This is the most controversial topic to date and I want to make sure that there is clear understanding about it. The directives of wisdom and moral purity that are structured by a Holy God are not always the values of a country, people or even culture. We have become a nation of singularity. We all have “individual rights” and “micro-agression” is now seen even in chalk writings on a sidewalk. Really????? What a tragedy that we have gone this far in our daily lives. Are we not bigger than that and can we not deal with and relate to issues in a more adult and mature way? It has gone beyond what is normal, reasonable and acceptable. Only by seeing, listening and comparing ourselves to the ultimate standards do we realize how far we have strayed. There are incredibly good things about America and her people. World leadership in so many areas: charity, protection, integrity and moral values. Yet, we have gone so far from our original founding intent that it is sad. In this time of discontent in our country, we resemble so many great civilizations of the past. We are being destroyed from within. Every principle we value is and has been under attack. Our leadership is no longer one of thoughtful, wise direction and intent. We are very much a nation of malcontents not realizing what God has given us over time. So, having said that I will open the door for discussion of a married women from the Proverbs point of view. Obviously, a married woman is in a relationship with a man and that relationship is co-dependent. She and he are one, therefore, she would be enabled or disabled by her partner and it is important to start with that premise.
REMINDER: As I have said in the past there is a line from Proverbs to New Testament scripture and back. That same line can go from Old Testament scripture to Old Testament scripture as well. It is valuable to always keep that in mind and know that there is continuity from beginning to end and back within the Bible. Proverbs 10:31 pointed me to Ephesians 5:25-29 and then back to Proverbs 10:31.
Ephesians 5: 25-29 “Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word in order to present her to himself as as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way husbands, ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife is loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it just as Christ does the church.”
This verse completely change my life. I have discussed in some past posts the difficulty our marriage went through. Married at 17, father at 18 and up and down relationship on the edge of divorce at any moment for years. However, when I became a Christian and started my sojourn with Christ these verses were presented to me and I could not hide from them. At that point we had been married for 5 years and our relationship was in a word awful. Both of us were unhappy, but hanging in there by a thread with our 2 children. It was difficult every day and every moment. we just did not have the storybook or fairy tale marriage. When I began to think this verse through it had the WOW! factor impact for me. For so long I had seen our marriage as two single people who were connected for a couple of reasons: procreation, habitation, etc. Yet I also saw us as two separate individuals at almost all other times. I was so focused on my misery and her failure to make me happy that I did not realize it was totally ME who had was creating this situation. I did not even have a clue that my words, actions and thought processes were driving her behavior; until I read this verse. The impact for me was that Christ had sacrificed everything for the church. In this brilliant allegory He loved the church (you and I ) so much that he died for her (You/I). What greater sacrifice could He make? I began to see my spouse differently and to think about her needs, desires and wants. It became less about me and more about her. And…guess what I found out? The more I focused on her needs, desires and wants the more it drew her to me. She became the woman that I originally thought she could be and wanted her to be. It was amazing! However, it was not change overnight and it was not easy. It was the most difficult thing to do. I had been so bad to her and thoughtless for years, that when I did have this heart change she had trouble believing it. Frankly, she had every right to perceive it that way, because I was not a great husband and a big manipulator in order to get my way, especially with her. So there are a couple of points here. First, we as men have to really have a heart change to love our wives correctly. Next, we have to practice what we preach. Finally, we have to be committed to it. It is not something where we toss out a kind word now and then. We have to live it day to day and work inside the honor and respect that a man is to show for his wife. I can tell you the results are astounding when you put a relationship in this type of interaction. Change is slow, but good. When the Bible says the two become one as man and wife, it can be more than just physical. To really love your wife and enable her to be the woman that God wants her to be you must see her as Christ saw the Church and be willing to sacrifice for her, even unto death.
Ok, at this point you are saying, “No way, what about me, me, me?” The good news it that as you are enabling your spouse to be all she can be as a woman, you are going to grow as well. This wisdom from God takes us out of our comfort zone and into the battle zone for men, emotion. It does not make us weak, but hardens us to handle difficult situations without having to be seen as weak or not overly emotional. It gives us just the right perspective on how to manage all relationships, not just the own with our spouse. Keep in mind at the beginning how I said we have become a “nation of singularity”? If we tap into and really understand how Christ died for us and how we can take that kind of attitude into our relationships, it will naturally take us away from being totally into self. You cannot be 100% self centered when you love someone enough to die for them. This is a different thought process than we are raised with in the world today as men. Go forth – conquer, achieve, PHD, money, and all the rest. No one says be thoughtful, be kind, be wise, love your neighbor, be a blessing to others; they just focus on self-self-self. We all have to work, live, love and engage in life. Yet today that seems to not be getting us good returns: 70% divorce rates, unmarried mothers with 4-5 kids, fathers of numerous children with no support or care, children that are abused, and lives that are broken. Well, I had one of those broken lives, but by applying God’s wisdom mine was changed. Yours can be changed also, but it must start with Christ.
Just remember that the husband’s role is critical to his wife having the freedom to be the woman she was intended to be. It is an awesome thing to witness when a woman moves in that direction without fear or compromise. It propels the man forward to do more and be better as well.
So having started in the New Testament with Ephesians as the basis, we go back to the Old Testament Proverbs 10:10-31 to see what the “Wife of Noble Character” is.