Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. . . . .Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. — Proverbs 31:11-12, 28
I don’t know about you, but the “Proverbs 31 Wife” has been such a high (unreachable?) goal for me that I have often read this perfect description and have repeated verse one, “who can find?” Who can find such a woman, who provides exquisitely for her family, works tirelessly, gives generously, is wise, respected, industrious, competent, and praiseworthy—all in a lifetime of work?? Amazing! She must have been a military wife!
Less written about, or spoken of, seems to be this remarkable woman’s husband—the Proverbs 31 Husband. What do we know of him? If there is one thing I have learned about marriage it is that one spouse can greatly influence the other (for good or for bad). Just as it is true that “behind every good man is a good woman” I believe that “behind every good woman is a good man.” So how did this man support his wife, and vice versa? What do we know of their marriage?
I see at least three things in Proverbs 31 which speak of their marriage:
Trust—Verses 11 and 12 state, “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm all the days of her life.” (NIV) In the New Kings James Version, verse 11 reads, “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.” This couple operated in an atmosphere of trust. I doubt that this wife could have made purchases and investments, given to the poor or supervised a staff without the support of her husband—a trust based upon her dignified countenance and God-given wisdom. Mutual trust in a marriage is a beautiful thing, and her stability certainly speaks of her husband’s confidence in her abilities.
Teamwork—Verse 23 states, “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” This verse is followed by verse 31 which also mentions the influence of this couple in terms of their respect in the community, “Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” We know that the “city gate” in those days was where official business was conducted—much like our “city hall” or “courthouse” today. This husband was a respected leader, which would not have been true had not his home life been in order. And this is recognized in that final verse when we see that his wife is also respected in the community. They were a team—one’s reputation bringing honor to the other.
Tenderness—My favorite verses are 28 and 29, “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’” The Proverbs 31 Husband appreciated his wife, and verbally praised her. The affect of this treatment was that their children learned to respect their mother and emulate their father’s praise. My observation has been that if a husband insults his wife, their children will do the same. That makes for strife in a home, not harmony (among other things). But if he looks for ways to praise her and is not reticent in expressing his love and appreciation, the benefits can be found in loving relationships for generations to come.
The book of Proverbs begins with a call to wisdom. In Proverbs 9:10 we read, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” At the end of Proverbs, in 31:30, we see this having been lived out in a woman’s life: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” The fear of the LORD is the spiritual foundation on which this Proverbs 31 wife has built her home and her legacy. Because of her knowledge and understanding of the LORD’s faithful and sovereign ways, it says that she “has no fear for her household” and “can laugh at the days to come.” We do not know if her husband has that same wisdom—it is not written. But my thought is that this Proverbs 31 Husband knew and lived Deuteronomy 10:12— “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”
And how does a married couple today, in the midst of military deployments, live out the call to trust, teamwork, and tenderness? I believe that relationships have not changed that much through the millennia, and that good communication (stay connected with what is going on in each other’s lives as much as possible), loving care (unselfish actions even when separated), and strong commitment (the “d” word should not even be in your vocabulary) to the marriage worked now and worked then. I believe that we should refer to Proverbs 31 as a picture of a husband and wife in marriage, and how it is true that “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” — Psalm 127:1
Questions to Share:
1. Can you see the benefit in praising each other? In what ways do you praise one another during the separation of deployments?
2. In what ways can you praise your spouse for the ways that you trust them and for the ways that you can see yourselves working together as a team for the good of your family.