November 30, 2017

Celebrating Awesome Wives: How to Spot One, How to Keep One

Gary Thomas — 

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,

and he receives favor from the Lord.

Prov. 18:22

What a joy to be married to a godly woman! A godly wife isn’t a possession, but she is a treasure.

On my Facebook personal page and author page, I asked men to brag about their wives, telling me the three things they most appreciate about their spouses. Four qualities clearly rose to the top.

This is in no way scientific. Most men following me on Facebook are Christians. But I love the way some stereotypes were obliterated. For example, not a single man chose as one of his favorite qualities his wife’s physical appearance. Only two out of about a hundred even mentioned “lover.” Guys are often characterized as focused primarily on sex, but the husbands who responded to my request clearly aren’t.

This post has a triple purpose: to thank you wives for being so wonderful; to encourage single men that, when looking for a future wife, you would do well to consider these qualities; and to encourage wives who want to grow in their husband’s affection with the knowledge that these are the things long-term husbands most admire. Your own husband may value different things, of course, but these are what men chose to publicly celebrate. At the very least, this post could spawn some enlightening conversation on a date night.

The four qualities men on Facebook (I’m not saying this is my list or what I think is most important; mine would be somewhat different) most celebrated about their wives, in this order, were:

Number 1: Faithfulness and Loyalty

Wives, your husbands are grateful for your commitment to your marriage. They believe you hold true to your vows, you won’t cheat on them, and that you will stick with the marriage through disappointments.

Many of us are astounded that a woman agreed to marry us. And we are ever more grateful that, even as you get to know our weaknesses, you stay by our side. We’ve been cut from the team by coaches, rejected by university admission committees, fired by or passed over for promotions by employers, sometimes rejected by our own children, but the story of our lives has been a woman who has walked through all of that with an unyielding, iron-willed faithfulness and loyalty.

And for that we are truly grateful.

I celebrated this gift of loyalty in my book Cherish when I imagine a wife saying to her insecure husband, “You’ve made it across the finish line, into my arms. I’m yours and you are mine. We’re one. I’m thrilled with you. I love you. You can rest in my acceptance. I will recharge you with my affection. I won’t pull away when I get to know you; I’ll draw closer. I won’t disrespect you when I find the dark within you; I’ll pray for God to flood you with his light. I won’t compare you to any other man because to me you are the only man of my affections; you are the standard; you are my man of all men. I won’t look at another man, I won’t touch another man, I won’t compare you to any other man. I will feast my eyes and fill my heart with my love for you.”

What this also means, wives, is that unfaithfulness is perhaps the biggest wound a woman can inflict on her husband because loyalty seems to be closest to many men’s hearts. Flirtation outside the marriage can crush a man, particularly if he values faithfulness and loyalty above all else, as a clear plurality of men in this survey seemed to.

Number 2: A Devoted Follower of Christ

Wives, thank you for bringing more of Christ into our homes. Your knowledge of God’s word, your devotion to prayer and worship, your eagerness to be a part of the local church, and your commitment to godliness blesses us in so many ways.

The closer you get to God, the stronger you become for us. The wiser you become, the more we gain from your perspective. The more peaceful you become, the more spiritual rest we have at home. We don’t look at your faith as something you should do for us—it’s about you and God, first and foremost—but we are blessed immeasurably by the practice and fruit of your faith.

Single men, this is why the Bible urges young men to value a woman’s faith over beauty and charm (Prov. 31:30). Beauty as the world defines it fades. Godliness grows, because God by his Holy Spirit makes it grow. If you marry a woman who is surrendered to God you will be even more in love with her on your thirtieth wedding anniversary than you were on your third. That’s certainly been true for me.

Number 3: A Nurturing Spirit: Kindness, Compassion, Graciousness

I had to lump all of these together under “nurturing spirit” because different men use different words, but they all point to one thing: the disposition of Christ who came not to be served, but to serve. This points to wives who love and give with daily kindness; the kind of wife who is a soothing presence in her family rather than one who brings even more drama into her home. Men praise the peacemakers rather than the warriors (A woman in an abusive marriage may need to become a warrior in order to escape and protect her children, but these posts aren’t talking about abusive marriages; we’re talking about marriages worthy of celebration).

Women, husbands don’t want home to be a battleground. They so appreciate gracious, kind, and compassionate wives. There’s so much drama at the office and sometimes with extended family members. People are at odds with each other in the local church, businesses, sporting events, competing with each other and tearing each other down. What a blessing to be married to a woman who brings a nurturing presence into her home.

Number 4: Forgiving and Patient

We know we mess up. We know we keep messing up. So for all those times of forgiveness and patience, thank you. We wish we could be better for you, and we’re trying. But your acceptance means more to us than you could possibly know.

Single men, as mentioned already, I was shocked at one thing that not a single husband mentioned when searching for his “top three” things to celebrate: his wife’s physical appearance. When looking for a bride, attractiveness usually tops the list for single men. I get that. But the absence of its mention on this list tells me that you would do well to put character and faith first when considering who to marry. Sacrificing character for beauty is something you’ll almost certainly regret. There’s nothing wrong with looking for a woman who is beautiful to you inside and out, but I’m just telling you, in a decade or so, you will be most mindful of her inner beauty.

So, godly wives, thank you for being you. Thank you for putting up with us husbands. In this post, we celebrate you in all your excellence. We know you’re more than a wife: you’re God’s daughter with your own dreams and worth and purpose outside of your relationship to us. But what you bring to us can’t be measured.

A wife of noble character who can find?

She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her

and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm,

all the days of her life.

Proverbs 31:10-12


Husbands, feel free to add more comments about what you appreciate about your wives in the section below. And in keeping with the previous post, we won’t post comments from disappointed husbands on this particular post. We want the comments for these two posts in particular to be positive and encouraging.

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19 responses to Celebrating Awesome Wives: How to Spot One, How to Keep One

  1. Gary, great message! While it would be good to find at least some of these qualities in a woman, I’ve been blessed with a wife who displays them all! Truly the verse in Proverbs 31:10-12 are gems of truth for us merry married men!

    A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
    11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
    12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

  2. Thank you for both this post and the one about Celebrating the Good Husband, Gary! As a young, single college student, these posts have helped me to focus on traits I ought to improve in myself to one day be a good husband, and traits to look for in a potential future wife. I love all your work, and am so thankful for it. In a day and age when so many are confused about marriage in every respect, your God-given wisdom on the subject is like a refreshing glass of spiritual water.

  3. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. As I read through your post, all I could picture was my incredible wife.. and by the time I got to the end I sincerely though you had written it about her! My wife, and now mother of two, is the most faithful and loyal woman this world could know, in more ways than anyone will know. It’s because of her faith and utmost devotion to her Father that our marriage continues and continue strong. She shows me and our boys such love, compassion, and grace that she is an honest reflection of God’s love to her family. I can’t thank God enough for how he has blessed me with such an amazing wife… life seems complete with her and I look forward to celebrating 10 years next year, and all the years we have ahead!!!

  5. Thank you Gary for you always following God’s voice in helping his children. Your words and encouragement has not only helped us but thosand others. Love sitting under your teaching and preaching. Hopefully someday we cab you in our area to bless other.

  6. Gary,

    Thanks for this post and the similar one on husbands. Although on the ‘husbands’ post ‘faithfulness’ was missing ;/ As for my wife and I suspect most wives, especially the mothers, I would add unselfishness. My bride of 34 years is the most unselfish person I know and she inspires me to be a better person as she always puts others first! Very Christ like if you ask me!!

  7. Thanks for this post Gary and for all you have done in teaching about biblical marriage. My wife and I have read a number of your books together and are very grateful.

    One thing I want to add is how wonderful my wife is as a mother. We have three children, including a special needs child and her guidance, sacrifice, devotion and commitment to all of them is so stunning it overwhelms me. She is their rock and my hero. She has stood by me through so many valleys and still amazes me every day with her strength of spirit. She is the blessing I never deserved and I am sure I am not alone with your readers in feeling that way about my wife.

  8. I’m humbled to tears thanking God for my bride of 35 years who exhibits all these qualities and more and my careless forgetfulness to remember truly what’s most important in valuing my lady. Thank you for being a conduit from God’s Holy Spirit speaking directly to my heart. May we all seize this challenge to love our wives again selflessly. I’m grateful for your poignant communication again to love and cherish these precious treasures from Him. I love you sweetheart.

  9. My wife is such an amazing women and I know when she reads this she would rather I not brag about her. She is so selfless and willing to do everything it takes to run a home with 4 children plus work a full time job. She always finds time for me. Words cannot express the gratitude and joy that she given to me. Submitting one to another is a blessed journey full of challenges and apogees. Grace makes a marriage sustainable and she give that to me more than I deserve. She is a gift from God. I prayed for a drop of water and God gave me an ocean!

  10. Wonderful post, Gary, but in it you mention that this list is not nessarily yours. I’m curious and would be grateful to know what your list would be.

    God bless you and may God continue to bless your powerful ministry to heal relationships.

    • Jim, I started to answer this but then decided, I’m going to keep that one between me and Lisa… She deserves a little privacy.

  11. A wonderful post that I’m forwarding to my step-sons, Gary. Thank you!

    It goes without saying that being this kind of wife consistently is ONLY possible by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Without His conviction and empowering, husbands and wives are loving in their own strength — which is miserably lacking. Praise God that “….[He] works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (of being the kind of wife that will most bless your husband).”

  12. I never knew life would be this hard but even more so I can’t believe I have a wife that is still standing with me. Help

    • John, that’s one of the amazing things about marriage, isn’t it? Praying that God will grant you strength and release

  13. Thanks Gary, you have a special gift in communicating the essential spiritual information we men need to focus on in our marriages. Blessings.

    • Thanks so much Neil!

      • Thank you, Gary, for your post about wives. Faithfulness and Loyalty, A Devoted Follower of Christ, and Forgiving and Patient. Thirty years of marriage and it just keeps getting better. My wife, mother of my four children, grandmother of four, mother-in-law, homeschool educator, business partner, Sunday School teacher, small group facilitator and she still has that individual special time for all of us. She is a wonderful gift from God.