Ladies, most of us are pretty familiar with Proverbs 31, right? Many times we look at that and see an unattainable vision of wifely perfection, a person that we will never be, so we give up on it altogether…
I challenge you to take a new look at Proverbs 31, a little chunk at a time. Consider this part, beginning in verse 10, quoted here from The Message:
“A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.”
(Did you like the upgrade from rubies to diamonds?) : ) It’s true that a good woman is hard to find these days, especially with many of us growing up without anyone to show us what real love and respect looks and feels like in a marriage. So when a godly man finds a woman who truly is good to him, you better believe he thinks she’s the most valuable thing around. He reciprocates by treating her like the princess she is.
I can hear you now…Seriously, Krysten? You’re talkin’ fairy tales here…
No, ladies, I am not. We all want a man that feels that way toward us, and some of us are even blessed enough to have it. But those of us who have it know that it’s not because we’re lucky. It’s because we’ve purposed ourselves to take actions that help make sure the rest of the verses above are true of us. Think about your relationship. Can your husband trust you without reserve? Can he trust you not to frivilously overspend money and wreck the family budget or to not talk about intimate details of your love life with your mother (um, yeah..that’s not appropriate) or to pray for him on a daily basis or to encourage him in his passions? Believe me, I don’t hit all those marks perfectly either, but they are always in my sights. Does he ever have a reason to regret placing his trust in you? Have you betrayed his confidence or mocked one of his pursuits in front of your friends? Have you emasculated him with your words in an ettempt to prove how much better/smarter/more efficient at handling things you really are? Hits hard sometimes, doesn’t it?
Let’s look at the rest of those verses…Are you spiteful toward your husband or do you treat him generously? Do you live on the quid pro quo system where you never do anything special for him unless he’s done something good for you? Are you withholding yourself from him physically because he didn’t put his dishes in the dishwasher last night for the 100th time? It’s time to rethink your motives and your approach.
Life isn’t perfect, and husbands and wives certainly aren’t either. We all fail each other in a thousand little ways…all I am saying is that it should be our goal not to. Your husband is THE most important person in your life, second only to Jesus Himself. That’s right…your husband comes right after God and right before your kids. That’s before your kids. Many of you won’t agree with me or just can’t accept that for some reason. But think about it…what good is it to raise a child that can put away their toys and socks in an orderly manner, say please and thank you, read above grade-level, and perform well in several sports, if they grow up to live in dysfunctional, unloving relationships because they never saw one that worked?? What would you rather have for your child…the ability to be a good task-manager, or the ability to love and be loved well? The best way you can teach your kids to love is to be an example of unselfish, sacrificial love. And God has created marriage with that purpose in mind…for us to learn how to love and sacrificially serve another human being. Have you ever thought that marriages are meant to last a lifetime because it may very well take that long to become good at being a sacrificial, loving person? Just a thought.
How beautiful that God gives us infinite opportunites to serve, love, fail, forgive, and try again right along side another person we’ve promised to share this whole thing called life with! So ladies, take a moment to contemplate the verses above. Not so you can start to beat yourself up all over again for falling short of this ideal, but rather to look at these as targets to keep in your sights on a daily basis. Choose one that you’ve had difficulty with and focus on it. For example, I struggle to be generous with Todd sometimes, specifically with my time. I have a lot of things I want to do (including write!) and when we are actually home together I know that my time would be best spent hanging out with him and talking face-to-face, asking how work is going for him, encouraging him in his newest pursuits, doing little things to show my love for him etc… (and by the way, in that same time he’s doing all those same things for me!) But usually I find myself rushing off to work extra early in the morning instead of making him a little breakfast snack, reading countless books instead of engaging him in great conversation, and leaving giant piles of unfolded laundry around while I write, rather than taking 20 minutes to put everything away properly just because I know how he enjoys an uncluttered environment. I’m definitely not perfect at it, but I’m getting better. Realizing (maybe even admitting?) there’s something to work on is the first big step. Then taking a little measure toward the goal is one more step. .
After all, isn’t it worth it? Isn’t your man worth it? Isn’t your marriage worth it? Even if (and especially when!) it costs me a few minutes of my precious, hurried time, I want to treat my husband generously all my life long so he knows that he is most definitely worth it.