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Behind Every Great Man

by Gil Rugh

Proverbs 31, which describes many characteristics of a godly woman, says, “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land” (Prov. 31:23). In Old Testament times, the important and influential men sat at the gates of the city to conduct business and discuss important matters. It would be unlikely for a man whose wife did not display moral and upstanding character to hold such a respected position. Therefore, when a man rose to a position of influence, his accomplishment had as much to do with his wife as it did him. A woman was shown to be an effective wife not when she sat in the gate, but when her husband did. The same is true of husbands and their wives today.

We tend to forget that in marriage the man and the woman become one. The impact of a man’s life is the impact of his wife’s life and vice versa. The world has destroyed the oneness of marriage. Now engaged couples make “prenuptial agreements”—they agree to keep their lives separate even though they are entering into marriage. It doesn’t bother me that the world does that; it greatly disturbs me when professing Christians pursue that way of life.

When a woman enters into marriage, she gives her entire life to her husband. That is why it is such a travesty for a husband to abandon his wife. He is to be her protector and provider. That is why God says, “I hate divorce . . . and the man who deals unfaithfully with the wife of his youth” (Mal. 2:15, 16).

We, as men, need to recognize our responsibility toward our wives and appreciate them as treasures entrusted to us by God. An excellent wife is someone whose worth is far above jewels, and yet we often fail to appreciate and protect our wives as God says we should. Instead, we begin to believe what the world says is desirable in a wife.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30).

The world emphasizes external beauty. When a worldly man arrives at success, what does he do? He leaves the wife of his youth, the treasure God entrusted to him, for a younger, more attractive woman. The Bible paints a much different picture of how a husband should treat his wife.

Peter wrote, “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman. Grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7).

If you are a married man, your walk with God depends on how you treat your wife. Do you live with her in an understanding way? Do you function according to your God-given role and allow her to do the same? If not, then you have problems, not with your wife, but with God. Your prayers are hindered.

How can you come to God as a hypocrite and say, “I want to talk to You,” while living in rebellion— rejecting what He has to say? Come to the manual given by the Creator, and you will discover that this loved one you call wife is truly a treasure, worth much more than precious jewels.