by Jen Smidt
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. – Proverbs 31:10
I often believe my husband has not found an excellent wife. When he tells me I have been short with him lately, overreacting and snapping unnecessarily, I am discouraged at my lack of excellence. Impatience and disrespect have brought embarrassment to him on several occasions.
My task-oriented, performance-driven heart attempts to fix itself by making a list: An excellent wife cooks with organic food (not Velveeta), sews her own clothing (or at least irons her husbands shirts!), speaks only words dripping with grace (and not sarcasm) and reads her Bible for hours on end (okay, minutes?!).
The list brings more condemnation; concrete evidence that I cannot be an excellent wife on my own.
Forged not Found
While all of these things can be signs of excellence, they are definitely not requirements. Turning to Scripture for comfort and conviction, I am reminded: An excellent wife is not found but forged. No man goes out and finds a woman who is pure wife perfection and marries her. Neither of them truly know what that even looks like yet!
A godly woman becomes an excellent wife as she understands she is made in the image of God, re-made in the image of Christ, and formed over a lifetime of repentance and redemption. Excellence is not measured by a to-do list; it is manifested in the life of a wife who knows Jesus intimately.
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones. – Proverbs 12:4
When I humbly and honestly assess the times I bring my husband shame, I am sobered by its destruction. To bring rottenness to his bones means mine are already disintegrating with unbelief and bitterness. We bring shame as wives when we:
- Focus on our husband’s sin
- Think our way is better, prioritizing ourselves over him
- Speak harshly to him or derogatively about him to anyone
- Withhold blessing, prayer, sex, or encouragement of any sort in an effort to punish, manipulate, or “get the message across”
The wife who brings shame to her husband is the daughter who does not truly know and trust her heavenly Father.
If the wife’s identity is centered around her man, she will certainly deliver shame when he disappoints – as he will inevitably do. It is the character of God, and not our husbands, that can be fully and firmly trusted. Our core identity must be anchored in Christ alone.
Made Precious by Jesus
We are made precious by Jesus. This heart transformation is the basis for any preciousness that our husbands experience in us. It is not about what we do but what our precious Savior has done for us that graces us with the power to be excellent wives. We are helpless on our own.
A godly wife understands that she is nothing outside of the saving grace of Jesus Christ and has no excellence apart from him. Christ’s grace and love are precious to her. Fueled by his riches, she will become a glorious crown to her husband as she helps, nurtures, and loves him from the depths of Christ’s righteousness in her.
It takes a 10-minute ceremony to become a wife. It takes a lifetime to become an excellent wife – one who understands that Christ’s shed blood on the cross is needed to offer excellence to our husbands.