Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Of wives and kingdoms

You know how you'll be driving around town running errands and have a bunch of ideas just sort of collide in your brain? This isn't just me is it? Anyway, if this post seems more fanciful than usual just blame it on the boredom of an hour spent in traffic :)

In all the words spilled on how women are like "this" or should be like "that" I haven't read much on the subject of crowns. Specifically I'm thinking of that bit in Proverbs 12 which says, "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones." Of course the first question I started asking myself when that verse came to mind was "What exactly is a crown?" Besides being a generally circular and often shiny bit of headgear, it's largely a symbol. People talking about stealing crowns and overthrowing them and then restoring them don't mean (by and large) that they're going to break into HRM's wall safe. Instead they mean they're working to arrange a transfer of royal power either to themselves or some other person. Therefore a crown signifies authority, dominion, and legitimacy. When the guy with the crown shows up people tend to say "Yes, sir" a lot. This tells me that when we as wives are doing our jobs well our husbands will accrue respect and authority. Consider this - there's a whole group of people out there (mostly men and sociologist) who've decided that women really like high status men and that they'd rather compete for partial attention from a high status male (read: sleep around) than settle for a lower status man. I think there's a fair bit of truth to that (Hello, New York women/Hello, fundy Mormons), but here's something I just thought. Why aren't any of these women considering how they can increase their man's status? I'm not saying you should go around trying to reform smucks, but just think about for a second. These women are all upset that there aren't enough high status men to go around when it would seem that at least part of the solution is in their own hands. Be the right kind of woman! I don't think that would solve everything, but it sure couldn't hurt. According to Proverbs, the opposite of a crown is essentially osteoporosis, and that sure ain't cool. You can't go around physically tearing men down and then have rational grounds for complaining about the lack of decent men.

What kind of behavior might be considered "excellent" or crown-worthy? The Old and New Testaments are full of examples and exhortations for wives, but I'd say that a short list should include activities that increase your husband's reputation, dominion, and authority. In my world this means resolving to speak well of Allen at every opportunity, helping him serve and love his friends, and making space for him to pursue projects outside work. This is on top of generally trying to be a helpful, non-crazy person - which is harder than it has to be some days :P Also, just for clarity's sake, this doesn't mean that I can't/don't talk to anyone about the vagaries of husbandly behavior. I have a short list (ie under five names) of people that Allen and I both know and trust and to whom I will go if there's something bothering me. For everyone else - it's called need to know, and you don't. This applies double for prayer requests. How would you feel if your husband's accountability group was praying over your inability to discipline the kids or keep your temper with his mom? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Part of what kicked off this whole blog post, though, was the idea the crowns come in all shapes and sizes. You've got your super-shiny-monarch-of-Great-Britain crown, there's your basic prince-in-exile tarnished crown, elfin circlets - just think about all the different stories you've read or seen in movies and how the different crowns look and the stories they help tell. Some women are definitely old gold and rubies material. They're gracious, capable, beautiful woman, and it's easy to see how they adorn their husband's lives. Other women seem a little more dinged up on the surface, but underneath they're pure gold and testify to years of hard work and dedication. That's how it is. A farmer might not have much use for a Sunday to go meeting crown, and a lawyer might need something a little less wash and wear. The woman who adorns her big town banker husband's life would be pretty blingy and useless as the wife of a small town hardware store owner. Same basic job description with hundreds of different ways to fulfill it. That's why I get frustrated with overly specific how to manuals for wives - it's one thing to be a faithful and chaste wife and another thing to know when your husband needs you to speak up and when to keep quiet. Our lives, our marriage, and our gifts all look different. This sounds a little sappy, but it needs to be said. It doesn't matter who you are, when you're being a faithful wife you're a beautiful and glorious woman whose life bespeaks and confers honor and dignity.

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