Her Husband is Respected at the City Gate: How to Apply This Verse In Your Marriage Today

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 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 

Proverbs 31:23 (NIV)

Her Husband is Respected at the City Gate. A seemingly innocuous verse which doesn’t directly mention the Proverbs 31 woman. In Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, the author explains this verse in this way

Her husband is known in the gates.  Instead of being a hindrance to her husband’s advancement, she furthers it. Her influence for good extends to him also. Having no domestic anxieties, he is set free to do his part in public life.”

 

Her husband is respected at the city gate.  Instead of being a hindrance to her husband’s advancement, she furthers it. Her influence for good extends to him also. Having no domestic anxieties, he is set free to do his part in public life.

A wife’s role is to be the perfect partner for her husband. She fulfills this responsibility by being an excellent caretaker, dutiful daughter-in-law, and financial manager of their family’s household affairs–all while maintaining good reputation so that he can pursue his higher calling among men without fear or shame.

This, in my opinion, is epic. The role of the wife of noble character, in many ways, is summed up in this verse. When a husband does not have to worry about his wife, her conduct, how his home is being managed or the children, he can be free to focus his mind on his work and ministries. Her husband is respected at the city gate.

image of Jerusalem city gate with text overlay Her Husband is Respected at the City Gate: How to Apply This Verse In Your Marriage Today

One measure of a biblical wife is the reputation of her husband. Of course, her role is only one part of his reputation, but for the purposes of this blog and our readers, I’m just going to focus on her role in his reputation.

Others,especially your husband’s friends, co-workers and church members,  will respect him for his blessing of such a treasured wife and wisdom in marrying such a woman. As God intended in Eden, a woman can help a man in most every area of his life. We were created to be his “helpmeet”.

Let’s take a closer look at the word helpmeet. In God’s Word to Women, we see the Hebrew words for help and meet.

HELP

Strong’s # 5828 (Hebrew = ezer) aid: — help
Strong’s Root = # 5826 (Hebrew = azar)  azar = prime root: to surround, ie, protect or aid: help, succour

Gesenius adds that the primary idea lies in girding, surrounding, hence defending

MEET

(Hebrew = kenegdo) corresponding to, counterpart to, equal to matching

“The traditional teaching for the woman as help (meet) is that of assistant or helper subservient to the one being helped. This definition would appear to line up with Strong’s definition of the word. However, if you look at the context of every other use of the word ezer in the scripture, you will see that ezer refers to either God or military allies. In all other cases the one giving the help is superior to the one receiving the help. Adding kenegdo (meet) modifies the meaning to that of equal rather than superior status. Scripture is so awesome. God says just what He means.”

God’s design for women is to aid our husband’s in everyday life. Ensuring that the home is running smoothly so that he can have the confidence and freedom to do God’s will in his own life.

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband, but an odious woman shames her husband and rots his bones (Proverbs 12:4).

Her Husband is Respected at the City Gate_(Proverbs 31_23) respecting your husband

 

So what does this mean for us today? While our husbands may not be meeting elders at the city gate, he will be among co-workers, friends and church family. Are you ensuring that your home is a place of refuge for your husband? Or, is it filled with strife and stress? If it is the latter, how can you make changes so that your husband feels confident that the home is being managed and he is free to worry about his work and ministries?

One thing that I’ve found is that while we, as women, wives and mothers, often have crazy and stressful days and want to dump it all on our husbands when they walk in the door, that is not holding our husbands up. I get it. We need to get it off our chests how rotten the kids were, that the dishwasher is broken or that so and so did this to so and so, but I implore you to give him some time to relax before pouring out all of your troubles to him when he walks through the door.

Set aside time daily to discuss any issues in a calm way when both of you have some alone time. Ask God to give you a quiet and gentle spirit when talking with your husbands. If not, you are simply sharing the stress and

As mentioned above, one measure of a biblical wife is the reputation of her husband. Of course, her role is only one part of his reputation, but for the purposes of this blog and our readers, I’m just going to focus on her role in his reputation.

Others, especially your husband’s friends, co-workers, and church members, will respect him for his blessing of such a treasured wife and wisdom in marrying such a woman. As God intended in Eden, a woman can help a man in most every area of his life. We were created to be his “helpmeet”.


Before we dive into a deeper look at the word helpmeet, what is this about a city gate?

The ancient era was a simpler time, when wise men met at the city’s entrance and settled business conflicts to enforce contracts that were already established. They discussed legal matters such as criminal code enforcement without wasting money on expensive buildings or unnecessary bureaucracy.

Wisdom is too high for a fool;
    in the gate he does not open his mouth.

Fools were not welcomed there.

Proverbs 24:7 (ESV)

This proverb is about women, not men. Do not get distracted by a wise man being known among the elite of his city; he may have an attractive wife who seduces others with her beauty and charm! This queen mother’s description tells us how she wants him to find his perfect bride: “a humble woman whose approval means more than gold or jewels” (31-30). Arrogant lazy rebellious wives resent these character traits because it reveals their flaws, but they were written that way by God.

A good man can be great man if he has a great wife by his side as his helpmeet.

It has been said, “Behind every great man, there is a great woman.” And we can find related verses I scripture.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing
    and obtains favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 18:22 (ESV)

House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
    but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:14 (ESV)

King Lemuel’s mother knew her son needed a special woman to be a successful king. She could help him domestically, emotionally, financially, mentally, morally, sexually, and socially.

Helpmeet Defined and a Closer Look

Let’s take a closer look at the word helpmeet. In God’s Word to Women, we see the Hebrew words for help and meet.

HELP

Strong’s # 5828 (Hebrew = ezer) aid: — help

Strong’s Root = # 5826 (Hebrew = azar) azar = prime root: to surround, ie, protect or aid: help, succour

Gesenius adds that the primary idea lies in girding, surrounding, hence defending

MEET

(Hebrew = kenegdo) corresponding to, counterpart to, equal to matching

“The traditional teaching for the woman as help (meet) is that of assistant or helper subservient to the one being helped. This definition would appear to line up with Strong’s definition of the word. However, if you look at the context of every other use of the word ezer in the scripture, you will see that ezer refers to either God or military allies. In all other cases the one giving the help is superior to the one receiving the help. Adding kenegdo (meet) modifies the meaning to that of equal rather than superior status. Scripture is so awesome. God says just what He means.”

God’s design for women is to aid our husband’s in everyday life. Ensuring that the home is running smoothly so that he can have the confidence and freedom to do God’s will in his own life.

An odious wife is a man’s worst nightmare: she breaks his heart, crushes his spirit, and steals all the courage in sight. She has set up camp inside of your home as well- this means that you live with an enemy in your home.

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

Proverbs 12:4 (ESV)

A foolish son is ruin to his father,
    and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.

Proverbs 19:13 (ESV)

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
    than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.

Proverbs 21:9 (ESV)

A lazy wife that putters around the house and limits herself to maid duty can ruin her husband’s estate.

The wisest of women builds her house,
    but folly with her own hands tears it down.

Proverbs 14:1 (ESV)

A woman that tries to be the spiritual leader of her family and home corrupts his doctrine, which is something he should have been able to do on his own. Instead, she steals from him what God gave them: faith in Himself through Christ’s grace.

To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
    but he shall rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16 (ESV)

 

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

1 Peter 3:7 (ESV)

A wife can make or break her husband. An average man will only amount to something in the eyes of society if he has a great partner by his side, while someone with an odious woman may never achieve anything at all because she’ll be too consumed with making herself better than him and putting limitations on what they could accomplish together as partners.

How much disappointment and shame is there in the story of Adam and Eve and her actions in the garden? How much of Ahab’s wickedness was due to his wife Jezebel and the power she had over him? What do you think about Boaz? He married Ruth! How great could Samson have been, if he had obeyed his parents and married an Israelite girl?

(There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited.

1 Kings 21:25 (ESV)

So, what does this mean for us today? While our husbands may not be meeting elders at the city gate, he will be among co-workers, friends, and church family. Are you ensuring that your home is a place of refuge for your husband? Or is it filled with strife and stress? If it is the latter, how can you make changes so that your husband feels confident that the home is being managed and he is free to worry about his work and ministries?

The traits that build up a husband are those of the virtuous woman. The context provides clear duties for godly wives who want to obey God, and as such if they were keep these inspired rules for greatness in their marriage then it would surely honor him with whom you have taken vows.

He can always trust her, with men or money. She is creative and diligent to make sure the household is well cared for. She does much to build the estate, including outside jobs and investments. She eagerly helps those in need. Her speech is always kind and wise.

Her husband is respected at the city gate.  Instead of being a hindrance to her husband’s advancement, she furthers it. Her influence for good extends to him also. Having no domestic anxieties, he is set free to do his part in… Click To Tweet

What drives and motivates a woman to be this perfect wife? Her fear of the Lord! She loves God with all her heart, soul, mind (and yes even more than that!) It is because she fears Him so much. This motivation leads women into being an amazing follower and obeyer of His Word – always respectful towards their husband in life choices while still fulfilling her own role within scripture and marriage.

A gracious woman gets honor,
    and violent men get riches.

Proverbs 11:16 (ESV)

Wives, what do others think of your husband? Do they pity him because you are a constant nag? Do they look down upon him, because you try to be the spiritual leader and cannot keep your place? Or do they know that he was favored by God to find you, and that he is a happy and satisfied married man? This is God’s measure for you to consider here.

It is easy for a wife to think she is special and a real asset to her husband because her heart is deceitful and tends to self-righteousness. She may even ask her husband what he thinks about this, but his answer is not worth much, because he will likely compromise the truth for peace in the house. The real test is his reputation among other men, for only a married man with a virtuous wife at home can be a husband who is respected at the city gate, so to speak.

One thing that I’ve found is that while we, as women, wives, and mothers, often have crazy and stressful days and want to dump it all on our husbands when they walk in the door, that is not holding our husbands up. I get it. We need to get it off our chests how rotten the kids were, that the dishwasher is broken or that so and so did this to so and so, but I implore you to give him some time to relax before pouring out all your troubles to him when he walks through the door.

Set aside time daily to discuss any issues in a calm way when both of you have some alone time. Ask God to give you a quiet and gentle spirit when talking with your husbands. If not, you are simply sharing the stress and transferring it to him. How can he be respected “at the city gate” when he is stressed over all the problems in the household?

Most husbands will, of course, want to come to their wife’s rescue and will willingly take on their troubles. Try to give your husband some space and when possible, try to solve issues before getting him involved. Of course, never keep anything from him, but do your best not to transfer your stress to him.

Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. Proverbs 31:23

How else does this verse apply to today’s world? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

How else does this verse apply to today’s world? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Looking for a book resource instead? Here are a few that I recommend:

My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife: A One-Year Experiment…and Its Surprising Results

Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be: A 30-Day Guide to Living the Proverbs 31 Life

Or my book, The Complete Proverbs 31 Wife:  A Verse by Verse Exploration of What it Means to Be a Proverbs 31 Woman in Today’s World.

Because of Him,

Sue

Did you miss “What if My Husband Doesn’t Deserve a Proverbs 31 Wife?” click HERE to read it.

ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Susan is a writer, speaker and the creator of Women of Noble Character ministries. She is passionate about helping Christian women deepen their walk with God through Bible study and creative worship and strengthen their marriages.

She lives in rural North Central Missouri with her handsome and hilarious husband and a myriad of dogs, cats and chickens.

Susan runs on Jesus, coffee and not enough sleep.

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4 Comments

  1. One thing you did not mention is that the Proverbs 31 woman endeavors to also contribute financially to the home. One of the reasons stay at home Moms especially get stressed about is the total reliance on their husbands for finances. Households and children’s needs all require money. When the husband is the sole breadwinner, finances can be quite limited. It would greatly reduce the stress both husband and wife face if the wife could have at least a part-time job or a business. The woman in Proverbs 31 had a business and so could run her household affording the home the comforts they needed and freeing her husband from the stress of domestic worries. Income for the wife is important.

    1. Absolutely true that the wife’s income is important! But as a wife how would I be working at the same time making sure that the home is managed well. Then that means that all the stress is forwarded to me

      1. Hi,Joy – it’s definitely a balancing act and a matter of setting priorities. If you have kids, they can help with chores and some things in the house will just have to wait. I do a couple of things each day after work (and throw laundry in before work) and then set an hour to 90 minutes aside on Saturdays. Here are some of my best tips for time management for the Christian woman =- you can do this, sister. Reach out if I can give you some pointers in any specific area. God bless you! I’m praying for you! https://womanofnoblecharacter.com/time-management-for-christian-women/

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