by Gina L.
from Virtuous Daughters, May 2016~Volume 16, Number 2
"Panning for Gold" Proverbs 31 Study Series Part 2
We embark on our journey of discovery, searching for hid treasure in bringing to light the characteristics of a woman of virtue by looking to the acrostic poem in Proverbs 31.
Introducing the Virtuous Woman…
In Proverbs 31:11, we find that the heart of her husband safely trusts in her so that he shall have no need of spoil. Notice that it says safely trusts.
I have met many women over the years whose husbands trust their wife’s words and actions, but it is not a safe trust. I remember shopping with a newly married friend who was looking to buy a new shirt. She said that she would just tell her husband that her mom bought it for her because otherwise he would get so upset at her purchase. After all, that is what she told him the last time she bought new clothes secretly and she thought all was fine that way. Another woman boasted to me about how she would buy expensive Longaberger baskets, but just tell her husband they were $20, which she thought worked out ok for her until her husband hosted a work party at their home. Later at work, the women were ordering expensive baskets and he said, “My wife would never buy something that expensive.” They replied, “You have them all over your home!” Other women are more spiritual about it. They wait until it is prayer time with the ladies, and then they ask for prayer as they air their husbands’ faults one by one. Others just sigh and say they wish he wouldn’t watch so much TV or they inform you that they are farther along spiritually than him. Either way, and all ways (and there are many more) that a wife doesn’t hold her husband’s trust and heart in safe care—be it his emotions, finances, faults, undisclosed ideas, his past, his failures, and even his private outrageous opinions—is wrong. The Bible says that a talebearer revealeth secrets, but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter. (Proverbs 11:13. Obviously we are not talking about concealing illegal or abusive behavior.)
A daughter living in her parents’ home may have ample opportunities as well to practice this characteristic of trust. In fact, I have seen daughters joke and make fun of their father without any thought that they are practicing to not hold their husband’s heart in safe trust. One girl drew a caricature of her dad on the whiteboard after the Bible notes were erased. She drew him round and laughed at his “figure,” instead of honoring her father and mother that it may be well with her. There are many faults in a girl’s daddy or mommy that she could air and poke fun at among the girls, just as there will be many faults in her husband. What kind of wife are you practicing to be? (Incidentally, you will bring to the marriage your own share of faults, and you can imagine how you’d want them treated.)
Another way I have seen a husband’s trust betrayed is very insidious indeed. Often fathers have rules for the household that the mothers don’t eagerly embrace or even really agree with. It could be for children to not use a certain door, or to remove or not remove shoes upon entering the house, or to wear or not wear certain apparel, or no TV, movies, or video games, and the list goes on. This is all obeyed perfectly in the husband’s presence, but the minute he is gone, everyone knows—without speaking a word—the rules change. Mom doesn’t enforce what she doesn’t really agree with and all is fun and free, until you hear Dad’s car in the driveway. This mother is not only not holding her husband’s heart in safe, secure, confident trust, but rather teaching her children to do the same….and to her rules as well. Really she is tearing her house down with her own hands. That seems harsh to say just because we let the kids use the backdoor in Dad’s absence, but we are teaching and showing our own submission to authority or lack thereof.
The husband’s heart is supposed to safely trust (Hebrew, “batach”), to “hie for refuge,” which means hasten or run for refuge into his wife, the Virtuous Woman.
Becoming a safe refuge for your husband may sound easy, but you will find it a very difficult task, and one that many well-meaning Christian women fail at because they are unprepared for the foe.We know that we are all bombarded at times with things that bother us about one another. How do we hold it in? The answer is to fight the battle at the right front. I will illustrate with a story.
A wife worked all day caring for the kids, feeding, schooling, and cleaning up many home-cooked nutritious meals. She took time to read to the little ones too, instead of resting. She even got to the laundry and somehow got it all folded as well, but it was resting on the kitchen table as she never quite got it put away. There were a few crumbs on the floor as well from lunch, though the dishes were washed and put away nicely. Her tired husband came in from a hard day and grumbled. “Why is the house a wreck—clothes all over the table, and crumbs all over the floor.” he pronounced! We cry foul! How is it he only sees what little tiny bit that was not done and doesn’t choose to notice all that she did?
A week later this woman is picking up toys and things left all over the house by busy kids. She picks up a coffee cup left out by her husband and starts to get upset. She thinks….Hmmm, he always leaves these out. Then she finds another mug next to his bed….she gets more annoyed, thinking he is not considerate. Then she goes outside and finds two more that have an inch of coffee with mold growing on the surface. Now she allows herself to really think some angry thoughts. He arrives home after faithfully working to support his family. He drives into his well-groomed yard (he is a good gardener) and meets his wife. She tries to smile. It lasts a few minutes. Then she bursts out with all the thoughts she has nursed all day.
A woman can easily see and understand how insensitive it is when the husband notices only the crumbs on the floor, but she is annoyed also at his crumbs. Maybe he spends too much money or is always late…perhaps he leaves his cup or many cups out, but there is much good to look on in him—after all, you saw much good, or you wouldn’t have married him.
The battle is not won the minute your husband crosses the door, but is won or lost hours before in your thoughts all the day. We are to take captive our thoughts and throw out what is not obedient to Christ. Also, we are instructed in Philippians 4:8 to think on things that are lovely, just, true, pure, honest, of good report. We are to find the virtue and praiseworthy and think on that. Therein is the key to being a trustworthy Virtuous Woman whose husband’s heart runs for refuge in you, safely trusting you. You must wage the war in your mind and begin the battle in your thoughts, for out of the heart the mouth speaketh. The mouth only betrays or conveys what you have pondered in your heart. Keep the crumbs cleaned out of your heart, even if you can’t always get to the ones on the floor, and you will be well on your way to becoming a reliable refuge and not a mere mirage.
Many men have been deceived and have placed their trust in one who is not safe. It is a great disappointment of life to find you have trusted a lie. We all make mistakes and must ask one another for forgiveness, but we must be careful in our actions, thoughts, and speech right where we are today to be and become a woman that can be trusted—a safe refuge, for such is the Virtuous Woman.
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