Husbands…Set Her Free
Picture an imaginary scene from the life of Michelangelo. A group of community leaders has commissioned Michelangelo to sculpt a statue for the town square. Michelangelo accepted the commission and now wanders through a quarry to choose a block of stone from which to sculpt the commissioned statue. He slowly walks past various stones, peering carefully at each one…first from one side, then the other. The quarry master quietly follows close behind. He knows each block of stone by weight and shape—this oblong one is 25 pounds, this square one just under 50. He wonders what goes through the mind of an artist like Michelangelo. Hesitantly, he asks, “Can I help you find something in particular?” Michelangelo, continuing to stare at one particular stone, replies in a distant voice, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Together, they continue to roam through the quarry. Finally, Michelangelo picks a block of marble. To the quarry master it appears to be an oddly shaped block of fair quality. He gives Michelangelo a deal, thinking about the publicity a statue made by Michelangelo from a stone purchased at his quarry will bring. He even has the marble block transported to the town square, where Michelangelo will complete a sculpture of his choice (the mayor has given him “artistic license”). Michelangelo begins his work. He chips and chisels, carves, sands, and smooths. Hours turn into days and days turn into weeks before Michelangelo steps back to reveal a beautifully sculpted angel. The quarry master, who had stayed nearby to see what Michelangelo would do with the block of marble, stares in unbelief to see the beautiful angel standing where he had placed an oddly shaped block of marble. He looked at the statue and then turned to Michelangelo. “How did you know? How did you make that block of marble into such a beautiful angel?” Michelangelo looked at the quarry master and replied, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
I don’t know if an event like this ever happened; in fact, I rather doubt it. I do know that Michelangelo is credited with the two quotes noted above… and those quotes have significance when it comes to our wives. In our marriage, God has called us to see the “angel” in our wife and set her free! You may think I’m crazy, but Solomon, the wisest scholar in the Bible, records a similar truth in his love story, The Song of Songs. He opens his story by introducing us to a woman filled with self-doubt, a woman who sees herself as ugly and unworthy. I imagine her self-deprecating tone as she tells those around her, “Do not stare at me…because I am darkened by the sun. …My own vineyards I had to neglect.” But she has an admirer, a young man who sees the angel in the darkened skin, sun-streaked hair, and calloused hands of this working woman. He turns to her and says, “How beautiful you are my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.” He even describes her as a “lily among thorns is my darling among the young women.” In response to his admiration, her “angel” comes forth. The young woman begins to accept her own beauty and calls herself a “rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley.” While she saw as a sun-darkened, hard-working calloused body, her admirer saw an “angel.” He recognized the “angel” within her and called her out. In response to his spoken admiration (“how beautiful you are my darling”), she gained confidence. In response to the value he placed on her (“as a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women”), she saw herself as valuable. He had seen the angel within her and set her free! The first step in growing more intimate with your wife is to see the “angel” within her, those attributes that makes her a “lily among thorns” in your eyes.
In another book, Solomon tells us that “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband” (Proverbs 12:4) and “her worth is far above jewels” (Proverbs 31:10). “An excellent wife” is a good way to describe the angel in your wife, the virtue and strength of character she possesses. When Solomon speaks of a “crown,” he is not speaking of a king’s crown. A crown is a sign of honor, joy, and gladness. He is saying your wife is your honor, your joy, and your gladness. Take a moment right now and think about your wife. Consider her excellence as well as the honor and joy she brings into your life. To help you think about these things, consider these questions:
- What qualities first attracted you to your wife?
- What are your wife’s strengths?
- What are your wife’s best character traits?
- How does your wife bring you honor?
- What do you admire about your wife?
- If your wife were to suddenly disappear for some reason, what would be missing in your life? Your home? Your family?
- How does your wife make your life better?
- How does your wife bless your family? Benefit your family? Make your family life better?
Thank God for your wife, this “excellent woman” who is a “crown” of great worth.