Monday, October 15, 2012

Proverbs 31:10-12 Stand By Your Man

   Thanks again for joining me on this slow exploration of Proverbs 31. The rest of this month should feel a lot more relevant to us ladies, to those of us craving to be intentional, spiritually meaningful wives and homemakers. It's kind of like the long awaited cheese and dessert buffet when all you've eaten for hours is a rice cake and some limp celery.

   No offense to the first nine verses; they are important in their own way. But now that we have context and voice nailed down we can really start having some fun.

   Real quick, do you ever do this: Do you ever feel super guilty for referring to a Bible passage like this, "Oh now that's a good one!" As if to imply the rest are not so hot? I digress, but it's a thinker.


   Proverbs 31: 10-12

"Who can find a virtuous woman?
for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,
so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

   Beautiful and complex.

   Even without all of the supporting instruction that follows, these three verses pretty much summarize the importance and purpose of a good wife. She is priceless. Her husband's heart trusts safely in her. I love that, the notion that his heart trusts in her, his innermost self, his unspoken core. That's powerful. For her entire life, she only helps him; she never brings him harm. Everybody needs someone that devoted, right? Apparently, men especially need this. And women are well suited for the job.

   These qualities probably seem easy enough to possess as a newlywed bride, or at any time in life that the swells of romance are cresting high and frothy. It's easy and fun to strive for excellence at those times. Because it just feels so darn good.

Our first kiss as a married couple, 2001.

   I love taking excellent care of my husband when we have been trading lots of love notes and such. I am long on inspiration of how to spoil him when we are clicking along in sync with each other, feeding greedily off of the sugary, if shallow, nourishment of romance.

   But since all relationships have fluctuating glamour, since every marriage has its challenges, we will eventually reach a point where it is not so easy to lavish each other with goodness. That doesn't mean we're off the hook!

   Personally, I must learn to be just as devoted and trustworthy to Handsome when I am feeling insecure and afraid as when that lovely swell of romance is carrying me easily above our problems. He doesn't need my devotion any less just because I am feeling un-spectacular.

   Virtuous. This could encompass so much about the woman's character, and perhaps it varies from person to person. But I think it's worth noticing that virtue is mentioned ahead of beauty.

   No need of spoil. What does this mean to you? To me it conjures up ideas of living within our means, financially. A husband whose wife overspends their resources will eventually find himself in need of spoil, in need of finding money somewhere to cover the gap. But a man who trusts safely in his wife knows that she will not abuse their cash or credit cards, for example.

   Or perhaps it has to do with fidelity and loyalty. What do you think?

   She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. I mean, that sounds simple and obvious. It should be. But back to the less enchanted times... How much effort does it take for a wife to do her husband good when she disagrees with his decisions? Or when he makes a mistake or outright hurts her? This verse doesn't offer the comfy caveat that a desirable, priceless wife is only meant to do good to her husband when it is easy to do so; rather, it says that she is always good to him. She is always his supporter and his ally.

   Moreover, she does good to him. That to me is an active suggestion. She isn't just waiting around being reactive, as is so natural for women to do. She is actively helping him, finding on her own ways to bless him and support him, all the days of her life. It doesn't end when the honeymoon is over. And it doesn't end when the children leave the nest. And it doesn't end when you both retire or have mid life crises or whatever, or when one of you is sick. The direction to love and help and do good only evolves with time, with our changing needs.

   Is anybody else resisting the urge to sing Stand By Your Man?

   Twang away, ladies. Just twang away.

   I definitely realize some of you are rolling your eyes and maybe even flipping me off right now. Relax. It's just a song.

   The thing is, wherever you fall in the broad spectrum of modern feminism, these Bible verses clearly state that a husband thrives with the support and love of his wife. How could he not? This is not useless, meaningless stuff. This is how we were created. This is how we are designed to complement each other in marriage.

   At least that's how I see it.

   Give him two arms to cling to.

   Be proud of him.

   Stand by him, and not just when it's easy.

   Be priceless.



  1. Hello there you priceless person, I'm so glad you're blogging this journey. And, I think it's perfectly find to claim "better" or "not so relevant" to various passages. Some of the Bible, I believe, is just a really good historical the Law in the OT. But, Proverbs? Song of Solomon? Beautiful! Relevant! .... Priceless! ~ RDK

  2. As someone who has not always been virtuous, it feels so good to finally be in a relationship where virtuousness does play a part. Not always good at the "do good" part. Still learning to hold my tongue sometimes. But I am standing by my man and loving every minute of it!!

  3. That is some amazing hair in that video. Almost as amazing as your analysis. It's the simple things, really, the looking outward and away from ourselves and seeking to do good. It's not un-feminist to see this and do it. What person wouldn't thrive when goodness is poured out on them? What person wouldn't love back, and fiercely, in the face of unflinching devotion? It doesn't mean constant goo-goo eyes and acquiescence at all. It means the intelligent, active love you have so beautifully described.
    And fabulous hair. Always fabulous hair.


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