12:4 Excellent Wife

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12:4

Ann Hasseltine Judson

Adoniram and Ann Judson were pioneer missionaries to Burma. Before her conversion to Christianity, Ann had been a society girl, flinging her life away in frivolity. Afterwards…what a change.

It is arguable that Adoniram’s work would have come to nothing without his wife. For instance, she was quicker than he at solving the language problems. Her letters home roused interest and support for their work. And when Adoniram was imprisoned under torturous conditions, it was only through her herculean efforts his life was sustained. Her exertions destroyed her health and she died shortly after his release.

The work of other Christian leaders has been hindered by wives who were out of sympathy with them. If I choose not to mention specific cases, it is because no one but God ever knows the full story of what has happened between a man and his wife, in which he is perhaps as much to blame for the disaster in his home as she is.

The ideal character of a man toward his wife is best set forth by Paul in Ephesians 5, and comes from a comparison of what Christ is to his bride—the church. Christ lived, suffered and died to win his bride, and prepare her radiant and spotless for an eternal marriage. What man can claim to have fully lived up to that high standard?

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