“Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land” (Proverbs 31:23, KJV).
I’ve often wondered why the Proverbs 31 woman’s husband is mentioned as being somewhat famous as one of the things she is praised for. I mean, how can a wife help it if her husband is highly respected or not?!
(I know that he was highly respected because the verse says he was “known in the gates.” In ancient times, the gates of a walled city were the place where the leaders of the city met each day, to judge disputes, to make laws, and to discuss problems together. Only the wisest and most respected men were invited to sit at the city gates. You can see examples of this in Genesis 19:1 and Ruth 4.)
I may be a little crazy, but a really fun thing to do with my children is to visit the mall and see if we can play “People Influence.” We all stand in the middle of the mall, and we all start staring up at the ceiling. We see how many people walking by will also start staring at the ceiling. The truth is, almost everyone does! (This gives all the kids the giggles.)
Human nature is that when one person does something, the entire crowd follows. So if a wife shows great respect and honor to her husband, all the people around will do the same.
If a wife wants her husband to be “known in the gates” of her city, she needs to begin by respecting him at home.
I’d like to quote from my book, Juggling Life’s Responsibilities:
What exactly does it mean to submit, you ask. Well, it does not mean inferiority or that the woman never gets to express her opinion. The Amplified Bible says it this way…
“And let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband – that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him, and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly” (Ephesians 5:33).
That verse is just packed!
- Do you notice him? Do you notice his accomplishments? Do you notice that he cleaned the shower for you this morning?
- Do you regard him? Do you look in his eyes when he talks to you? Do you memorize the curves of his hair so that someday, should God say that his days are finished, you’ll have them all stashed away in your mind’s scrapbook?
- Do you honor him? In front of the kids? In front of your friends? In front of your mom? In front of the pastor?
- Do you prefer him? If you had to choose between spending time with him and his buddies or shopping with your best friend, which would it be?
- Do you venerate him? (Don’t worry – I had to look that one up, too!) Do you regard him with reverence? Do you refer to him with names of endearment, or jokes and ridicule?
- Do you esteem him? Do you prize him? Do you find your thoughts returning to him over and over again throughout the day?
- Do you defer to him? Do you ask him his opinion before buying that new sweater? Do you ask, “What do you think your dad would say?” when the kids jump on the couch?
- Do you praise him? How long has it been since you’ve given him a compliment? How long since you gave him one in front of others?
- Do you admire him exceedingly? Do you wish you could be as godly as he is? Or as patient? Or as loving? Do you dwell on his good qualities?
All of these things come easily when we’re dating, but they start becoming difficult when the ring is slipped on our finger. (Maybe even the engagement ring…)
But love—and this is an expression of love—is a choice. We must consciously choose to submit to our husband. Maybe we should add some of these qualities to our “to do” list, right up there with “brush my teeth.”