Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
Well, we don’t have gates, but we have a city limits sign. Should I send my husband down there? I guess that’s one way to get yourself noticed and become well-known!
This idea — gates — comes up periodically in Scripture, and it is a bit foreign to us today. In ancient times, judges and elders would hang out by the city gates and hear cases — it’s as simple as that. Apparently, Jewel’s husband was one of the elders, and that fact is included in this long list of reasons why she’s an awesome wife. She married a big shot; way to go and high five!
Some people like to say, “Behind every good man is a good woman.” I’m not interested in picking apart that saying here, but rather in just loosely applying the sentiment to this verse to help us, perhaps, contextualize it a little bit. As wives, we have very much to do with our husbands’ success or failure in business and in life. Really. We can make a huge impact.
You may disagree with that, but let’s try something. I’m going to negate everything we’ve learned about Jewel so far, point by point, and create her antithesis:
- Her husband can’t trust her, and she lets him down every time he turns around.
- She never thinks to do good things for him.
- She is lazy and complains about work.
- She expects everything to fall in her lap.
- She sleeps in, letting everyone find whatever food they can dig up for themselves, and she fails to manage her home effectively.
- She is thoughtless with her purchases and squanders her money.
- She doesn’t exercise.
- She has no concept of the state of her finances, and she goes to bed with necessary work left undone.
- She procrastinates doing tedious tasks.
- She ignores the poor and feels entitled to her wealth and status.
- Every life circumstance is an inconvenience or a surprise, and therefore a sudden emergency. Her kids don’t even have clothes that fit.
- She has gotten to the point where she doesn’t even take care of herself anymore.
Do you think this woman’s husband would be respected by anyone? And just how motivated and encouraged to succeed do you think he feels when he comes home to her every day?
Certainly, Jewel’s husband had to earn respect in his own right, but his wife clearly augmented his reputation. She was the kind of woman who, when her husband’s friends and associates got to know her, asked, “How in the world did he ever get a woman like you? What a lucky guy!” By proxy, their opinion of him rose, and they understood him better after meeting her. Even more, Jewel’s worth, her work ethic, and her righteousness inspired her husband to be a better man than he would have been otherwise.
Some find it sexist to say that we should make our husbands look good, but I do not. What’s the alternative to making him look good and inspiring him, and why would we want that? I sure wouldn’t.
So let’s do it! Let’s inspire our husbands and make their friends jealous that he’s got it so good!
(That’s hard to do from the couch with a bad attitude.)
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My Son, if your friends suddenly avoid you because of your girlfriend, that’s a bad sign. They should like you even better because she brings out the best in you. If she doesn’t, you should consider carefully your choice in dating her.
My Love, this is a tall order. For those times that I have failed to inspire — and I know I have — I would like to say that I’m sorry. Truly. You are an amazing provider for us, you’re the best dad ever, and I could not imagine a better husband. You deserve to be inspired, and I’m trying every day to make your friends jealous!
My Lord, I’m getting a bit redundant here, but I doubt You ever tire of my thanking You for Your abundant grace! You have designed me to be my husband’s helpmate — to inspire him, to encourage him, and to make him look good. I know I fail in some way every day, but I also know that You are helping me every day to get back on the horse. Thank You for your patience!
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