Many years ago Proverbs 31:11-12 stamped itself on my heart and mind, birthing a desire to fulfil that role in my day to day life as a wife and homemaker. With regularity this verse comes to mind as, I am sure, a prompt from the Holy Spirit to stop and consider whether I am indeed fulfilling that desire.
At times I rejoice because there’s a certainty in my soul of a good attitude and daily loving care being offered to my beloved man…but sometimes there is a check in my spirit to examine more closely the cracks which have begun to appear in my character.
I knew that living this out would not be easy because of my own humanity with its pride, selfishness and numerous other character failings, but also because my husband is not perfect and came into our marriage with his own strengths, weaknesses and rough edges. After all, marriage is often a series of balancing acts when two quite different individuals make a commitment to live ‘as one’ for life.
Marriage is a page by page story you write from the heart, moment by moment decisions and choices that will build the union stronger or tear it apart until only shreds remain. Over the past 27 years my husband and I have faced more valleys that mountaintops, faced crises which according to statistics tear apart more couples that draw them closer, but here we are, more committed, more loved, than ever before.
You see, many times over those years we've been pulling in opposite directions, not walking in our God given roles, seeking to be the one who was right and to have our own way. There are many tears, sorrows, losses and grief scattered along the highways and byways of this marriage, but I made a decision when Proverbs 31:11-12 stamped itself on my heart to always let him have the last word, make the big decisions, and to be held responsible before God for those choices and directions.
We stayed committed.
We chose to forgive.
We learned to listen to each other’s point of view and really hear what was being said.
I show him genuine respect and he loves me as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25-33), and always takes into consideration my thoughts before making a big decision.
When dissention threatened our peace of mind or our relationship we sought Jesus to show us a better way, and often it would be Proverbs 31:11-12 which the Lord would bring to mind again for me and I always took it to heart.
Honestly, the teaching in those two verses has led me through seasons of pruning, planting, blooming, and hibernation (especially when my views had been totally warped by selfishness) They have changed me for the better and will keep changing me as the years go by.
“The heart of her husband safely trusts her,
So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil all the days of her life”
I love my man, and therefore I want his heart to safely trust me.
I want him to have no lack of gain.
I want to do him good and not evil all the days of my life.
So I take one day at a time and praise God for the opportunity to be that wife, knowing there are days I'll fail and days I'll soar. The most important thing is that I keep this close to my heart and do my utmost to live it out.
Marriage is the relationship above all else which needs the most work, the most love, the most compassion, the most forgiveness, the most humility - and for most of us it will be a relationship which will last for many decades until the Lord takes one of us home.
Now, it's not my place to stand over my man and critique his husbandliness, that's something he and God work on together, though there have been occasions when I wanted to point the finger in his direction (and did) to my disappointment, but God is watching me be a wife, so that's the role I try and keep firmly in mind when different views arise.
Taking our eyes off what we perceive to be our husband's weaknesses or failings and putting them firmly on what WE need to be, what WE need to change, how WE should respond, is God's way. (Matthew 7:3-5)
So have I given this marriage the time and prayer and care it needs?
I have to ask myself this on a regular basis and that's a good thing because only by honestly examining my role as a wife can I improve our marriage relationship so that it will last the distance; after all, Mr E is my best friend, lover and champion, and most definitely worth the effort.
I pray the Lord pours out a great blessing upon your marriage and widens your understanding within it that you may gain an increase of love, joy, respect and fellowship with Christ.