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franklin county times

Being a Proverbs 31 wife

Community Columnist, Teri Lynne Underwood
Community Columnist, Teri Lynne Underwood

All of the description in Proverbs 31:10-31 is rooted in one relationship—marriage. This infamous passage begins, “An excellent wife, who can find?”   Those of you who are unmarried, do not despair, there is much for you in these verses as well. But for those who are, we need to realize that God himself places marriage at the top of the earthly relationship pyramid. It was the first relationship He created and it is the picture He uses most often to describe His relationship with the Church. Marriage is of the highest significance to the Lord.
How do we learn to give our marriage the priority it demands?  In these verses I notice four traits of the virtuous wife.

First, she understands her value.  “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies,” Proverbs 31:10.

The King James Version calls her “virtuous,” which signifies a strength or moral courage. Interestingly, there is only one wife in the Old Testament who is afforded this description: Ruth. Boaz tells her that he and the townspeople of Bethlehem recognize her “noble character” (Ruth 3:11). Of all the wives mentioned throughout scripture, only one is offered as an example of this excellence. Clearly, it is rare.

Second, she helps her husband. “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value,” Proverbs 31:11

For two years I wrote the drama for our Christmas program at our church. This task did not fall to me because I am a burgeoning screenwriter who can pull emotional strings like Nicholas Sparks or Karen Kingsbury. In fact, it is one of my least favorite types of writing to do. I wrote these character-driven, dialog-needing plays because my husband was the Worship Pastor and he asked me to help.

The writer of Proverbs 31 does not list specific ways Mrs. P31 helped Mr. P31, we just see that she added value to his life. He had confidence in her undoubtedly because she had proven herself capable and trustworthy. Does your husband know that you will help him in whatever ways he asks? Or is he likely not to ask because he has heard your constant bemoaning about how busy you are? Maybe he does not ask for your help anymore because his questions have been met with, “No,” so many times before.

Third, she benefits her husband. “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life,”  Proverbs 31:12

Brings is transliterated here as “gamal,” meaning “to do, perform, accomplish.”

ACTION! Doing, accomplishing. We must be purposing to bring good to our husbands’ lives. Intentionally choosing to do those things that will bless him. Bringing him good is not just about those “big” things we do, it is more about making daily choices to choose those actions that are pleasing to our husbands.

Fourth, she honors her husband. “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land,” Proverbs 31:23

Respecting our husbands, honoring them. Seems like I’ve heard that idea somewhere before. Oh yes, another familiar passage, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord,” (Ephesians 5:22). Many a pastor has explained that our husbands need our respect. Shaunti Feldhahn, in her excellent book, For Women Only, offers, “If a man feels disrespected, he is going to feel unloved.” If we want our husbands to understand our love for them, they must also sense our respect. Mr. Proverbs 31 was able to sit as a respected leader in his community because his wife treated him with respect as well. If you doubt the relationship between respect at home and respect in the community, think about sayings like, “We know who wears the pants in that family.”  Is that man really being respected anywhere?

Mrs. P31 placed value on respecting her husband, honoring him, and the result of that is his ability to lead in the community. Should we be doing anything less?

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