Institute in Basic Life Principles

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How can my wife’s counsel benefit my life?

Heeding the Cautions of Your Wife
listen to your wife’s counsel

When God designed the roles of husband and wife, He fashioned the wife as a helpmate for her husband. Among other gifts, God often grants the wife an alertness and discernment that He may not initially give to the husband. God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). A wise husband will listen to the cautions of his wife and discern if they are words of wisdom or not.

A man may think that his wife’s cautions about relational issues, financial decisions, and other things are inexplicable, but he would be wise to carefully consider them. Scripture records several situations in which God’s plans were revealed to the wife prior to God’s revelation of those plans to her husband. (See Judges 13:1–15, Luke 1:26–38, and Matthew 1:18–25.)

Value Her Alertness in the Area of Morality

A wife can often discern the moral caliber of a business agreement or associate, because God has given women special sensitivity to the moral aspects of relationships. If a husband is considering an important business decision, he would be wise to explain it to his wife and, if possible, to have her meet the people involved.

When the wife interacts with these individuals, she may be able to discern insights about the following areas:

  • Morality, by watching their eyes
  • Pride, by sensing their ambitions
  • Values, by evaluating appearance and attitudes
  • Sincerity, by listening to their words

Acknowledge and Appreciate Her Four Perspectives

A wife expresses her cautions from four very different perspectives: mental, emotional, volitional, and spiritual perspectives of an issue. A woman may have these four responses to a single situation:

  • “It sounds logical; I think it will work.” (Mental response)
  • “I feel uneasy about the business decision you are going to make.” (Emotional response)
  • “I’ve decided to trust God to work through you in this matter.” (Volitional response)
  • “I am sure that God wants to teach me something through whatever happens.” (Spiritual response)

Since these seeming conflicting statements can be expressed in quick succession, most husbands become confused when their wives “switch” from one perspective to another without explanation. Patient listening, thoughtfulness, and prayer will help a husband and wife sift through her responses to determine the final counsel she has to offer. A husband should not rely on only one of his wife’s perspectives, nor should he confidently assume that she is offering sound advice. Her responses should always reflect the Scriptural principles that should guide his actions.

Recognize Her Need for Security

A wife is particularly aware of the immediate needs of her family, but she also looks ahead to the needs her family may face if she becomes a widow or if the children become orphans. Her desire for present and future security may motivate her to caution her husband if she senses he is about to make a foolish financial decision that will affect their financial security.

For example, a wife may become alarmed when she sees cracks in the ceiling, but her husband may not become alarmed until the roof caves in! It is to a man’s credit to listen to his wife’s early warnings, thereby avoiding greater damages that would certainly occur later on. “A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3).

Manage Your Assets With Wisdom

Once a doctor was puzzled over his wife’s concern about their financial situation. They owned an attractive home, two cars, and several valuable properties. He earned an annual income of more than $100,000. His wife explained the source of her deep concern: her husband made impulsive business decisions, and he resisted her cautions and counsel about financial ventures. The husband’s perspective was this: as long as ample funds are coming in, bad investments are covered. However, his wife was anxious because she realized that one major unwise decision could quickly wipe out all of the assets they owned.

Typically, a wife is not as concerned about the amount of her husband’s income as she is about his management of it. She wants him to be a good provider, and she also wants him to be a good steward.

Affirm Her Worth

When a husband carelessly rejects his wife’s financial cautions, he communicates the following unspoken conclusions:

  • You are not very intelligent.
  • Your judgment is not to be trusted.
  • Your view is not important to me.
  • I do not respect your opinion.
  • You are not capable of understanding this situation.
  • Other people’s ideas are more important than yours are.

Any and all of these messages can damage a wife’s self-image. She may conclude that she is of no value when it comes to financial matters and consequently neglect to fulfill her role as a helpmate in this area.

Act With Wisdom and Discretion

A wife’s support of a business decision does not automatically confirm that it is the right thing to do. There may be times when a husband should not follow the counsel of his wife. For example, any counsel that violates God’s Word is wrong, even if the wife is in favor of it.

This material is adapted from pages 237–238 of the Men’s Manual, Volume II.

For Further Study

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