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Marriage: Crowns & Cancer

February 9th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 12: 4 (NLT)

4 A worthy wife is a crown for her husband,
      but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

I hate to harp, but it’s somewhat necessary when we encounter passages such as this one because of their potential for misunderstanding.  One unfamiliar with Proverbs or even with my harping might wonder to themselves, “Why does the wife have to be the crown for her husband?  Why can’t the husband be her crown? And why does the disgraceful woman get the bad rap and the disgraceful man get off scott free?  

I implore you again to absorb the truth of this text in its context because that’s the only interpretation that will adequately expound the principles to us.  First of all, remember that the writer here is a man writing to his son, hence the focus upon women instead of men.  For our purposes, one could easily insert “worthy husband” instead of “worthy wife.”

Of course, I am not ignoring the obvious facts that the ancient culture in which Solomon lived viewed the role of women differently than we do in our twenty-first century perception.  However, faults within ancient cultures don’t negate or even water down their divinely-inspired truths.  We must be able to look past their culture, as well as our own, to touch the heart of what was being communicated.

That being said . . . what was being said?

To me, this passage is a glimpse into romantic relationships . . . specifically marriage (although the principles are applicable to married and unmarried people alike.)  There are many things that I now understand that were foreign concepts to me when I was younger.  Budgeting.  The need for organization in one’s life. Communication.  Toilet seat etiquette.

Marriage, you see, was like a bright light that illuminated these seemingly mature concepts to my previously immature mindset.  (NOTE: I speak of my own maturity in a purely adult responsibility context.  Trust me, I know that I’m still immature . . . sometimes deliberately.)  The joining of our two lives brought many issues to the forefront that were barely fleeting thoughts beforehand.  Mortgages. Insurance.  Accountability.  

This wasn’t a negative of marriage . . . it was a huge positive!  My life with Laura has been nothing short of a daily adventure.  I’m enriched and even entertained with each passing day.  Marriage, for me, has been unbelievable . . . not full of perfection; but full of God’s grace and kindness.

In my marriage, I realize that my wife makes an impression for both of us.  In other words, her actions influence other people’s ideas about me.  Fair?  I’m not sure.  True?  You bet.  That’s what we sign up for when we walk down the old center aisle.  Two people become one person.  Two lives are suddenly lived as one.  

You become so used to your mate that at times the lines are blurred between where you start and they end.  There are stories that she has told so many times that I can’t remember if I was there or not.  We speak a similar vernacular.  Our humor is understood . . . and sometimes even enjoyed . . . by the other.  If I mess up the budget, she suffers for it.  If she gets a raise at work, I get to go out to dinner.  

Everything about her affects everything about me . . . that’s marriage.

So what about this crown business?  Consider this: a crown is the official part of a monarch’s wardrobe that exclusively denotes royalty.  Besides cheap beauty pageant tiaras, no one usually wears a crown unless they are actually a legitimate member of the royal family.  The crown is the key to the physical recognition of a king or queen.

Just as a monarch isn’t made a monarch by the wearing of a crown, our husbands or wives don’t make us who we are as people . . . or at least they shouldn’t.  We were not created to be completed by another person.  Only divinity can complete humanity.  What marriage is designed to do is to provide the beautiful “crowning” touch that complements the ensemble of one’s personality and life.

In this respect, the idea that we are each other’s crown reveals the exact intention of the right marriage.  We are royalty because of our Father, but a godly mate is the breathtaking crown that accents- that shows off- who we have been set apart to be.

That’s what Laura has been to me: the crown placed into my life to show off the glory of my royal Father’s divine plan.  I hope that I am the same for her.

The second half of this verse reveals the sad alternative: “but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.”  Ouch!  Those are pretty strong words.  Just as a crown is the obvious positive accessory of a monarch, an extreme illness like cancer is an obvious negative accessory of any person.  When one is that sick, it is abundantly evident to everyone around them.  Such is the flip side of marriage . . . it can be and often is the most detrimental addition to people’s lives.

Crowns and cancer . . . what diametrically opposed ideas referring to one central topic.  Maybe that’s why we should seek the wisdom and guidance of the divine not only to complete who we are, but to help us find the “crown” and avoid the relational cancer.



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