“Women…. Can’t live with them, pass the beer nuts.” This quote from Norm Peterson from Cheers expressed many a man’s frustration with members of the opposite sex. Of course, women have some of the same feelings about men. We are different. Sometimes those differences can be difficult, to say the least. Yet, at other times, the differences between men and women are what draw us to each other. I once saw a billboard that said, “No one will ever win the battle of the sexes, there is too much fraternizing with the enemy.”
Proverbs 31 is a description of a godly wife. The writer explains that the value of a good spouse is greater than anything money can buy. I think of the old MasterCard Commercials, she would be priceless. Many of the descriptions in this passage deal with her value in the ancient world, but there are a number of characteristics shared in this chapter. She is good mother, a provider for the home, trustworthy, honest, a hard worker, faithful to her husband, benevolent, supportive, and kind. Any man who finds a woman of this quality, and makes her his wife will be blessed in his life.
The application of this passage speaks in several directions. First, it addresses women with a clear and distinct call. God has made you in His image with beauty, sensitivity, creativity, and value. Women in our culture are being driven by an unrealistic image of femininity that is being created by images given to us in magazine covers, movies, and TV stars. But far too often, these “perfect 10” women have deep issues including eating disorders and depression. When we determine that beauty is something solely determined by exterior appearance, the outcome is that femininity becomes shallow and vain. As a woman, let the words of Proverbs 31:30 sink deep into your soul, become a woman who realizes that the most beautiful thing you wear is the glory of Jesus.
Now to the dudes, especially married guys. Remember that day when you married your wife, she was perfect in your eyes, and you knew she would never change. Then about ten minutes after the wedding she started changing! No two days are alike, and we will never figure them out. But the Bible places a huge amount of the responsibility on the condition of your wife’s heart and mind on you, guys. It is our call in life to live holy lives before the women we love, and to lead them passionately. This means we need to pray with our wives, wash them in the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:25-28). Guys, we need to learn the difference between “fault” and “responsibility”. When your wife is struggling, Biblically, it may or may not be your fault. But the Bible always puts the responsibility of leading and loving your wife on the shoulders of husbands. If you read Proverbs 31 and thought, “I wish this described my wife,” it is possible that this very statement says more about you than it does her. Your job is to pastor your wife toward the description of this woman, and give her the freedom to become the woman of God He has created her to be.
Now for those in the process of dating or courting as you seek to find God’s life partner for you. Your decision of who you marry is one of the most important decisions a person will make. That decision will have an impact on the rest of your life. If you find someone with the characteristics and qualities that you desire, you can have a marriage that lasts a lifetime and brings you joy. On the other hand, a bad decision on whom you will marry could lead to a lifetime of heartache. Nothing in life is worse than going through a divorce, and having your marriage and family torn apart. So how would you make sure that you prepare yourself to make a good decision about your spouse? Three things you can do now. First, be this sort of person. If you are a female, study the characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman and strive to be like her. If you are male, strive to be a godly man, as defined in other sections of the Bible. Be a person of character and integrity and you will draw people with the same characteristics to yourself. Be sure this purity spills into your dating life as well. When you date someone, treat that person as you would want the person who is dating your future spouse to treat him or her. Second, date only those you would marry. If you want to marry a godly person, date only those with those characteristics which you want in a spouse. As a single person, you may be tempted to go out with someone because of their looks, or popularity. But one never knows when he or she will end up with the person who will become his or her spouse. Third, begin to pray for the person you will eventually marry. Pray that God would keep him or her pure. Pray that she would develop the character of the Proverbs 31 woman. Pray that he would live his life for Jesus Christ and hear God’s call on his life. Pray that God would give you a great marriage with that person some day!