The Three Women of Proverbs, Part 3: The Wife of Noble Character 1

Finally, the Wife of Noble Character, the “Proverbs 31 Woman”, the final part of our series on the women of Proverbs!

This is the goal! Wouldn’t we all like our husbands to be “singing our praises at the city gates”? Here are some main points I pulled out of the passages about the Wife of Noble Character.

  1. Intoxicate him with your love. Being in a state of intoxication implies that you have been drinking. If you want to intoxicate your spouse, keep drinking love! Make sex a habit. Commit to being intentional. Sex should be maximally pleasurable for both people in the marriage. Find new things to try with each other. Make an effort!
  2. Be prudent. The definition of prudence is: having or showing careful good judgment. If you do a Bible search for prudence, no surprises, the book of Proverbs tops the charts. Here is a summary of a few verses: “doing what is right and just and fair” (1:3), holding your tongue (10:19), “fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult” (12:16), “keep their knowledge to themselves” (12:23), “act with knowledge” (13:16), “give thought to their steps” (14:15). I’m surprised what I learn about myself when I really pay attention to my actions. I want to be more prudent.
  3. Bring your husband good. This implies that you are not doing him harm. Make sure you are giving him your best. Sometimes I notice that I am willing to give my full effort to my kids, projects at work, ministries at church, etc. but at the end of the day I have nothing left to invest in El Fury. Know when you are spreading yourself too thin so that you can preserve enough of yourself at the end of the day to pour into your most important relationship.
  4. Be industrious. Reading Proverbs 31 is daunting. This woman is busy! I can’t tell you what exactly to do with your time, but I can recommend to be efficient in your time. Your time is a finite resource. It is valuable. Consider how you want to spend your time and formulate systems in your life that enable you to spend it well. Use a calendar. El Fury and I share a calendar through Google and it has been incredibly helpful, especially as our kids have gotten older and have things of their own going on. Plan your time. If you plan how you are going to spend your time you are more likely to do it. This has helped me to organize my time so that when El Fury and the kids are home I am able to be present in my time with them. Get up early. I need to tell myself this, especially during the winter months. However, the days that we are disciplined and get up early are often the best days!
  5. Refrain from idleness. This is different from being industrious, but the two go hand-in-hand. When I looked up idleness, it says: not having any real purpose or value, not having much activity. Ask yourself, what is your purpose? What are your goals? Idleness will prevent you from fulfilling your purpose and achieving your goals. When I think of idleness I think about Stephen Covey’s Importance-Urgency Matrix (see: How to Have Time and Energy for Great Sex).  In summary, your time is spent four ways. Urgent and Important (emergencies, etc.), Important but Not Urgent (this is where you want to spend your time – relationships, etc.), Urgent but Not Important (often this is what other people impose on your time), Not Urgent and Not Important (the time wasters, the phone scrolling). If you analyze your time and much of it is spent in the Not Urgent and Not Important category, consider that some of that time might be in idleness. I’m not saying that all of the time in that category is bad or idle, sometimes you need some mindless activities. However if other areas of your life are lacking you might need to reallocate your time.
  6. Fear the Lord. People often confuse the word “fear” with respect, but that sells it short. God is to be feared and respected. I touched on this already in the Adulterous Woman post. Don’t be flippant in your attitude towards God. He is a loving, good God, but He is also that same God in Hebrews that says “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31)

Proverbs 5:18‭-‬19: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”

Proverbs 12:4: “A wife of noble character is her husbandʼs crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”

Proverbs 18:22: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”

Proverbs 19:14: “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

Proverbs 31:10‭-‬31: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Other parts of this series:

The Three Women of Proverbs, Part 2: The Nagging and Quarrelsome Wife 2

Continuing this series on the women of Proverbs, we come to the nagging and quarrelsome wife. These verses are convicting. Nothing needs to be said on exactly what you are doing when you are nagging or quarreling. You know. When you are this type of wife, it is better for your husband to “live on the corner of the roof” or “in a desert”. If that doesn’t inspire self-loathing I don’t know what will! It is intolerable to be around someone that nags you and wants to pick a fight with you. According to Proverbs you would be better off living in extreme conditions than sharing a home with such a person. This makes me think twice before picking a fight with El Fury. James refers to the tongue as “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8) We would be wise to bridle it and think twice before nagging.

Proverbs 14:1 is very interesting. It doesn’t speak directly about nagging and quarreling, but I included it with those verses because I thought it related well. “The wise woman builds her house.” Remember how it was during those first years of marriage? I was so attentive to our home and to El Fury’s needs. I built my house with care. I looked after others more than myself. The second part of this verse should serve as a warning. “But with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” What happens? This sounds like self-sabotage. Does this wife stop being intentional, stop tending to her marriage with care? Does her speech become characterized by nagging and quarreling?

Of course nobody wants to be the one that is tearing their home down. The problem is that your home might already be falling apart before you are willing to identify the problem. You might not even see that it is falling down until you are standing in the midst of rubble. Now, I’m not saying that it is solely the responsibility of the wife to keep her home intact. It takes two people working together to make a home thrive.

How do we identify if we are becoming nagging and quarrelsome? Watch yourself. Pay attention to what you are saying. It’s so hard to accept that you might be contributing to the problem. I can look back over the years of my marriage and see how in my pride I wanted to point the finger only at my husband. Somehow I forget that my marriage is not about keeping score and proving I’m right. The goal is peace. The goal is sharing your life in a way that builds your home in a beautifully integrated way that makes it hard to tear down.

Sex is a good reset button. Don’t withhold sex from your spouse as a means to get them to do whatever you are nagging them about. That’s manipulative and wrong. Similarly, if you are quarreling, try to follow up by being intimate. I’m not saying to forget about your problems and just have sex. Fix your problems together. Then re-engage physically. I know if El Fury and I have had an argument, I often feel like things are back to normal after we’ve had sex again.

When I find myself being nagging or quarrelsome, I try to picture El Fury standing on the corner of the roof. I don’t like it when he has to go up on our roof for anything, so this is an especially good exercise for me. The point is, I love him. Whatever it is that I’m nagging about or picking a fight with him for, if I can re-approach it from a solution minded viewpoint then the communication can become about the problem instead of the person. It takes effort! Your marriage is worth the effort.

Proverbs 14:1: “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Proverbs 19:13: “A foolish child is a fatherʼs ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.”

Proverbs 21:9: “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”

Proverbs 21:19: “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.”

Proverbs 25:24: “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”

Proverbs 27:15‭-‬16: “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.”

Other parts of this series:

The Three Women of Proverbs, Part 1: The Adulterous Woman 3

Proverbs is an amazing book, and I’ve made a habit of reading the chapter of the book that corresponds to the day of the month. There are three types of women that are highlighted in Proverbs: the adulterous woman, the quarrelsome wife, and the wife of noble character. This three-post series will examine each of these types, starting today with the Adulterous Woman.

Proverbs has a lot to say about the Adulterous Woman. She is dangerous — and no wonder. This type of woman has the capability to burn up everything you hold dear in your life. Your marriage, your family, even your career. Her house “leads down to death” and “none who go to her return or attain the paths of life”. This is a serious warning. How often have we seen this happen? How do we protect ourselves from this danger?

  1. “Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman.” Wisdom is a lifelong acquirement, so this is no easy suggestion. Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” This statement could fill up a book. God is powerful, sovereign, and holy. You should have a proper fear of God, and that fear should humble you. If you live your life through that lens a lot of things will orient in a good way, including your marriage. James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Fear God, pray for wisdom, and read God’s Word which is full of wisdom.
  2. Guard your marriage. This could also be another book. Your marriage is the most important relationship in your life, and it is worth guarding. Guard your time together, guard your speech to one another and about one another. Be truthful to each other and identify problems as they arise. Do not slander one another to your friends and do not make friends with people that will entice you to engage in that sort of conversation. Trust your spouse and assume they want the best for you. People don’t typically set out to intentionally commit adultery. But if you aren’t diligently tending to your marriage you might unknowingly be taking small steps towards that path.
  3. Make sex a priority. You need this. Intimate contact creates physical and emotional bonding. The more satisfied you both are in your sex life the less likely you will be to look for satisfaction outside of your marriage.

Proverbs 2:16‭-‬19: “Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.  Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead.  None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.”

Proverbs 5:3‭-‬6: “For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil;  but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.”

Proverbs 6:24‭-‬29: “Keeping you from your neighborʼs wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.  Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes.  For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another manʼs wife preys on your very life.  Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?  Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?  So is he who sleeps with another manʼs wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.”

Proverbs 7:10‭-‬12: “Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.  (She is unruly and defiant, her feet never stay at home;  now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.)”

Proverbs 7:26‭-‬27: “Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng.  Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.”

Proverbs 23:27‭-‬28: “For an adulterous woman is a deep pit, and a wayward wife is a narrow well.  Like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men.”

Other parts of this series: