Virtuous v/s Cancerous Wife!

In today’s Marriage talk, Pastor Priji provides an in-depth study on Proverbs 12:4, detailing the various effects on marriage caused by honor and respect from a wife, providing keys to success and strength in the bond of marriage and highlighting the necessary character traits for a wife to uphold her husband in marriage.

Do listen and meditate on these revelations on how to excel in your marriage for God’s glory.


We go through different seasons of life and in every season God’s Word begins to reveal something in our heart, mind, character, conversations etc. Every time as God begins to reveal something hidden in our lives that we need to deal with or resolve, we need to be willing to adjust and adapt in those areas of our lives, otherwise we would be like those that look into the mirror, knowing there is a problem and walk away without making changes.

This would be foolish to do.

The Word of God has to become our foundation and rule book by which we govern our marriage.

Today we will personally address the female personality or wife in the marriage.

Proverbs 12:4 {Passion Translation} – The integrity and the strength of a virtuous wife transforms her husband into an honored king. But the wife who disgraces her husband weakens the strength of his identity.

This verse talks about a wife that has integrity, who is strong, a wife who is virtuous and has a value system than that of those of the world.

I was listening to an audio teaching on marriage the other day, the man of God mentioned this scripture where the Bible says, “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing”, it doesn’t say he who finds a woman, likes her, and then courts her, then marries her and then finds a good thing. No, it says he who finds a wife, finds a good thing ‘. What he teaches is, you’re not a wife after you get married, not a girlfriend who becomes a fiancé and then becomes a wife after marriage, but you’re a wife from the very beginning.

The concept of being a wife is not necessarily about a marriage or about getting into the relationship. You become the man’s wife when you get married to him but you are a wife even before marrying him. That’s what this man of God was teaching. I found this really insightful. So I wondered, then being a wife has to do more with our character and our understanding of who we are. This is applicable even for men. We are the bride of Jesus. So, being a wife is not just about a gender or role or responsibility but it is much more than that, it is a character development that is necessary. Just like Jesus expects the church to grow, develop it’s character and beauty in every area before He comes to get married to her in the clouds, so is a wife expected to prepare herself before a beautiful marriage God has called us to.

The verse says a wife needs to have integrity, strength, virtue and such a wife is an honor to her husband.

Another version uses the description as:

Proverbs 12:4 {New Living Translation} – A worthy wife…

May you never be found unworthy. Jesus said it like this “Many are called but few are chosen“, He was referring to that one person who came to the wedding banquet without the appropriate dress, and he was cast out into the darkness. That person was found unworthy, not because he didn’t have the invitation but because of his lack of preparation.

My question to you dear woman of God, dear sister, ‘Have you prepared yourself to be the worthy wife that you’re expected to be in marriage?’

Proverbs 12:4 {Amplified Translation} – A virtuous and a worthy wife, earnest and strong in character…

So it’s not about beauty, wealth or qualification but a matter of character. Character doesn’t get formed or deformed overnight. Just because you made a mistake, that doesn’t become your character. Character is formed by a lifestyle of saying yes or no to particular things in life. Your habits eventually become your character. It says that a virtuous and worthy wife is somebody that has earnest and strong character.

Another version uses the description as:

Proverbs 12:4 {The Message Translation} – A hearty wife…

What that means is a wife of the heart, not just the head and information but somebody who is strong with her heart. When you look at this woman you are able to see her heart, not just her beauty or abilities but her heart. Their heart is worn on their sleeve.

Another version uses the description as:

Proverbs 12:4 {Young Living Translation} – A virtuous woman…

A woman who has a list of virtues, a list of priorities and list of values.

May the Lord cause you to be a woman who has values.

Another version uses the description as:

Proverbs 12:4 {NASB Translation} – An excellent wife…

Are you a wife who has excellence in different areas of your life? Are you a woman who has excellence or who pursues excellence?

This isn’t talking about perfectionism, that can be a challenge and something that can actually draw one down. But this is talking about pursuing excellence in everything you do. Pursuing excellence comes with a lot of honor, doesn’t make you critical of anything and everybody, but pursuing excellence requires you to honor and respect where it’s due. Are you somebody who is an excellent wife or are you preparing yourself into that particular role?

Here’s a list of characteristics from different translations:

Passion Translation: The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife.
New Living Translation: A worthy wife.
Amplified Bible: A virtuous and worthy wife who is earnest and strong in character.
Message Translation: A hearty wife.
Young Living Translation: A virtuous woman.
New American Standard Bible: An excellent wife, a wife that pursues excellence.

Let’s go into the next part of this verse which says, “Such a wife transforms her husband into an honored king”.

That’s amazing, this is very unusual to say that a wife has the power to transform her husband and change the identity of her husband, to influence the abilities of the husband. So often we tend to give unbiblical advantage to men and I’m not in any way demeaning Biblical authority of calling men as the head of the family, but here is a scripture that talks about how a virtuous wife has the grace and ability to transform her husband into an honored king. Another version says “She is a crown for her husband”. If you can believe that you are not just about yourself but what you do to prepare yourself for your husband, it will be a transforming change in character development, honor and his identity is helped and affected by the way you prepare yourself.

Your husband has his own identity and walk with God, but yet there will be several points at which you may look at that man and say that he falls short or he’s not enough or doing what I expected him to do, those are the places you need to push yourself and expect a Spirit of excellence from your heart to fall on your husband.

In fact, Apostle Paul would say that even if your husband is not married, that person gets sanctified because you have a relationship with God. Peter would go on to say that even if that person doesn’t believe in the Lord or obey the Lord, they would watch your gentle and loving character then they will be won over by your love. These scriptures are almost like promises that you can stand upon to believe that you have the grace and strength to transform your husband.

Now, I am in no way asking you to exercise authority over your husband, that is a completely different thing, a thing which the Lord or the man’s mentor can do that for him. You don’t need to exercise authority over your husband and yet be the crown over his head and be the joy in his heart.

The contrary to being a worthy and virtuous wife who has integrity is being a disgrace to your husband. You would be somebody who is going to dishonor and disrespect your husband, when you do that, it comes at a cost. The cost is that you are going to weaken the strength of his identity.

He has an identity in his walk with God, relationship with you, in his surroundings and his family, so the way you disgrace or look down upon him can affect his identity and everything about him.

When we lose our identity then we do not have a moral compass to go by. So your dishonor for your husband can be as dangerous as destroying and weakening his identity.

NLT Translation says – a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones. I hope you get a little more perspective with this translation. You may think you are not disrespecting my husband or dishonoring him publicly but the question is ‘Are you conducting yourself in a worthy manner?’. If you are not then directly or indirectly, more than it affecting you, you are affecting your husband. You may be wondering how is this very parallel to the relationship between the church and Jesus. Do you know that every act that we do here is either building a throne for our King or we are crucifying Him back to the cross? When we do acts that are graceful or honoring our King Jesus, we are building a throne of praise on which He can be seated, like the wise in Proverbs 12:4 – Her integrity, strength, virtue, she crowns her husband. This is what we would do to Jesus when we are living our life in a way that glorifies and honors Him. Yet when we live our lives disgracefully and devoid of God’s love, the scripture goes on to say in Hebrews 6, that we are putting Him to public shame. This way, the same applies to a married relationship.

The Amplified Translation says – The one who makes him ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

We all know how to make someone feel ashamed of themselves. I am not against you confronting your husband when they’re doing something wrong, but the way that you’re confronting, are you causing him to be ashamed or are you causing him to be convicted and drawn to the light?

If you’re doing things in a such a way to bring shame upon him, then more than it affecting you, it is as rottenness in his bones.

Your identity is the frame or skeleton that holds you up. That is being rot away from the inside with shaming.

Your marriage is suffering not because your husband doesn’t do up the bed every morning, but because the wife is being disgraceful to the husband who is not making the bed every morning. Do you see the difference here?

When you are virtuous and filled with integrity and understanding, you are able to crown him as a king, able to bring about great change in him and revelation that can transform his life. At the same time you can by your disgraceful conversation and disrespectful way of addressing him, cause a rottenness in your marriage.

The Message Translation says – A frigid woman is cancer in his bones.
May the Lord look at you and say you are a blessing, a wife who brings glory, honor and respect for your husband.
The Young Living Translation says – And as rottenness in his bones is one causing shame.
The New American Standard Bible says – But she who shames is rottenness in his bones.

I like how the NASB doesn’t say that she causes rottenness in his bones but that she IS the rottenness in his bones. That is taking it a little more deeper and giving us a different perspective that you are not just adding to the rottenness but being the rottenness in his bones.

How can that be? It’s because the wife is supposed to be the body and the husband is supposed to be the head of the family. If there is rottenness in the bones, it’s something in the body, not just about the head but about the body. So when you’re being disgraceful and dishonorable, when you’re causing him and yourself shame, you are the rottenness in the body.

I am not saying this to excuse the husband of their responsibilities, I rarely do a podcast like this, but I believe that a wife has high level of influence in the marriage because the Bible teaches us that. I believe that as a wife, you can transform your husband with your character and love for the Lord.

Let’s list a few character traits:

The integrity and strength of a wife
The virtuousness of a wife preparing herself
Earnest and strong in character
Hearty wife, heart filled wife
Excellent wife, pursuing excellence in every season of life

Please take this teaching and meditate on the revelations so you can take your own personal steps and practical approaches that you need to take, to grow in your understanding of the wife you are ought to be.

May your marriage prosper!

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