Excellent does not Equal Perfection Part 2 (A Fresh Perspective on Proverbs 31)

amethyst-1708987_1920Proverbs 31:10-12
10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

I love that the first thing we see here is that an excellent wife is precious and valuable. The value of an excellent wife is far greater than anything else on earth. Jewels and precious metals are of great value, but a wife who is good to her husband is more valuable than the most expensive jewel. God has declared you are precious and valuable. Now, it is time to claim this truth and live in accordance with this truth.
Matthew Henry describes the virtuous woman in this way. He says she is “a woman of resolution, who, having espoused good principles, is firm and steady to them, and will not be frightened with winds and clouds from any part of her duty.”
Being an excellent wife begins with being an excellent woman. It is a natural overflow of someone who is highly resolved to do what is right and does not waver when circumstances present difficulties. This is about daily setting our minds on the truth of God’s Word and letting that overflow into everything we do.
For instance, God tells us to be diligent and work for His glory (Col 3:23). By choosing to work for God’s glory, then loving and serving our husbands is a natural thing to do. God has given us many instructions about working diligently, serving others joyfully, and speaking with wisdom.  If we obey His instructions because we love Him, then we will be hard workers, help others (even when we are exhausted), and offer wisdom when we speak.
The calling of a virtuous woman comes with great responsibility. It is our duty to take care of our husbands. I think at times we have this backward, and spend so much time focusing on where our husbands are not tending to every whim of desire we have, that we forget our role in the relationship. In all that we do we should be encouraging our husbands. As wives, it is our job to provide a respite from the onslaught of the world.
My husband faithfully goes to work every day. While he likes his job, he is under scrutiny all day, every day. He spends 50 hours a week in a high-pressure situation. Imagine doing that day in and day out, and then come home to a hostile, cantankerous wife who criticizes and nags.  For some reason, we women find pleasure in comparing to see who has the worst husband.

We spend so much time comparing our husband to someone else’s husband. This does not bring good to our husband. Rather, it creates tension and resentment. See, we become discontent with our husband because we are so focused on where he is failing us, and then we feed the discontent with disrespectful talk, that is often false and exaggerated. And then we expect him to come home and give us everything we need.

We have needs. However, that is not the point of this article. Maybe I will cover that in another post—how to bring your needs to your husband’s attention.
We are to bring good to our spouse. Always. Every day of his life. This is non-negotiable. To be an excellent wife means we are highly resolved to honor and esteem our husbands, in public and private. When your children see you talk to your husband, or hear you speak about him, are they witnessing you building him up, or do they see you tearing him down? Are you setting an example of respect? Your children will learn a great deal from you by watching how you interact with him. How can they learn to respect their father if they see you always tearing him down? Our words and attitudes have significant influence. Use them wisely.
Another aspect of being an excellent wife is tending to the household. This does not mean you do everything at home unless that is what works best for your family. I know some couples have particular jobs at home they are each responsible for seeing taken care of, and others have a lot more overlap. Either way works if both of you feel balanced.
Ben and I do a lot together around the house. However, I must have things ready for him. If he needs to spend all his available time picking up or running to the store, then nothing will be accomplished. I make sure I have a list ready for him. If I just tell him what needs to be done, he will not remember it, and it goes unfinished. When he is going to mow the lawn, it is my job to make sure it free of toys and branches. When he helps with the laundry, if I have it sorted and ready to go, then he can just throw it in the washer for me. Essentially, I am responsible for making sure all systems are ready to go.

I believe the reason we do so much together is our relationship began as friends. It just naturally went from friendship to dating to marriage. We did a lot together while friends and like to work together now, as friends and husband and wife. The other influencing factor is that when I was pregnant, I was sick and dizzy all nine months. He had to take care of things during my pregnancy, so became very familiar with the ins and outs of running our home.

Find a way that works for you and your husband to tend to things at home. Find what works for the two of you, not what works for your friend and her husband. It is not a competition. If we are going to compete with one another, why not compete to have the strongest marriage relationship? I am not seriously suggesting turning it into a competition, just throwing out a concept.
I think Matthew Henry explains the concept of bringing good to our husband very well. He captures the overall picture well, and also concisely breaks it down into every facet of life.
“He trusts in her conduct, that she will speak in all companies, and act in all affairs, with prudence and discretion, so as not to occasion him either damage or reproach. He trusts in her fidelity to his interests, and that she will never betray his counsels nor have any interest separate from that of his family. When he goes abroad, to attend the concerns of the public, he can confide in her to order all his affairs at home, as well as if he himself were there. She is a good wife that is fit to be trusted, and he is a good husband that will leave it to such a wife to manage for him.
He thinks himself so happy in her that he envies not those who have most of the wealth of this world; he needs it not, he has enough, having such a wife. Happy the couple that have such a satisfaction as this in each other! ”
Being an excellent wife means our husbands trust us with everything. They trust us with their lives! We are told to take care of their kingdom. When we take care of their kingdom, they can be free to rule their kingdom without worry about what is happening. There are so many things requiring their attention every day, and they need our help managing it all. They need our wisdom and advice (this does not mean unsolicited opinions about everything). The need us to cheer them on and encourage them to keep going. They need us to feed them and help them get proper rest. While it is not our job to mother them, it is our responsibility to nurture them. Is your husband being nurtured by you?
We are created to bond with each other. All people are created with a need to bond with someone or something. We see this so clearly in infants and young children, but it gets lost as those little ones grow into teens and adults. We then act like they are babies if they admit they have relationship needs. When all they are doing is looking for a way to meet the relational need.
If you are not meeting the relational needs of your husband, he will find those needs elsewhere. Do you fulfill his relational needs? Are you tending to his kingdom so he can reign effectively? Are you loving and nurturing? Can he tell everyone he has the most amazing wife and is completely fulfilled?
When was the last time you did something special for him because you love and respect him? Do you have sex with your husband on a regular basis?
I know what you are thinking. How can I have sex with him when he doesn’t deserve it? Well, the truth is, he does deserve it. He needs you to be intimate with him. This is part of fulfilling his relational need. Are you bringing good to him in this area? Are you letting him know he is important to you? We feel loved when our husband listens to us. He feels loved when we have sex with him. And, yes, he can tell when you are doing it to oblige him. No, that is not bringing good to him, rather that is reminding him of his failures.
When we said, “I do” at the altar, we made an everlasting promise to love, nurture, and cherish our husbands, until death does us part. We signed the covenant of marriage that means we now live with his best interests in mind, not simply our own.
When we are faithful to love, serve, and respect our husband (in private and public), we give him the strength to face the next day. While our culture does not find great value and worth in being a wife, the truth is that an excellent wife is precious. She is a necessary piece to the functioning of a strong home. Strong homes make strong communities. Strong communities make strong countries.
Your influence impacts the world. Seriously.
I encourage you to spend some uninterrupted time examining your relationship with your husband. In what areas are you bringing him good and can he trust you completely? And where are weaknesses that need to be tended to?
Next, ask your husband for his feedback. Does he feel encouraged and fulfilled by you? Are you meeting his needs? Is there something you are doing that tears him down or wears him out?
Ask God to show you how to love and respect your husband. You husband will notice this change and will be more responsive to you. Others will notice the difference, too. The next time your friends are criticizing their husbands (and maybe it is true what they are saying) say something positive about your man. Remember why you fell in love with him, and look for those traits. Compliment him and thank him for those things, and then brag about him to your friends. Your friends might not like this new approach, but your husband will love you for it.






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