The last post I wrote was one of my hardest to write. It has also become my most popular. I’m still not sure how to feel about that. Anyway, I thought I would piggy-back off of that idea and transition into today’s post. Last time I laid out traits that don’t make for a desirable partner, today I thought it would be good to look at the things you should be looking for.
There is a lot of wisdom to be drawn from the book of Proverbs, some of which we’ll be touching on later. Our primary verse for today comes from chapter 18 verse 22;
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.
Navigating life in the modern world isn’t always as easy as some people think that it is. When everyone around you wants to go in one direction, it can be difficult to take a stand and do that which is contrary to the society we live in today. It is wise to remember the adage ‘be in the world, but not of the world.’
To go back to our previous verse, what is a wife? Would you hold the literalist understanding, and say ‘a wife’ is what a woman becomes when you marry her? Or, could we look into it more philosophically and say that ‘a wife’ is an idea, an embodiment?
He who finds a wife, finds a good think. Meditate on that for a minute. It doesn’t say ‘he who finds someone to hang out with’ or ‘he who finds someone to casually have sex with.’ No one is called to find someone who is ‘fun to be around and that you might want to marry someday because that’s what people do, and why not?’ The divorce rate in this country is already tragically high. Don’t become desperate to settle with anyone just because you’re lonely. There’s no reason to get into a relationship you don’t need to be in. It either won’t last, or you’ll be miserable; Possibly both. You should be making long term plans. Start thinking eternally.
Now, maybe you’ve found someone, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’re the girl in question and you’re wondering if you would be seen as “a wife.” What differentiates ‘the women’ from ‘the wives?’ Good question, if you find a definitive answer let me know. All I can do is offer insight from things I’ve learned over the years, and wisdom gleaned from my bible studies.
If you’ve ever been to a church service around mother’s day, you probably know where I’m going to start. The proverbial Proverbs 31. (See what I did there?) You may have heard men in Christian circles looking for what is called a ‘P31 woman.’ What is that exactly? We’ll start with verse 10.
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
To begin, it’s wise to note the value of a good woman. Tragically many women today are taken for granted and go unappreciated. Boys, it’s time to do better. She’s priceless, act like it.
11-12 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
One of the biggest issues I see with woman today is that they can be hard to trust. The P31 woman doesn’t give her husband cause for concern. He’s confident in her. That she won’t stray. That she’ll do her part. That she’s there, no matter what; For better or worse. Ride or die, as the kids say. (I don’t actually know if kids say that.)
13-19 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions or her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She’s diligent in tending to the needs of her family and those she is responsible for. She works to provide, and ready to handle whatever comes her way. She makes wise decisions, and isn’t frivolous. Her lamp doesn’t go out at night, unlike the foolish women of Matthew 25. She’s prepared.
20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
The way she acts to those less fortunate than her will tell you a lot about her. Does she happily aide those who are in need, or does she look away? Humility is a hard quality to find in people today, both men and women. I don’t want to tip my hand, but one trick I’ve learned over the years is to take a prospective girl out to a restaurant. I know this seems like standard dating faire, but follow me. Most guys want to take a woman to a nice place and try to show off; go the other direction. Take her somewhere lowkey, nothing fancy, simple is what you want. How does she act? Does she complain that it isn’t good enough for her? Does she act upset that you don’t want to spend more money on her? How does she treat the waitstaff? Is she polite, or does she snap her fingers at them and complain about minor inconveniences? Is she satisfied as long as you’re spending time together, or is she looking for something else? Food for thought.
21-24 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
Agin, she makes sure her family is well provided for. And, her virtue reflects positively on her husband. Have you ever met a woman and thought ‘wow, I feel sorry for her husband…’, that’s not what you should be after. As is said in Proverbs 25:24, better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Other men should admire you because, of all people, she chose you. She should work to be the stick to which other wives are measured.
25-26 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
I don’t have a great way to describe a strong and dignified woman. It’s one of those things that when you see it you’ll know. And, to laugh at the days to come? If she’s the virtuous woman she’s called to be, and you’re a righteous man leading and providing as you’re called, what does she have to worry about? She’s fearless. She’s wise. You’re the rock on which the house is built, and she’s the frame holding it all together.
27-29 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
She doesn’t take her family for granted. She does whatever is needed to see that they are cared for. How many parents in today’s world have you seen let screens become their babysitter? How many parents are disinterested in the lives of their children? If you aren’t sure, ask a teacher. Any of them.
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Here’s a big one. Some women will put on a false face and try to be someone they aren’t. Some put all of their worth in their outward appearance. But, when all of that is washed away, what’s left? I went through an old bible recently that was about eighty years old. It wasn’t in great shape. It’s pages were torn and yellowed, the spine damaged. It hadn’t aged well, on the outside. On the inside, it still held the same divine wisdom it always had. As is written in Hebrew 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. How will she age?
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
This is probably the biggest one of all. Honour her. Read, and reread that. Don’t take her for granted. Appreciate every moment you have with her. Praise her. Make sure that she knows how fortunate you are.
What other wisdom can be gleaned to help identify a good wife? Titus 2:5 calls for wives to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive. (Boys go ahead and read verses 6 through 8.) Colossians 3:18 and Ephesians 5 22-24 again reiterate submissiveness. I would clarify that a submissive wife doesn’t exactly mean ‘a woman who always does whatever you say because you said so.’ If that’s what you’re looking for, I wish you the best of luck. You will need it. A submissive wife isn’t a doormat, or a servant. She’s humble, meek, eager to please. She isn’t self-centered or inconsiderate. She follows, not because you’re a man, but because you’re a leader. You have to lead her.
Are there other things that are important? Sure. As I’ve laid out before, I’m a proponent of modest dress and the head-covering movement. I also put a great deal of importance on agreeableness. Sometimes things bother me that others don’t think are a big deal. It’s nice for someone to say ‘That doesn’t bother me, but if it’s important to you, that’s all I need to know.’ There are other things that I care about, but those things are relevant to me. Others don’t always put an emphasis on the things that matter to me, which is fine. You don’t need to look for my Ruth, you need to find your own. I would also urge you to remember there is a difference between a ‘good wife’ and a ‘perfect wife.’ No one is perfect, including you. After you’ve learned to walk on water, then perhaps you can chastise someone for not being “good enough.” Until then, sit down.
When, or if, you do find a good wife, there are some other verses I think you should spend some time meditating on.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Colossians 13:4-7
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. Mark 10:9
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12
Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14
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