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Both the husband and the wife must recognize their blessings and responsibilities in the marriage relationship.
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Can you fathom the shattered heart that Joseph suffered at the news that his young wife-to-be was pregnant outside the boundaries of their relationship? Matthew describes Joseph as being both “a just man and unwilling to put her to shame” in 1:19. Ligon Duncan III suggests that this is precisely why God chose Joseph to serve as the earthly father of Jesus. Joseph’s character remains consistent when the angel of the Lord reveals to him the truth of the virgin conception through the creative act of the Holy Spirit.
As you consider Joseph’s example this Advent season, meditate on which way you lean: do you emphasize what’s right and meter out justice in black and white terms, or are you more inclined to forgive and forget, granting grace indiscriminately?
This entry was posted in Blog, Guest Authors, Missio and tagged Advent, Faith, Featured Essay, grace, Holy Spirit, Joseph, Justice, Kindness, Mary, Righteousness, Theology.
A Godly man must learn quickly how powerful his wife is over him with her charms and tears. The Bible says, "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence:and likewise also the wife unto the husband. Fill your life with these spiritual fruits so that you can sustain a Blessed Married Life  that you have  dreamed of and this happens only through God's Grace! But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine being told by Mary that the baby was the result of an immaculate conception and not the painful result of an adulterous betrayal?[1] What would you have considered as an appropriate response (or fitting revenge)?
He writes, “The character of Joseph, the man God chose for his Son to have for an earthly father, is not only interesting, it is also instructive to us. Without questioning, he obeys the command of the angel by taking Mary as his wife and crowning the baby with the name above all names. Which of these do you think best displays the glory of God and is reflective of His character and attributes?
One day when you are older and your children have started their own families and have moved to another city or state, or when your friends become elderly and pass away, your wife is the one who will still be right at your side. If you will ask any married person why they put up with their spouses’ mistakes and quirks, they will give the same answer regardless of gender. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not the power of his own body, but the wife. I suspect that this not so good news would be a devastating blow to most, if not all, of us. He knows that he cannot ignore Mary’s “adultery”, nor can he allow his own reputation to be called into question unjustly.
We don’t know if he had to deal with questions concerning Mary’s pregnancy and its timing (though it certainly seems he must have), but he was clearly willing to bear the risk.
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.
I also suspect that Mary’s explanation would be met with incredulity and feeling of even greater insult…resulting in a desire to return a wounding stroke. He also laid aside his own fleshly desires and marital rights for the season of the pregnancy in honor of the child in her womb. Even more so, when a wife truly understands that she was presented by the Lord for her husband, she develops wisdom. In sharp contrast to how I suspect most, if not all, of us would respond, Joseph grants us in both his initial and ultimate responses a flesh and blood picture of a man with righteousness and kindness in godly balance.
Joseph, however, loved God and his law, and that love of God touched his heart, causing him to be a kind man. The description also reveals that Joseph is kind and cares for the common good of Mary though (he thinks) she has betrayed him. When God chose a human father for his Son, he chose a man who would be righteous and kind, qualities that reflect God the Father himself.”[3] Joseph, the son of David, proves to be an exemplary man after God’s own heart.

Frederick Buechner’s words are a helpful guide here: “Generally speaking, if you want to know who you really are as distinct from who you like to think you are, keep an eye on where your feet take you.”[4] May our feet take us to the places where we are humbled and shaped into the image of a godly balance of righteousness and kindness! According to the law, he has every right to shame her and expose her transgression publicly, yet, in his kindness, he chooses not to exact his right.[2] He still loves and cares for her though she seems to have betrayed him. His desire for righteousness and justice does not make him cruel; it tenders him granting him the freedom of greater kindness even in the face of great betrayal (as far as he knows).
This word means to assign, to designate, to allocate, orA to intentionally give something to someone. It refers to a calculated decision to show attention, awareness,or consideration to someone else. In this case, it refers to a man purposefully showing attention to and consideration for his wife. Because Peter uses the Greek wordA aponemo (a€?givinga€?), this strongly suggests that the husbanda€™s attention, awareness, and consideration dona€™t occur accidentally. He tells husbands that they are to give honor unto the wife as unto the a€?weaker vessel.a€?A The word a€?weakera€? does not mean inferior or substandard.
This is the Greek word asthenes, which actually carries the idea ofA something that is fragile and of great value, like a priceless, beautiful, hand-painted porcelain vase that must be treated with supreme care.
She is to be given a place of high honor in his life, as if she were a fragile and priceless vessel. When you and your wife approach a door, open the door for her and let her goA through the door first. If you step through the door first and then let the door slamA in your wifea€™s face as she follows behind you, you give her the impression that sheA is of little value to you. When your wife walks up or down the stairs or when she gets in or out of the car,A show enough consideration for her to reach out and take her by the hand and helpA her.
Instead of spending all the extra money on yourself, on your fishing trip, or on yourA personal pleasures, why not sacrifice a few of your own desires and give her thatA extra money to go do something for herself?
When you give her a check or cashA and tell her to go buy something for herself, it will probably shock her! But as sheA realizes that you are making a sacrifice of your own desires to bless her, it will sendA a gigantic signal that you love her and want to bless her.A 4. SheA works hard to be beautiful for you, and it is only right that you acknowledge itA when she looks pretty.
If you have sons, you are also providingA a good example to them of the way they should honor their own future wives.A 6. When you give her time that is completelyA undistracted, it lets her know that you want to be with her. When you are at work, remember to pick up the telephone to call her during the day,A just to let her know you are thinking about her. It doesna€™t take long for you to makeA a quick phone call, but that moment of consideration means a lot to your wifebecause it communicates to her how much you value her. If you always have time to be with everyone else butA never have time with her, you are sending her the message that she is the lowest priorityA in your life.
So take a few minutesA every so often to write a little note or card and leave it for your wife to find. HowA much time and effort does it take for you to pick up an ink pen and a piece of paperA and write two or three sentences of appreciation to your wife?
Ita€™s a small investmentA of time and creativity that speaks volumes to your wife about your love for her.A 10.
Always remember special dates, such as your wifea€™s birthday or your weddingA anniversary. Men tend to forget these things, but these are special memories to aA wife and it means so much to her when these times are celebrated with her husband.A Also, dona€™t forget to buy her a gift for these occasions. If you do any of theseA eleven things, you are sending a wrong signal to your wife, for none of theseA actions will make her feel cherished and treasured by you. Even if she smiles and laughs, trying to shrug off your verbal jabs,A this kind of behavior on your part is deeply hurtful to your wife. If there is a conflict between you, wait until you get homeA where you can talk about it privately, but never make fun of her or put her downA in front of others.

And I must ask you again, do you want her to point outA all your flaws in front of other people?
You would prefer that she speak to you privatelyA about such matters, so show her the same courtesy.A A 3.
Never tell your wife there isna€™t enough money in the budget for her to buy a new outfitA a€” and then turn right around and spend a lot of money on yourself, your fishingA trip, your hobbies, grills, tv's etc.
When she sees you do this, it communicates to her that youA love yourself more than you love her.
When you consistently make time for everyone in your life except yourA wife, you are making a very big mistake.
If needed, cancel something in your scheduleA so you can give attention to this most important relationship in your life.A A 5. Too often men act as if they are racing when they walk,A usually leaving their wives to walk five to fifteen feet behind them. Now, I understandA that you may think your wife walks too slowly, but what is the use of racing in frontA of her if you must then stop, turn around, and wait for her to catch up with you?
ItA takes the same amount of time to get to your destination, whether you walk alongsideA your wife or you walk ahead and then wait for her. She wants to be the one and onlyA woman in your life, so comparing her to other women is not wise and shows greatA disrespect.
Your sexual relationship is a time ofA intimacy that is to be shared only between the two of you. Therefore, when youA make jokes about it or talk about it in front of others, you are humiliating your wifeA and making her feel cheap. This is certainly not a way to cherish her or to treat herA like a treasure!A 8.Never lie to your wife or tell a half-truth to cover your tracks.
If you violate her trust by lying to her and she discovers it,A your act of deception will affect her ability to trust you in the future. It may be difficult for her to hear what you have to say, but at least she will know you are being honest with her.
If she discovers you have been lying to her, this will result in a far greater hurt than if you honestly admit to her what you have done wrong.A 9. Men who consistently forget these twoimportant dates and yet expect their marriage relationship to stay healthy are either ignorant or stupid. As noted earlier, the word a€?givea€? describesA a calculated decision to show attention, awareness, or consideration to someone else. This pictures a purposeful and premeditated action by a husband to intentionally showattention and demonstrate consideration for his wife.A If these kinds of thoughtful acts dona€™t come naturally to you, ita€™s time for you to learn how to doA them. The truth is that you showA kindness and consideration to other people, so youA can do the same for your wife as well. After you talk to the Lord,A it is also important that you humble yourself and ask your wife to forgive you as well. Let the Holy Spirit teach you, correct you, and show you how to becomeA more sensitive to the woman you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. I accept responsibilityA for the role I have played in wounding her and making her feel unimportant. As I follow Your leading in this area, please heal my wifea€™s heart andA bring tenderness back into our relationship once more. I accept Your challenge to purposefullyA show the honor, attention, respect, and tenderness she deserves. My wife feels loved, respected, esteemed, andA special because I do the things that communicate value to her. When is the last time you did something really extra special for your wife toA show her how much you love and care for her?A 2. Have you been guilty of jesting about your wife in front of others or of puttingA her down in front of the children?

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