A Great Crown (a daily proverb)

This devotional series examines a verse or two from a chapter of Proverbs each day of January 2017.

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones. ~Proverbs 12:4

Many of the proverbs focus on family and relationships. We’ve already seen from the opening chapters how Solomon launches several volleys against adultery and prostitution as well as the men who pursue them. Here, Solomon extols the virtue of a good wife.

Though Solomon did not write Proverbs 31, this verse stands as a foretaste of what is to come. There, a woman of excellence is one who loves God and loves others, especially her husband and children. Such a wife is a precious thing who receives great praise from those she holds dear.

In a few brief words, Solomon urges wives to be such a woman. Married or unmarried, any woman who desires to an excellent wife should seek to work on the virtues of her character. These would include such things as Paul describes as “the fruit of the Spirit” for those who belong to Jesus: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Any woman who strives for such traits will be a beautiful adornment for her husband.

But though Solomon directs this proverb at women, there is also a direction for men. This is true not only in the type of wife a man is to look for but also in the type of husband a man should be. An “excellent husband” likewise will be a shining adornment for his wife.

No, Solomon does not use those words, but when we look at the rest of the proverbs—all of his sayings that are either directed at men or directed at the reader regardless of gender—we find similar, repeated calls for good character. So a man, married or unmarried, should seek to be one who loves God and others, and who exhibits the fruit of the Spirit. Such character should be on display daily, especially to those who see him with his guard let down.

Ladies, seek to be a woman of excellence and therefore a wife of excellence. Men, seek to be a man of excellence and therefore a husband of excellence. By doing so, you will be a source of happiness for your spouse.

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