As you likely know, the original compositions of the works in the Bible were not divided into chapters and verses. As we enter the discussion for the twelfth step of our March through Proverbs, let's ignore the arbitrary divide between our previous discussion, which focused on the wisdom of being open counsel and where Proverbs 12 begins.
I closed the last post with a thought I hope you'll keep in mind as we take the next step -- be willing to openly receive counsel.
"Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid." (Proverbs 12:1)
With an openness to counsel and the love of instruction in mind, I have a brief activity I recommend to those who are married.
- First, husband, take some time to honestly assess the ways you show that you value your wife. Don't just make this a passing thought thing, but actually invest the time and effort to really reflect on what you do to show your wife that you value her. Think about the things you say to her and about her when you're speaking to others. Examine the attitudes you demonstrate toward and about her -- don't kid yourself; if you're thinking or feeling it, she and others will sense it. Consider whether your attitudes show honor or spite toward her. Write notes to keep track of where your thoughts have taken you. You will need these notes later.
- Next, wife, invest some time to honestly assess the image you present to your husband and those with whom you come into contact. Reflect on whether the things you say and do demonstrate honor and respect or dishonor and shame for your husband. Keep track of your thoughts in some written form.
Now comes the harder part.
- Husband, write down your impressions as to how your wife's words and deeds demonstrate honor or dishonor, respect or shame toward you.
- Wife, record your observations as to how your husband shows that he values you with his words, deeds, and attitudes.
Finally, here comes what will be the most rewarding part. I admit that, depending on the condition of your relationship, this may be difficult or even painful. However, if you approach this as an opportunity to build a more stable relationship that will pass the test of time, you will be rewarded with a closer, stronger, and more loving relationship.
- Come together in prayer and ask God to bless each of you with love, humility, kindness, compassion, openness, and tact.
- Compare your notes and discuss the things each of you do well, along with areas in which you may have room for improvement. Honesty is important here, but brutal honesty is verboten.
Husband, how are you valuing your crown?
Wife, how are you honoring your husband?
Remember, "love is not a feeling, it's an act of your will." (Don Francisco)
"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is the rottenness in his bones." (Proverbs 12:4)