Today’s verse teaches us about the difference between how a husband with a “good wife” feels compared to what the husband of a “bad wife” feels.
4 An excellent wife (literally: wife of valor) is the crown of her husband,
But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.
Here are the definitions of the main words in today’s verse:
excellent: Of the highest or finest quality; extremely meritorious
valor: 1. the qualities of a hero or heroine; exceptional or heroic courage when facing danger 2. a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear
crown: A distinction or reward for achievement, especially a title
shame: 1. A painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace. 2. One that brings dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation. 3. A condition of disgrace or dishonor; ignominy. 4. A great disappointment. rottenness: 1. the quality of rotting and becoming putrid 2. Made weak or unsound by rot
Using these definitions, we find that a wife of the highest quality or one with a quality of spirit that enables them to face danger or pain without showing fear, is a reward, presumably from God, to their husband. All of us have to face problems and pain in this life, but a husband that has a wife that will stand with them during those times is blessed.
In contrast, a wife that brings embarrassment, dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation on her husband, is looked upon by God as someone who makes their husband feel weak, and unsound, as if their bones… the part of their body that holds them up and supports them… are rotting and turning putrid.
Often, women don’t understand this about their men. Men NEED to feel respected by their wives, as it says in Ephesians 5:33b. Sometimes, this can be a very hard thing to do if they haven’t done much to be worthy of respect. The first part of Eph. 5 tells us that Christian men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, being willing to die for her… A husband who puts his life on the line (whichever way the wife NEEDS) to show his love, will win the respect of the wife.
This is an interesting dilemma, and one of the reasons that God asks us to be very careful to not be “unequally yoked,” or married to someone who is NOT a Christian. Of course, if we become a Christian AFTER we are married, it just becomes harder for the spouse. If he isn’t a Christian, he will generally NOT have that love deep down inside, that is given by God, and will be unable, or unwilling to give the type of love that God made marriage to be designed for. This, in turn will make it hard for the wife to respect him.
Still, God asks that WE treat others, and that includes our spouses, in the way that He wants us to treat them… with the love He speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NKJV)
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails…
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