not so much in my actions as in my reactions. Someone wrongs me, and I lash out. Someone starts a conversation, and I feel I must “finish” it. Someone hurts me, and I hurt them back. The list could go on…
There are (at least) four areas in which we must learn to react prudently as wives:
- Our tongues
All of our words should be “with grace” (Col. 4:6). The virtuous woman has the “law of kindness” in her tongue (Pro. 31:26). This includes not just our words, but our tone of voice. Many women shame their husbands by the words they speak and how they speak them.
Consider: If other people overheard you talking to your husband, would they think you are treating him like a friend or an enemy? Like someone you cherish or despise? Like someone you respect deeply or disdain? Like someone you admire or criticize? Like a leader or a child? Like someone you praise or belittle? Like someone you appreciate or disapprove?
Our tone of voice and body language speaks volumes even when the words can’t be deciphered. In fact, they are usually more honest.
- Our tempers
Every man is shamed by a contentious and angry woman! Read that again. Then read the book of Proverbs! Belligerent, outspoken, angry women create unhappy, ashamed husbands. When we are constantly frustrated and angry, when we feel that we must always make our point, when we refuse to have a meek and quiet spirit, we are destroying our husbands and our marriages. (Pro. 19:13; 21:9, 19; 25:24; 27:15)
A man who is constantly confronted by a contentious and angry woman will find his “corner” and stay there. A man would far prefer living in the “corner of the housetop” or dwelling “in the wilderness” to spending time with a contentious wife.
- Our timing
This one takes a lot of prudence and discretion. Many times, what we have to say is right, but we choose the wrong time to say it. Whether it be that we address an issue in front of people instead of privately, or that we decide to bring up a topic for discussion when our husbands are tired or just not ready for it, timing is important. We need to learn to pray (first and often!) and be sensitive to our husbands and their needs if we are going to get this right. (Pro. 12:16, 23; 16:21; 19:14)
- Our telling
Again, this has to do with our tongues, but I think this needs to stand alone. We need to be very careful about sharing details of our married lives and our husbands with other people. Whether it be in conversation, or on social media, many times we get caught up in, “Oh, your husband did that? Well, you should hear why my husband does!” And before we realize it, we have shared intimate details about our husbands. Even if it is something that seems insignificant, when we divulge things that should be kept private, we erode the trust of our husbands.
Many wives lament that their husbands never open up to them, never “share” their thoughts or feelings with them. Perhaps it is because their husbands are afraid that any confidences they share will be “shared” with others. If we want the hearts of our husbands to “safely trust” in us, we must be willing to earn and keep that trust. (Pro. 31:11; 17:28; 11:12)
By the way, because this series is about our marriage, and involves some stories about us, I asked my husband if he was comfortable with my sharing it before I ever started. Without his approval and encouragement, I would not have.
7. She represents him poorly. She is undisciplined.
Now, before you go getting all defensive on me, I’m not talking about trying to be a “trophy wife”. However, if you look at the Proverbs 31 woman (which we are going to do), she worked hard and took care about her appearance, her home, and her children. She was a disciplined woman.
One of the aspects of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is temperance. We often call it self-control, but for the child of God, it is Holy Spirit control. I have discovered that the hardest person to control in my home is myself. I want very much to control my husband and my children, but I have a tendency to just let myself go…and so do you.
Here are some areas we need to work on if we want to be sure that we are not making our husbands ashamed of us in this area:
- In her appearance (Pro. 31:17, 22)
By this, I do not mean that you have to be a certain weight, or body type, or wear lots of makeup, or be a style maven. I do mean that sometimes we are just lazy. We don’t really care what we look like, and rarely think that this might reflect on our husbands. Worse yet, sometimes we only care about how we look for others, but give no attention to our appearance for our husbands when we are at home. We should seek first to please the Lord with our appearance. After that, our top priority should be pleasing our husbands (not ourselves).
Allow me to share a personal example. I like to be frugal (and that’s not bad!), and I do not like to spend a lot of money on clothes or shoes. I don’t mind shopping at thrift stores or yard sales. In fact, I love it! I also love comfy clothes, and if I find something in my wardrobe that I like, I tend to want to keep it forever. I’m not really all that bothered if people don’t like my wardrobe or appearance, but when we first got married, it really seemed to bother my husband. For quite some time, I could not understand it. I would think, “He should be happy, right? I’m trying to save him money. It doesn’t bother me, so why should it bother him? Why do I feel like he’s ashamed of me?”
One day he tried to explain it to me, and I finally understood. My husband is a very hard worker and a very good provider. He does his best to make sure that all my needs are met, and a lot of my wants! He appreciates my frugality, but at the same time, when I wear shoes that are completely worn out (not because I don’t have more, but just because I don’t want to part with them), it appears that he isn’t taking care of me. Call me clueless, but I had never considered that the way I dressed (not just modestly or immodestly), but the care and condition of my clothing, would reflect on my husband and his role as my provider. I have worked much harder since then on my appearance, because he does take very good care of me, and I want everyone to know it!
Consider: Before you were married, when you were trying to win your husband, did you pay attention to your appearance more than you do now? Did you try to find out what were his favorite colors for you to wear, what perfume he liked, how he liked you to style your hair, and other preferences? Do you still seek to please him in those areas and more? We need to be aware that if we do not seek to please our husbands, someone else will.
Also, I know that certain stages of life make this more difficult. I also know that when something matters to us (for example, going somewhere or seeing someone “important”) we somehow make the time and effort to get a shower, put on nice clothing, and fix our hair. Whether we intend it or not, when we only do those things when we’re leaving the house, or seeing someone whose opinion we value, we are telling our husbands that they are not important to us.
- In her administration. (Pro. 31:13-24, 27)
Ladies, we are to be the stewards of our homes. The Bible says that we are to “guide the house” (I Tim. 5:14). While our husbands are to be the head, we are to be the managers. When we do a poor job in any of the following areas, we shame our husbands. We will see this in more detail when we look at the virtuous woman, but we are responsible for our own wise administration and stewardship:
- of the finances,
- of maintaining the home,
- of training and caring for the children, if we have any.
- In her actions
Again, how we behave reflects not only on us, but on our husbands. When we take his name, we also take the responsibility of keeping that name untarnished (Pro. 22:1).
- In her attitudes (Pro. 30:23)
Proverbs has a lot to say about this one! A wife who is contentious, angry, “odious” (hateful), flirtatious, sensual, (to anyone besides her husband for the previous two), stubborn, arrogant, bossy…the list could go on, shames her husband. Our attitudes reflect on our husbands, and they can be very hurtful.
Whew! That was a big list! We have seen some of the ways that a wife can her husband ashamed. We still have one important thing to examine from the Word of God before we move on to more encouraging news. What is the result of this shameful type of behavior? Find out in Part 5.