“I married up.”

“I out-kicked my coverage.”

“I don’t deserve her.”

“I don’t know why she said yes, but I’m glad she did.”

As long as I can remember I’ve heard men praise their wives in this way. I’ve even had the old standby joke made about me and my wife, “Well she’s got her hands full raising four little kids and one big kid!”

Add to that Archie Bunker, Homer Simpson, and every husband and father in every commercial being depicted as a bumbling idiot who needs constant bailing out by his wife and you might start to notice a pattern.

I’m sure for a lot of people it’s all in good fun… but have you stopped to consider how weird all of this is?


The husband is the head of the household (Ephesians 5:23). He answers to God for the souls of his wife and children (Genesis 3:9). He is to protect, provide for, and shepherd his family.

Are we sure that such a weighty role should be reduced to the butt of constant joking and self-deprecation?

If you’re still not convinced something is off about this “humor,” try to explain why it doesn’t ever go the other way. How weird would it be for a woman to tell everybody that her husband is so much better than her?

“He’s way out of my league.”

“I’m just lucky he keeps me around.”

“Yeah, he’s got his hands full raising our kids AND me!”

Pretty strange, right? As it should be. A wife’s worth is far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10), and her family should praise her (31:28-29). She’s far too important to be downplayed and mocked like this. 

And, so is the husband.

This doesn’t mean men shouldn’t praise their wives. I happened to post a short tribute to my wife on Facebook just the other day, actually.

Still, one does not have to tear one thing down to build another up. Not everything has to be a comparison or a zero sum game. Wouldn’t it have been strange if Scottie Pippen spent his entire career talking about how he wasn’t worthy of being Michael Jordan’s teammate? Wouldn’t it be weird if your boss at work constantly told everyone you’re better than him and deserve his job? It’s just not a good way to offer praise. 

Rather, the Bible verses mentioned above show us what good praise looks like. Lemuel did not have to say “I stink” to say a good woman is above rubies. Besides, praise from someone who is clearly your inferior holds almost zero worth. Honor from another honorable person, however, is invaluable.

“But,” some might be thinking, “what if it’s true? What if she is obviously better than me?”

If that’s the case, fix it.


You’re the leader of the household. You should be driving the spiritual life. You should be setting the tone and leading both by example and instruction. You should be striving to be somebody worthy of the submission to which God has called your wife and kids. 

She’s supposed to be your helpmeet, not the other way around. Determine that you will not be the sidekick, dragged through the relationship by a wife who works harder, is more virtuous, and is being what you’ve been called to be. You simply cannot be lazy, selfish, passive, incompetent, and/or childish. 

Wives, whether your husband is doing his part or not, you owe him submission and honor because that’s what God requires of you (Ephesians 5:22, 33; 1 Peter 3:1-6). However, if he is striving to do those things he is worthy of extra honor. Appreciate what you have, and let your man know you notice his efforts. Do not jump in with the kind of humor that tears him down and puts him under your feet for a cheap laugh. 

Too often men are saddled with all of the responsibility of their role and none of the honor. Determine that that will never be true of your household. Teach your sons that honorable, godly men is what they should strive to be, and teach your daughters to show that kind of honor both in the present and as practice for their future husbands.

Words matter. Seemingly innocent words that carry a negative, incorrect message matter. For far too long silly, careless words about husbands and fathers have taught us to downplay the vital importance of their role and adopt a tone of casual disrespect. There’s no reason to believe God finds it funny, and neither should we.