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Boys, Bragging, and Brides

July 5, 2012

By Andrew Case

Men like to brag, but why don’t they brag about their wives more?

I’ve heard men brag about sports they play or sports they watch. I’ve heard them praise the teams they love. They praise cars and scars. Sometimes they even boast about the girl they’re dating. But when it comes to their wives I notice a strange silence.

I don’t doubt that most Christian men sincerely value their wives, and esteem them deeply. I hope so. But the struggle Christians (in general) face daily, whether we realize it or not, is this: to praise what we prize most. For some reason we spend a lot of time in many small conversations praising what we prize little. We have a thousand micro-interactions, praising movies and music, TV shows and parks, weather and games, youtube videos and books. We “like” many things on Facebook. These little conversations accumulate to the point of dominating most of our time and energy.

But if someone asked us, What do you value supremely? We would say, without hesitation, “Jesus Christ.” So why don’t we spend much time spontaneously recommending and praising Him to others?  Why don’t we brag about Him?

This is one of ways you know that you are a sinner: when you fail to brag about what is supremely worth bragging about in the universe.

Most Christian men value their wives as their supreme earthly blessing. Right after Jesus Christ, husbands love their wives most, and rightly so. That’s why they married them. But the problem is similar—in my experience, husbands rarely brag about their wives.

There are many reasons for this, but there are two main roots. The first is lack of intentionality.  Christians must live, speak, and act intentionally for the glory of Christ and the honor of marriage, or they will stay in the rut of the world. The second root is: taking their wives for granted. Christians do the same with God all the time. We tend to assume that Christ is the supreme value, so we don’t talk about Him too much. Likewise, husbands get together and assume that everyone loves, cherishes, and prizes their wife. So they skip talking about that and focus on the “exciting” events at work.

You praise what you love. And you don’t just direct it to the object of your love. The wife in the Song of Songs gives a good example of this. The “Others” ask her, “What is your beloved more than another beloved, O most beautiful among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you thus adjure us?” (5:9).

She brags hard, My beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand. His head is the finest gold; his locks are wavy, black as a raven. His eyes are like doves beside streams of water, bathed in milk, sitting beside a full pool. His cheeks are like beds of spices, mounds of sweet-smelling herbs. His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh. His arms are rods of gold, set with jewels. His body is polished ivory, bedecked with sapphires. His legs are alabaster columns, set on bases of gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. (Song 5:10-16)

The husband also brags a bit.

As a lily among brambles, so is my love among the young women (Songs 2:2).

My dove, my perfect one, is the only one, the only one of her mother, pure to her who bore her. The young women saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines also, and they praised her. “Who is this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?” (Songs 6:9-10)

When is the last time you spoke words like that to others about your spouse? I’m speaking to men here, but the example of the wife in the Song is striking. She waxes eloquent about his body to this group of people.  She doesn’t just say, “He’s a hunk”; she elaborates. May God give us the grace to be husbands who are praiseworthy like this, both physically and spiritually, and who lead by praiseworthy praise.

There is a time for everything, including bragging about your wife. My prayer is that God would grant us wisdom as we seek to deliberately acclaim what we admire most both on earth and in heaven.

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