One of the most basic ideas (certainly the simplest idea) of the Excellent Wife is doing her husband good. The Bible puts this as simply as it may be put: "She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life." Pro. 31:12. Yet, it remains one of the most commonly ignored ideas in conversations with wives.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Think about the sentence a minute.
She does him good. This is a personal service, not something generalized. She does him good. It does not matter how much good he gets anywhere else. Wives will say "but people do things for him all the time, I don't need to," but they are wrong. The Excellent Wife does her husband good because he is her husband. She does it.
She does him good. Not his children, him. Wives, when asked what good they have done him, will answer by talking about what they do for the children. But this is about him, not them. What are you doing for him?
She does him good. Here is where things get dicey, because women often have an idea of good that is quite foreign to their husbands. They think they are doing him good by nagging him about losing weight or cleaning up his garage or fixing something in the home. They can nag (which is bad) about something and then claim to be doing him "good" by being bad. This is nonsense. The Excellent Wife does him good. She makes his life better. Remember, telling him to make his life better is not doing him good at all. Do something he likes. If he likes to hunt and you hate to hunt, he is not "doing you good" by inviting you to go hunting with him. Likewise, doing what you like is not good for him. A couple we know illustrates this beautifully. The husband had issues with diabetes and such. Over the years, I noticed a real change in the food at their home. It became not only healthier, but was wonderfully made. She (the wife) made the effort not just to nag, but to really work on making healthy meals that were pleasant to eat. That is doing him good.
She does him good, and not harm. If you think about it, is your husband's daily life better because he married you? Does he have as enjoyment as if he were single? Can he do the things he wants and needs to do, or is your marriage such that he spends his time taking care of you? Do not make his life worse. Yesterday, how many times did you smile with him and how many times were you harsh with him? How often do you yell? How often do you tell him to "do this" and "do that?" Does he look forward to being at home with you?
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Not occasionally. Not sporadically. Not just on his birthday. Every day of her life. Every day, you should wake up and think about what you are going to do, for him, that do. How are you going to make his life better, that day? Not because you think he might leave you, but because he is your husband.
There is no description of the Excellent Wife that is simpler than this description, yet none more ignored by modern wives. Do him good today. Be an Excellent Wife.
I attended a wedding this weekend. It was, as usual, a very nice wedding. As I watched this young couple getting married, I thought about how interesting their next two years will be. They have already had some very interesting times getting to know one another before marriage. The next two years will be even more exciting. There is nothing like living with someone for getting to know them.
But it seems to change, doesn't it? If you have been married more than four years, things are very different. There is very little that you learn about your spouse now. He seems to just be who he is with no more mystery at all. The excitement of the early years can easily translate into boredom in later years. The things we know no longer excite us (some of them annoy us) and there seems to be little "under the surface" for us to find.
I have been married 30 years. The other day, we were at lunch with a young couple and, suddenly, I learned something about my wife I did not know. She told a story from her college days that entirely surprised me. It was a simple story about simple things, but I had never heard it or anything even close to it.
I realized that as much as I know my wife, there are entire parts of her life I do not know. In the same way, there are things about my life she does not know. How can we get bored with each other when there are so many things we can still learn about each other?
Now, the worst possible response to this is to sit your husband down and say "tell me about yourself." Guys don't do that. If you want to know more, get him talking in a normal way and share something of your life. Tell him more about you, if you want to learn more about him.
And enjoy getting to know someone you love, all over again.
Life is really complicated. Most of the people reading this page probably have children and have been married for some time. When you wake up, you have to immediately start dealing with multiple issues. You have times to get children up and off to school, you may be going to work. You have lunch and dinner and school appointments and music lessons and dental appointments and sometimes the younger children just have a day where they want to scream. As they age, you add soccer practice and baseball practice and more music lessons and sometimes it seems like you cannot catch a breath.
Where's your husband? Right now. Seriously. In the midst of all this noise and trouble, where is he?
Now, many wives will respond to this question with something about how he ought to be doing more of this stuff. The answer to :"where is he" is, too often, "well, he doesn't help much." But that was not the question.
Where is he? Do you know?
In the midst of children, it is easy to lose him. It is easy to forget about him in your day of troubles and hassles. For many women, life ends up being about "mothering" not "being a wife." We will even defend this tendency by saying "well, he can take care of himself."
That's true. He can. So why does he have you? If you have stopped being necessary to his happiness and essential to his life, then why is he still married to you? When a husband remains married because of his faith and convictions regarding God's Word, then he is an excellent man, but he is not a happy man. And you should not be happy either.
If there is too much on your plate, the one thing you cannot push off is him. Your child does not really need to go to three summer camps and two music lessons and play on multiple sports teams while you drive them from event to event every day. You can stop doing some of the "stuff" that keeps you so busy. But you cannot forget your husband.
Where is your husband? Right now. Seriously. If you can do it, call him and tell him you love him. Do not tell him about little Johnny's band concert or little Susie's work schedule, tell him you love him.
He might be very surprised.
In our recent class, we spent three weeks on the question of wisdom. One could as well spend three months on the topic. Wisdom has been lost to many of us in recent generations.
Mainly, it has been lost through eliminating the relationship between older and younger people. We in America equate marriage with leaving home. Many of us leave home before being married but virtually all of us leave when we are married. Often, because of the ease of travel, we leave not only the physical home but even the area in which our elders live.
We tend to join churches where we are placed in "Young Married" classes, once again eliminating any role of older people. We tend to group together with others of the same age for social events. We tend to communicate with others of our age with modern technology that the older women do not know.
The result, of course, is that we have no one to look to for knowledge or wisdom. We talk to our friends about issues, but they have little to offer of wisdom, being as young as we are. We will not call and ask an older woman, because we don't know them well enough. Instead, we try to get along as best we can.
Imagine 100 years ago. You live in a small town or a section of a large town. You live at home until you marry, which is much younger than today. You marry and live in the same area. You see your mother and your aunts (older women) frequently and probably see your grandmother and great aunts as well.
Your church is smaller and has no "young married" class, so you go to classes with the other adults and your social life is based on the community (old and young) not on your age. You have close friends who are older women to whom you can turn for help and wisdom.
If you are a young wife, ask yourself how many older women you know well enough to seek advice. If you don't know many, find some. Pick someone and generate a friendship with them, or at least enough acquaintance to seek advice. Go to some events for older women.
I cannot tell you how often I have talked with older women in churches about this issue, and how often they tell us that the young women have no interest in hearing from them. It is a shame that we, in our churches, have helped create.
If all your friends are about your age, with about your experiences, and just about your problems, where will you go for wisdom?
A fun aspect to focusing on marriage issues is that you have lots of people to watch. Everywhere you go, you can watch couples interact. So, sitting in a restaurant, what do you see?
One thing you see is lots of couples who seem almost unrelated. They walk in together, but never touch. They watch the televisions (if the restaurant has them) or look at other things. They eat in silence or with occasional comments. They pay (surprising how often the wife pays). They leave together, but without touching. You wonder if they are married at all. You wonder if their home life is like their public life.
Are you one of these couples? If you are, then stop. Seriously. Just stop it. How? By being different.
You do not stop this by telling your husband to be different. There is nothing so pitiful as a wife telling her husband that he needs to be more loving to her. Besides, you don't really want him to be nicer because he is told to be. You want him to love you.
Then be loving to him. Dress nicely to go out with your husband. Fix your hair. Take his arm (how often can I say that? Not often enough.). Do not say "touch me more often," touch him more often. You should know how electric a wife's touch can be to a man, why have you given it up? Try sitting beside him instead of across from him.
Talk with him. This does not mean to nag him. Talk with him! Talk about things he cares about and, even more importantly, things he likes to talk about. Listen to him without criticizing everything (or anything) for a little while. Do not, under any circumstances, say anything like "we need to talk more often" or, if he talks, anything like "isn't this nice, why don't we do this more often?" Just enjoy the time you have.
Smile at him. Seriously. Smile at him. You may not realize how seldom you smile. Flirt with him a little. Place your foot on his foot under the table. Sound silly? Who cares? You are married, let him know you are glad to be with him.
Too many women sit lonely and bored and wish their husband would fix it for them. Our theme for the day is that you can fix it yourself. You might be surprised at how easy it is.
One of the common truths we hear about wives is that one of their chief desires is to be cherished. You know what people mean by this. Wives want to know that their husband cherishes them, that they are special in a way that no one else can be special. I think this is generally true of wives and is a real problem because husbands don't generally know this or know how to handle it.
From a man's point of view, a lot of what we would think of a cherishing seems kind of silly. If he has told you he loves you, then he expects you to remember and he doesn't have to say it all the time. But you want to hear it. Some other things, cuddling, hugs, gifts, etc., just seem redundant to a man who has been married for ten years. But they are not redundant.
How do you deal with this problem? It really does not help to nag him about cherishing you. First, of course, it is hard to cherish a nag. Second, that kind of ruins the whole thing.
Here is a suggestion -- cherish him.
Think about it. How often are you the first to say "I love you"? You would love him to hug you, how often do you hug him? When you sit and watch TV or a movie, who touches whom?
Are you doing things which show you cherish him? Do you honor and respect (and compliment) what he does? Do you, in public, do little things that tell everyone he is yours and that you are glad he is yours? You know, little things like touching his hair or taking his arm or sitting close.
If I watched you for a week, how much cherishing would I see between you?
A man cherishes a woman because of who she is and what she does. Who are you? What are you doing?
I hope you are cherishing him.
Most of us are familiar with the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus book, or, at least, the idea behind it. The idea is that men and women even communicate in very different ways, like beings from different planets.
This has become important in our day because we all want to communicate "honestly." We have been taught that "honesty" means saying precisely what we want to say, in the way we want to say it, and to demand that everyone listening to us hear it just as we say it.
This is foolishness.
One of the key things I learned in preaching was that, no matter how well I preached, the reality was not what i said but what was heard. Communicating honestly does not mean "saying what you really mean," it means having the listener hear what you really mean. Communicating is not a solo skill. If the person listening did not understand you, then the failure of communication is your failure. You were the one seeking to communicate.
Preachers, ultimately, must realize that what matters is not what they say, but what the congregation hears. It is not the congregation who adjusts to the preacher, but the preacher who adjusts to the congregation. Or, at least, that is how it should be. Paul says that he become "all things to all men" in his ministry, not that he required all men to become him.
As a wife, you have probably had a few situations where your husband has not understood you. You may tend to get angry in those situations, but you should not. You should relax and think a minute. You want him to know what you are trying to communicate to him, so think about how to do that. As a hint, repeating the same words loudly is not usually the best option.
He loves you and wants to understand you. You love him and want him to understand you. The next step is yours, not his.
One of the most interesting aspects to marriage is listening to people talk about their marriages. Whether husbands or wives, one of the most common complaints is about the negativity of a spouse. Put simply, some people are just grumps. So, let's think about wives becoming grumps.
What I mean is that there comes a time in many lives when the negative takes over everything. A "grump" is a person who always tends toward the negative. Every situation gets a negative response. A child brings home a good report card and the mom says "wow, I sure wish Bobby could do that well," rather than just complimenting the child who did well. When it rains, well, "it rains all the time." When it doesn't rain, "we never get any rain." When someone calls "it's been so long since you called" and when they don't call, well, "they never call."
Women tend to be grumps because they tend to exaggerate a lot in their use of language. If their husband does not call one day, then "he never calls me." If clothes are left out one day, then "he always leaves his clothes out." The use of "never" and "always" is false, of course, but she is not trying to be precise, she is expressing her feelings through exaggeration. Husbands hate this. Seriously. They hate it because there is no possible response.
How serious is this problem? In early America, a woman could actually be imprisoned for being a grump. It was called "being a scold" and a man could bring his wife to trial on the charge of being a scold.
The whole grump problem must be solved. Think about a few things:
1. How often do you smile?
2. How often do you laugh?
3. How often do you "exaggerate" with "never" and "always" and such words?
4. Do your children come to you hopefully, or with worried expressions?
5. Does your husband look forward to talking with you, or does he wilt a little when you start talking?
A grump is a miserable person to live with. The excellent wife is never a grump. "She laughs at the time to come; she opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Pro. 31:25-26.
Make a decision to stop being a grump, if you are one. If you are not, then decide you will not be one.
Being a grump, and being an excellent wife, are two very different things. I know which one your family prefers.