In Proverbs 31:29-31, the husband grants his wife her proper prestige with these words:
‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.’
Men, we’ll not only draw prestige from the success of our marriage relationship, but we must also be sure to build up the prestige of our wife. Of course, this begins in the home.
‘Building up’ begins with words, but must be verified and reinforced with actions. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3, ‘Husbands’be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as’heirs with you.’ Acknowledging that your wife is your fellow heir establishes that she’s entitled to the same honor and respect as you. By contrast, you have no right to rob her of what you ought to give, and what God promised she’d have. Oneness isn’t merely a feeling; it’s built on actions.
Moreover, building up the prestige of our wives doesn’t end in the home. What begins there must be carried out into the community. Here again, actions speak louder than words.
Gentlemen, can we justify placing our wives anywhere but in the highest place of prestige in our lives? We must set ourselves to the task of building up our wives’both inside and outside our homes.
Guys, let’s get practical about sacrificial thinking. If we’re to love and serve our wives in the manner God desires, we must understand at least the following three things going on:
First, sacrificial thinking isn’t giving your wife everything she wants. It’s making sure her essence is expressed and honored equally alongside yours, in the same way the white stripe is expressed equally with the red on a candy cane.
Second, sacrificial thinking is more than taking her thoughts into consideration. It’s taking those thoughts and putting them into play with as much emphasis and care as you give your own thoughts’even if some of her thought processes may not make sense to you as a guy. If you don’t act upon them, there’ll be no oneness. She’ll feel trampled and disregarded, no matter how often you say, ‘But darling, I listened to you. I just felt my way was better.’
Third, you must develop your own style of carrying out this sacrificial thinking’a style that’s customized to the character and needs of your particular marital situation. You may not always agree with my answers. That’s fine. Answers aren’t nearly as important as the way of coming to them. Your wife is different from you wife’s best friend, and you’re different from me. Therefore, the answers may be different. But, men, the use of the servant mind-set must always be consistent among all of us if we wish to love our wives as ourselves.
Men, not only should you be comfortable in leading your family in worship, you should be the most consistent among them when it comes to cultivating your own personal life of worship. Remember, the character and quality of our public leadership is a direct by-product of the character and quality of our private discipleship. You simply can’t give your family what you don’t possess yourself.
Men, consistency in private discipleship brings intimacy with the Lord; and intimacy with the Lord puts you in the position to bring life and truth to your family. Without it, you’ll have little fresh understanding with which to guide them.
How consistent are you when it comes to praying? How consistently do you lead your family in Bible study and prayer? Sure, no one’s busier than you. I know that, and I share your predicament. But the simple reality remains: each of us must make it a top priority to carve out time in our day-to-day lives to lead our families in this area.
Remember guys, many of the most important issues in our children’s lives will be caught rather than taught. They’re watching your example. If you’re not praying together as a family, then all your talk about God’s being the center of your marriage and family is just that’talk.
Make family worship or devotional time a priority. Be disciplined about following through. Model your faith with action. It’ll give your family someone to respect and someone to emulate.