After my little rant yesterday about men allowing their wife to lead them astray, my Bible reading for today included 1st Kings 11 – where we read about Solomon falling into sin because of his wives. I’ve always found it instructive that the wisest man to live was taken down by the women he married. I suppose having hundreds of wives would make the influence far greater than what any of us will ever face, but it is still wise to understand the potential danger.
When I married my bride, I told her one of the many reasons I wanted to be with her was I felt she would challenge me to be a better person. In part, this was because she was serious about her walk with the Lord, and a woman of exceeding integrity. Additionally I understood I would want good things for her, and for any children we had, and thus would be motivated to work harder for those things than if I were single.
I have tried to remain open to her – open to hearing when she felt I could do better or had missed something. Additionally, I’ve always tried to pray about and think through what she offers, even when I didn’t like what she had to say. There were times I failed to hear or failed to take her seriously, and at one point, I think she was getting tired of being grumped at her for doing what I had asked her to do. Fortunately, I got smart before she gave up on me.
Some will no doubt think it’s improper for a wife to “correct” her husband in this way. Personally, I think a man is crazy if he does not beg his bride to speak into his life. I’m all about headship and submission, but headship does not mean I can’t hear God’s truth from my bride. She knows me better than anyone, putting her in a unique place to know when something is even a bit off.
My suggestion is to talk with your wife and let her know who and how you want to be – who you think your best self would be. Ask her to help by gently nudging you when she thinks you have fallen short. Then treat her kindly, even if you think she is dead wrong. I would rather be corrected when it is not necessary than allowed to go blindly into trouble!
In this series about how normative influence shapes our lives:
Why we follow the crowd
Letting others influence your actions
The smallest cultural group
Your marriage as a tool to being a better person
Is your social group inbred?
Is artificial society influencing you?
The voices in the marriage chamber
Wrap up on social influence