Two Kinds of Husband Whisperers

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Do you use the influence you have with your husband to manipulate him or to encourage him in the truth?

Your words have power over the men in your life. I can prove it with the stories of two very different kinds of husband whisperers.

Wife #1: Potiphar’s wife

The story of Potiphar’s wife doesn’t take up much space in the Bible but she only needed a few words to assert her influence and cause a ruckus. Here’s the back story. Potiphar’s wife had her eye on Joseph, the man her husband had put in charge of the household. She tried repeatedly to seduce him, but Joseph resisted and responded with integrity. This didn’t sit well with Potiphar’s wife so she told her husband,

“The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to laugh at me. But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house.” (Gen. 39:17-18)

Potiphar’s wife was accusatory (“The Hebrew servant, whom you brought among us . . .”), deceitful, and self-serving. What’s more, she clearly didn’t mind stirring up a little trouble. She strikes me as the kind of woman who loves drama and tends to create more and more of it to stay in the thick of things. She also disregarded the value of integrity, choosing instead to lie and manipulate for personal gain. 

Clearly, this is the story of a wife who knew how to push her man’s buttons to get a rise. Genesis 29:19 tells us that Potiphar’s “anger was kindled,” and as a result, Joseph was wrongfully imprisoned.

Potiphar’s wife knew her words had the power to motivate her husband to act. She used that power to cover her own sins, avoid embarrassment, and take out whoever got in her way.

Wife #2: Pilate’s wife

We know even less about Pilate’s wife than we do about Potiphar’s, but her story is confirmation of the power of a woman’s words.

Matthew 27:19 says, “Besides, when [Pilate] was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, ‘Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.’”

Just like Potiphar’s wife, this woman was married to a man of influence. And just like Potiphar’s wife, she knew when she spoke her husband would respond, but she used her influence differently.

Potiphar’s wife spoke lies; Pilate’s wife spoke the truth. Potiphar’s wife used her words to encourage her husband to make poor, uninformed choices; Pilate’s wife used her influence to encourage her man to do the right thing. Unlike Potiphar’s wife, Pilate’s wife did not create unnecessary drama, but she also did not shirk away from a real challenge. Pilate’s wife’s allegiance was to justice. Potiphar’s wife’s thought only of herself.

There are many lessons to be learned from the lives of these two husband whisperers. Perhaps most importantly they encourage us to ask, “What kind of husband whisperer am I?”

Are you more like Potiphar’s wife?

  • Do you stir up trouble unnecessarily?
  • Do you lie or exaggerate for personal gain?
  • Are you quick to accuse and slow to accept responsibility?

Or are you more like Pilate’s wife?

  • You use your words to encourage your husband to do what is right?
  • You ask yourself “Is this righteous?” before you speak?
  • You partner with your husband to make the best decisions for everyone instead of manipulating for personal gain.

Your words have power, friend! Whether your husband is a Potiphar, a Pilate, or Joe Schmo, he’s listening to what you whisper in his ear. How will you use your power to sway?

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