No wife is neutral. (For that matter, no husband is neutral either.) We either add to or take away from our mate’s reputation. While serving in India, a pair of women reminded me of 2 simple ways to impact your husband’s reputation. I introduced you to one woman yesterday. They probably weren’t very different economically, so we can’t blame the contrast on poverty; they weren’t very different physically, so we can’t attribute their differences to age or beauty. Married or single, come with me to the Delhi airport, and let’s discover what it takes to publicly shame a man.
We arrived at the airport around 2:30 am, after surviving the obstacle course of the Delhi traffic in our taxi. Signs were displayed announcing “This is a silent airport.” As we got in line for check-in, we noticed people seemed to take the silence seriously. Since we were starting a nearly 36 hour journey, I was glad for the peace.
Without warning a shriek cut through the airport silence. Desk attendants, luggage receivers, and waiting passengers for our carrier all turned in unison. (Staring it totally okay in India … gotta love that) Across the aisle from our line, at a different carrier, a family of four had arrived with a baby, a toddler, a stroller, and a mound of luggage. We will never know what precipitated by the conflict, but the wife began to scream in anger at the desk clerk, soon joined as a target by the manager. For one brief moment, the husband chimed in, but his wife quickly overwhelmed him and regained her ground. More airline administrators came, along with security guards. No one took action as the wife’s intensity rose. We could feel the tension and awkwardness in the “quiet” airport as people began to mutter to one another about the woman. A hippie in front of us started to meditate; a woman behind me started to make sarcastic comments; everyone looked uncomfortable. Especially the screamer’s husband … who took one of the children and stood at a distance with the toddler weeping in his arms. I felt sorry for him. His family had been hijacked by his out-of-control wife.
Finally, with her image on the line and her emotions at full boil, the woman jumped up onto the luggage belt where she had clear access to the manager. Before we knew what hit him, screamer reached out and hit the manager across the face. The slap was heard all over the check-in area. People hung their heads. The husband hung his head. The wife threw hers back and stomped away briefly, before returning for another round.
Reasons why we publicly shame our men
Was it cultural? Maybe. A lot of cultures have what we call “acceptable” or expected levels of public antagonism. In my own culture, we excuse such behavior by saying our noble “Mama Bear” came out, or our sense of justice took over, or we were holding someone accountable. I don’t live in a dirty country, after all. We use well chosen words to market our own failures so we feel good about them, so they don’t stick to us, and so we have the freedom to act out (sin) again when the urge hits. I don’t mean to be hard on you, dear reader, because I’m in this category too. I have a file in my memory called “Times I lost it and regret it.”
To be meek is to be gentle in your spirit, to be mild in your disposition, to accept God’s dealings with us as good. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” (Matthew 5:5). No wife can control her circumstances. Every wife will face moments of injustice at places like school, the customer service desk, the insurance company, the doctor’s office, the silent airport, or church. The fruit of our mouth grows from the content of our heart (Luke 6:45). How we respond to the rotten moments of life impacts our husband’s reputation.
God, help us not to be controlled by our flesh, by our emotions, and by our culture. Help us to be Spirit filled when it matters most. Lead us not into the temptation of giving cause for our man to hang his head in shame or for others to hang their heads in embarrassment for him. No wife is neutral. Help us to be a benefit to our husband’s reputation.
- Have you been out-of-control? Do you need to ask for your husband’s forgiveness?
- Do you have a habit of losing your temper, letting emotions control your responses?