Gleanings from the proverbs: A virtuous woman – a Crown to her husband

Proverbs 12:4: A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

A virtuous (righteous) woman is a noble, gracious, diligent, and loving woman. She faithfully honours and pleases her husband. He is thankful and rejoices in God’s goodness to him through her. But an unpleasant woman shames her husband and slowly kills him from the inside out by foolishness, selfishness, stubbornness, or unfaithfulness.

Crown is a simple metaphor. A crown honours a person. Kings are given crowns for the honour of their office, and athletes are crowned to honour sporting achievements. A great wife honours her husband by the pleasure and esteem she brings him, and she also crowns his authority by her own submission and that which she requires of her children. A crown is a grand piece of jewellery, and a virtuous woman is such to her husband!

Rottenness in his bones is a simple simile, a comparison that gives itself away by using the word “as.” Bones are the support of the anatomy, and rottenness there is fatal trouble for your body. Ask anyone with advanced leukemia. An unpleasant wife causes horrible grief to a man’s mind and distress to his soul. In public he is ashamed he is married to her, and in private he is deeply wounded in his heart. It is a painful affliction. A woman cannot truly understand it, for she was made for him, not he for her (I Cor 11:9).

Christian woman, humble yourself before this proverb. Forget what you think about yourself. Forget what your mother tells you. Even forget what your husband tells you. His praise is not the measure. That is not nearly good enough. A man who feels martially trapped without a crown of gold may think or say a crown of thorns is good! Especially in a weak moment, when he needs something, or the approval is expected!

Your husband has likely not told you the truth. If you ask him, he still won’t. Consider it. It is hard to deeply criticize a wife, especially in matters as intimate and personal as marriage and your womanhood. Men also fear the consequences of interrupted domestic tranquillity; they resent having to explain the obvious, again; and/or they may not believe it will do any good anyway. He is likely not as pleased as you think.

Stop kidding yourself that you are virtuous. Others know better. Virtue is very objective and visible. Your self-righteous and conceited opinions are deceitful. If you think the criticism too harsh, think about three things. An unpleasant wife is one of the great curses of life (Pr 30:21-23). Internal bone disease is worth a little effort at getting your attention! And saving a man’s life takes desperate measures, especially stopping a murderer! A bad wife is more bitter than death, according to the Preacher (Eccl 7:26)!

The character and conduct that make a woman virtuous are as visible to others as your appearance. A truly gracious woman is highly respected by all others at all times (Pr 11:16). But the stench of the unpleasant woman cannot be hid, no matter what she thinks of herself (Pr 27:15-16). Most people only see the hairy and smelly pig, when told that it has a nose ring of 24k gold (Pr 11:22)! Humble yourself! Let the Preacher teach you something!

Your children also know. They know if their father is rejoicing and content in his wonderful wife, or if he is rotting in his bones for neglect and loneliness. You will cost yourself both sons and daughters, for they will resent you for hurting their father and being so much less than what they want to be, or to have, in a marriage.

What exactly shames a man and rots him from the inside out? A lack of frequent sex, a dirty or cluttered house, too much talking, a lack of creative sex, children neglected physically or emotionally, laziness, a negative and complaining attitude, nagging, poor manners in public, a critical spirit, a lack of reverence, an out of shape body, insubordination, a prudish approach to sex, not enough talking, self-righteousness, a lack of smiling cheerfulness, correcting details, excessive doting on the children, remembering his faults, excitement at getting away by herself, bristling at correction, that she is disliked by others, and a “I’m just fine” attitude.

All these things are clearly condemned and corrected in the Bible. A virtuous woman fears the Lord above all. She seeks to exceed everything the Bible teaches as the standard for great women. See the comments on 31:30. She knows the parts of the Bible sent from God for her. She esteems them, and she does them. A few of these places are Genesis 3:16; I Corinthians 7:1-5; 11:9; Ephesians 5:22-24,33; Titus 2:3-5; I Peter 3:1-6.

A virtuous wife knows God inspired Proverbs 31:10-31 and the Song of Solomon for her. She wants to be her husband’s cheerful and loving companion, the world’s greatest lover, a domestic goddess in household duties, a queen of hospitality and social graces, and the perfect mother of his children, as these two comprehensive passages detail.

There is only one way to be such a woman. Confess your sins to God and your husband; eliminate all bitterness and self-righteousness; repudiate your own ideas and habits; trust the Word of God without question; and cheerfully do everything written in the Bible for women, without any compromise. You and your husband will be far happier for it; your children will be happier; and the LORD of heaven will reward you.

Christian man, there is hope. The Word of God can cure the rottenness in your bones, if you can help your wife believe and obey it. God created the woman for you, and He has written the perfect marriage manual for you to have a crown of pure gold. She needs to be in a church that preaches the whole counsel of God practically and powerfully. And you need to do what you can to lead, encourage, and direct her toward obeying the Bible.

If you are married to a virtuous woman, as measured by the Word of God, then you are greatly blessed, for such a woman is a divine blessing from heaven (Pr 14:1; 18:22; 19:14; I Cor 11:7,11). Give thanks to the LORD for saving you from a slow and painful death!

Young man, think about rotting bones. It is what you will suffer, if you marry hastily or foolishly. See the comments on 31:30. Being single is heavenly compared to marriage to the average woman in this generation (Pr 19:13; 21:9,19; 27:15-16). Virtuous women are rare, very rare. You will need to trust the Lord, hunt far and wide, be critical, and trust wise men to help find her and prove her.

The virtuous woman is also a crown to her Lord Jesus. She keeps the adversaries of the gospel from reproaching or blaspheming the word of God (I Tim 5:14; Titus 2:5). But her love of Christ is empty hypocrisy, if she does not love her husband the way Jesus Christ taught her in His Word. Let each reader be a bride that crowns her Lord!

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One Response to Gleanings from the proverbs: A virtuous woman – a Crown to her husband

  1. austinbhebe says:

    Thank you very much for your comments and request for further information on this topic. I hope this helps. The New International Version says -A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
    -This 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.

    Here are the definitions of the main words in the 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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