Crowning or Shaming?

It’s time to continue our series on the Proverbs woman. Please know that the lack of posts on this subject has much less to do with the practicality and efficacy of God’s Written Word than it does with my poor time management techniques. I’m a work in progress like everyone else, and sometimes I’m making more progress than others times, yk?

Proverbs 12:4

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.

When I read this verse again this morning, because it had indeed been sometime since I read it, I found myself thinking about different ways we shame our husbands. Are you like me, that it’s a lot easier to voice what not to do that it is to figure out what we ought to do sometimes? I mean, I know what an excellent wife is, and I think most of us do, but she just encompasses so much that it’s hard to put it in words. There’s a lot that she doesn’t do, too, right? For today let’s focus on how we shame our husbands, so that we can focus on being crowns instead.

Before we do that, let’s just clarify one thing. Can a man stand if his bones are rotten? No? Ok, then, moving on.

How then, do we best shame our husbands? We can:

argue with him over petty things
disregard his simplest requests
contradict or correct him in front of others
talk over him in public
speak for him instead of letting him speak
question his intentions and motives frequently
fail to keep the home tidy so he can’t bring guests over
fail to keep his children clean and combed
frequently outspending his earnings
deny his advances
not take care of our physical appearance (basic self care, hygiene, etc)
ignore the priorities he sets for our time

Most of these are little things that we may do without thinking, and maybe one incident alone isn’t that big a deal, but a consistent pattern of these behaviors can be really damaging to our husbands’ spirits. I’m just as guilty over this list as any other woman. I get busy, I get focused, I get sidetracked, and I forget that my primary purpose is to be a “beck and call girl”. My friend giggles when I say that, but look back at Genesis. Why was Eve created? Because God thought it wasn’t good for Adam to be by himself, and he needed a companion to help him. Look here at Genesis 2:18

Painting of a Biblical scene
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And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

That’s right. There it is: like it, lump it, or be indifferent to it. Our job is helper. We are tasked to carry out our husband’s wishes in his absence. We have to lay aside our own ideas of “how it ought to be”, and do as he requests. Not that we can’t calmly and respectfully try to change his mind, of course, but in the end, it’s to be his call.

Ladies, and I am talking to myself here, that isn’t as big a burden as it sounds. There is a great weight lifted there, because if we are faithfully carrying out instructions, then we are not responsible for the outcome. Our responsibility ends when we carry out the instructions. Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Like you have too much to do and not enough time or resources to do it? If you have a husband, give that load right on back to him. It’s not your weight, it’s his! That is most likely what that passage about women being weaker vessels (1 Peter 3:7) means. We just are not made to carry all that. It’s not a failure on our part when we can’t, either. It’s just the way we are made. And accepting that, and letting him be the protector and covering he is intended to be and thriving within our God-given role is one more way we can be a crown to our husband.

One final thing, and it’s probably the hardest part of this whole post. If your husband fails to step up and do what he ought, try, try, try to not step in and fill his roles. That junk about “women have to do because men won’t” is one of the biggest and best lies Satan has thrown at our families and society since he told Eve that fruit sure looked good. I really, really believe that often times men don’t act because bossy, brassy women step into their shoes while they are planning what action to take. I’ve seen it over and over in my own marriage. If I wait on dh to render a decision, even if it takes more than the 30 seconds I allot him, then things go well. If I plunge ahead because I get aggravated that he’s taking time to think, then I am back tracking and trying to put out fires that I cause by my own pig-headedness.

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6 thoughts on “Crowning or Shaming?

  1. I thought you might like to read an excerpt from Carolyn Custis James’s Lost Women of The Bible, which really shaped my view of the “helper” role of women…

    Throughout history the church has always zeroed in on “ezer” as the pre-Fall piece of Eve that defines a woman’s role and remained intact despite her sin. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make for him a helper [ezer] suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). The meaning of ezer, however, was diminished when translators rendered it “helpmeet” and restricted it to marriage. A woman’s mission centered on home and family — vital spheres of ministry to be sure, but only a slice of the vast mission God originally cast by calling women [and men] to rule and subdue the earth.

    Thinking regarding to the ezer began to change when scholars pointed out that the word ezer is used most often (sixteen of twenty-one occurrences) in the Old Testament to refer to God as Israel’s helper in times of trouble. That’s when ezer was upgraded to “strong helper,” leaving Christians debating among themselves over the meaning of “strong” and whether this affects a woman’s rank with respect to the man. Further research indicates ezer is a powerful Hebrew military word whose significance we have barely begun to unpack. The ezer is a warrior, and this has far-reaching implications for women, not only in marriage but in every relationship, season, and walk of life.

    Further evidence of the strength and significance of the word ezer appeared when men in the Old Testament used ezer in naming their sons. Moses named his son Eli-ezer (the same name as Abraham’s servant), explaining, “My father’s God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh” (Exodus 18:4; see Genesis 15:2). … Abi-ezer (my father is help) was among David’s mighty warriors (1 Chronicles 11:28). There is wonderful irony in the fact that during New Testament times, one of Jesus’ contemporaries, a man outspoken in his belief in women’s inferiority to men, was Rabbi Eli-ezer. His very name declares the strength of women. (Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?)

    Eve and all her daughters are ezers — strong warriors who stand alongside their brothers in the battle for God’s kingdom. We do not have to wait until we’re grown to become ezers. The doctor who announces the birth of a girl might as well just exclaim, “It’s an ezer!” for we are ezers from birth. Marriage is one major arena where the ezer stands with the man in battle. It by no means exhausts the possibilities. If the call to rule and subdue the earth means anything, God calls the ezer to join the man in every sphere of life.

  2. Jamie, I did enjoy that. And I do agree that women can be strong, and they can be effective. But they are still called to stand with the man, helping him, and not against him in his whole house.

    The ministry of women is vitally important, and yes, well beyond marriage. But her primary duty is still to be a (strong) helper and that duty was assigned before she was even created.

    I’ll be looking for that book, it sounds like a great read!

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