One of the greatest ways we end up harming our husbands is by cutting them down or belittling. Especially if done in public. Not only does it cause great harm, it’s unpleasant and embarrassing to witness. But the only one who really looks bad because of it, is the person who is doing it. Not only does it show what a mean unpleasant person she is. But it can also make others wonder why she was dumb enough to marry someone she thinks so little of.
But the virtuous woman went out of her way to build her family up.
Unkindness, competition, slander, and sarcasm abound. Unfortunately, we live in a dog-eat-dog world. A world in which kindness is weakness. Where stepping on others to get ahead or climb the ladder is not only OK, but good. Full of people who slander, blame, and cut others down, thinking to make themselves look better.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life, (Proverbs 31:12).
Remember how, as children, we would rant “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me?”
It’s not true! That was a cover-up, intended to hide how much the unkind words really hurt. We remember mean things said to us, even after many years. Our emotions are not like a soldier’s shield. Those well-aimed arrows don’t just bounce off without inflicting injury. The hurtful words go deep, causing wounds which can linger and fester.
We can make our husband look and feel foolish.
By cutting him down or pointing out his faults in public, we make him seem (and feel) stupid. Or we can work at creating a safe harbor in the home. A place of encouragement and building-up.
And we’ve probably all seen children convinced they are stupid.
Just because that’s what they’ve been told all their lives. We have friends: wonderful, talented people, who believe they are failures and will never amount to anything. Others have convinced them of it.
If our spouses and children cannot find support, acceptance, and unconditional love from us, where will they find it?
There are plenty of people out there ready to cut-down and belittle. But we can make our homes a safe harbor! Let’s convince our families that they are persons of value! That they can do it! And that we believe in them!
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body, (Proverbs 16:24).
For the single woman:
Treating others with gentle kindness should gradually become more and more a part of who and how we are. Begin to make this a habit now, before you marry. Not only will your future husband thank you for it. But it could very well be just the thing that draws his attention to you! Making him say, “Ah, there is a woman who will do me good, and not harm, all my days!”
I used to think gentle kindness came automatically. But I sure didn’t have it, so I envied those who did! But it’s a fruit of the Spirit, and he can teach he can teach us how to grow it in our lives.
And one good aid is memorizing Scripture. When tempted to answer back or speak unkindly, verses like Proverbs 16:24 can come to mind. Reminding us to speak pleasant, sweet words.
And then, instead of breaking spirits with harsh words, we bring sweetness to their souls and health to their bodies!