Give Him a Gift More Precious than Gold

"Your reputation is in the hands of others.... You can't control that. The only thing you can control is your character."I am something of a legend at the hospital where my husband serves as Chief of Staff. Whenever he introduces me to anybody from work, I always hear the same thing:

“It’s so nice to finally meet you, Mrs. Flanders. Your husband talks about you all the time. I feel like I’ve known you for years!”

But the me they think they know is not the one who wakes up with morning breath or burns dinner to a crisp or leaves clothes in the washer so long they sour or has to hire a repairman to tell her that the reason the icemaker isn’t working is because somebody turned it off.

Not even close.

My husband’s colleagues are only familiar with the Wonder Woman version of me — the one who runs marathons and writes books and tutors calculus and sings like an angel and never sleeps.

Keep in mind, very few of these people know me except through what my spouse has told them. If he were inclined to focus on the negative instead of on the positive, their perception of me might be radically skewed (and their esteem for him would probably plummet, as well).

So my question is this: How does your husband’s reputation fare among your friends? When you are out with the girls or gabbing with coworkers, do you build him up or run him down?

What you say reflects on you as much as it does him.

The Bible tells us, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.” (Proverbs 12:4)

Your husband is at your mercy. You know him more intimately than anybody else on the planet. How will you use that knowledge? Will you choose to be a crown or a curse to him?

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” Scripture warns us. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 18:21-22)

Fitting, the juxtaposition of those two verses, don’t you think? Part of what makes a woman a good wife and a crown to her husband is her ability to measure her words, to guard her tongue, to let it be governed by the law of kindness, and to use it to speak words of life:

  • “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” (Proverbs 21:23)
  • “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
  • “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19)
  • “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3)

Whether or not you appreciate the fact, your husband’s reputation is of paramount importance to him. Guys would rather feel unloved than disrespected. For ages, men even fought duels for the sake of their honor. They would sooner suffer death than have their name besmirched.

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1)

Your husband’s good name is your good name, as well (and vice versa), so guard it carefully.Honor him in the way you speak of him to family and friends. Protect his reputation. Don’t let minor irritations or disagreements at home tempt you to badmouth him in public.

Conduct yourself in such a way that others will have no trouble understanding why your husband married you in the first place.

6 thoughts on “Give Him a Gift More Precious than Gold

  1. I’ve been thinking on this lately. When I got married, I was very conscious of our culture’s trend to badmouth husbands and I didn’t want to be that sort of wife, but it seems the only conversations about husbands and marriage in my social group are negative and ithas been very easy to fall into doing the same (or more frustrating, is when I’ve been trying to share something positive and people have skewed my words to fit their expected bad husband image). When negative husband talk is going on, what does one say? It seems a bit in their face to gush about your own husband when their struggles are very real. Just don’t say anything? Defend their husband? Encourage them to pray?

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    • I faced the same dilemma when I was a young wife, Kirstie. I, too, would like to have gushed about my husband, but held back and said nothing. I think that if you find yourself among friends who take pleasure in speaking derisively about their husbands, you should gently encourage them to change their tunes. If they persist, then I would recommend limiting the time you spend with them or developing new friends who are more respectful of their spouses and supportive of marriage in general.

      Please note that I am not suggesting you turn your back on a friend who has come to you privately and sincerely seeking prayer and counsel for a specific problem in her marriage. This situation is entirely different than the one described above, where wives are merely complaining for the sake of complaining and have no real desire to better their circumstances or improve their marriage. They seem rather to be trying to outdo one another in terms of who has the stupidest spouse and therefore deserves the most sympathy. That sort of grousing session is destructive to everyone involved and should be avoided like the plague.

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  2. Jennifer, I love reading your writings about marriage, etc. My husband and I just celebrated our 59th anniversary. We have had good days and bad days, but God has helped us work through the tough times. I’m thankful today that we are still in love (even more so than we were when we married). People sometimes comment, when they hear how long we have been married, and you both still like each other? :)

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