The Sweet Christian Bride

Proverbs 31 Wife: Respectful

by admin on March 8, 2012 in Faith, Relationship, Spouse with 1 Comment

“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 31:11-12).

“Am I good enough?”

That is the haunting question for men.  As books like Wild At Heart suggest, men fear being “found out.”  They fear not measuring up.  They fear being rejected by the ones they love most, and in turn, the ones who know them best.  This fear is the gauntlet that must be conquered before a man’s heart can trust in a woman.

This trust is not simply a matter of measuring her character and finding her integrity to be sufficient.  It’s a matter of whether he can trust his insecurities to her.  Will she run if she learns my faults?  Will she reveal my insecurities to others?  Will she desire to support me in my weaknesses?

So what does it look like to be a wife in whom her husband can trust?  Matthew Henry, in his Commentary on the Whole Bible, describes it this way: “He trusts in her conduct, that she will speak in all companies, and act in all affairs, with prudence and discretion, so as not to occasion him either damage or reproach. He trusts in her fidelity to his interests, and that she will never betray his counsels nor have any interest separate from that of his family. When he goes abroad, to attend the concerns of the public, he can confide in her to order all his affairs at home, as well as if he himself were there.”

I think Henry gives great snap shots of a Proverbs 31 Wife, but from what I know about men and marriage, I would simplify his description down to one action: respect.  A wife who can unconditionally respect her husband is one who will do him good and not harm, one who will increase the return on his investment of trusting in her.

Ephesians 5:33 instructs, “Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.”  Pastor Bill Crawford of Water’s Edge Church flushes out in his sermon this concept of the core need of a woman being love and the core need of a man being respect.  And books such as Love and Respect even offer a practical, workbook component for applying this concept.  If you feel a discomfort regarding this idea, I encourage you to check out these resources and then come back to this post.

Unconditional respect is really hard to give because by the very definition, it requires choosing to respect even when respect is not deserved.  It’s easy to justify disrespect with thoughts like, “Well, if he would only listen to me, then I could respect him better.”  “If he worked harder, then he would earn my respect.”  “If he weren’t so demeaning, I would want to respect him.”  It’s easy to think that our husbands’ lack of trust in us is their problem because it stems from their issues.

In a way, that might be true.  The problem with that thinking, however, is that it delays the responsibility for a wife to fulfill her wedding vows until the husband changes.  This is contractual thinking, not covenant thinking.  A Proverbs 31 Wife does him good “all the days of her life,” not just when it’s convenient or when he deserves it.

For our husbands to have “no lack of gain” when they trust in us, we need to be operating in the Spirit.  The ability to come through faithfully, honestly, and with integrity is only found in one whose heart is surrendered to the Lord.  We all need to confess where we fall short of the character of God.  That is our sin, not our husbands.

But what if you are keeping your heart above reproach and your husband still isn’t acting in a manner that warrants respect?  You might need to consider issues not just of sin in your heart, but of personalized stumbling blocks.  What I mean is that each of you has triggers that you have developed throughout the course of your lives.  When those triggers are activated, negative emotion (and thus detrimental action) can begin to ooze out or explode.  As a wife who seeks to respect her husband, you must also learn his triggers and take action in your own heart not to actively pull those triggers or to passively trip that wire.  Regardless of whether his triggers evoke sin in him, it is your choice to protect him from that, to lure him into that, or to watch idly as he falls into that, which now gives you a charge for his behavior.

Hear me on this: we CANNOT change our husbands.  What we can change is ourselves.  What in us perpetuates the behaviors in him that we wish we could change?  Whatever your answer is, this is where you should start working on yourself as you offer grace to your husband.  Again, you can’t change his behavior, but you can work to disarm the behaviors in yourself that trigger it.

A common example is a wife who reminds her husband to do things.  Reminding is not a sin if it’s offered with good intention, but it could be exactly the voice of control that sounds to the husband like nagging, or in other words, his stumbling block.  Nagging is a direct weapon against respect.  No man can feel nagged and respected at the same time.  This scenario would be an opportunity where a wife, out of her Biblical command to respect her husband, would need to intentionally work on not reminding in order to steer her husband away from his triggers that evoke sin.

What I find is that God is gracious to wives who adapt their behavior for the sake of honoring and respecting their husbands.  I was a nagger.  The example I just gave was one from my own life.  And as I sought to stop reminding my husband of things, even of good things, God revealed to me that I had a major control problem.  My reminders were really my effort to control my husband and my surroundings, or in other words, to play God.  They were demonstrations of my lack of faith in God’s control.  Choosing to work on this issue for the sake of my husband allowed God room to show me that I also needed to work on it for me.  In turn, my husband trusts in me more, and the good that I can do for him is at a greater capacity than it was before because my faith was refined.

In what areas do you need to examine your heart for signs of disrespect?  Perhaps it’s forgiving him even before he’s asked for forgiveness.  Perhaps it’s holding back critical commentary when he confides in you.  Perhaps it’s refraining from saying, “I told you so.”  Whatever it is, learning to be a wife who respects her husband will allow you to become a wife in whom her husband trusts with no lack of gain and one who does him good and not harm.

By Lindsay
  • There are currently 1 Comment.

  • The Sweet Christian Bride
    • Jilly says:

      This is beautiful thank you for sharing Lindsay. I am studying Proverbs 31 at the moment and this has helped so much – it’s pure gold.
      God bless you. oxo

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    • Trackback from Proverbs 31 Wife: Assiduous | The Sweet Christian Bride
      Tuesday, 13 March, 2012

      […] home.  Learning how to be teammates in life’s work has helped me to want to be one in whom he can trust and have no lack of gain.  I respect him for the work that he does for our family, and he respects me for the work that I […]

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