Becky at Hospitality Lane has a terrific post on marriage today.
It made me think of the verse in Proverbs 31 that says "the heart of her husband safely trusts her." This is early in the section on a Virtuous Wife.
While I was reading verses 10-31 today, I realized something that I can't say as if I have seen in this way before. All the "work" of the Proverbs 31 woman is for her husband and for her family.
Many people over the years have used this Proverb to shore up their arguement for women working outside the home, or for having a homebased business, etc. However I think there is something here for us that I think we are missing.
This woman is not looking for attention or recognition from anyone outside her family. In fact her efforts get her husband noticed "in the gates" at place of honor in the city.
Let's look at some verses:
Verse 11 - The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.
He knows that she is on his side and is not going to spend money they don't have on frivolous things - she is going to be careful with what they have, in fact due to her character and skills their home will abound.
Verse 12 - She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
He is not worried about her telling her friends about all his "failings", nor is he worried that she is going to behave immodestly around others. She does not mock him or deride him.
Verses 13-19 show all her hard work on behalf of their family and home life. She is not idle.
Verse 20 shows that her priorities are right and she is looking out for others,especially those in need.
Verses 21-22 show that she has made sure that the family and the house help are clothed properly and well.
Then in the middle of this telling of her activities, verse 23 tells us "Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land." Ladies, our behavior affects our husbands reputation. Do we have a reputation for godliness, or for being a gossip? This will affect what others think about our husbands. I have known couples that the husband was not able to function in leadership positions because of their wives immaturity!
Verse 24 has us back to the wife and her sewing business!
Verse 25-27 show us her maturity and focus of her life.
Verse 28-29 show us her family's honoring of her and her efforts on their behalf. "Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her: "Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all."
Don't we all want to hear that kind of praise from our husbands?!
Verses 30-31 give us this admonition; "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates."
She gets her reward because of her service to her family, her behavior towards the needy and her honoring behavior toward her husband. How many women pass this up, in order to get the "quick" praise of being a stylish woman or having a great haircut? I have known women who were always dressed just right and had perfect hair, and yet they were not wise women where their husbands were concerned. I recently heard that one of these marriages has ended in divorce. I am not surprised as I had witnessed words from the wife toward her husband, that made me embarrassed for him.
Ladies, we need to make sure that our priorities are the priorities God has for us. These may be very different from the ones we currently have. In all things we must seek God.
As a wife and mother I am the Thermostat for my home. I set the temperature! Is my home warm and a place of rest and delight? Or is it a cold and difficult place to be?
It is up to us ladies, we can change our lives, marriages, homelife with our careful attention to God's priorities for our lives.