Tag Archives: Marriage

Proverbs 31 Woman“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” {Proverbs 31:11-12}

Today is the second installment of my study of “The Proverbs 31 Woman” (read last week’s post here if you missed it).

I love the beauty of the picture of the heart of the husband trusting his wife. It’s so much deeper than just “he trusts her.” His heart trusts her. It is a deep, almost ingrained trust, something that is not gained lightly.

I have to admit my heart jumped a little bit when I read these verses. I kind of didn’t want to ask myself whether this was true of my relationship with my husband. I know I am trustworthy, but have I proven to my husband that I am a safe place for his heart, that he can entrust his life, his world, into my hands? Does he run to me when he is in need of security, when his heart is troubled? Have I cultivated that kind of trust in our relationship?

I think this question ties directly to the next verse, which says that she does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. In order for my husband’s heart to trust me, he must know that I intend only good for him, for the rest of our lives. There should be no question in his mind that I will ever intend to harm him. 

Everything I do should communicate to him that my intentions are always for his good. Yes, we will fight, we will go through ups and downs, I will be grumpy and mean and selfish, but my main goal as a wife is to do him good, and never to harm him.

The rest of the verses in Proverbs 31 hash out how to gain this trust from my husband. How will my husband know he can trust me? How will he know I will do good to him? By my actions. In my day-to-day activities, the way I work, the way I run our house, the way I raise our children, I am showing my husband that his heart can trust me. I am saying to him, “I am a safe place. Our home is a safe place.”

Read the full text of Proverbs 31 here.  

 W

 


Proverbs 31 Woman“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” {Proverbs 31:10}

If you’re a churchgoer, you probably know the phrase “Proverbs 31 woman.” In fact, you probably have a fairly distinct reaction to it. You might think, “Ah yes, the Proverbs 31 woman. What a wonderful depiction of what we as wives and mothers should strive toward.” Or you could be thinking, “Oh gosh, not the Proverbs 31 woman. What a terrible and unnecessary weight of responsibility this has placed on the shoulders of so many poor wives and mothers!”

As with many Bible passages, I think Proverbs 31 has done great good and great harm to women in the hands of Christians. It has been held up as an ideal, and anytime we hold something up as an ideal, we risk turning it into an idol. We risk turning an encouragement into a burden. 

However, as with all Bible passages, no matter how it has been mishandled or misinterpreted, it is the word of God, it is meant for our benefit and it is true.  

I read through it this morning and was struck by how exhaustive the description of the so-called Proverbs 31 woman is. Each verse strikes a new chord, hits on another aspect of what the writer considers to be an excellent wife. I know passages like this can be abused, but when I read it I am, above all else, convicted.

It begins with this: 

“An excellent wife who can find?” So right off the bat we know that a woman with the following qualities is rare. While this is something we should strive for, it’s not something that is easy to attain. Let’s face it, it’s not easy being a good wife. I would never even begin to describe myself as an excellent wife. I don’t know anyone who would.  

“She is far more precious than jewels.” Not as precious as jewels, not just a little bit more precious than jewels. Far more precious than jewels. It is not just the rarity of jewels that makes them precious; it is also their inherent qualities, their beauty. She possesses the attributes that every husband seeks, makes him richer than any jewels would.

So what do we do with this? Do we scoff and say “Well that’s unfair. This standard is preposterous, how can anyone expect to live up to this?” Or do we write each of the following qualities on our to-do list, slowly and methodically checking them off as we spend all of our time and energy attempting to live up to this lofty ideal?

I don’t think either of these options is wise. I do, however, think it is wise to consider the verses that follow this first verse, to dig into what they mean and to see how they apply to our lives.

So that’s what I’m going to do, over the next several weeks, on the blog. I’m going to go through this passage bit by bit and see what I find. Hopefully you’ll resonate with some of my findings and even dig up some wisdom for your own life. I’m excited to see where this leads us. 

W

 

 


Image via FlickrI hear a lot of talk, and read a lot of blog posts and articles, about how hard it is to be a parent. Heck, every other blog post of mine is about that. But one thing I feel like isn’t mentioned often is how hard marriage gets when you have children.

Marriage before children is hard. There are bills to pay, houses to keep up, stressful jobs, in-laws, moves, financial hardships. My first couple years of marriage were spent a thousand miles from home in a foreign land (okay, it was Massachusetts, but it felt like another country) while one of us was in school and the other was working a job she hated and then getting pregnant (that was me). We had money issues from the beginning, and we’ve always been “fighters,” so it was never purely sunshine and roses for us. But still, we had our freedom, we could go on dates, take trips and sleep in.

Then we had a kid.

Everyone told us it would be hard, but so worth it because we would be so in love with this little new life that none of the hard stuff would matter. And that was true, about the parenting part.

The marriage part? Well, all of that crap we had brought into our marriage was still there. Wait, you’re telling me I have this baby to take care of around the clock, and I still have to find ways to be loving toward my spouse, to spend time with them, to get along with them and work through issues with them?

Issues. Let’s talk about issues. Remember how when you got married, all of these issues came up that you never even knew were issues? How you dealt with finances, how you related to family, how you handled emotions, how you arranged your pillows at night? Well, guess what. Bringing another life into the world brings up a whole new host of issues. Who gets up in the middle of the night? Who wakes up with the baby in the morning and who gets to sleep in? How late is too late to come home from work when the other spouse is drowning in diapers and baby food? WHOSE LIFE IS HARDER? (I’m convinced this is one of the great mysteries of life, one that will forever be disputed. “I have to come home from my job every day and go straight into my other job of being a parent!” “Well I never get to leave my job! Ever!” And so on and so forth).

I’m a firm believer in premarital counseling. But since having children I’ve decided that what we really needed was pre-parental counseling. No one ever sits you down and asks you if you’re really ready to add another life into your marriage relationship. In fact, from the second you get married, all anyone ever wants to know is when you’re going to start having kids. No one asked me if I felt like my relationship with Marshall was in a good place to start a family. People talk about being financially ready to have kids, and while that’s important, I think it’s much more important for your marriage to be strong enough to handle everything that comes along with becoming parents.

So if you’re thinking about having children, I’m not saying you need to go see a counselor (though I’m not saying you shouldn’t), but I do think it’s wise to take stock of your marital relationship and whether its ready for such a monumental change. If you have children, it’s never too late to start better tending to your marriage. It’s easy to say “We’ll deal with it later, I’m too tired right now.” Don’t do that. Talk to your spouse. Go on a date. Learn how to enjoy one another even when your children are going crazy. Let your spouse sleep in. One of the best gifts we can give our children is a happy home, which starts with a happy marriage. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

 W