A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
I’ll pray and we’ll get going.
God, thanks for a chance to get together and study Scripture. Holy Spirit, we thank you that you inspired the writing of the Word and that you also live in your children to teach, and lead, and encourage, and convict, and guide them. Holy Spirit, we thank you for your ministry, and pouring out the love of God into our hearts. We pray that we would take that love and that we would direct all of it toward Jesus.
Jesus, we love you and we thank you for dying for our sins and being our God, conquering our enemies of Satan, sin, and death, and rising from your grave. And we thank you that, right now, you intercede for us as our high priest, and our intercessor, and our advocate, and that you are seated at the right hand of the Father; that you are mindful of us, even right now.
And God, we thank you that you are our Father; that it was your desire to send the son to die for our sins, and to adopt us into your family as your children so that you would be our Father. God, we love you. I pray this morning for the women in particular. I pray ears to hear, hearts to receive and a desire to conform themselves to the Scriptures. Lord God, I pray for myself as well, my tongue; that it would be appropriate and that the content would be thoroughly based on Scripture and that, Lord God, I would only speak where the Scriptures give me freedom to do so.
Lord God, we love you. We thank you for a full house. We thank you for a very quickly growing church, and a lot of good fruit. And we pray in Christ’s name, Amen.
We continue our series on women out of Proverbs. We’ve dealt with femininity, homebuilding. This week, we’re dealing with women as wives. Next week, as mothers. And then, a little later down the road, we’ll get into other things – eating, drinking, dating, courtship. I’ll say this out of the box for the ladies this morning. The tone today is gonna be very somber. Last week was some of my best comedy to date. You won’t get any of that this week.
The things we’re talking about this morning, I really have a hard time finding any humor in them. A nagging, quarrelsome wife. An immoral, loose wife. A gossiping, nagging, ill-tempered wife. There’s no comedy there and that’s the subject of what we’re getting into today. So, right out of the box, I’m just letting you know this will be long and painful.
And that’s why we’ve got you all hemmed in. You can’t get out. You’re stuck. Some of you women are single and you’ll immediately dismiss the sermon saying, “Well, I’m single. This doesn’t apply to me.” Well, I would say that perhaps you are single because you have not applied it to you.
There may be a cause and effect relationship there. Something to think about.
In addition, if you are single and you anticipate being married, these are good things to work on. If you are not anticipating being married, they’re still good issues of character that are to be cultivated in your soul. I would say as well this morning, what we’re doing is we’re coming to the Scriptures, like the Scriptures tell us to, to use it as a mirror. Ladies, my duty this morning is to hold up the Scriptures to you and then you can see yourself through the Scriptures and accurately assess where you’re at and how you’re doing. Out of that, my exhortation to you is that you come to the Scriptures today with a heart of honesty and humility and you don’t use this as an instance of arguing with God or as an instance of applying these principles to other people. So, when I say that some women are loud, you’ll say, “Oh, I know her.” Okay, that’s not the point. We all know her. Everyone knows her. She’s loud. Okay, we’ve all –
− she’s obvious. Your goal when I talk about these things is not to start thinking of other women that these things apply to. Just yourself. This morning is just about you and Scripture assessing yourself. Here is our launching point. Proverbs 12:4. This is all in your notes. If you didn’t get your notes, feel free to get them on the way out or to get them off the website this week.
Proverbs says there are two kinds of wives. There are good ones and bad ones. And here’s what Proverbs 12:4 says. “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown.” That’s a good wife. A good wife is like a crown on her husband’s head. 1 Corinthians 11, “She is a glory to him, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” Some of your translations will say that, “She is rottenness in his bones.” Literally, a wife is either a crown on your head or a pain in your neck. Those are the two kinds of women the Bible talks about. And so, ladies, immediately you need to determine, “Which team am I on? Which camp do I align myself with? Am I a crown or a pain in the neck? Am I decay in his bones?” And the imagery there is harsh. It is as if a man has an incurable disease that is eating his bones, and eating his flesh and robbing him of life and slowly, painfully, debilitating him and robbing him of his existence. And it says that some wives are just like that. They’re like a disease that decays a man. They kill him. They debilitate him. They rob him of his strength and of his life. And you can tell my looking at some of these men that they have some sort of incurable disease. And then you look, and sitting next to him, is that disease and she’s wearing a ring, and he can’t seem to get a cure to overcome all the ills that she brings him. Now, Proverbs says that many women are like that. They are disease. They are decay, and they are rotten. They bring death.
And conversely, there are women who are crowns. They are glorious. They are strong. They are wise. They are helpful. They are, in every way, a blessing. And you can tell by looking at those men as well. You can see that a lot of their confidence is taken from their wife’s affection. A lot of their skill and ability has been nurtured by their wife’s support. And a lot of who they have become is because of the nurturing of their wife who loves them very dearly, and has invested a great amount of herself into that relationship and into that man.
So, first we’ll deal with the decaying wife. I’ll just give you a few thoughts out of Proverbs. Proverbs 9:13, “The woman folly”, or some of your translations will say, “A foolish woman is loud.” That’s all we need to say. Some women are loud. That’s not good. Some women can’t win arguments with their husbands by the virtue of their Biblical knowledge or the strength of their case, and so their attack and their assault will be through volume. Husbands despise loud, screaming, yelling, threatening, plate-chucking wives. If a wife yells at her husband, her husband cannot win. If he yells back and beats her, then he is mean. If he takes it, then he is weak. He can’t win. He either gets beaten or beats. And if she goes on full verbal assault, there’s no victory. There’s nothing he can do. And some women are loud. They just – they get hot and they raise their voice. Off they go. You wanna decay your husband? Yell at him. You wanna decay him extra quick? Do it in front of his friends. Feel free to give him that look, and raise your voice, and boss him around like one of your children. He loves that. He loves that.
And some women are loud, and some of you women have had mothers who have discipled you in their ways and they were loud, so you would think that being a woman, it is okay to be loud. It’s not okay. 1 Peter 3 talks about a gentle and quiet spirit. I’ll tell you one of the myths too, is that a loud woman who fights with her husband actually is going to benefit the marriage. Not at all. One of the woman’s greatest strengths is her quietness. If she is loud and likes to brawl, she will entice her husband to attack her, verbally. If the men will sense a declaration of war and the picking of a fight, and if you get a man’s adrenaline rushing and you get him angry and hot by yelling at him, you are just picking a fight that you will not win. And, if you do win, you will despise that man and he will be a weak coward, and you’ll have no use of him. So, loud women dig their own graves and they pour the dirt in on their own head. And then they scream all the way to their death.
Proverbs 21:19, “Better to live in the desert” – some men have tried this – “than with a quarrelsome and ill tempered wife.” Some women are moody, really moody. Some of you women use your moodiness as an attempt to control your husbands and other people. I’ve seen it done more than one occasion in a counseling appointment with married couples, to where the wife will use different emotional strategies to win her case. She will start, perhaps, with yelling. That doesn’t work, so then, she will plead. That doesn’t work, then she will cry. What is she doing? She’s being moody. She’s trying on different moods to see which one is most effective. Some of you women are like that. You’ll yell, didn’t get the job done. Cry, didn’t get the job done. Complain, didn’t get the job done. And you’ll work from mood to mood, to mood.
And some of you women do this with other women. And some of you know you’re doing it. It’s an emotional form of manipulation. And some women just exchange moods in an effort to control those people around them and dictate the content of the conversations and the relationships that surround them. So, you start off being really nice. Didn’t work. Yell. Didn’t work. “Okay, let’s try complaining. Didn’t work. Okay, I’ll cry, ‘You hurt my feelings.’ Oh, that worked. Good. Note to self. Next time, cry first. Skip all the moodiness. Just get right to the point.” It’s true, isn’t it ladies? Some women use the moodiness as – to be what? Quarrelsome and ill-tempered.
How about this one? Proverbs 19:13. Here’s another wife who is a cancer. “A foolish son is his father’s ruin and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.” What it links here is the way that the children speak to the father is the same way that the mother speaks to her husband. Some of you women are decay in your husband’s bones because you speak of him in front of the children in a way that his demeaning and you rob him of dignity in the eyes of his children; or, perhaps, when he is away, you say things that are undermining his respect in the eyes of his children. “Don’t tell your father this. Your father’s a such and such.” Some people were raised in homes like that, where your mothers did that. They said deplorable things about your father in his absence. Or sometimes, they would undercut him in your presence and the children learned to parrot the mother. If the mother speaks respectfully of the father, so do the children. If the mother speaks disrespectfully, then so do the children. I’m not saying that a wife never has a right to speak forth rightly and honestly with her husband, but it should never be in front of her children. Never in front of her children.
And here’s what happens. Some women, in an attempt to destroy their husband and to undermine their marriage, the Proverbs 14:1, foolish woman, tearing down their home. What they do is they can’t win their argument with their husband, so what they do is they go out and solicit the children as comrades to declare war on the father against their own husband. What I mean is this. A mother will poison her children against their father in an effort to hurt him. You’ve seen this many times. Some of you do this. You’re angry at your husband. You let it show. Your children know it. They pick up on that, whether it’s overtly or covertly, and what you’re doing is you’re seeking to build an alliance with your children against your own husband. And you’re encouraging your children to dishonor their father.
Do you ever ask yourself, “How did we go from sort of the idyllic world in the 1950’s to the complete anarchy that we saw in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s?” Statistically, what happened was that a lot of the wives did exactly what Proverbs is talking about. They undercut the authority of their husband and the father of their children; and then, they threw a revolution against dad. And that’s where we ended up with this completely permissive culture that is anarchy and death, because mom got her way. She aligned the children against their father and she got her way. She is a foolish woman who tore down her own home.
How about this one? Proverbs 13:20. “He who walks with the wise girl is wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Ladies, I’ll ask you this. Who are your friends? Who are your friends? Ladies, let’s just be honest. Most of you care too much about what other women think. Many women, the reason that they discipline their children a certain way, the reason that they dress a certain way, the reason that they present themselves a certain way, is not to honor their husband; it’s so that the other women will think highly of them. It’s very competitive, especially when it gets into issues of appearance. Very competitive. And women care inordinately what other women think. And it tells us in Proverbs that if you’re not careful picking your friends and your companions, you will end up doing much harm. Bad will occur.
Some of you ladies intentionally pick friends who are worse than you so that you feel holy, without having to repent and change. “I’m not as bad as her.” Well, no one’s as bad as her. You picked the bottom of the food chain. Some women pick friends who are wicked and sinful and the women want to do those things that those wicked women are doing, so they befriend them because it gives them an excuse to go sin with them. Some of you women like to gossip, so you pick friends who are gossips, and they will never tell you to stop gossiping because they’re doing it themselves. And what women, not just women, but all people – today is about women – they have the propensity to surround themselves with people who affirm all of their sins and sort of wink at them and refuse to be honest.
Some of you still hang out with your single girlfriends, not that it’s a bad thing for a married woman to have single girlfriends. But, some of those single girlfriends, you shouldn’t be hanging with. They want you to go to the club. They want you to go out. They want you to go dancing. They want you to hang out. They’re still behaving as if they – they’re still behaving as single, available women, and you’re married. And those kind of friendships are not beneficial. And there’s this constant duplicity in our culture to where, if the girls wanna go out to the club and dance, well, that’s okay. But, if the guy wants to go to a strip club with his buddies, that’s wrong. And they’re both wrong. A married man should watch his friends. A married woman should watch her friends very closely.
How about this one? Proverbs 26:20. “Without wood, a fire goes down, and without gossip, a quarrel dies down.” Some women get in arguments with their husbands and they won’t let it die. So, what do they do? They keep stoking the fire, Proverbs says, literally. And what’s the wood that goes into the fire? That would be gossip. Some women don’t talk to their husbands. They talk about them. And they gossip. I would submit to you that what passes primarily as women’s ministry in the United States of America is nothing but just kindling chucking into the fires of gossip when we get together to pray about their husbands, who are driving them crazy, which is gossip. And some women, they don’t like the results of something that is in their marriage, and rather than speaking to their husband, they elicit an entire army to wage war against him and to align themselves with them.
Some of you women are like that. Something doesn’t go your way, immediately, you pick up the phone. Maybe mom is the first call. Every husband loves to walk into the door and see his wife on the phone, talking to her mother about him. Oh, we love that. Or talking to her girlfriends. The best is when you talk to your single girlfriends and you go to them for advice on how to work out your marriage. That’s great ‘cause they’re so wise.
They know so much about men. After all, they’ve dated some.
And some of you women love to gossip. And you’re not content to let the thing die and so, you continually just chuck wood on the fire, Proverbs says, all the way to the point where you will call the office and schedule meetings with seven pastors, and seek multiple opinions. It’s amazing to me. We get together for elders meetings. It’s not so much lately, but it was about a year or two ago, we had some very, very poisonous wives in this church. And immediately, we would say, “Okay, we need to talk about so and so. They need help.” And it’s like, “Oh, they called you. They called you. They called you. They called you.” They called everybody. The wife was on the phone while the husband was at work, making sure that everyone in the church knew that she was displeased with her husband. You say, “Well, isn’t that what the church is for?” No. No, it’s not for that. You speak to your husband if you have a problem. Then, what you do is you go meet together with a pastor. But, you don’t start by picking up the phone and the church directory and declaring war.
Let me ask you this. If my wife is displeased with me about something, is it okay for her to go speak to people about that that I have not approved of? It’s not. It’s not. In the same way, if I’m displeased with my wife, is it okay for me to go out and talk to people about that that she has not approved of? It’s not. That’s gossip. That’s gossip.
Because there are always, ladies, how many sides to a story? Twenty-seven sides to a story.
It’s amazing to me. I have had – I learned this early on in ministry. Women come in my office, “My husband’s X, Y and Z.” He comes in and he’s like, “Yeah, but she’s the other letters in the alphabet. You don’t understand.” You know, “Well, he raised his voice at me.” Huh. Well, that’s wrong. He comes in, “Why’d you raise your voice?” “Because she was hitting me with a pot.” “Oh.”
Well, that’s an interesting bit of trivia that we should factor into the equation. We shoulda considered that.
See, ‘cause ladies, you do this. Selective information. You tell all the information that makes your spouse look bad and then sort of preserves your illusion of holiness. We all do that, and it’s gossip. Absolute gossip. I’ll tell you this, ladies. What should you do when a married woman comes to you and starts talking about her husband? “Quiet and gentle spirit”, 1 Peter 3. You tell her to be quiet. And what she’ll do, she’ll become moody.
She’ll yell, “You’re not my friend.” Then, she’ll cry, “You hurt my feelings.” Right? And so, you give in and you think, “I’m being a terrible person.” No, you’re being manipulated by a gossip.
Here’s another woman. This woman is death. Proverbs 6:24-25 talks about the immoral woman, the smooth tongue, the wayward wife. “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes.” Some of you ladies learned something that was a simple equation when you hit about 13, 14 or 15. More makeup plus less clothes equals more attention. It’s a tried and true, guaranteed winner every time. Less clothes, more makeup equals more attention. And you get married, and you still like the attention of other men. You like to flirt. Proverbs talks about some of the ways that women do this. One, it says, “With her eyes.” She looks a guy in the eye. Sort of gets that doting look. Not her husband, some other guy. With her smooth tongue, she’s flattering. She’s complimenting. Also, tells us in Proverbs 7 that she does it with her dress. That, “Out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute with crafty intent.” Says, “She is loud and defiant, and her feet never stay at home.”
Some women dress in such a way as to get attention. They speak and flatter in such a way as to manipulate men and they look ‘em right in the eye and give ‘em that innocent, sweet look. And, ladies, you know that men are dumb animals. And if you put flattery, a deep stare in the eyes, and revealing clothing, you know exactly what you’re doing. And if you’re married, you know why you’re doing it. Either to commit adultery or to at least instigate your husband into rage. And some women think that’s so fun. They love to see sort of jealous, furious husbands. I have no idea why but, for them, it’s manipulation. It’s control. And it’s power. And they love that.
Ladies, there is nothing that disrespects, demeans, and incites a man like looking across the room and seeing his wife gazing into another man’s eyes while he looks down her shirt. But, some of you ladies love that. You love the attention. You intentionally pick certain clothes to come here today because you knew that it would get you attention. Am I saying it’s wrong for a woman to dress nicely? No. To be beautiful? No. But, there’s a motive of the heart. And even if you’re single, it begins there, and when you get married, it just doesn’t go away. See, a lot of women live under this illusion that, “My character flaws will be fixed when I’m a wife.” No. Marriage is nothing but plugging your life into an amplifier. If you are loud, you will be really loud.
If you are flirtatious, you will be really flirtatious. If you are a gossip, you will have more information and logs for your fire than you ever have, and you will make the biggest fire you’ve ever been able to participate in. And some women, their words, their look, their appearance, you gotta be careful ladies. Those words are reserved for your husband. Read the Song of Solomon. She says, “My lover is ruddy and outstanding among 10,000 men.” That’s fine. That’s her husband. You don’t tell that to your boss. You don’t tell that to one of the brothers in the church. You don’t tell that to one of your friends. You don’t start coveting another woman’s husband.
Proverbs 25:19. “Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.” Some women are great, providing life is easy. “We’re making money. We’re healthy. Things are going well. I’m a nice, pleasant lady.” And then, “My husband loses his job. My husband puts on ten pounds. My husband’s hair falls off his head and grows out of his ears.”
“Now, I’m going to be difficult.” Things get tough and certain women just turn on their husbands. Relying on unfaithful in times of trouble. When the pressure comes, certain women just give up. Ladies do you anticipate that your husband will have health problems? Do you anticipate that he will be unemployed or that his entire industry may get swallowed up in a recession? That he may lose some of his confidence? That he may put on some weight? That maybe the idyllic life that you were anticipating won’t come exactly as you were planning? See, there’s going to be times of trouble and Proverbs says that women under those circumstances that are unfaithful, are tremendously damaging. Because at the time when the husband needs them the most, they abandon. And some of you are there. You’ve got very hard times. That’s a decaying wife. Loud. Quarrelsome. Ill tempered. Bad friends. Undermining the authority of the father with the children. Gossiping. Flirtatious. Underdressed. Never at home. And weak in times of trouble. That’s a wife who’s just a death. She’s a cancer.
You put a man in those circumstances; he begins to act like a caged animal. He is frantic trying to find a way out. He’s the guy who picks up the Bible and is trying to find a reason to Biblically divorce you. He is the guy who is trying to find a way to escape. He’s trapped. And you’re killing him and he can’t get out. And he gets more frantic, and more panicked, and more scared. Does it justify any of his sin? No, but there is a cause and effect relationship. If you’re decaying his bones, he is going to look for a cure and, sometimes, the only cure is to get rid of that which is causing him ill.
Ladies, don’t just think ‘cause you marry a Christian man that he’s going to put up with it. Gotta be careful who you marry if you’re single. You gotta be careful how you are married once you are married. That’s enough pain. We’ll talk about a good wife.
Again, ladies, not a lot of comedy today. I don’t find any of these things funny. I just don’t. I know some of these guys. It’s not funny. It is just not funny. Genesis 2:18. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone’.” Gentlemen, is that true?
Yes. See, you’ve been told this stupid thing. You’ve been told lots of stupid things. Just put this on the pile. One of the stupid things you’ve been told is that you should never be married until you’re satisfied in Jesus and he’s met all your needs. Is that true? Not true? In Genesis 2, did Adam have a wonderful, perfect relationship with God? No sin in the world, perfect relationship. Was Adam in a good position? No, he was not in a good position. He was still single. It’s not good for a man to be alone. There’s an enormous number of reasons, but a man is built in the image and likeness of God to be in relationship as the Father and Son and Spirit are one, he is to be one with his wife. That’s what he’s built for. He needs his wife.
Ladies, you need to know that you’re getting married because your husband needs you. A lot of women are, “I don’t know why he can’t take care of himself.” “I don’t know why he can’t lean on himself.” “I don’t know why he can’t stand on his own two feet.” He needs you. That’s why you were built. He needs you. You are desperately vital. God built that man in such a way that he needs you. It is not that he is weak, or incapable, or incompetent. He is built in such a way to need you and you should thank God that he is. The last thing you want is to be married to a man who doesn’t need you. What good are you? And a wise man knows that he desperately needs his wife.
And so, what God did, he says, “I will make a helper suitable for him.” Ladies, you must take upon yourself the posture of loving the fact that you can be helpful. A lot of women get upset ‘cause their husbands aren’t helping them enough. It’s ‘cause the women are trying to be independent and they want their husbands to be good wives. Men make terrible wives. The man is supposed to lead and love, and the woman is supposed to help him. It says in Corinthians that the woman was made for the man. The man was not made for the woman. Some of you freaked out last week ‘cause I don’t vacuum.
My wife helps me. It’s gonna sound terrible. The way I help my wife is by leading our family. She is built to help me. She understands that. She’s a crown. She’s an amazing crown. And she’s suited to be helpful to me. Ladies, this is important. You will read books by other women on how they help their husband and you will try and help the way they help. That’s not what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to help your husband and you’re suited to help him. And the husband that God has given you may be different than other husbands, and the way he needs help may be different than the books you’ve read or the women you’ve spoken to. So, you have to be attentive to your own covenant, your own home, your own husband.
The ways in which I need my wife are likely different than a lot of the men in this room need their wife, but I desperately need her, and she knows that. How many of ladies, now that you are married, many of you are married, feel like your husband is considerably different than you in a number of ways? Okay. Understatement. And, often times, those differences become points of conflict in the marriage. They should be points of vitality. See, if I need a helper who is suited to help me, then it would make sense that she would be strong where I am weak. If she’s good at what I’m good at, she’s not very helpful. I don’t need help in my strengths. I need help where I’m blind. Where I’m negligent. Where I’m in lack or ill.
And see, here’s what we tell single people. You single people have been told this foolish thing. Make a list of all the things you want in a mate. You ever notice that what you end up putting together is your resume?
You notice that? “I like to rock climb, and I’m witty, and I play guitar.” “That’s what I need.” And it’s a form of idolatry. It is, “I am the perfect person. If I could find someone just like me, then, obviously, we would have a great marriage. After all, I’m so wonderful. I mean, two of us, we would just exponentially increase the greatness that already possesses within me.”
Put a Biblical list together, principally, but practically, you would want someone who is different than you. Let me ask you this. Do you think I’m a very patient man? No.
Is my wife a patient woman? Absolutely. See, that’s good. How many hours a week do you think I could potentially work and have worked in the history of this church? I can work all the time. My wife, do you think she’s good at giving me incentive to sit down? She’s a great incentive. I won’t sit down for anything except for her. When she says, “Why don’t you come sit with me?” Fine.
Fine. There’s one reason I’ll stop working and that’s that I enjoy my wife more than anything. See, my wife is different than me. She’s suited to help me. Do you think, perhaps, I’m fairly loud and aggressive? Perhaps.
Would it surprise you that my wife is quiet? And that she is more passive, and receptive, and patient? Isn’t that good? See, if there were two of us, one of us would have to die.
But, she’s different than me and I love her for it. And she is suited to be helpful to me. Completely suited to be helpful to me. And if a woman takes that posture upon herself, that here differences are her strengths, and that she need not read all the books and be like all the other women. That she just be suited to help her husband, he will be happy and she will be blessed.
Proverbs 31:12. Here’s a good principle, ladies. You can check everything by this one. It talks about this wise woman. Says, “She brings her husband, him good, not harm, all the days of his life.” Of her life, rather. Just ask, “Am I being helpful? Is this good? Is this – is the way that I am acting toward my – is that good? In this circumstance, am I being helpful and good?”
Here’s a nice one. Proverbs 11:16. “The kindhearted woman gains respect.” Ladies, is it popular in our day to tell women to be quiet, gentle spirit and to be kindhearted? No. What we tell women is, “If you’re going to live in a man’s world and compete with men, you need to be strong. And tough. And loud. And aggressive. And you need to fight to win.” Now, what I will tell you is you will lose. You will lose because if you act like a man, your husband will treat you like a man. And you’re not a man and he’ll crush you. The reason I have to be very careful with my words today is 1 Peter 3 says that we can crush women and hurt them. A lot of women say, “Oh, you’re saying I’m weak?” No. I’m saying that God has intentionally created women with the desire and the intention to be kind. And when we tell women that kindness equals weakness, we have completely walked away from the Scriptures.
Let me ask you this. Do you think if my wife fought with me that she would have an easier life than if she was kind? See, my wife’s greatest defense is kindness. Her greatest defense. See, when we were first dating, before I was a Christian, we went on our first date March 12, 1988. And when we first started seeing one another, I was used to dealing with men. I’m a jock. Football. Baseball. Conflict. Boxing. You know? And so the way I view life is more in an athletic way, meaning in football – I’ll give you an example. Play free safety. Here’s what a guy does. First hit of the game, gentleman, how hard to you try and hit your opponent? As hard as possible. Why? You’re setting a tone and your earning respect. And you wanna see what their strength level is and if you can get them crushed early, it’s gonna be a good day for you, right? Same thing in boxing. You start off, what do you do? At least what I did, I would throw one shot to the head, thinking maybe if I just knock him out, we can get this over with; and, if not, I’ll at least see what he’s got. It’s a little measuring stick to see what I’m up against today. Tennis, it’s the same thing. You start with a serve. What’s your point in the serve? As hard, as strong, as fast as you can. Why? Just to see what your opponent can do.
Women who try to be tough, and strong, and mean, that’s all they’re doing. They’re inciting their husbands into competition. Now, a kind woman, she wins, but she never fights. See, when I first started dating my wife, that’s what would happen. We would have a disagreement and I would just be – I would just be – I’d be harsh. 1 Peter 3. I’d be angry. I just go, boom, there you go. Everything I got. Hardest shot right out of the box. You know what she would do? Nothing. She would look at me and she would say, “Sweetheart, I love you and I don’t want to fight.” “Oh, I never seen a human being like that.”
She’d say, “If there’s a problem, let’s work it out, but I don’t wanna fight you. I love you and you’re trying to get me to be mean, and I’m not gonna be mean to you.” Now, how do I feel?
Potentially convicted. Now, in that conflict, if you’re gonna do it on a win/lose, who just won? Did I win? I didn’t win. My wife would tell you she didn’t win either, but that we won. See, that’s the weird thing about my wife. She’s always looking for us to win. She’s never looking for her to win. She’s always looking for us to win. See, that’s a kindhearted woman. I can’t fight with my wife. She will not fight me. She won’t do it. She never had. Never raised her voice. Never picked a fight. She won’t fight.
Ladies, do you recognize that there is a strength in being a kindhearted woman? There is a strength there, especially in the context of a covenantal marriage. Kindhearted women, some women think that they are weak. No, those women are strong. They’re strong enough to bless and not curse. They’re strong enough to restrain when they could unleash. They’re strong enough to control themselves when they could be moody. They’re strong enough to withhold when they could gossip. They’re strong enough to speak temperately when they could be loud. Kindhearted women are strong.
How about this one? “Houses and wealth”, Proverbs 19:14, “are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” What’s a prudent wife? Any guys here ever went to make absolutely dumb decisions and then they talk to their wife and she gave them some insight that was really helpful? See, when I say that the man is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church – that’s what Paul says in Ephesians 5 – some men think, “Oh, I make all the decisions then. I don’t have to talk to my wife.” That’s not what it means. It means that when the decisions are made in the home, you’re responsible for them, but it also indicates that a prudent wife is from the Lord, which means you should consult her, if you have any wisdom whatsoever. Some of you guys have dumb ideas.
Some of you guys are trying to find a way to make money without working. You’re coming up with all kinds of crazy ideas. And a nice, kindhearted wife says, “Sweetheart, let’s talk about this”, right? And she disassembles your whole plan, and you say, “Well, a prudent wife is from the Lord.” A prudent wife is from the Lord. She has discernment and she speaks with wisdom. Proverbs 31 says that, “Wisdom, faithful instruction is continually on her tongue.” Some of you women, if you’re prudent, you are tremendously helpful and if you think that submission means silence, that’s not what it means. It means that you speak in appropriate tones, at appropriate times, in appropriate ways. But, you speak and your prudence is helpful.
There was one time in the history of this church I did not take my wife’s prudent counsel into effect and it almost cost me the church when we were first starting. There were some people that were poison. And my wife said, “I don’t trust them, sweetheart. That’s not good. You gotta keep some distance.” And I said, “No, come on, sweetheart.” It almost cost me the church. I should have paid attention. I should have listened. A prudent wife is from the Lord.
A lot of guys come into my office and they wanna meet, and they say, “I wanna do this or that, or I’m thinking about this. What do you think?” I always ask, “What’s your wife say?” “Well, she says it’s a dumb idea.” You know what that means?
It’s a dumb idea.
Proverbs 14:1, “The wise woman builds her house with her own hands. The foolish one tears it down. Disgraceful wife destroys her home. A wise woman builds her home.” Money, kids, food, life, ministry. She builds a home. That is a crown to her husband. Here’s one I like from Titus 2:3-5. “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live. Not to be slanderers, or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good, then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children.” To be into husbands and children. “To be self controlled.” Good attribute. “Pure.” Not flirtatious and immoral. “To be busy at home”, not wondering around getting into trouble. “To be kind.” There’s a kindhearted woman. “To be subject to their husbands so that no one will malign the Word of God.”
The one thing I wanna pull out of there in particular is this issue that a wife should love her husband. Think about this: what happens is that wives are loving their husbands and their husbands don’t see it. That is because men and women, or people in general, tend to love each other differently. There’s an interesting book by a guy, Gary Chapman. He says that love is expressed in, basically, five ways, okay?
Men, we’ll do this little test with you. How many of you men think that if your – the woman that you love, if she gives you time, a lot of time, you feel really loved? She just sets aside days and hours, and she’s undistracted and she gives you time. Do you feel – is that important for some of you men. You feel loved, right? For other men, it is words. How she speaks to you. Talking. Dialogue. Sharing. The words that she uses to build you up and encourage you. And the conversations. How many men, that’s huge? If you don’t get a few hours a day to talk to your wife, you’re feeling very distant. How about touch? Some of you men, you like physical contact. Yes, it includes sex. We’ll get into that. Do you like your wife to sit next to you? And hold your hand? And rub your neck? And scratch your back? And brush your hair? Okay?
Any guys, that’s a big deal? That’s me. I’ll feign injuries to get a backrub.
I will. I love touch. I totally love touch. I – my wife – if I can get a backrub or a hair brush or, I don’t know, a neck rub.
Mmmm. You know, that’s – then I’m a happy guy. Very happy. That’s why I don’t like the way they’re building vehicles now. They used to have bench seats and now they have bucket seats.
I consider that an evil.
I think that your wife should be able to sit right next to you, put your arm around her. I like that. I like sitting next to my wife. Touch is important. For some, it is gifts. Some men love gifts. They don’t even necessarily need to be huge, but a letter. A card. A little forget – a little something. Men like little gifts. Some men like big gifts. “Here’s the bass boat.”
“Oh, my wife, praise the Lord. Prudent wife from the Lord.”
And some men love service. How many of you men, when your wife goes out of her way or a woman goes out of her way, if you’re in a dating relationship, to do something really nice to serve you, that just communicates volumes of love?
Every man is different ladies, and you will need to understand the man you’re with. What, often times, happen is there is a disconnect. The woman thinks, “I’m really loving my husband ‘cause I’m serving him. I’m out cleaning gutters and mowing the lawn.” And he says, “Well, if you love me, you would just sit here next to me and rub my back and talk to me.” She is loving him, but not in the way that he is anticipating that he would be loved. What tends to happen is that we love and we usually give in the way that we want to receive, right?
So, ladies, here’s the deal. If your husband keeps getting you gifts, get him a gift. He’s probably telling you something. If he keeps sitting down, say, “Hey, how was your day? Let’s get some coffee. Let’s play backgammon. Let’s visit.” He’s telling you something. That’s how he anticipates that he should be loved. So, when Titus 2 says that women should love their husbands, it doesn’t mean that just in some general, vague, theoretical, emotional way. But, practically, they’re loving them with words, or their body, or their time, or their service. You know what’s gonna happen when I come home today? When I come home today, my wife is going to have a nice brunch laid out on the table. She cooks me a big meal every Sunday. And she has the kids ready to go and everybody’s waiting for dad to get home and it’s an act of service, and I really, really appreciate it. I feel very loved walking in knowing that my wife took some time and some energy this morning to serve me.
So, ladies, when it comes to your husbands, you need to understand as well that in different times and seasons, there’s gonna be different things that they need to be loved in particular ways. Your husband’s working a number of hours. He’s got amazing overtime and he’s burdened, maybe service is really important. You say, “Honey, I’ll take care of those things that you usually do. Let me help you out.” Maybe at other times, you know, he gets fired and – or, you know, he’s struggling financially, and your words are hugely important. You encourage. You affirm. You build up. You esteem. You respect him. In different circumstances, different ways you love him are going to be vital. A good woman who’s a crown, she loves her husband.
Ephesians 5, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church’s body, of which he is the Savior. Now, as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything, not just the things that they choose to and be contentious about the rest. And, lastly, the wife must respect her husband.” Ladies, raise your hand if you think that it is more important for you, as a lady, to be loved or respected. Do you feel that love, people loving you, is more important than people respecting you? Men, how many of you feel that respect for you is way more important than love? You don’t really care if anybody loves you, as long as they respect you? That’s a guy. Men and women are different in that way. Ephesians 5 says that women need to be loved. A man could say, “Honey, I really respect you.” Well, she doesn’t really care.
Right? Because you also respect your boss at work. And you also respect a quarterback who can throw 70 yards. You also respect a guy who can tune your car. You respect your accountant ‘cause he can balance your books. Your wife doesn’t wanna be respected. She wants to be loved. But, your husband, what’s he want? Respect. He wants respect.
When Grace and I were first dating, she said, “What’s the most important thing to you?” I said, “Respect.” I said, “Honestly”, I said, “I don’t care if anybody likes me as long as they respect me.” Because I know a lot of people that are well liked that are not respectable. Your drinking buddies. Your sinning buddies. Being liked is not that hard, right? You sin with people or blow money on ‘em, they like you. Being respected, that’s a bigger deal. I wanna be respected. Men wanna be respected. And here’s the deal. If a woman does not respect her husband, does anyone respect him? No.
Ladies, when you get around certain women, can you tell that they don’t respect their husband? They don’t really esteem him, and think highly of him, and speak well of him. And what does that do to your perception of that man? It diminishes him in your eyes. See, a lot of people see a man the way his wife speaks of him and the way she sees him. If she respects him, honors him, reveres him; if she esteems him, everyone does. The children do. The friends do. The church does. The family does. Everyone does. If she does not respect him, no one does.
Have you ever seen a home where the wife disrespects her husband and the children are just little parrots? You say, “Man, those kids are sure mouthy to their dad.” Then, mom chimes in. You go, “Oh, okay. Now, I know where they get it.” She disrespects him, diminishes him in the eyes of his children. So, they disrespect him, diminish him further, and now we wonder why dad goes one of two ways. He either runs for his life, and like a bird strays from its nest, Proverbs says, this is a man who strays from his home. He doesn’t wanna be there. He gravitates toward places where he’s respected. He hangs out at the office ‘cause he gets respect there. He hangs out with certain people ‘cause he gets respected there. He’s looking for respect, so he avoids his wife and children. Or he puts up with it and he becomes a diminished, cowardly, weak man and that woman rules over him. And she doesn’t respect him and no one does. And he’s just a coward who takes his beating and loses all of his dignity. And the rest of the guys who see him are just like, “Ehhh. Poor guy, there’s nothing left of him.”
Ladies, you need to respect your husband. Now, it does not say that you need to obey him. In Colossians, it says that children should obey their parents. It says that slaves should obey their masters. It says that wives should submit to and respect their husbands. It doesn’t mean that they should obey them. What it’s not saying is that everything your husband says, he gets. But, even if you disagree, or even if you are concerned about something, you do it in a way that is respectful. Respectful. Because if you rob a man of his dignity, you have declared war and you are in serious trouble.
Proverbs 5. How about sexually? It says, “May your fountains”, strong metaphor there. We’ll deal with adultery and sexuality coming up. This is just a precursor. “May your fountain be blessed and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Two things there. Marry her young, love her forever. That’s what it means. “A loving doe, a graceful deer, may her breasts satisfy you always.” What does that assume, ladies? That he has access to your breasts. You cannot delight in something that you are not allowed to see or touch. This is a woman who was free with her body and gives it to her husband. “And may you ever be captivated by her love.” The issue there in the Hebrew is that the man would be so captivated by his wife’s lovemaking that he would not be prone to wander with his eyes, or his heart, or his hands.
The context in Proverbs 5 is that there is this married man who has a woman or women who are very aggressive. Very defiant. Very available. Very pursuant. These are women who chase men. And the father tells his son, “The best defense against that is to enjoy your wife.” Am I saying that if a husband always enjoys his wife intimately that that is a guarantee that nothing will go wrong? I’m not saying that. But, I am saying that it can be a good mechanism of defense. That he would be captivated by her lovemaking ability. What that means is that practically – let me break this down for you ladies – if a husband initiates with his wife and she continually rejects him, what does that do to the man? It destroys him and it leave him very vulnerable because if his own wife is disinterested, there are other women who are actively pursuing him and happy to make up the difference. Does that excuse infidelity? No. Does that excuse adultery or lust? No. But, is there a cause and effect relationship between a man whose wife is not very enjoyable and the degree of his vulnerability? Most certainly.
In the same way, men who steal food usually are hungry. Men who are full are less likely to steal food. Men who enjoy their own bedroom with their wife are usually less likely to end up in another bedroom. And see, here’s what we have done to Christian women. This is one of the worst tragedies we have done. We have said to young Christian women, “Sex is dirty. Nasty. Vile. Wrong. And disgusting. So, save it for the one you love.”
And then, we wonder why when they get married, a woman doesn’t feel comfortable in her own skin. She’s not free and liberated because in the back of her head, she’s thinking, “Oh, if I do that, my husband will think that I am a loose woman. That I am sick woman. That I am like a pornographic woman.” No. No. You’re supposed to save yourself and then give yourself to your husband, and then you are supposed to be free with him and he should enjoy you. You should be enjoyable.
What some women do is they use sex to control their husbands. “Oh, didn’t take out the garbage? Nope.”
Ladies, you have no – do you – ladies, do you think that you have the right to deny your husband sexually? You don’t. You don’t. 1 Corinthians 7. “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife. “The husband should fulfill” – now does that mean he should just have sex with her all the time? That’s part of it, but he should be tender and intimate and he should find ways to make sure that she is enjoying herself. It is not all about him. He has a duty to satisfy his wife. The Puritans brought up a guy on church discipline. Brought him before the church. Made him confess his sin of not causing his wife to have as much fun as she potentially could have in the bedroom. And then, they kicked him out of the church because he was unrepentant. See, Christians usually get hung up on the wrong things. We usually care too much about rock music and the King James Bible. What we don’t spend enough time worrying about is making sure that all the wives are having good sex all the time.
We pick our legalisms very weirdly.
“Oh, you watched a movie? Oh. See, we’ll kick you out for that.” “You haven’t kissed your wife since the Nixon era? Well, that’s not a problem. That’s between you and her.” It’s not. It’s not. A husband has a duty to satisfy his wife. Not only that, and likewise, the wife to her husband.
Here’s the reason. “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone, but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone, but also to his wife.” Ladies, practically, if this means that your husband wants to be intimate with you and you’re not in the mood, are you still going to be intimate with your husband? Yes. See, there’s this weird myth that says, “Well, you know, we wait ‘til we both are in the mood at the right time, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.” Magic. Great, if you get that, take it. God bless you. You’ll get that about once every Presidential election.
Inevitably, one of you is in the mood; one of you is not in the mood. One of you is wide awake; one of you is tired. One of you is feeling amorous; the other is feeling fatigued. It happens. But, if you get into this reciprocity where the husband says, “Well, if my wife needs me, I will love her and serve her.” And the wife says, “And I’ll return the favor. And we’ll do that for 50 years.” And see if you’re not happily married. Ladies, will there be times that you don’t feel like making a meal? Men, will there be times where you don’t feel like earning a living? Sure. And you’ll do it. Why? Because you have a duty. And it’s not a bad duty. It’s a loving duty.
See, ladies, when you get married, this is important. It’s not your body. It belongs to your husband. You give it to him. You can’t say, “I don’t like to have the lights on. I don’t like to have you see me undressed. I don’t like to have you shower with me.” No. No, it’s his body and you’re putting your man in a very difficult circumstance because God has created him as visual creature and he likes to see his wife. And if he doesn’t see you, then the enemy will shoot other images at him and seek to replace his images of you with something else, and that’s not good. We have a multi-billion dollar a year industry built on that. And there are lots of other women who, for a few dollars, will replace images in his head instead of you. They will supplant you.
Men, in the same way, if this means that your wife wants to cuddle, are you going to cuddle? Yes. Because who’s body is it? It’s her body. If she wants that body to get up out of bed and go get her a snack when you’re watching a movie at midnight, will it?
Yes. Okay? Yes. It’s not my body. It belongs to my wife. That’s why a man can’t run around touching other women, being immoral. That’s why a woman can’t run around looking other men in the eye and speaking – ‘cause that’s not her tongue. Those aren’t her eyes. Those aren’t her hands. For him, that’s not his body. That’s his wife’s. He’s just watching over it. That’s all. He can’t do whatever he wants. She can’t do whatever she wants. They belong to each other. And they give.
So, it tells us, “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent.” Unless you both agree that you’re gonna abstain from intimacy for a season, you will be active. “And for a time”, set period, “so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.” The only time that a marriage should not have regular intimacy of some sort is when there are so many overarching problems in the marriage, that those things demand immediate attention, okay? If there’s adultery in a relationship or if there is tremendous strain, or if, you know, something is just amiss and the marriage is in dire circumstances, then, Paul says, there’s permissibility for intimacy to be severed so that all the attention can be put on fixing the relationship, but only for a short season. Only to pray. Only to work things out and get back into natural, normal, regular intimacy.
The average couple, it’s two to three times a week that they’re intimate. You’re Christians. You’re supposed to do everything to the glory of God, and if the people in this church are, you know, intimate a couple of times a month and it’s no fun and it turns into a battleground, then all the preaching in the world is not gonna save the flavor of the home. And kids pick up on this too. If mom and dad are hugging and kissing, and you know what? Here’s the weirdest thing. The happiest I ever see my daughter is when I hold and kiss my wife. The happiest she’ll ever be. Her whole world makes sense then.
It says, “Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self control.” Couples that don’t have regular intimacy and are sharing their bodies and growing in their intimacy, the enemy starts to get an opportunity, if not for adultery, at least for bitterness. The worst I’ve seen, I know of a few couples that have been married and have not had sex in over a dozen years. You say, “How did they start?” Well, they started with one night. She denied him. And the next night, he got back at her. And they blinked and it was a decade. And the enemy got in there. And things aren’t good.
Last two. Here’s what we’re looking at. “Charm is deceptive.” Some of you ladies are getting by because you’re cute. You’re funny. And you’re charming. You’re deceptive like Satan. True story. “Beauty is fleeting.” Some of you are beautiful and gravity will get you.
Just wait. “But, a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” That’s what we’re looking for. Women who fear the Lord. Who love the Lord. Who serve the Lord. Who care about the Lord. Who take the Scriptures seriously. Who take the Lord seriously. They fear the Lord. More than anything, ladies, that’s what a man wants. He knows if she fears the Lord, she’ll be a good lover. He knows if she fears the Lord, she’ll be a good mother. He knows if she fears the Lord, she’ll be a good wife. He knows if she fears the Lord, she’ll be a faithful friend in times of trouble. He knows if she fears the Lord, that she will be strong when he is weak. And she will be helpful when he is in need. And she will be patient when he is hurting. And if you fear the Lord, everything else that we’re talking about will come together out of that reverence and love for God.
You say, “How does a woman grow in fear of the Lord?” 1 Timothy 2:11. “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.” I wanna stress the first half. Sometimes, the last half of that verse gets too much attention. A woman should learn. Ladies, you should learn. You should learn. You should learn the Scriptures. You should learn the Gospel. You should learn theology. You should learn who God is. You should learn why you should fear him. You should learn what it means to fear him. You should learn what it means to have wisdom.
A few weeks ago, I told you, I said, “Read Ruth. Read Esther. Read Proverbs. Study the Scriptures. Read Ephesians 5. Read Colossians 3. Read 1 Timothy 2. Read Titus 2.” There are certain sections of Scripture that apply specifically to the ladies and you should do due diligence to study those sections of your Bible. And what’ll happen is you will begin to realize that you have this great propensity to be conformed to the pattern of this world. And that, instead, you should be transformed by the renewing of your mind. You should be reading and studying the Scriptures and praying to the Lord, and asking, “Lord God, where have I been deceived like Eve?” And realizing that the world, in all of its wisdom, doesn’t know God. You may say, “Well, my mother says” or “My professors say” or “The books I’ve read” or “The shows I’ve watched” or “The magazines I subscribe to.” And I will say, is that put together by women who love and fear the Lord? If it is, then read their books and their magazines. And listen to their instruction. And submit it all to the Scriptures. But, so much of what women are in this culture has been produced by people and women who don’t fear the Lord. And they don’t walk in wisdom. But, they get an audience because, like Proverbs says, “The woman folly is loud.” It’s not that they’re gaining an audience because of the wisdom, or the insight, or the profundity of their instruction, but just because they’re loud. They’re yelling and demanding. And that’s just folly. That’s just folly.
I’m gonna pray for you. God, thanks for a chance to study the Scriptures. Lord God, I thank you that it is true that the world, in all of its collective wisdom, does not know you. That, Lord God, the world and all of its desires are passing away. Lord God, I pray for the single women. I pray that they would begin to learn that their body does belong to their husband, even if they don’t have one, and that what they’re doing with that body still pertains to him. Lord God, I pray for the single women as well, that they would begin doing due diligence to cultivate their character according to the Scriptures.
I pray for the married women, Lord God, that they would be crowns, and not decays. That, Lord God, they would be blessing and encouragements. That they would not be death and destruction. Lord God, I pray as well for the women that they would not fall into the common sins of quarrelsome, ill tempered, gossiping, loud mouth, divisive, tearing down, disrespectful, unloving foolishness. But, that, Lord God, instead, they would have prudence, and wisdom, and helpfulness, and strength, a fear of you, a love for all that is holy, a desire to learn the Scriptures and be obedient.
Lord God, I pray for the women who are mothers, that they would have wisdom on how to speak about their husbands, and to their husbands, and how that would be a model for their children. That, Lord God, they would not dishonor the men that they have married in front of their children, and thereby tear down their own home.
And, Lord God, I think you that I even get to talk about these things because, by your grace, I married a crown. I thank you for my wife, Lord God, that she is helpful and that she had done me good and not harm. And that, Lord God, all of our life is a reflection of the strength that I find in her, a quiet, humble serving spirit. And I thank you, Lord God, that she is such a powerful ally to me. Thank you for a kindhearted woman.
Lord God, I pray for the single men, that they would not settle. That they would wait for these kinds of women and that they would guard their own characters and that they would be qualified to love and lead these kind of women.
Lord God, we love you and we pray for the health of our church and the families in it. In Christ’s name. Amen.